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1 Thessalonians 5:23 – The Spirit, Soul and Body of the Church

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A Restoration Light Study

 

May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. — 1 Thessalonians 5:23, World English Bible translation.

autos de ho theos tees eireenees hagiasai
VERY (ONE) BUT THE GOD OF THE PEACE MAY SANCTIFY
0846 1161 3588 2316 3588 1515 0037 0846_99
humas holoteleis kai holokleeron humwn to
YOU COMPLETELY WHOLE, AND WHOLE IN (EVERY) PART OF YOU THE
4771_7 3651 2532 3648 4771_5 3588
pneuma kai hee psuchee kai to swma amemptws en
SPIRIT AND THE SOUL AND THE BODY BLAMELESSLY IN
4151 2532 3588 5590 2532 3588 4983 0274 1722
tee parousia tou kuriou heemwn ieesou christou
THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD OF US JESUS CHRIST
3588 3952 3588 2962 1473_8 2424 5547
teereetheiee
MAY IT BE KEPT.
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Westcott & Hort Interlinear
(from Bible Students Library CD)

 

The above scripture is often cited to in an effort to prove that a human is made up of three separate entities: spirit, soul and body. This scripture also is often cited as proof that man is a trinity of entities, and that since man was created the image of God, and as such, this scripture is offered as proof of the trinity.

We first want to note that the scriptures plainly tell us that the human soul is made of the spirit and the body. (Genesis 2:7) No where does the Bible say these are three separate persons or entities living in one human being, or in God Almighty. Such an idea has to be read into the scriptures.
See also our documents:
Neshamah – Is It an Immortal Soul in Humans?
The Spirit — Is It Conscious After Death

The apostle prayed that the spirit, soul, body of the Church (at Thessalonica, and by extension, the entire church) might be preserved without blame to the coming of Jesus. While the Greek pronoun for you is plural, Paul does not say the spirits, souls, and bodies (plural) of the Thessalonica church will be preserved alive until the coming of our Lord Jesus, but he speaks in the singular. Nor was saying there were three persons in each of the individuals in the church at Thessalonica, which is silly.

As applied by extension to the entire church, this prayer must be understood to apply to the Church as a whole – the elect Church, whose names are written in Heaven. In Acts 4:32, we read that “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul,” and in Ephesians 4:4, the Apostle points out that there is one BODY AND ONE SPIRIT. In Philippians 1:27, he prays that of Christians may “stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel.” The true spirit has been preserved in the faithful called-out ones. Its body has been discernible, notwithstanding the multitudes of tares that would hide as well as choke it, and the great apostasy which has sought squell it. And its soul, its activity, its intelligence, its sentient being, has been in evidence, lifting up the standard of the people. In no other way could we apply Paul’s words: for, however much people may differ respecting the preservation of the individual spirits and souls of the people addressed; all must agree that the bodies of the first century Christians have not been preserved, but have returned to dust, like those of others. Besides, the words, body, soul and spirit are in the singular, not in the plural.

The apostle speaks then, not of each individual Christian at Thessalonica, but in other words, his desire was that the Church as a whole might continue to the full end of the Gospel age as a noble and faithful congregation of the Lord’s Body, full of his spirit and courageous in the work. As applied to the church as a whole, the church has been preserved in body, spirit and soul.

This lesson may be freely copied and distributed for non-profit purposes only as long as no additions or deletions are made to its contents. The addition of addresses, phone number, etc., for local meeting places are permissible in the space provided at the end of the document. Paragraphs are numbered for use in group study and general reference. We recommend that this lesson be kept in a notebook/folder for future reference. Last update: January 26, 2004


3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Assorted Proof Texts Concerning the Trinity

  2. Pingback: Genesis 1:26,27 – Who Is God speaking to? - Jesus and His God

  3. Pingback: 1 Thessalonians 1:23 – Is Man a Trinity? (Genesis 1:26,27) - Jesus and His God

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