In the original Greek text of the Bible the word psyche was translated to soul and life in English. In the New Testament it is translated 58 times as soul and 40 times as life.
As an example you can see in Matthew 16:25 psyche is translated as life
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
And the following verse Matthew 16:25 translates psyche as soul
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We can look at several verses here which define the soul
The principle of life
“But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Acts 20:10 (life – soul)
A living being
"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” 1 Corinthians 15:45
A human individual
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Acts 2:41
The immaterial soul
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28
The inner self
“And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” Luke 12:19
The soul is the unseen and immaterial part of man and is the link between the spirit and the body. It is the mental and emotional part of us and people also refer to it as personality.
In Matthew 10:28, Jesus tells us that the soul is distinct from the body
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
In Hebrews 4:12 we can see that the soul and spirit are both separate
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We can also see in Psalm 51:6 that the inward parts of our being are the parts of our soul and the hidden part is our spirit
“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”
Now we can look at the make up of the soul by studying the following verses. The soul is made up of the mind, the will, and the emotion. Proverbs 2:10 tells us that the mind is a part of the soul as knowledge occurs and exists in the mind.
“When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,”
Knowledge and wisdom are both associated with the soul as we can see in Proverbs 24:14,
“So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;”
Psalm 139:14 says,
“And that my soul knows very well.”
This further proves that the mind must be part of the soul as knowing occurs and exists in the mind. The soul needs knowledge,
“Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,” Proverbs 19:2
The soul remembers things as we can see in Lamentations 3:20,
“My soul remembers them well,”
The soul considers and counsels, Psalm 13:2 says
“How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?”
From these scriptures we can understand that the mind is the part of the soul which knows, remembers and considers.
Part of the soul is the will. Choosing and refusing are both decisions and functions of the will as we can see in Job 7:15, “So that my soul chooses” and Job 6:7 says, “My soul refuses to touch them”. Just as our minds are used to think, in 1 Chronicles 22:19 we can see that we set our soul to seek “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God” This is to make a decision and knowing that the soul makes a decision also proves that the will is a part of the soul. Numbers 30:2 also shows us that the soul is used to make a decision when it refers to binding by making a decision to commit ourself to the Lord ““If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement”
Part of the soul is emotion which includes love, hatred, joy, grief and desire. 1 Samuel 18:1 shows us that love as an emotion is part of the soul,
“the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
Hatred as an emotion is part of the soul,
“Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul)” 2 Samuel 5:8
“Their soul abhorred all manner of food” Psalm 107:18
Joy as an emotion is part of the soul,
“My soul shall be joyful in my God” Isaiah 61:10
Desire as an emotion is part of the soul,
“And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household” Deuteronomy 14:26
Grief as an emotion is part of the soul,
“And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” Judges 10:16
So as we can see from the verses above, the soul is the unseen and immaterial part of man and three parts make up all the functions of the soul - the mind as the principal and leading part followed by the will and the emotion. After our spirit is regenerated at salvation, we receive and contact the Lord with our spirit and we reflect and express Him with our transformed soul.
Spirit, Soul and Body Series
Part 1: Spirit, Soul and Body
Part 2: What is our spirit?
Part 3: What is the heart?
Part 4: What is our soul?
Part 7: Who am I in Christ?