Lesson 10

What Is a Soul?

Courtesy of Pastor Ken LeBrun

1. How many souls came out of the loins of Jacob?

Exodus 1:5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

2. How many souls were on Paul’s ship?

Acts 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.

3. What two elements did God use to form a living soul?

Genesis 2:7 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.


The Biblical definition of a soul is simply a breathing body. Notice that the text does not say that man was given a soul, but rather he became a soul. A soul is not something a person has, it is the person. Souls have blood (Jeremiah 2:34). Not only are people souls, but so are fish (Revelation 16:3) and animals (Ecclesiastes 3:19).

The Hebrew word for soul, nephesh, is variously translated “person” (Genesis 14:21), “self” (Leviticus 11:43), “life” (Psalm 31:13), “me” (Judges 16:30), “creature” (Genesis 1:21), “beast” (Leviticus 24:18), “man” (2 Kings 12:4), “thing” (Ezekiel 47:9), and “fish” (Isaiah 19:10). When translated “body” the nephesh is usually dead (Leviticus 21:11).

The Greek word for soul, psuche, has the same meaning. In Matthew 16:25 Jesus commends anyone who will lose his soul (psuche) for Christ’s sake. It is often translated simply as “life” (Matthew 2:20). It means “person” (Acts 7:14). “My soul” and “your soul” are idiomatic expressions meaning “I” and “you” (Matthew 12:18; 2 Corinthians 12:15, margin).

4. How is the process God used in creating a soul reversed when we die?

Psalm 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.


“If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” Job 34:14, 15.

5. Can a soul die?

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

6. When life ends, what is left?

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

7. What returns to God?

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

8. Where is this spirit located in a person?

Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils

9. What is it that is found in a person’s nostrils?

Genesis 7:22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

The Hebrew word for spirit (and ghost, Job 3:11), ruach, and the Greek word, pneuma, mean breath, wind, or vital element. It is the spark of life which makes you able to live. It is “the breath of the Almighty” (Job 33:4). When the Bible uses those words in reference to man, not once does it say that ruach or pneuma is something in man that retains consciousness after the person dies.

Angels are called spirits (Psalm 104:4) because to human eyes they are as invisible as breath. But man does not possess the nature of angels (Psalm 8:5), nor does the Bible indicate that he assumes it at death.

10. What goes forth when man dies?

Psalm 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

11. Is the breath in man any different from the breath in beasts?

Ecclesiastes 3:19 or that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

12. Is there any difference between a dead man and a dead beast?

Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

A soul is like the light that results when a light bulb is connected to a power source. The spirit, or breath of life, is the electric current. Electricity will produce light only while it is flowing through the bulb. When the filament in the bulb breaks, the electrical circuit is broken, and the light goes out.

Just as the light cannot exist unless there is both electricity and a bulb, so there must be both the breath of life and a functional body in order for there to be a living soul.

13. After a person dies, can he return and appear to those who knew him?

Job 7:8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.

Job 7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

Job 7:10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

Job 16:22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

14. In these last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to what?

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

15. What type of spirits will appear, working miracles?

Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

16. In the garden, Satan disguised himself in the form of what?

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

17. Satan can transform himself into a what?

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

18. What can his ministers appear as?

2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

19. If they speak not according to the law and to the testimony, it is because of what?

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

20. Instead of trying to contact the dead, going to mediums and wizards, whom should God’s people seek for truth?

Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

21. What types of individuals will not be found among God’s people?

Deuteronomy 18:10, 11 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

22. All that do those things are what?

Deuteronomy 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

23. What words did Paul have for a sorcerer?

Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

24. Can a person have fellowship with the Lord and with devils?

1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

25. With Satan’s influences all around us, what does God call us to do?

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Christians will have nothing to do with magic, fortune telling, horoscopes or sances; or games, books, movies or toys containing elements of witchcraft or spiritualism.

In the Light of God’s Word...

I understand that a soul is a breathing body, a man or a beast.

I understand that one’s spirit is the life giving breath from God.

I understand that the soul dies when the breath ceases.

I understand that the dead cannot communicate.

Next Lesson: The Secret of Immortality