A word employed in various senses in Scripture.
1. For THE HOLY SPIRIT, the third person of the Holy Trinity, who inspired the prophets, animates good men, pours his unction into our hearts, imparts to us life and comfort; and in whose name we are baptized and blessed, as well as in that of the Father and the Son. When the adjective Holy is applied to the term Spirit, we should always understand it as here explained; but there are many places whether it must be taken in this sense, although the term Holy is omitted. See HOLY SPIRIT.
2. BREATH, respiration; or the principle of animal life, common to men and animal: this God has given, and this he recalls when he takes away life, Ec 3:21. See SOUL.
3. The RATIONAL SOUL which animates us, and preserves its being after the death of the body. That spiritual, reasoning, and choosing substance, which is capable of eternal happiness. See SOUL.
The "spirits in prison," 1Pe 3:19, it is generally thought, are the souls of antediluvian sinners now reserved unto the judgment-day, but unto whom the Spirit preached by the agency of Noah, etc., 2Pe 2:5, when they were in the flesh. Thus Christ "preached" to the Ephesians, whom he never visited in person, Eph 2:17.
4. An ANGEL, good or bad; a soul separate from the body, Mr 14:26. It is said, Ac 23:8, that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits. Christ, appearing to his disciples, said to them, Lu 24:39, "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
5. The DISPOSITION of the mind or intellect. Thus we read of a spirit of jealously, a spirit of fornication, a spirit of prayer, a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of fear of the Lord, Ho 4:12; Zec 12:10; Lu 13:11; Isa 11:2.
6. The RENEWED NATURE of true believers, which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and conforms the soul to his likeness. Spirit is thus the opposite of flesh, Joh 3:6. This spirit is virally united with, an in some passages can hardly be distinguished from the "Spirit of Christ," which animates true Christians, the children of God, and distinguishes them from the children of darkness, who are animated by the spirit of the world, Ro 8:1-16. This indwelling Spirit is the gift of grace, of adoption-the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts-which emboldens us to call God "Abba, my Father." Those who are influenced by this Spirit "have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts," Ga 5:16-25.
Distinguishing or discerning of spirits consisted in discerning whether a man were really inspired by the Spirit of God, or was a false prophet, an impostor, who only followed the impulse of his own spirit or of Satan. Paul speaks, 1Co 12:10 of the discerning of spirits as being among the miraculous gifts granted by God to the faithful at the first settlement of Christianity.
To "quench the Spirit," 1Th 5:19, is a metaphorical expression easily understood. The Spirit may be quenched by forcing, as it were, that divine Agent to withdraw from us, by irregularity of life, frivolity, avarice, negligence, or other sins contrary to charity, truth, peace, and his other gifts and qualifications.
We "grieve" the Spirit of God by withstanding his holy inspirations, the impulses of his grace; or by living in a lukewarm and incautious manner; by despising his gifts, or neglecting them; by abusing his favors, either out of vanity, curiosity, or indifference. In a contrary sense, 2Ti 1:6, we "stir up" the Spirit of God which is in us, by the practice of virtue, by compliance with his inspirations, by fervor in his service, by renewing our gratitude, and by diligently serving Christ and doing the works of the Spirit.
(Heb ruah; Gr. pneuma), properly wind or breath. In 2Th 2:8 it means "breath," and in Ec 8:8 the vital principle in man. It also denotes the rational, immortal soul by which man is distinguished (Ac 7:59; 1Co 5:5; 6:20; 7:34), and the soul in its separate state (Heb 12:23), and hence also an apparition (Job 4:15; Lu 24:37,39), an angel (Heb 1:14), and a demon (Lu 4:36; 10:20). This word is used also metaphorically as denoting a tendency (Zec 12:10; Lu 13:11).
Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma. Man in his normal integrity ("whole," holokleeron, complete in all its parts, 1Th 5:23) consists of "spirit, soul, and body." The spirit links man with higher intelligences, and is that highest part receptive of the quickening Holy Spirit (1Co 15:47). The soul (Hebrew nephesh, Greek psuchee) is intermediate between body and spirit; it is the sphere of the will and affections.
In the unspiritual, the spirit is so sunk under the animal soul (which it ought to keep under) that such are "animal" ("seasonal," having merely the body of organized matter and the soul, the immaterial animating essence), "having not the spirit" (Jg 1:19; Jas 3:15; 1Co 2:14; 15:44-48; Joh 3:6). The unbeliever shall rise with an animal (soul-animated) body, but not, like the believer, with a spiritual (spirit-endued) body like Christ's (Ro 8:11).
The soul is the seat of the appetites, the desires, the will; hunger, thirst, sorrow, joy; love, hope, fear, etc.; so that nephesh is the man himself, and is used for person, self, creature, any: a virtual contradiction of materialism, implying that the unseen soul rather than the seen body is the man. "Man was made" not a living body but "a living soul." "The blood, the life," links together body and soul (Le 17:11).
The term is applied to God as defining His nature generally (Joh 4:24), and also as describing one element in that nature, His self-consciousness (1Co 2:11). It expresses not only God's immateriality, but also His transcendence of limitations of time and space. In the phrases 'Spirit of God,' the 'Spirit of the Lord,' the 'Spirit of Jesus Christ,' the 'Holy Spirit,' the 'Spirit of Truth,' the third Person in the Godhead is described (see Holy Spirit). The term is applied to personal powers of evil other than man (Mt 10:1; 12:45; Lu 4:33; 7:21; 1Ti 4:1; cf. Eph 6:12), as well as personal powers of good (Heb 1:14), and to human beings after death, either damned (1Pe 3:19) or blessed (Heb 12:23). It is used also as personifying an influence (1Jo 4:6; Eph 2:2; Ro 8:15). Its most distinctive use is in the psychology of the Christian life. The contrast between 'soul' and 'spirit,' and between 'flesh' and 'spirit,' has already been noted in the articles on these terms. While soul and spirit are not to be regarded as separate faculties, yet 'spirit' expresses the direct dependence of the life in man on God, first in creation (Ge 2:7), but especially, according to the Pauline doctrine, in regeneration. The life in man, isolating itself from, and opposing itself to, God, is soul; that life, cleansed and renewed by the Spirit of God, is spirit; intimate as is the relation of God and man in the new life, the Spirit of God is distinguished from the spirit of man (Ro 8:16), although it is not always possible to make the distinction. In Acts the phrase 'holy spirit' sometimes means the subjective human state produced ('holy enthusiasm'), and sometimes the objective Divine cause producing (see 'Acts' in the Century Bible, p. 386). As the Spirit is the source of this new life, whatever belongs to it is 'spiritual' (pneumatikon), as house, sacrifices (1Pe 2:5), understanding (Col 1:9), songs (Col 3:16), food, drink, rock (1Co 10:3-4); and the 'spiritual' and 'soulish' (rendered 'carnal' or 'natural') are contrasted (1Co 2:14; 15:44,46). Spirit as an ecstatic state is also distinguished from mind (1Co 14:14,16), as inwardness from letter (Ro 2:29; 7:6; 2Co 3:6). The old creation
SPIRIT, in Hebrew, ??? in Greek, ??????, and in Latin, spiritus, is in the Scriptures sometimes taken for the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Holy Trinity. The word signifies also the reasonable soul which animates us, and continues in existence even after the death of the body; that spiritual, thinking and reasoning substance, which is capable of eternal happiness, Nu 16:22; Ac 7:59. The term spirit is also often used for an angel, a demon, and a ghost, or soul separate from the body. It is said, in Ac 23:8, that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits. Jesus Christ appearing to his disciples, said to them, Lu 24:39, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." And St. Paul calls the good angels "ministering spirits," Heb 1:14. In 1Sa 16:14; 18:10; 19:9, it is said that an evil spirit from the Lord troubled Saul: and we have also the expression unclean spirits. Add to this, spirit is sometimes put for the disposition of the heart or mind: see Nu 5:14; Zec 12:10; Lu 13:11; Isa 11:2. Discerning of spirits, or the secret character and thoughts of men, was a gift of God, and placed among the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, 1Co 12:10; 1Jo 4:1.