The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
Scripture citations are to the KJV (Authorised Version)
Q What does the Bible say of the soul?
A. The soul is a combination of body, the breath of life, and at least some degree of independent intelligence. Higher-order animals — dogs, horses, cattle, birds — are all souls. That is, they are sentient beings, the result of body and breath, and are able to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and think. See Num. 31: 28:
[L]evy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves [cattle], and of the asses, and of the sheep.
A few texts from the Old and New Testaments should cast some light on the matter.
Prov. 19: 15 – an indolent soul: ‘Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.’
Isa. 1: 14 – God’s soul: ‘Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.’
Isa. 53: 10 – Christ’s soul: ‘Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.’
John 12: 27 – Jesus’ soul: ‘Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.’
Acts 2: 27 – Christ’s soul: ‘Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.’
Rom. 13: 1 – the citizen’s soul: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.’
Heb. 4: 12 – soul and spirit not the same: ‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’