From Mark Copeland... "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL" First Missionary Journey, And Residence In Antioch (45-49 A.D.)

                    "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL"

    First Missionary Journey, And Residence In Antioch (45-49 A.D.)


1. Up to this point, much of Paul's life might be considered preparatory in nature...
   a. Even before his conversion, his heritage, education, and progress in the Jewish faith
   b. After his conversion, his relative obscurity and work in Damascus, Arabia, and Tarsus
   -- All of which would serve useful in the tasks the Lord had in mind for him

2. At this point in his life, Paul begins a series of missionary journeys...
   a. That would take the gospel to regions where it had not been heard   cf. Ro 15:20-21
   b. That would leave his mark on many regions in the Mediterranean world

[In this study we shall survey Paul's first missionary journey, that
began and ended with a two year residence in...]


      1. Started by men from Cyprus and Cyrene, by way of Jerusalem 
         - Ac 11:19-21
      2. Strengthened by Barnabas, then later together with Paul 
         - Ac 11:22-26
      3. A benevolent congregation, concerned with Christians elsewhere 
         - Ac 11:27-30
      4. Blessed with a number of prophets and teachers - Ac 13:1

      1. While ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Spirit told the
         prophets and teachers to separate Barnabas and Paul for the 
         work He had for them - Ac 13:2
      2. With fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands, they sent
         Barnabas and Paul on their way - Ac 13:3

[Thus sent out by the Holy Spirit (Ac 13:4), these two men begin their
journey by going to the coastal town of Seleucia, and sailing to...]


      1. The gospel had previously been preached in Cyprus - Ac 11:19
      2. The church in Antioch of Syria had been started by men from Cyprus - Ac 11:20
      3. Barnabas himself was from Cyprus - Ac 4:36
      -- It is interesting that the Spirit would have Barnabas and Paul
         start here; perhaps a principle to be learned regarding missionary efforts?

      1. Barnabas and Paul preached the word of God - Ac 13:5
      2. They also had John Mark to assist them - Ac 13:5
      -- It would become Paul's custom to first go to the synagogues of 
         the Jews whenever he entered a new city - Ac 17:1-3

   C. AT PAPHOS...
      1. They encounter a false prophet - Ac 13:6-11
         a. A Jew whose surname was Bar-Jesus
            1) Who was also called Elymas the sorcerer
            2) Who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus
            3) Who sought to prevent Sergius Paulus from hearing the gospel
         b. Whom Paul miraculously blinded 
            1) Being filled with the Holy Spirit
            2) Having seen Elymas for what he was:  full of deceit and 
               fraud, a son of the devil and enemy of righteousness, 
               seeking to pervert the ways of the Lord
            3) Blinding him by a mist and a darkness
      2. They convert Sergius Paulus - Ac 13:12
         a. Who saw what was done to Elymas
         b. Who was astonished at the teaching of the Lord
      3. The name of Paul is now used instead of Saul
         a. Up to this point, he was called by his Hebrew name, Saul
         b. From this point, he will be called by his Roman name, Paul
      4. Paul begins to have precedence over Barnabas
         a. Up to this point, the two men were called Barnabas and Saul
         b. From this point, the two men will be called Paul and Barnabas

[The precedence of Paul is seen as Luke describes their departure from
Paphos ("when Paul and his party").  Leaving the island of Cyprus, they sail on to...]


   A. AT PERGA...
      1. Paul and his company arrive at Perga, a city of Pamphylia 
         - Ac 13:13
      2. At this point, John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem 
         - Ac 13:13
         a. This later became a sore point with Barnabas and Paul 
            - Ac 15:36-40
         b. Paul felt this departure rendered John Mark unsuitable for the next journey

      1. Paul's sermon in the synagogue - Ac 13:14-41
         a. Following his custom to visit the local synagogues (Ac 17:
            1-3), Paul accepts an invitation to speak - Ac 13:14-16
         b. His sermon can be divided into the following points:
            1) A review of God's dealings with Israel - Ac 13:17-22
            2) A proclamation that Jesus is the promised Savior  - Ac 13:23-26
            3) A review of Jesus' death and evidence for His resurrection - Ac 13:27-37
            4) A proclamation that salvation is now offered through Jesus - Ac 13:38-39
            5) A warning not to fulfill prophecy by rejecting God's work in Christ - Ac 13:40-41
      2. Rejection by the Jews and reception by the Gentiles - Ac 13:42-49
         a. The Gentiles beg for more, even many of the Jews continue to listen to Paul 
             - Ac 13:42-43
         b. But the next Sabbath, some of the Jews are envious of the 
            large crowds and begin resisting Paul - Ac 13:44-45
         c. Paul directs his attention to the Gentiles, who are more receptive - Ac 13:46-49
      3. Expulsion by the Jews - Ac 13:50-52
         a. Persecution is brought against Paul and Barnabas - Ac 13:50
         b. Forcing them to leave and go to Iconium - Ac 13:51
         c. Yet the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit - Ac 13:52

      1. Again the procedure was to start with the local synagogue - Ac 14:1
      2. Unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles against the brethren - Ac 14:2
      3. Paul and his companions stayed "a long time", speaking boldly 
         in the Lord with signs and wonders - Ac 14:3
      4. It may have been during this time to which Paul had reference 
         when he later wrote to the Galatians of their reception of him - Ga 4:13-15
      5. The city eventually became divided between the Jews and the
         apostles, and an attempt to stone them forced Paul and his
         companions to flee to Lystra and Derbe - Ac 14:4-7

      1. While at Lystra...
         a. Paul heals a lame man - Ac 14:8-18
         b. Jews from Antioch and Iconium persuade the multitude to 
            stone Paul - Ac 14:19-20; 2Co 11:25
      2. While at Derbe...
         a. They preached the gospel - Ac 14:21a
         b. They made many disciples - Ac 14:21a

      1. From Derbe they return to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch  - Ac 14:21b-23
         a. Strengthening the souls of the disciples
         b. Exhorting to the continue in the faith despite tribulations
         c. Appointing elders in every church with prayer and fasting
         d. Commending them to the Lord in whom they had believed
      2. Passing through Pisidia, they come to Pamphylia - Ac 14:24-26
         a. Preaching the word in Perga
         b. Sailing from Attalia to Antioch from where they started

[Upon arriving in Antioch, Paul's first missionary journey was
completed.  It had taken approximately two years (45-47 A.D.).  For
about the next two years, we find Paul...]


      1. All that God had done with them on their journey - Ac 14:27a
      2. How God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles - Ac 14:27b
      -- Paul would later provide a similar report at the conference in Jerusalem 
        - Ac 15:12

      1. How long we don't know, but estimate it was about two years
      2. This is based upon dating the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15 to be about 50 A.D.


1. The pattern established in his early years of service is certainly
   seen in this first missionary journey of Paul...
   a. Preaching the gospel, followed by persecution
   b. Establishing churches, followed by edification

2. On this first journey, another pattern becomes evident...
   a. Preaching the gospel to the Jews first, by going to their synagogues
   b. Preaching the gospel to the Gentiles also, especially after rejection by the Jews
   -- Of this pattern Paul would write later to the brethren in Rome  - Ro 1:16

The Lord had certainly opened a door of faith to the Gentiles (Ac 14:27
through the work of the apostle Paul.  As we shall see in our
next lesson, there were some who wished to close that door with whom Paul 
would have to contend.

But what about us?  Has the Lord opened a door of faith for us today?
Are we making use of that open door...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Mark Copeland... "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL" Paul's Early Years Of Service (36-45 A.D.)

                    "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL"

               Paul's Early Years Of Service (36-45 A.D.)


1. When people think of the life of Paul, they are likely mindful of...
   a. His persecution of the church prior to his conversion
   b. His vision of the Lord on the road to Damascus
   c. His three missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts
2. A period of his life that may not be as well-known is the ten years 
   immediately following his conversion...   
   a. His conversion likely took place around 36 A.D.
   b. His first missionary journey began 45 A.D.
   -- What was Paul doing between his conversion and the time when the 
      Spirit called him to begin his missionary journeys?
3. Knowing the zeal of Paul, it was not an idle time of his life...
   a. It was a time of preparation
   b. Combined with activity that would later serve him well
[In this study we shall survey the first ten years of Paul's life as a new Christian...]


      1. Immediately after his conversion, Paul begins preaching - Ac 9:17-20
      2. To the amazement of those who heard him - Ac 9:21-22

      1. Paul did not stay in Damascus long after his conversion - cf.Ga 1:15-17
      2. He went to Arabia, the desert area east and south of Damascus
         a. How long he stayed is uncertain, though it is thought to 
            have been the greater part of three years - cf. Ga 1:18
         b. What he did is unknown, though some think it was a time of
            personal reflection, and revelations from the Lord - cf. Ga 1:11-12
      1. He returned from Arabia to Damascus - Ga 1:17
      2. Some time later an attempt was made to kill him, which he escaped 
         - Ac 9:23-25
      3. Years later he recounted his narrow escape - 2Co 11:32-33

[Damascus was the first place Paul preached (Ac 26:19-20), and the
first place he experienced persecution.  It would not be the last place
for either experience!  Leaving Damascus, Paul makes his...]


      1. At first, the church is afraid to receive him - Ac 9:26
      2. Barnabas (cf. Ac 4:36-37) introduces him to the apostles 
         - Ac 9:27; Ga 1:18-19
         a. He saw Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days
         b. He also saw James the Lord's brother
      1. He was given free access to the church - Ac 9:28
      2. He proclaimed boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus - Ac 9:29
      3. He disputed with the Hellenists (Grecian Jews) - Ac 9:29
      1. The Hellenists attempt to kill him - Ac 9:29
      2. Paul is warned by the Lord in a vision - cf. Ac 22:17-21
      3. The brethren send him to Tarsus by way of Caesarea - Ac 9:30

[It is evident that Paul has now become a dangerous enemy to his former
friends.  His testimony concerning the Lord and his own conversion is
difficult to answer, and the opposition is willing to do anything to
silence him!  At this point Paul returns home (Tarsus) and spends...]

      1. The place of his birth - Ac 22:3
      2. Now the center of preaching in the surrounding regions of 
         Syria and Cilica - Ga 1:21
      3. Elsewhere, brethren hear of his preaching - Ga 1:22-24
      4. Little else is known of this period of Paul's life, though it
         may have been a time when:
         a. Churches in the area were established - Ac 15:23,41
         b. Paul suffered persecution not recorded in Acts - 2Co 11:24-26 
         c. He had the vision of Paradise - 2Co 12:1-4
      -- This period lasted about four to five years
      1. Occasioned by the arrival of Barnabas - Ac 11:25
         a. Who introduced him to the Jerusalem church earlier
         b. Who traveled with him on his first missionary journey later
      2. Who had come from Antioch of Syria, the site of a new and 
         growing church - Ac 11:19-24

[As far as we can tell, Paul had worked alone up to this time.  But
with Barnabas Paul begins a series of labors in which he was always
accompanied by fellow-workers.  Barnabas and Paul shared their first
work during...]


      1. It had already grown due to the labors of others, including 
         Barnabas - Ac 11:19-24
      2. Barnabas and Paul taught a great many people that year - Ac 11:26
      3. It was where disciples of Christ were first called Christians - Ac 11:26
      1. Prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch - Ac 11:27
      2. A prophet named Agabus foretold of a great famine - Ac 11:28
      3. The disciples in Antioch determine to send relief to their brethren in Judea - Ac 11:29
      4. They send it by the hands of Barnabas and Paul - Ac 11:30

[This benevolent mission of Paul added a new dimension to his work, one
that would accompany him later on his missionary journeys.  It must
have also been a time of anticipation for Paul, for after six years this was now his...]

      1. For the brethren of Judea - Ac 11:29
      2. To the elders by Barnabas and Paul - Ac 11:30
      1. Having fulfilled their ministry of benevolence - Ac 12:25
      2. Joined now by John Mark - Ac 12:25
         a. Son of Mary, in whose home many had prayed for Peter 
            - Ac 12:12
         b. Cousin (nephew?) of Barnabas - Col 4:10
         c. Traveling companion on Paul's first missionary journey 
            - Ac 13:5
         d. His earlier departure on that journey would become a sore 
            point between Paul and Barnabas - Ac 13:13; 15:37-39
         e. He later became useful to Paul - 2Ti 4:11; Php 24
         f. He was later with Peter (1Pe 5:13), and authored the gospel of Mark 


1. At this point Paul returns to Antioch of Syria...
   a. From which the Spirit will send him on his first missionary 
      journey - Ac 13:1-4
   b. From which Paul will begin all three of his journeys
2. In "Paul's Early Years Of Service" (36-45 A.D.), a pattern is established...
   a. Preaching the gospel, followed by persecution
   b. Establishing churches, followed by edification
   c. All the while, concerned about needy Christians in other places

The value of these early years of Paul's service is seen in how they
prepared him for the work the Holy Spirit later had in mind for him.  

In our zeal to be of great service to the Lord, don't discount the need
for time spent in preparation and preliminary acts of service.  How we
serve in small things will determine our usefulness in greater things:

   He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much;
   and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

                                                      - Lk 16:10

In our next study, we will survey Paul's first missionary journey...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Historical Christ--Fact or Fiction? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


The Historical Christ--Fact or Fiction?

Most children and adults easily recognize the name of Jesus Christ. Many even can recount the story of His life. Also easily recognizable are the names of Peter Pan and Rumpelstiltskin. And most people can relate the “facts” of these fairy tales as well. Is Jesus of Nazareth a fictional character who deserves to be included in a list containing mystifying magicians, daring dragon slayers, and flying boy heroes? The world-famous medical doctor and lifelong critic of Christianity, Albert Schweitzer, answered with a resounding “yes” when he wrote:
The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb (1964, p. 398).
In more modern times, former-preacher-turned-atheist Dan Barker has suggested that “the New Testament Jesus is a myth” (1992, p. 378). Are such views based upon historical evidence and therefore worthy of serious consideration? Or do they represent merely wishful thinking on the part of those who prefer to believe—for whatever reason—that Christ never lived? Was Jesus Christ a man whose feet got dirty and whose body grew tired just like the rest of humanity? Fortunately, such questions can be answered by an honest appeal to the available historical evidence.
What is a “historical” person? Martin Kahler suggested: “Is it not the person who originates and bequeaths a permanent influence? He is one of those dynamic individuals who intervene in the course of events” (1896, p. 63). Do any records exist to document the claim that Jesus Christ “intervened in the course of events” known as world history? Indeed they do.


Interestingly, the first type of records comes from what are known commonly as “hostile” sources—writers who mentioned Jesus in a negative light or derogatory fashion. Such penmen certainly were not predisposed to further the cause of Christ or otherwise to add credence to His existence. In fact, quite the opposite is true. They rejected His teachings and often reviled Him as well. Thus, one can appeal to them without the charge of built-in bias.
In his book, The Historical Figure of Jesus, E.P. Sanders stated: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49, parenthetical comment in orig.). It is now to this “small elite class of the Roman Empire” that we turn our attention for documentation of Christ’s existence.
Tacitus (c. A.D. 56-117) should be among the first of several hostile witnesses called to the stand. He was a member of the Roman provincial upper class with a formal education who held several high positions under different emperors such as Nerva and Trajan (see Tacitus, 1952, p. 7). His famous work, Annals, was a history of Rome written in approximately A.D. 115. In the Annals he told of the Great Fire of Rome, which occurred in A.D. 64. Nero, the Roman emperor in office at the time, was suspected by many of having ordered the city set on fire. Tacitus wrote:
Nero fabricated scapegoats—and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome (1952, 15.44, parenthetical comments in orig.).
Tacitus hated both Christians and their namesake, Christ. He therefore had nothing positive to say about what he referred to as a “deadly superstition.” He did, however, have something to say about it. His testimony establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that the Christian religion not only was relevant historically, but that Christ, as its originator, was a verifiable historical figure of such prominence that He even attracted the attention of the Roman emperor himself!
Additional hostile testimony originated from Suetonius, who wrote around A.D. 120. Robert Graves, as translator of Suetonius’ work, The Twelve Caesars, declared:
Suetonius was fortunate in having ready access to the Imperial and Senatorial archives and to a great body of contemporary memoirs and public documents, and in having himself lived nearly thirty years under the Caesars. Much of his information about Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero comes from eye-witnesses of the events described (Suetonius, 1957, p. 7).
The testimony of Suetonius is a reliable piece of historical evidence. Twice in his history, Suetonius specifically mentioned Christ or His followers. He wrote, for example: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbance at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius—KB] expelled them from the city” (Claudius, 25:4; note that in Acts 18:2 Luke mentioned this expulsion by Claudius). Sanders noted thatChrestus is a misspelling of Christos, “the Greek word that translates the Hebrew ‘Messiah’” (1993, pp. 49-50). Suetonius further commented: “Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief” (Nero, 16:2). Again, it is evident that Suetonius and the Roman government had feelings of hatred toward Christ and His alleged mischievous band of rebels. It is equally evident that Suetonius (and, in fact, most of Rome) recognized that Christ was the noteworthy founder of a historically significant new religion.
Along with Tacitus and Suetonius, Pliny the Younger must be allowed to take a seat among hostile Roman witnesses. In approximately A.D. 110-111, Pliny was sent by the Roman emperor Trajan to govern the affairs of the region of Bithynia. From this region, Pliny corresponded with the emperor concerning a problem he viewed as quite serious. He wrote: “I was never present at any trial of Christians; therefore I do not know the customary penalties or investigations and what limits are observed” (as quoted in Wilken, 1990, p. 4). He then went on to state:
This is the course that I have adopted in the case of those brought before me as Christians. I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it, I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist, I sentence them to death (as quoted in Wilken, p. 4).
Pliny used the term “Christian” or “Christians” seven times in his letter, thereby corroborating it as a generally accepted term that was recognized by both the Roman Empire and its emperor. Pliny also used the name “Christ” three times to refer to the originator of the “sect.” It is undeniably the case that Christians, with Christ as their founder, had multiplied in such a way as to draw the attention of the emperor and his magistrates by the time of Pliny’s letter to Trajan. In light of this evidence, it is impossible to deny the fact that Jesus Christ existed and was recognized by the highest officials within the Roman government as an actual, historical person.
Celsus, a second-century pagan philosopher, produced a vehement attack upon Christianity by the title ofTrue Discourse (c. A.D. 178). In that vile document, Celsus argued that Christ owed his existence to the result of fornication between Mary and a Roman soldier named Panthera. As he matured, Jesus began to call himself God—an action, said Celsus, which caused his Jewish brethren to kill him. Yet as denigrating as his attack was, Celsus never went so far as to suggest that Christ did not exist.
Some have attempted to negate the testimony of these hostile Roman witnesses to Christ’s historicity by suggesting that the “Roman sources that mention him are all dependent on Christian reports” (Sanders, 1993, p. 49). For example, in his book, The Earliest Records of Jesus, Francis Beare lamented:
Everything that has been recorded of the Jesus of history was recorded for us by men to whom he was Christ the Lord; and we cannot expunge their faith from the records without making the records themselves virtually worthless. There is no Jesus known to history except him who is depicted by his followers as the Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour to the World (1962, p. 19).
Such a suggestion is as outlandish as it is outrageous. Not only is there no evidence to support such a claim, but all of the available evidence militates against it. Furthermore, it is an untenable position to suggest that such upper class Roman historians would submit for inclusion in the official annals of Roman history (to be preserved for posterity) facts that were related to them by a notorious tribe of “mischievous,” “depraved,” “superstitious” misfits.
Even a casual reader who glances over the testimony of the hostile Roman witnesses who bore testimony to the historicity of Christ will be struck by the fact that these ancient men depicted Christ as neither the Son of God nor the Savior of the world. They verbally stripped Him of His Sonship, denied His glory, and belittled His magnificence. They described Him to their contemporaries, and for posterity, as a mere man. Yet even though they were wide of the mark in regard to the truth of Who He was, through their caustic diatribes they nevertheless documented that He was. And for that we are indebted to them.


Even though much of the hostile testimony regarding the existence of Jesus originated from witnesses within the Roman Empire, such testimony is not the only kind of hostile historical evidence available. Anyone familiar with Jewish history will recognize immediately the Mishnah and the Talmud. The Mishnahwas a book of Jewish law traditions codified by Rabbi Judah around the year A.D. 200 and known to the Jews as the “whole code of religious jurisprudence” (Bruce, 1953, p. 101). Jewish rabbis studied theMishnah and even wrote a body of commentary based upon it known as the Gemares. The Mishnah andGemares are known collectively as the Talmud (Bruce, 1953, p. 101). The complete Talmud surfaced around A.D. 300. If a person as influential as Jesus had existed in the land of Palestine during the first century, surely the rabbis would have had something to say about him. Undoubtedly, a man who supposedly confronted the most astute religious leaders of His day—and won—would be named among the opinions of those who shared His rabbinical title. As Bruce declared:
According to the earlier Rabbis whose opinions are recorded in these writings, Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel, who practised magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, and said that he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. He was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people. His disciples, of whom five are named, healed the sick in his name (1953, p. 102).
First-century Judaism, in large part, refused to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of the God. Yet it did not refuse to accept Him as a historical man from a literal city known as Nazareth or to record for posterity crucial facts about His life and death.
Josephus is another important Jewish witness. The son of Mattathias, he was born into a Jewish upper class priestly family around A.D. 37. His education in biblical law and history stood among the best of his day (Sanders, 1993, p. 15). At age nineteen, he became a Pharisee. When Jerusalem rebelled against the Roman authorities, he was given command of the Jewish forces in Galilee. After losing most of his men, he surrendered to the Romans. He found favor in the man who commanded the Roman army, Vespasian, by predicting that Vespasian soon would be elevated to the position of emperor. Josephus’ prediction came true in A.D. 69 at Vespasian’s inauguration. After the fall of Jerusalem, Josephus assumed the family name of the emperor (Flavius) and settled down to live a life as a government pensioner. It was during these latter years that he wrote Antiquities of the Jews between September 93 and September 94 (Bruce, 1953, pp. 103-104). Josephus himself gave the date as the thirteenth year of Domitian (Rajak, 1984, p. 237). His contemporaries viewed his career indignantly as one of traitorous rebellion to the Jewish nation (Bruce, 1953, p. 104).
Twice in Antiquities, Jesus’ name flowed from Josephus’ pen. Antiquities 18:3:3 reads as follows
And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He led away many Jews, and also Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease; for he appeared to them on the third day alive again, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him: and even now the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out.
Certain historians regard the italicized segments of the section as “Christian interpolation.” There is, however, no evidence from textual criticism that would warrant such an opinion (Bruce, 1953, p. 110). In fact, every extant Greek manuscript contains the disputed portions. The passage also exists in both Hebrew and Arabic versions. And although the Arabic version is slightly different, it still exhibits knowledge of the disputed sections (see Chapman, 1981, p. 29; Habermas, 1996, pp. 193-196).
There are several reasons generally offered for rejecting the passage as genuine. First, early Christian writers like Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen did not use Josephus’ statement in their defense of Christ’s deity. Habermas observed that Origen, in fact, documented the fact that Josephus (although himself a Jew) did not believe Christ to be the Messiah (1996, p. 192; cf. Origen’s Contra Celsum, 1:47). However, as Habermas also pointed out, the fourth-century writer Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History (1:11), quoted Josephus’ statement about Christ, including the disputed words. And he undoubtedly had access to much more ancient sources than those now available.
Furthermore, it should not be all that surprising that such early Christian apologists did not appeal to Josephus in their writings. Wayne Jackson has suggested:
Josephus’ writings may not have been in extensive circulation at that point in time. His Antiquitieswas not completed until about 93 A.D. Too, in view of the fact that Josephus was not respected by the Jews, his works may not have been valued as an apologetic tool (1991, 11:29).
Such a suggestion possesses merit. Professor Bruce Metzger commented: “Because Josephus was deemed a renegade to Judaism, Jewish scribes were not interested in preserving his writings for posterity” (1965, p. 75). Thomas H. Horne, in his Critical Introduction to the Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, referred to the fact that the main source of evidence frequently used by the so-called “church fathers” was an appeal to the Old Testament rather than to human sources (1841, 1:463-464). The evidence substantiates Horne’s conclusion. For example, a survey of the index to the eight volumes of the multi-volume set, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, reveals only eleven references to Josephus in the entire set.
The second reason sometimes offered as to why the disputed passage in Josephus’ Antiquities might be due to “Christian interpolation” is the fact that it seems unlikely that a non-Christian writer would include such statements as “this man was the Christ” or “if indeed we should call him a man.” But while such might be unlikely, it certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility. Any number of reasons could explain why Josephus would write what he did. For example, Bruce allowed for the possibility that Josephus might have been speaking sarcastically (1953, p. 110). Howard Key suggested:
If we assume that in making explicit statements about Jesus as Messiah and about the resurrection Josephus is merely conveying what Jesus’ followers claimed on his behalf, then there would be no reason to deny that he wrote them [i.e., the supposed interpolated phrases—KB] (1970, p. 33).
It also should be noted that Josephus hardly qualifies as the sole author of such statements made about Christ by those who rejected His deity. Ernest Renan, for example, was a nineteenth-century French historian whose book, The Life of Jesus, was a frontal assault on Christ’s deity that received major attention throughout Europe (see Thompson, 1994, 14:5). Yet in that very volume Renan wrote: “It is allowable to call Divine this sublime person who, each day, still presides over the destinies of the world” (as quoted in Schaff and Roussel, 1868, pp. 116-117).
Or consider H.G. Wells who, in 1931, authored The Outline of History. On page 270 of that famous work, Wells referred to Jesus as “a prophet of unprecedented power.” No one who knew Wells (a man who certainly did not believe in the divinity of Christ) ever would accuse his account of being flawed by “Christian interpolation.” The famous humanist, Will Durant, was an avowed atheist, yet he wrote: “The greatest question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God” (1932, p. 23). Comments like those of Renan, Wells, and Durant document the fact that, on occasion, even unbelievers have written convincingly about God and Christ.
Furthermore, even if the material containing the alleged Christian interpolation is removed, the vocabulary and grammar of the section “cohere well with Josephus’ style and language” (Meier, 1990, p. 90). In fact, almost every word (omitting for the moment the supposed interpolations) is found elsewhere in Josephus (Meier, p. 90). Were the disputed material to be expunged, the testimony of Josephus still would verify the fact that Jesus Christ actually lived. Habermas therefore concluded:
There are good indications that the majority of the text is genuine. There is no textual evidence against it, and, conversely, there is very good manuscript evidence for this statement about Jesus, thus making it difficult to ignore. Additionally, leading scholars on the works of Josephus [Daniel-Rops, 1962, p. 21; Bruce, 1967, p. 108; Anderson, 1969, p. 20] have testified that this portion is written in the style of this Jewish historian (1996, p. 193).
In addition, Josephus did not remain mute regarding Christ in his later sections. Antiquities 20:9:1 relates that Ananus brought before the Sanhedrin “a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law, and condemned them to be stoned to death.” Bruce observed that this quote from Josephus “is chiefly important because he calls James ‘the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ,’ in such a way as to suggest that he has already made reference to Jesus. And we do find reference to him in all extant copies of Josephus” (Bruce, 1953, p. 109). Meier, in an article titled “Jesus in Josephus,” made it clear that rejecting this passage as actually having been written by Josephus defies accurate assessment of the text (1990, pp. 79-81). Meier also added another emphatic defense of the historical reliability of the text in Antiquities concerning Christ.
Practically no one is astounded or refuses to believe that in the same book 18 of The Jewish Antiquities Josephus also chose to write a longer sketch of another marginal Jew, another peculiar religious leader in Palestine, “John surnamed the Baptist” (Ant. 18.5.2). Fortunately for us, Josephus had more than a passing interest in marginal Jews (p. 99).
Regardless of what one believes about the writings of Josephus, the simple fact is that this well-educated, Jewish historian wrote about a man named Jesus Who actually existed in the first century. Yamauchi summarized quite well the findings of the secular sources regarding Christ:
Even if we did not have the New Testament or Christian writings, we would be able to conclude from such non-Christian writings as Josephus, the Talmud, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger that: (1) Jesus was a Jewish teacher; (2) many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; (3) he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; (4) he was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius; (5) despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by 64 A.D.; (6) all kinds of people from the cities and countryside—men and women, slave and free—worshiped him as God by the beginning of the second century (1995, p. 222).


Although the above list of hostile and Jewish witnesses proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus actually lived, it is by no means the only historical evidence available to those interested in this topic. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and the other 23 books that form the New Testament, provide more information about Jesus than any other source(s) available. But may these records be viewed as historical evidence, or are they instead writings whose reliability pales in comparison to other types of historical documentation? Blomberg has explained why the historical question of the Gospels, for example, must be considered.
Many who have never studied the gospels in a scholarly context believe that biblical criticism has virtually disproved the existence [of Christ—KB]. An examination of the gospel’s historical reliability must therefore precede a credible assessment of who Jesus was (1987, p. xx).
But how well do the New Testament documents compare with additional ancient, historical documents? F.F Bruce examined much of the evidence surrounding this question in his book, The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? As he and other writers (e.g., Metzger, 1968, p. 36; Geisler and Brooks, 1990, p. 159) have no-ted, there are 5,366 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament in existence today, in whole or in part, that serve to corroborate the accuracy of the New Testament. The best manuscripts of the New Testament are dated at roughly A.D. 350, with perhaps one of the most important of these being the Codex Vaticanus, “the chief treasure of the Vatican Library in Rome,” and the Codex Sinaiticus, which was purchased by the British from the Soviet Government in 1933 (Bruce, 1953, p. 20). Additionally, the Chester Beatty papyri, made public in 1931, contain eleven codices, three of which contain most of the New Testament (including the Gospels). Two of these codices boast of a date in the first half of the third century, while the third slides in a little later, being dated in the last half of the same century (Bruce, 1953, p. 21). The John Rylands Library boasts of even earlier evidence. A papyrus codex containing parts of John 18 dates to the time of Hadrian, who reigned from A.D. 117 to 138 (Bruce, 1953, p. 21).
Other attestation to the accuracy of the New Testament documents can be found in the writings of the so-called “apostolic fathers”—men who wrote primarily from A.D. 90 to 160 (Bruce, 1953, p. 22). Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Tatian, Clement of Rome, and Ignatius (writing before the close of the second century) all provided citations from one or more of the Gospels (Guthrie, 1990, p. 24). Other witnesses to the early authenticity of the New Testament are the Ancient Versions, which consist of the text of the New Testament translated into different languages. The Old Latin and the Old Syriac are the most ancient, being dated from the middle of the second century (Bruce, 1953, p. 23).
The available evidence makes it clear that the Gospels were accepted as authentic by the close of the second century (Guthrie, p. 24). They were complete (or substantially complete) before A.D. 100, with many of the writings circulating 20-40 years before the close of the first century (Bruce, 1953, p. 16). Linton remarked concerning the Gospels:
A fact known to all who have given any study at all to this subject is that these books were quoted, listed, catalogued, harmonized, cited as authority by different writers, Christian and Pagan, right back to the time of the apostles (1943, p. 39).
Such an assessment is absolutely correct. In fact, the New Testament enjoys far more historical documentation than any other volume ever known. There are only 643 copies of Homer’s Iliad, which is undeniably the most famous book of ancient Greece. No one doubts the text of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, but we have only 10 copies of it, the earliest of which was made 1,000 years after it was written. To have such abundance of copies for the New Testament from within 70 years of their writing is nothing short of amazing (Geisler and Brooks, 1990, pp. 159-160).
Someone might allege that the New Testament documents cannot be trusted because the writers had an agenda. But this in itself does not render what they said untruthful, especially in the light of corroborating evidence from hostile witnesses. There are other histories that are accepted despite their authors’ agendas. An “agenda” does not nullify the possibility of accurate historical knowledge.
In his work, The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable?, Bruce offered more astounding comparisons. Livy wrote 142 books of Roman history, of which a mere 35 survive. The 35 known books are made manifest due to some 20 manuscripts, only one of which is as old as the fourth century. We have only two manuscripts of Tacitus’ Histories and Annals, one from the ninth century and one from the eleventh. The History of Thucydides, another well-known ancient work, is dependent upon only eight manuscripts, the oldest of these being dated about A.D. 900 (along with a few papyrus scraps dated at the beginning of the Christian era). The History of Herodotus finds itself in a similar situation. “Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals” (Bruce, 1953, pp. 20-21). Bruce thus declared: “It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians” (1953, p. 19). As Linton put it:
There is no room for question that the records of the words and acts of Jesus of Galilee came from the pens of the men who, with John, wrote what they had “heard” and “seen” and their hands had “handled of the Word of life” (1943, pp. 39-40).


When someone asks the question, “Is the life of Jesus Christ a historic event?,” he or she must remember that “If we maintain that the life of our Lord is not a historical event, we are landed in hopeless difficulties; in consistency, we shall have to give up all ancient history and deny that there ever was such an event as the assassination of Julius Caesar” (Monser, 1961, p. 377).
Faced with such overwhelming evidence, it is unwise to reject the position that Jesus Christ actually walked the streets of Jerusalem in the first century. As Harvey has remarked, there are certain facts about Jesus that “are attested by at least as much reliable evidence as are countless others taken for granted as historical facts known to us from the ancient world.” But lest I be accused of misquoting him, let me point out that Harvey went on to say, “It can still be argued that we can have no reliable historical knowledge about Jesus with regard to anything that really matters” (1982, p. 6).
Harvey could not deny the fact that Jesus lived on this Earth. Critics do not like having to admit it, but they cannot successfully deny the fact that Jesus had a greater impact on the world than any single life before or after. Nor can they deny the fact that Jesus died at the hands of Pontius Pilate. Harvey and others can say only that such facts “do not really matter.” I contend that the facts that establish the existence of Jesus Christ of Nazareth really do matter. As Bruce stated, “The earliest propagators of Christianity welcomed the fullest examination of the credentials of their message” (1953, p. 122). While Paul was on trial before King Agrippa, he said to Festus: “For the king knoweth of these things, unto whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him; for this hath not been done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).
As the earliest apologists of Christianity welcomed a full examination of the credentials of the message that they preached, so do we today. These credentials have been weighed in the balance and not found wanting. The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ did exist and live among men.
It is impossible to say that no one has the right to be an agnostic. But no one has the right to be an agnostic till he has thus dealt with the question, and faced this fact with an open mind. After that, he may be an agnostic—if he can (Anderson, 1985, p. 12).


Anderson, J.N.D. (1969), Christianity: The Witness of History (London: Tyndale).
Anderson, Norman (1985), Jesus Christ: The Witness of History (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), second edition.
Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith (Minneapolis, MN: Freedom From Religion Foundation).
Beare, Francis Wright (1962), The Earliest Records of Jesus (New York: Abingdon).
Blomberg, Craig L. (1987), The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Bruce, F.F. (1953), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fourth edition.
Bruce, F.F. (1967), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fifth edition.
Chapman, Colin (1981), The Case for Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Daniel-Rops, Henri, (1969), “Silence of Jesus’ Contemporaries,” The Sources for the Life of Christ, ed. Henri Daniel-Rops (New York: Hawthorn).
Durant, Will, ed. (1932), On the Meaning of Life (New York: Long and Smith).
Geisler, Norman L. and Ronald M. Brooks (1990), When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor).
Guthrie, Donald (1990), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Habermas, Gary R. (1996), The Historical Jesus (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Harvey, A.E. (1982), Jesus and the Constraints of History (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Horne, Thomas H. (1841), An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1970 reprint.
Jackson, Wayne (1991), “Josephus and the Bible [Part II]” Reason & Revelation, 11:29-32, August.
Josephus, Flavius (1957 reprint), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John Whitson).
Josephus, Flavius (1988 reprint), Josephus: The Essential Writings, trans. Paul L Maier (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel).
K√§hler, Martin (1896), The So-called Historical Jesus and the Historic, Biblical Christ, trans. Carl E. Braaten (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress), 1964 reprint.
Key, Howard Clark (1970), Jesus in History (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World).
Linton, Irwin H. (1943), A Lawyer Examines the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), sixth edition.
Meier, John P. (1990), “Jesus in Josephus: A Modest Proposal.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 52:76-99.
Metzger, Bruce M. (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press).
Monser, J.W. (1961), An Encyclopedia on the Evidences; or Masterpieces of Many Minds (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Rajak, Tessa (1984), Josephus: The Historian and His Society (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress).
Sanders, E.P. (1993), The Historical Figure of Jesus (New York: Lane-Penguin).
Schweitzer, Albert. (1964), The Quest for the Historical Jesus (New York: Macmillan).
Suetonius (1957 reprint), The Twelve Caesars, trans. Robert Graves (London: Penguin).
Schaff, Philip & N.M. Roussel (1868), The Romance of M. Renan and the Christ of the Gospels (New York: Carlton & Lanahan).
Tacitus, Cornelius P. (1952 reprint), The Annals and the Histories, trans. Michael Grant (Chicago, IL: William Benton), Great Books of the Western World Series, vol. 15.
Thompson, Bert (1994), “Famous Enemies of Christ—Ancient and Modern,” Reason & Revelation, 14:1-7, January.
Wells, H.G. (1931), Outline of History, Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing).
Wilken, Robert L. (1990), “The Piety of the Persecutors,” Christian History, 9:16.
Yamauchi, Edwin M. (1995), “Jesus Outside the New Testament: What is the Evidence?,” Jesus Under Fire, ed. Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part I] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part I]

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part II of this five-part series appeared in the March issue. Part III appeared in Mayissue. Part IV appeared in the June issue. Part V appeared in the July issue.]
Throughout the whole of human history, man has struggled to find answers to any number of important (yet often difficult) questions that have to do with his origin, existence, nature, and destiny. Such queries as “Whence have I come?,” “Why am I here?,” and “Where am I going?” routinely intrigue and enthrall each of us as members of the human race. Securing clues to the exact makeup of the creature known popularly asHomo sapiens always has been one of mankind’s keenest intellectual pursuits. And along the way, perhaps no topic has perplexed us, or piqued our interest, as much as that pertaining to the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul.
Contemplate, if you will, the concept of the soul and the issues that spring from it. What is the definition of a soul? If the soul actually exists, what is its origin? Do humans possess a soul? Do animals? If souls do, in fact, exist, are they purely temporal—thus living only as long as our corporeal nature exists? Or are they immortal—surviving the death of the physical body? What is the difference, if any, between the “soul” and the “spirit”? What is the ultimate destiny of the soul? And what part does the soul play in the biblical statement that men and women were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27)? These are the kinds of issues that I would like to investigate in this series of articles.
The subject of the soul—including its origin, nature, and destiny—has long been controversial. Some people believe that there is no such thing as a soul. Certain individuals advocate the position that only humans possess a soul, but that it ceases to exist at the death of the body. Others seek to maintain that both humans and animals possess a soul, and that those souls likewise die when the physical body dies. Still others are convinced that both animals and humans possess an immortal soul. And finally, there are those who have concluded that humans possess an immortal soul, but that animals do not. What, then, is the truth of the matter?
Science certainly cannot provide the answers to such questions, for they lie far beyond the purview of the scientific method. In her best-selling book, The Fire in the Equations, award-winning science writer Kitty Ferguson addressed this very issue. While discussing the efforts of several renowned, modern-day scientists (like eminent physicists Stephen Hawking, Paul Davies, and others) to uncover what they view as a grand, unified “Theory of Everything,” she asked:
Is there anything else? We needn’t get spooky about it. Part of the “anything else” might be human minds and personalities. Can we entirely account for our self-awareness, our minds, personalities, intuitions, and emotions, by means of a physical explanation? This is a matter of enormous significance for many of the questions we are asking in this book, and we will return to it frequently. If we are super-complex computing machines—the sum of our physical parts and their mechanical workings, which in turn exist as a result of the process of evolution—then science may ultimately be able to tell us everything there is to know about us. Even if no computer can ever assimilate the human mind, science may find another complete physical explanation. But we have at present no scientific reason to rule out the possibility that there is more to self-awareness, our minds, and our personalities than any such explanation can encompass. Is there such a thing as the soul? If there is, does its existence begin and end with our material existence? Despite some impressive advances in the field of artificial intelligence, and an increasing understanding of the way our minds work, certainly no-one would claim to be able to say at present, except on faith, whether science will eventually be able to assimilate the phenomena of self-awareness, mind, and personality into the materialistic picture. If science can’t, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation.
Another part of the “anything else” may be what we call the supernatural. Perhaps it is simply figments of imagination, psychological events, not so much to be explained by science as to be explained away. Or perhaps these are real events which are at present unexplainable because we lack complete understanding of the full potential of the physical world. If either is the case, then the supernatural ought eventually to fall into the realm of scientific explanation. However, if the supernatural world exists, and if it is inherently beyond testing by the scientific method, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation. There may indeed be more in heaven and earth than is dreamed of in our science (if not our philosophy) [1994, pp. 82-83, emp. added].
I would like to seize upon Ferguson’s “if...then” proposition as I begin this examination of the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul. Her argument—one that far too few scientists (or science writers) are even willing to consider—is that if the supernatural exists, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation. The available evidence does establish, in fact, that the supernatural exists and that there is “truth beyond the range of scientific explanation.” As famed NASA astrophysicist (and self-proclaimed agnostic) Robert Jastrow put it: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (1982, p. 18). While I do not have the space here to present such evidence, I have done so elsewhere (see Thompson, 1995a, 1995b, Thompson and Jackson, 1982, 1992). The existence of the supernatural (i.e., God) may be doubted by some and ridiculed by still others, but that does not alter the evidence that establishes its reality.
Thus, whenever questions of spiritual importance are under consideration—as they are when discussing the existence, origin, nature, and destiny of the soul—the only reliable source of information must by necessity be the One Who is the Originator and Sustainer of the soul. God, as Creator of all things physical and spiritual (Genesis 1:1ff., Exodus 20:11), and Himself a Spirit Being (John 4:24), is the ultimate wellspring of the soul. The Bible, then, as God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), must be the preeminent authority on this subject. In the great long ago, the psalmist wrote: “The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth forever” (119:160). Speaking as a member of the Godhead, Christ said: “Sanctify them in truth; thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
We—if we would know the truth about the soul—must examine that Word in an in-depth fashion and be prepared to accept what it says. Only then can we obtain the answers to the many questions on this vital topic that have perplexed and plagued us through the millennia.


If you and I were having a conversation and I mentioned the word “banana,” likely you would have absolutely no difficulty understanding my meaning. Your thought processes immediately would conjure up a long fruit—with a yellow outer covering and a light beige, inner soft body—that grows on trees and is useful as food for both humans and animals. But were I to ask you to define the term “foil,” without seeing the word in context you could not possibly know what I meant. I might be referring to: (1) a noun that is used to define a fencing sword; (2) a noun that indicates a thin, shiny metal used by cooks in kitchens all over the world; or (3) a verb that is used as a synonym for “defeat.” However, if I were to say, “I covered the turkey with foil prior to placing it in the oven,” you would know immediately what I had in mind.
The same is true of the definition of the word “soul.” Minus its context, it is difficult, if not impossible, to define accurately. Speaking from the vantage point of a language scholar who had studied the Hebrew and Greek texts for over sixty years, Guy N. Woods once suggested that “...there is no pat and easy answer to the question, ‘What is the soul?’ ” (1980, 122[6]:163). Why is this the case? First, the word “soul” in modern English usage is represented by various words in the Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible originally was written. Second, those Hebrew and Greek words can have a number of different meanings in their original contexts. Robert Morey has noted:
These terms are not technical words in the sense that they have one consistent meaning throughout Scripture. They display unity and diversity by being synonymous at times when referring to the immaterial side of man, and at other times, referring to different functions or ways of relating. It is obvious that we should not impose 20th-century standards of consistency and linguistic preciseness to a book which was written thousands of years ago... (1984, p. 44).
Third, the matter of the progressive nature of God’s revelation to man must be considered. While it certainly is true that the Lord possesses a constant, unchanging nature (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), His revelation of that nature and His will for mankind was a progressive process that was adapted to man as he matured spiritually through the ages. This explains why, in the course of human history, God sometimes tolerated in man both attitudes and actions that were less than what the divine ideal intended. This, of course, does not mean that the Holy God vacillates in His ethics or morality; rather, it simply means that—because of His infinite love—He dealt gently and compassionately with man in the particular state of spiritual maturation in which He found him at the time (cf. Acts 14:15-16 and 17:30-31). As God progressively revealed more and more of both His nature and His will, He did so in a manner, and in terms, that fit the occasion. In addressing the failure of some to comprehend and appreciate the importance of this concept, Morey observed that certain words, therefore,
...may have a dozen different meanings, depending on the context and the progressive nature of revelation. The failure to avoid reductionistic and simplistic definitions is based on the hidden assumption that once the meaning of a word is discovered in a single passage, this same meaning must prevail in every other occurrence of the word.... The resistance to the idea that what soul meant to Moses was probably not what it meant to David or Paul is based on their unconscious assumption that the Bible is one book written at one time. Thus as we approach the biblical term which describes the immaterial side of man, we will not attempt to develop artificial definitions based upon the absolutizing of the meaning of a word in a single passage but recognize that a contextual approach will reveal a wide range of meanings (1984, pp. 44-45, emp. added).
The word “soul” does indeed enjoy a “wide range of meanings.” In order to understand those meanings, it is necessary to examine how the word is employed within the various contexts in Scripture where it appears.

Use of the Word “Soul” in Scripture

The word for “soul” in the Bible (Hebrew nephesh [from naphash, to breathe]; Greek psuche) is used in at least four different ways (see Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 901-902; Thayer, 1958, p. 677). First, the term is employed simply as a synonym for a person. Moses wrote: “All the souls (nephesh) that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls (nephesh)” (Exodus 1:5; cf. Deuteronomy 10:22). In legal matters, the word soul often was used to denote an individual. The Lord told Moses: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a soul (nephesh) shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done’...” (Leviticus 4:2). When Jacob was speaking of himself in Genesis 49:6, he used the expression, “O my soul (nephesh)”—which meant simply “me.” Numbers 9:6 records that “there were certain men, who were unclean by reason of the dead body (nephesh meth) of a man, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day” (cf. Number 6:6 and Ecclesiastes 9:5). In the New Testament, the word psuche is employed in the same manner. In Acts 2:41, Luke recorded that “there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls (psuchai).” In Peter’s first epistle, when he addressed the topic of the Genesis Flood, he referred to the fact that “few, that is eight souls (psuchai), were saved by water” (3:20). In each of these instances, actual people—individually or collectively—were under discussion.
Second, the word soul is used to denote the form of life that man possesses in common with animals and that ceases to exist at death. In their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, Brown, Driver, and Briggs noted that nephesh often is employed to mean “life principle” (1907, p. 659). In the King James Version, nephesh is translated as “soul” in the Old Testament 472 times, as “life” 118 times, and as “creature” 8 times; psuche is translated as “soul” in the New Testament 59 times and as “life” 39 times (Morey, 1984, pp. 45,55). In addressing the use of the word “soul” in such passages as Genesis 2:7 and 1:20, Woods wrote:
...the word soul from the Hebrew nephesh occurs, for the first time in the sacred writings, at Genesis 1:20, where it is assigned to fish, birds, and creeping things. (See also, another similar usage in Genesis 1:30.) As thus used, it is clear that the soul in these passages does not refer to anything peculiar to the constitution of man. It signifies, as its usage denotes, and the lexicons affirm, any creature that breathes, in all of these early occurrences in the book of Genesis. Nor is it correct to conclude that the phrase breath of life in the statement of Moses (“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”) sums up, or was designed to denote the whole constitution of man. The word “life” here is, in the Hebrew text, plural, literally breath of lives (nishmath khay-yim). It occurs, in similar form, in three other instances in the early chapters of Genesis (6:17; 7:15; 7:22). In the first of these the phrase is ruach khay-yim; in the second the same; in the third, nishmath-ruach khay-yim, and out of the four instances where the phrase, the breath of lives, occurs in our translation the last three are applied to the beasts, birds and creeping things. It follows, therefore, that the phrase “breath of life” does not designate anything peculiar to man. And in view of the fact that the word “soul,” from the Hebrew nephesh, is similarly extended to include the animal world, birds and creeping things, it may not be properly limited to man... (1985, 127 [22]:691, emp. and parenthetical comment in orig.).
In Genesis 1:20,24, and 30, God spoke of the nephesh hayyah—literally “soul breathers” or “life breathers” (often translated as “living creatures” or “life”—cf. Leviticus 11:10; grammatically the phrase is singular but it bears a plural meaning). The writer of Proverbs observed in regard to animals: “A righteous man regardeth the life (nephesh) of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (12:10). Hebrew scholar Hugo McCord therefore noted:
Then the translators realized that the first meaning of nephesh is “breath,” and so Genesis 1:20,24,30 and Genesis 2:7 all fit together in understanding Moses as saying that all animals and man too are breathers. Breathers, coupled with hayyah, “living,” the translators thought, would be well translated, in the case of animals, as “living creatures,” and in the case of man as a “living being” (1995, 23[1]:87-88).
In Exodus 21:23, Moses commanded: “But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life (nephesh) for life (nephesh).” He later wrote that “the life (nephesh) of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11,14). Blood often is said to be the seat of life because when blood is shed, death ensues (cf. Deuteronomy 12:23). In speaking of God’s retribution upon the Egyptians during the time of the Exodus, the psalmist wrote: “He spared not their soul (nephesh) from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence” (78:50). In this particular instance, the Egyptians’ souls represented their physical life and nothing more. Ezekiel later observed: “The soul (nephesh) that sinneth, it shall die” (18:20).
In the New Testament, the principle is the same. Christ observed in regard to humans: “Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life (psuche), what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body” (Matthew 6:25). God told Joseph: “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child’s life” (psuche, Matthew 2:19). In the book of Revelation, John spoke of the fact that “there died the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, even they that had life (psuchas); and the third part of the ships was destroyed” (8:9; cf. 16:3, psuche). Many a follower of Christ was said to have risked his or her life (psuche) for the Lord. In Acts 15:25-26, Luke recorded that Barnabas and Paul were “men that have hazarded their lives (psuchas) for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Earlier, John recorded Peter as saying to the Lord: “I will lay down my life (psuchen) for thee” (John 13:37-38). In Philippians 2:30ff., Paul spoke of “Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier...hazarding his life (psuche) to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.” And in Luke 14:26, one of the conditions of discipleship was to hate one’s own life (psuche)—that is, to be willing to deny oneself to the point of losing one’s life for Christ (cf. Luke 9:23; Revelation 12:11).
Third, the idea of the soul is used to refer to the varied emotions or inner thoughts of a man—a fact that explains why nephesh is translated “heart” (15 times) or “mind” (15 times) in the Old Testament (KJV) and why psuche is translated as “heart” (1 time) and “mind” (3 times) in the New. Man was called to love God with all his heart and with all his soul (nephesh; Deuteronomy 13:3b). The soul (nephesh) is said to weep (Job 30:16; Psalm 119:28) and to be exercised in patience (Job 6:7-11). From the soul (nephesh) originate knowledge and understanding (Psalm 139:14), thought (1 Samuel 20:3), love (1 Samuel 18:1), and memory (Lamentations 3:20). In His discussion with a lawyer, Jesus said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (psuche), and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). In Acts 4:32, Luke recorded how, on one occasion, “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul (psuche).” In a similar fashion, “soul” also is employed to refer to the lower, physical nature of mankind. In his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul wrote that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (2:14). In addressing the specific intent of this passage, Woods noted that the phrase “natural man” is literally
the soulish man, since the adjective “natural” [psuchikosBT] translates a form of the Greek word for soul, which may be expressed in English as psychical. Thus, this usage is supported by etymology and required by the context. See, especially, Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 1:18-28 and 2:6-16 (1980, 122[6]:163, emp. in orig.).
Fourth, the word soul is used in Scripture to designate the portion of a person that is immortal and thus never dies. As early as the book of Genesis, the Bible sets forth such a concept. For example, in commenting on Rachel’s untimely death at the birth of her son, Moses wrote: “And it came to pass, as her soul (nephesh) was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin” (Genesis 35:18). On one occasion while the prophet Elijah was at the house of a widow in the city of Zarephath, the woman’s son fell ill and eventually died. But the text indicates that Elijah “cried unto Jehovah..., ‘O Jehovah my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul (nephesh) come into him again’ ” (1 Kings 17:21). When the psalmist prayed to Jehovah for forgiveness, he cried: “O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: heal my soul (nephesh); for I have sinned against thee” (41:4). In his discussion of the ultimate fate of those who dared to trust in earthly riches rather than in the supreme power of the God of heaven, the psalmist lamented that such people were “like the beasts that perish.... But God will redeem my soul (nephesh) from the power of Sheol” (49:15).
Many years later, Christ warned His disciples: “And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul (psuche) and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). In His discussion with the Sadducees in Matthew 22, the Lord quoted from Exodus 3:6 where God said to Moses: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Christ then went on to state (22:32): “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”—a fact that the Sadducees’ opponents, the Pharisees, already accepted as true (cf. Acts 23:8). Yet when God spoke with Moses (c. 1446 B.C.) about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those three men had been dead and in their tombs for literally hundreds of years.
Since from Christ’s own words we know that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,” the point is obvious. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still must have been living. But how? The solution to the seeming problem, of course, lies in the fact that while their bodies had died, their immortal souls had not. When the apostle John was allowed to peer into the book “sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1), he “saw underneath the altar the souls (psuchas) of them that had been slain for the word of God” (Revelation 6:9). Each of these passages is instructive of the fact that there is within man a soul that never dies.

Use of the Word “Spirit” in Scripture

During his tenure as associate editor of the Gospel Advocate, Guy N. Woods penned a “Questions and Answers” column in which he dealt with difficult Bible questions, topics, or passages. When one querist wrote to ask: “What is the difference between the soul and the spirit of man?,” Woods responded as follows:
Though it is characteristic of most people today to use these terms interchangeably the scriptures very definitely differentiate them. “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12.) Since the sacred writers provided for “the dividing of soul and spirit,” in those instances where they differ, so ought we and so we must if we are to entertain biblical concepts of these words.
The word “spirit,” when denoting the human entity (from the Greek word pneuma), is a specific term and designates that part of us which is not susceptible to death and which survives the dissolution of the body. (Acts 7:59.) It is infused in us directly from God and is not a product of human generation. (Hebrews 12:9.) “Soul,” from the Greek word psuche, however, is a generic word and its meaning must be determined, in any given instance, from the context in which it appears (1980, 122[6]:163, emp. added).
In my above discussion on the use of the word “soul” in Scripture, I examined the various ways in which the Hebrew and Greek terms for soul are employed. I now would like to examine the various ways in which the Hebrew and Greek terms for “spirit” are employed within the sacred text.
The Hebrew term for “spirit” is ruach (from rawah, to breathe). In their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, Brown, Driver, and Briggs noted that ruach has nine different meanings, depending on the specific context. Ruach may refer to: (1) the Holy Spirit; (2) angels, both good and evil; (3) the life principle found within both man and animals; (4) disembodied spirits; (5) breath; (6) wind; (7) disposition or attitude; (8) the seat of emotions; and (9) the seat of mind and will in men (1907, pp. 924-925). In the Old Testament of the King James Version, ruach is translated variously as the Spirit of God (i.e., Holy Spirit) 105 times, man’s spirit 59 times, spirit (an attitude or emotional state) 51 times, spirits (angels) 23 times, wind 43 times, and several other items (Morey, 1984, p. 51).
The word ruach, like nephesh, has a wide range of meanings. First, it seems originally to have referred to the wind, which was viewed as being invisible and immaterial (Gen. 8:1). Second, since God is invisible and immaterial like the wind, He is described as “spirit” (Isa. 63:10). Third, since the angels of God are invisible and immaterial, they are called “spirits” (Ps. 104:4, KJV; cf. Heb. 1:14). Fourth, since the life principle which animates man and animals is invisible and immaterial, it is also called “spirit” (Gen. 7:22). In this sense it was viewed as the “breath” of life which departs at death. Fifth, since man has an invisible and immaterial self or soul which transcends the life principle by its self-consciousness, man’s “mind” or “heart” is called his “spirit” (Ps. 77:6; Prov. 29:11, KJV). The invisible side of man which is called “spirit” cannot be reduced to the mere principle of physical life or the breath of the body because man’s transcendent self is contrasted to those things in such places as Isa. 42:5. Also, man’s self-awareness as a cognitive ego obviously transcends the life principle which operates in animals. At death, this transcendent ego or disincarnate mind is called a “spirit” or a “ghost” (Job 4:15). This is parallel to rephaim or disembodied spirit (Job 26:5). Thus at death, while the life principle or breath of life ceases to exist in man or animals, the higher self or spirit of man ascends at death to the presence of God (Ps. 31:5; Eccles. 12:7).... Sixth, since attitudes and dispositions such as pride, humility, joy, or sorrow are invisible and immaterial, they are described as being someone’s “spirit” (Prov. 11:13; 16:18). The Holy Spirit is described as the “sevenfold Spirit” in the sense that He gives people the disposition, attitude, or spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear and holiness (Isa. 11:2; cf. Rom. 1:4; Rev. 3:1) [Morey, pp. 52-53].
The Greek term for “spirit” is pneuma (from pneo, to breathe). In their Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, language scholars Arndt and Gingrich noted that pneumahas seven different meanings, depending on the specific context. Pneuma may refer to: (1) wind or air; (2) that which gives life to the body; (3) disincarnate souls; (4) human personality or ego which is the center of emotion, intellect, and will; (5) a state of mind or disposition; (6) an independent, immaterial being such as God or angels; and (7) as God—as in the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, etc. (1957, pp. 680-685). In his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Thayer provided five definitions for pneuma (1958, pp. 520-524). In the King James Version of the New Testament, pneuma is translated variously as Spirit (Holy) 165 times, Ghost (Holy) 88 times, spirits (good/evil, angels) 55 times, spirit (man’s) 45 times, spirit (attitude) 22 times, spirits or ghosts (man’s disincarnate soul) 7 times, spiritual (adjectival use) 23 times, life and wind 1 time each (Morey, pp. 60-61).
The word pneuma in its various forms is found 406 times in the New Testament.... First, the New Testament writers carry on the precedent set by the translators of the Septuagint by using the Greek words for wind such as animas instead of pneuma. The only instance where pneumadefinitely refers to the wind is in John 3:8 where there is a poetic play upon the sovereign movement of the divine Spirit and the wind. Second, pneuma refers to the life principle which animates the body. This is actually a very rare usage in the New Testament. For example, the false prophet who accompanied the Antichrist in the last days will make an idol “alive” (Rev. 13:15). Third, pneuma is used to describe the immaterial nature of God and angels (John 4:24; Heb. 1:14). Christ defined a “spirit” or “ghost” as an immaterial being (Luke 24:39). Fourth, pneuma refers to the disposition which characterizes a person, such as pride, humility, fear, etc. (1 Pet. 3:4). Fifth,pneuma is used to describe the disincarnate spirit or soul of man after death (Matt. 27:50; Luke 24:37, 39; John 19:30; Acts 7:59; Heb. 12:23; 1 Pet. 3:19).... Sixth, man’s transcendent self, or ego, is also called pneuma because of its immaterial and invisible nature (1 Cor. 2:11). It is described as the center of man’s emotions, intellect and will (Mark 8:12; Mark 2:8; Matt. 26:41). Since man’s pneuma transcends his mere physical life, it is frequently contrasted to his body, or flesh (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 24:39; John 3:6; 6:63; 1 Cor. 5:5; 7:34; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:17; 6:8,9; James 2:26). It is man’s pneuma which ascends to God at death (Acts 7:59) [Morey, pp. 61-62].
Since ruach and pneuma both derive from roots meaning “to breathe,” it should not be surprising that on occasion they are used synonymously, as the information in the following table documents.

Synonymous Use of Spirit and Soul in the Old and New Testaments
Writing in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia about both the similarities and the differences between the Old Testament words nephesh and ruach as compared to their New Testament counterpartspsuche and pneuma, J.I. Marais noted:
In the NT psuche appears under more or less similar conditions as in the OT. The contrast here is as carefully maintained as there. It is used where pneuma would be out of place; and yet it seems at times to be employed where pneuma might have been substituted. Thus in Jn. 19:30 we read: “Jesus gave up His pneuma to the Father,” and, in the same Gospel (Jn. 10:15), “Jesus gave up His psuche for the sheep,” and in Mt. 20:28 He gave His psuche (not His pneuma) as a ransom... (1956, 5:2838).
While the “spirit” (pneuma) is recognized as man’s individual possession—that which distinguishes one man from another and from inanimate nature—on occasion the same may be said of the soul (psuche; cf. Matthew 10:28 and Revelation 6:9-11). The pneuma of Christ was surrendered to the Father in death; Hispsuche was surrendered, His individual life was given, “a ransom for many.” His life “was given for the sheep.” In Acts 2:27, Luke quoted Psalm 16:10 regarding Christ’s physical death: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto hades, neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.” The word that Luke used for “soul” is psuche, which is employed here not only as the Greek counterpart to the Hebrew nephesh, meaning body, but representing specifically a nephesh meth—a dead body (cf. Numbers 6:6, 9:6, and Ecclesiastes 9:5). Thus, Christ’s body was not abandoned to hades.
Hades is used in Scripture to refer to at least three different places: (a) the general abode of the spirits of the dead, whether good or evil (Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14); (b) a temporary place of punishment for the wicked dead (Luke 16:23; Revelation 20:13); and (c) the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55; cf. Acts 2:27). In Psalm 16:10 (the passage quoted by Luke in Acts 2:27), the writer stated: “Thou wilt not leave my soul (nephesh) to sheol.” In the Old Testament, sheol also is used to refer to three different places: (a) the unseen abode for spirits of the dead (Job 14:13-15; Ezekiel 26:20; Jonah 2:2); (b) a temporary place of punishment for the wicked dead (Psalm 9:17); and (c) the grave (Davidson, 1970, p. 694; Harris, et al., 1980, 2:892; cf. Numbers 16:30-37 where the conclusion of the rebellion of Korah [and those sympathetic with him] against Moses is described in these words: “The earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into sheol.”). In Acts 2:27 (hades) and Psalm 16:10 (sheol), the context seems to require the latter usage—i.e., the grave. Thus, both David and Luke were making the point (to paraphrase): “You will not leave my body in the grave, nor will you allow your Holy One to see decay.” In fact, just four verses later, the inspired writer referred back to David’s declaration and commented that “he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (2:31).
In referring to the death of the physical body, Solomon wrote that “the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The psalmist addressed the same point when he wrote: “The dead praise not Jehovah, Neither any that go down into silence” (115:17) and “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (146:4). When Christ yielded up His soul/life (psuche; cf. nephesh, Psalm 16:10), His dead body was headed for the grave and therefore was in the condition that it could “know not anything” and “praise not Jehovah.” [The spirit (pneuma) that had vacated the body was alive and well in Paradise (Greek paradeisos, Luke 23:43). Paul addressed this principle when he said that Christ’s disciples always should be “of good courage, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14).] Woods observed:
Death, mortality, corruptibility, decay, destruction are never affirmed of the spirit. It is, in the nature of the case, impossible for a spirit to die. The scriptures affirm deathlessness of the angels; and the angels do not die because they are angels, but because they are spirits (1985, 127[22]:692).
Yet it also is impossible for a soul to die (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 6:9-11).
However, as Hebrews 4:12 documents, there are times when the words spirit and soul are not used synonymously. The word spirit sometimes refers to wind or air (Genesis 3:8; 8:1; John 3:8); the word soul does not. The word spirit sometimes refers to demons (Mark 5:2; Luke 9:39); the word soul does not. The word soul sometimes refers to both the inner and outer man (i.e., a whole person; Exodus 1:5; Ezekiel 18:20; Acts 2:41; Romans 13:1); the word spirit does not. The word soul sometimes refers to a corpse (Numbers 5:2; 6:6; Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27); the word spirit does not. The word soul on one occasion refers to an odor, fragrance, or perfume (Isaiah 3:20); the word spirit does not.
Thus, while it is true that on some occasions the words “soul” and “spirit” are used interchangeably, in other instances they are employed in a non-synonymous fashion. As Woods observed, under certain conditions within Scripture “lexically, logically, and actually these terms differ and must not be confused” (1985, 127[22]:692). In any study of these two terms as they occur within God’s Word, the context and intent of the writers are the deciding factors that must be considered and respected.


Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles Briggs (1907), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford University Press).
Davidson, Benjamin (1970 reprint), The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, Jr., and B.K. Waltke (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament(Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jastrow, Robert (1982), “A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths,” Interview with Bill Durbin, Christianity Today, August 6.
Marais, J.L. (1956), “Spirit,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 5:2837-2838.
McCord, Hugo (1995), “What is the Soul?,” Vigil, 23[11]:87-88, November.
Morey, Robert A. (1984), Death and the Afterlife (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House).
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Thompson, Bert (1995a), “The Case for the Existence of God—[Part I],” Reason and Revelation, 15:33-38, May.
Thompson, Bert (1995b), “The Case for the Existence of God—[Part II],” Reason and Revelation, 15:41-47, June.
Thompson, Bert and Wayne Jackson (1982), “The Revelation of God in Nature,” Reason and Revelation, 2:17-24, May.
Thompson, Bert and Wayne Jackson (1992), A Study Course in Christian Evidences (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Woods, Guy N. (1980), “What is the Difference Between the Soul and the Spirit of Man?,” Gospel Advocate, 122[6]:163, March 20.
Woods, Guy N. (1985), “What is the Soul of Man?,” Gospel Advocate, 127[22]:691-692, November 21.


I would like to express my deep, personal gratitude to the following men for their assistance in the preparation of this series of articles: Dr. Hugo McCord, professor emeritus of biblical languages, Oklahoma Christianity University of Science and Arts; Dr. William Woodson, professor emeritus and former chairman of the graduate program in Bible, Freed-Hardeman University; and the late Bobby Duncan, minister of the Church of Christ in Adamsville, Alabama. The changes and corrections they suggested that I incorporate into the finished manuscript were invaluable. The conclusions, however, remain the sole responsibility of the author.