One of the Bite-Size Bible readers asked me to explain the difference between the heart, soul and mind. I am happy to do it because it is a very misunderstood subject. Thankfully, the Bible provides the answer!
Jesus taught that a person must “love” God with their entire being, which includes your heart, your soul, and your mind.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. ~Mark 12:30
The heart refers to the human brain. It is the place where “thinking” occurs. I addressed the brain in great detail in a previous series entitled Winning the Battle in your Brain.
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you? ~Jeremiah 4:14
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. ~Matthew 15:19
Since your physical heart cannot think but is an organ that pumps blood through your body, the above scriptures prove that the word heart is being used metaphorically to refer to the thinking part of your being which is your brain!
The soul refers to your personal spirit. This is the eternal part of your being. When the first human being was created, he was given a physical body, but he was not considered “alive” until a spirit was put inside of him, referred to as the breath of life, which caused him to become a living soul.
Therefore, the word “spirit” and “soul” are interchangeable.
Think of the wind! Even though you cannot “see” the wind, it certainly exists! Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word used for wind, breath and spirit is the word Ruach. Even animals have Ruach!
In short, your body is simply a “container” for your spirit. After physical death, your spirit will continue to exist. When a person dies, the body becomes motionless, but the spirit doesn’t skip a beat. It doesn’t matter if you are good or evil – your spirit will live eternally. The only question is, where will your spirit live? But that is another study!
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. ~Genesis 2:7
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. ~Job 12:10
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ~Mark 8:37
Some people just don’t care about their soul! Since they can’t see it, it’s easy to forget about it or place little to no value on it. Then death arrives, as it always does, for every human being. Suddenly, people care about the soul and where it has gone!
The mind is a little more difficult to understand, but once again, the Bible comes to the rescue!
And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. ~Romans 8:27
In the above passage, a distinction is made between the heart, mind and spirit.
We’ve already proven that the heart is the brain (heart = brain), which is the “thinking” part of your being. We’ve also proven that the soul is your personal spirit (soul = spirit), which is the eternal part of your being.
Now we’re being shown that the spirit (soul) has a mind! That’s right, within your personal spirit is a mind.
Think of a command post, like the Traffic Control Center used in aviation. Its job is to communicate with the pilots and help guide them from takeoff, in the air, to landing safely. In much the same way, your mind is sending information to your spirit!
Another name for your mind is your conscience. This is what Jesus gave to the human race after He died on the cross for sin and was resurrected from the dead. However, your conscience can become weakened, corrupted and evil.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. ~Titus 1:15
This is the reason the Bible teaches us to renew our mind.
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. ~Ephesians 4:23
Hopefully you are seeing the interconnectedness of your heart, soul and mind.
If the information in your brain is bad, it is influencing your mind (deteriorating your conscience), which is affecting the condition of your spirit.
The Bible exists so a person can “analyze” (discern) the thoughts in their brain. If your thoughts are in opposition to the Bible, they should not be acted upon. This means you should throw them out! If they are acted upon, they will send the wrong information to your mind, thus weakening your conscience, and eventually, corrupting your spirit (soul).
Then you will need the most important makeover of your life!
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? ~Ezekiel 18:31
The Bible is a book of truth – critical truth necessary to overhaul the human thought process and protect the human soul. When truth is applied to your thinking, you are sending the right information to your mind which is causing your spirit (soul) to be wholly alive!
Bible passages to study:
Mark 12:30, Jeremiah 4:14, Matthew 15:19, Genesis 2:7, Job 12:10, Mark 8:37, Romans 8:27, Titus 1:15, Ephesians 4:23, Ezekiel 18:31