Difficult Texts

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


The Greek word translated soul here could mean "breath," "life," or "soul." It is translated 40 times in the NT as "life" or "lives," clearly with the meaning commonly attributed to the word "life" (see chs. 2:20; 6:25; 16:25; etc.). It is rendered 58 times as "soul" or "souls" (see chs. 10:28; 11:29; 12:18; etc.). In some of these instances it means simply "people" (see Acts 7:14; 27:37; 1 Peter 3:20; etc.). In other instances it is translated as, or equivalent to, some personal pronoun (see Matt. 12:18; 2 Cor. 12:15; see on Ps. 16:10). At times it refers to the emotions (see Mark 14:34; Luke 2:35; etc.), to the natural appetites (see Rev. 18:14), to the mind (see Acts 14:2; Phil. 1:27), or to the heart (see Eph. 6:6). There is nothing in the word itself that even remotely implies a conscious entity that is able to survive the death of the body and hence be immortal. In no instance of its use in the Bible does it refer to a conscious entity able to exist apart from the body. The Bible knows nothing of a living, conscious soul that, supposedly, survives the body -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary.