What is the difference between a 'spirit' and a 'soul'?


Are they different from eachother? Why do we say we have ‘souls’ and not ‘spirits’?

I think of it this way:

The spirit is the gasoline

The Soul the engine.

Waiting for others to join in :popcorn:

There is a difference between the spirit and the soul. In Hebrews 4:12, we read, “Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit.”

Your spirit is the part of you that longs for truth and love. God is truth and love, so your spirit is the part of you that longs for God. Your soul is your intellect, memory, and will. As you fill these with fear, need, lust, worry, goals, and plans, you bury your spirit, nearly suffocating it.

As you give these up, trusting in God to give you all you need, and trusting that all that you get is all that you need, intellect illuminates faith (as you pursue knowledge of God), memory illuminates hope (as you no longer give in to the fear and desire stirred by the images your memory holds), and your will gives way to charity (as you give your love to this God you have come to know and trust and begin to share his love with others).

The biblical word for spirit is PNEUMA, meaning air or breath, where we also get words like pneumatic and pneumothorax. This translated into Latin as SPIRITUS and we kept the word, along with words like inspired, respiration, spirometry, etc.

So the “spirit” is related to breath. But it is not the air in our noses; it comes from God and makes our soul (psyche) alive, just like our human breathing keeps our naturalbodies alive. It “breathes” everlasting life, and in Heaven, we will be fitted with a “spiritual body” (pneumatikon soma) so as to be alive in eternity.


The spirit is like a will of the soul…I think:o

According to Frank Sheed- theology for beginners-

A soul is a principle that animates a body. Therefore all living things have a soul.

A spirit is eternal, cannot be broken into parts, has no material component, etc. God is a spirit, angels and demons are spirits.

The human soul is the only soul that is also a spirit. (Meaning that while animals and plants have souls, these cease to exist when the life leaves the body.)

Hope this helps. Theology for Beginners is a great book, by the way!

One you drink they other you walk on; not very funny,but still…hic…crash!!

the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit.The soul is like vessel which stores up virtues or evils.this vessel grows in virtue and is reflected by the body in his actions.conversely when a soul is sinful its also reflected.One might say the soul is the personality of the person.Mary said"My soul magnifies the Lord and delights in his handiworks’.In Her person God was shown His magnificence.Her person was to find great joy in all His creation.If the Spirit(Holy) is truelly living in that person it shows.By ones cheerful attitude.Common demeaner.Charitable disposition.Likewise if the Spirit is not there "you will know him by his fruits."A person may appear friendly but does his actions and deeds bare out the Spirit?

I don’t bother differentiating. As far as I’m concerned, they’re one and the same thing, described by two words.

I had the experience of seeing my father the night he died in my room. As far as I’m concerned I was talking to his spirit or soul. Trying to differentiate between them is nitpicking in my opinion.

The soul is the business of our lord!,and the spirit is something we need to keep control of.

I like to use terms more like “heart” and “mind” to make some of the distinctions I’ve heard. That way I may speak to more people, and there is less risk of running afoul of scholars who will strain out the gnat and swallow the camel, as it were.


So, I think the general consensus is that the ‘Spirit’ typically refers to ‘The Holy Spirit’ separate from a body and belonging to no one in particular, and our ‘Soul’, which is our’s alone and in our body (until my body dies and then my Soul is united with the Holy Spirit?)

Do you think ghosts exist? It would actually be a ‘soul’ then if they did, and not a ‘spirit’ of sorts, right?

A ghost, if extant, is likely a manifestation of a non-human spirit (demon). When a human being dies, his being in this world is ended. He does not wander around in a pseudo-body wishing he were alive. He assumes his eternal being.


I usually use “spirit” to mean any spirit, which could be the spirit of a human. By “Spirit” I usually mean the Holy Spirit, who is within each of us and would gush with living water if we knew how to let Him. We cannot connect physically with God since Jesus isn’t here, but are spirit can touch and be touched by the Holy Spirit, which is the Helper He left us … “I will not leave you as orphans.” :slight_smile:


Our Spirit is Active and Our soul is Passive. Hence comes the term Poor Soul,Poor Soul.

Bye and take care.

and please dont laugh.

To give an answer to this, I’d need to relate a personal experience.

My wise old pastor, whom I often refer to, once predicted, “I think you’ll be doing a cleaniing job. You won’t be doing it for long, and you won’t like it much, but I think the Lord will just want you to hear about a ghost.” Since he died himself in 1992, then he probably said that around 1990 or 1991.

Now I knew by then how accurate his predictions are, but even so I thought it was a bit weird, to put it mildly. I said nothing though. But in 2006, I did a cleaning job for about 4 months (‘not long’), didn’t like it much, and I ‘heard about a ghost’. I was being shown around an old store in a town called Ipswich west of Brisbane, when the young bloke showing me the rounds suddenly remarked, “This place is haunted!”

I asked him what he was talking about. He said a former manager had hanged himself upstairs in the 1890’s. The store staff however seemed to think it was downstairs and around the 1960’s and I think they were more likely correct.

Anyway the young bloke told me he didn’t like being there after dark. He claimed one night all the stock on one complete row of shelves just jumped off the shelves and landed on the floor. At other times he could push around a heavy buffer with one little finger. Something was pushing it with him.

I got rather positive vibes when I was there. One night, when the store had been closed, a bloke stepped out from behind the last row of shelves, smiled at me, and then stepped back again. I didn’t see him again, and the place was locked up. I suspect my role was to get a mass said for the ghost aka ‘suicide’. I eventually rang up the priest at Ipswich, told him the story and he said, “Leave it to me”. So I did.

I haven’t been back to check. The point is however my old pastor predicted accurately this chain of events way back circa 1990 / 91, with the rider, “I think the Lord will just want you to hear about a ghost.”

If the Lord wanted me to hear about a ghost, then clearly He was concerned about the ghost. This indicates to me the ghost was a human soul or spirit, and as far as I’m concerned the two terms are interchangeable and mean exactly the same thing. I think it was the ‘ghost’ who smiled at me, and he looked pretty human.

My assumption is that the ghost / suicide was punished by being bound to the store where he’d killed himself. Maybe he was a good man, a Catholic, who was not bad enough to send to Hell, but needed a mass said before he could get out of his “Go to jail sentence”. After all, if I’d been bound to an average store for 40 years, I’d be bored as well. Which is why I think he used to play games scaring the other young bloke.

I had no problems whatsoever, and every time I went there, I did get this sort of positive vibe.

That’s my story, and I don’t think ghosts are necessarily demonic. I think this one was the spirit / soul of a human suicide.

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