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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The Original Words Translated "Soul"




In the Old Testament Hebrew, the original word for soul is nephesh. In the New Testament Greek it is psuche. Both mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. One is used to translate the other.

Nephesh occurs about 750 times. About 500 times it is translated "soul" in the Authorized Version. The other 250 times it is translated by over 40 different English words, as shown on the chart.

Psuehe occurs about 100 times, and is translated similarly.

It is quite obvious at the outset that a word of such broad application, including all the animal kingdom, all its bodily [and] physical aspects, CANNOT POSSIBLY indicate some immortal essence in man distinguishing him from the lower creation.

It is clear from the words used to translate it that it is related throughout to ANIMAL BODIES, including man, and this will become more and more clear as we consider some of the passages in which it is used.

It can be readily seen, too, that with such a range of meaning the translators could do much to color the various passages by their choice of English words--using one set of terms when used of animals and another when of man.

On the other hand, it is evident that in an article of this kind, it is impossible to quote sufficient of the 850 occurrences to fully illustrate the word, and that by choosing obscure, borderline passages, a very distorted picture could be drawn.

Therefore, only a careful, individual investigation, seeking divine guidance, can bring solid, durable conviction and enlightenment. THERE IS NO SHORT CUT TO THE ENLIGHTENED FAITH THAT LEADS TO SALVATION.

For instance, soul is used in relation to God. He says: "My servant in whom MY SOUL delighteth" (Isa. 42:1). But examination will show that this is a very exceptional, isolated use, and is a figure of speech that has no bearing on the literal meaning of soul. The expression "my soul" is often used simply as an emphatic term meaning "myself," because of its undeniable animal basis. Clearly it is in this secondary sense of emphasis only [that] it is used of God.