Difference Between Soul and Spirit

Difference Between Soul and Spirit

Soul is defined as the parts of a human that are distinct from the body, such as feeling, thought, actions, etc. On the other hand, spirit refers to the essence of our awareness.

These two words are often used interchangeably. But do these two mean the same thing? Do soul and spirit have the same meaning?

Soul vs Spirit

Soul vs Spirit
The soul is a breathing creature where life is always present, whether physical or immortal Definition Spirit can be alive (according to believers) and can be dead (according to nonbelievers)
Hebrew  Origin of the word Latin 
Soul in Hebrew means Chay. It means living or alive. But in the New Testament, the word soul means psyche. The meaning of psyche is the breath of life or breathing  Literal meaning   In the Old Testament, the word spirit means ruah. The literal meaning of the word is wind 
The soul is mainly related in an individual sense. The soul is primarily used in religious content Related with  The spirit is primarily related in a supernatural sense. Spirit is used in a non-religious context
Refers to the mind Refers to  Refers to a person
Soul is self-centered  Purpose of creation  The spirit was created to communicate and interact with the spirit of God

What is a Soul?

The Oxford dictionary defines the soul as the spiritual part of a living being that is immortal. The soul is a more spiritual or immaterial part that continues to live even when our bodies die.

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Hebrew Roots

The concept of a soul has Hebrew roots.

In Hebrew, a soul refers to a breathing creature where life is present, either physical or mental. The New Testament has a similar meaning of the soul, where the term means life, either physical or eternal.

The soul means different things depending in different religious contexts. Defining it will depend on which context you’re exploring.

Christians believe that the soul is a non-physical part of human beings, but we cannot separate it from our bodies.

Difference Between Soul and Spirit

Soul-Based Dichotomy and Trichotomy

Some Christians have explored this belief further. There are two teachings referred to as soul-based trichotomy or soul-based dichotomy

Based on the trichotomy, the soul is the mind, emotion, and will, which make us think and feel things. The dichotomic viewpoint believes that soul and spirit are interrelated and soul is just another word for spirit.

Hindu Concept of Soul

Hindus have a different concept of the human soul. According to them, the soul or the atman is the true self of an individual.

Likewise, different religions have different connotations of the soul. Still, more or less, the concept is always seen in a spiritual sense.

What is a Spirit?

The meaning of spirit is also related to breath and wind in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. But it has a different connotation than the meaning of soul. 

According to the previously mentioned soul-based trichotomy, the spirit allows us to have an intimate relationship with God. As already mentioned, the dichotomic views consider soul and spirit to be different words that describe the same concept.

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Other religious views on the meaning of spirit are that, as opposed to the living soul, which is always alive, the spirit can be alive according to believers or dead according to unbelievers. In simple terms, the spirit is a part of us that connects to God or refuses to do so.

The human spirit can be powerful, haunting, discreet, dangerous, harmful, and fleeting.

Difference Between Soul and Spirit

Biblical Interpretations of the Concept of Soul and Spirit

Following are some of the definitions of the soul as explained in the Christian Bible-

In Hebrew 4:12, the author says: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than two edged-sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

In Matthew 10:28, the author says: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In Luke, 1:46-47, the author says: “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

In Thessalonians 5:23, the author says: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Romans 8:16, “The spirit is a part of us that connects, or refuses to connect to God. Our spirits relate to His Spirit, either accepting His promptings and convictions, thereby proving that we belong to him or resisting Him proving that we do not have spiritual life.”

Ezekiel 18:4“Behold, all souls are mine; the souls of the fathers, as well as the soul of the son, is mine, the souls who sins shall die”

What is the Difference Between Soul and Spirit?

The concept of the soul and spirit may seem confusing if you’re new to these religious concepts. To keep it simple, remember that the word soul is often used in a religious setting. In contrast, the word spirit is used in more non-religious concepts.

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Soul means life, either physical or eternal. It’s a breathing creature in which life is present beyond physical death.

Spirit also has its roots in the concept of breath and wind, but spirit can also refer to the non-human entity. The spirit can be alive, according to believers, and it can be dead, according to unbelievers.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our post on the differences between Christians and Catholics.


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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