Heart, Mind, Soul and Spirit in Hebrew Thought-Part 2

We have discussed the fact that the heart, mind, soul, spirit, kidney, bowels and liver are synonymous terms used in the Scriptures. The “heart” (and all the terms just listed) was seen as the “person” and understanding and reasoning comes from the heart. That is why the Lord says he is going to do a “circumcision of the heart” (implying mind, soul, spirit, kidneys, bowels and liver).

We are going to continue in this portion to give you more Scriptures where you will see these terms used in what is called “Hebrew parallelisms” illustrating the fact that these terms are synonymous in the Scriptures.
*Josh 23.14- heart (lev) and soul (nefesh) used in a parallelism.
*Prov 17.22- a joyful heart (lev) is good, but a broken spirit (ruach) is not.
*Lam 2.11- My spirit (Me’ay meaning “bowels) is greatly troubled; my heart (k’vedi meaning “liver”) is poured out.
*Heb 4.12- piercing as far as the division (division in Greek is “merismos” meaning exposition in the Septuagint) of soul and spirit (this is a parallelism).
*Matt 10.28- do not fear those who can kill the body but are unable to kill the soul (nefesh). An example of the two-fold nature of man.
*Eph 4.4- one body and one spirit-another example
*Prov 2.10- wisdom will enter your heart (lev) and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul (nefesh)-another parallelism
*Exo 7.3- God hardened the heart (lev) of Pharaoh
*Deut 2.30- here he says he hardened the spirit (ruach) of Sihon-the same thing
*Judges 10.16-“He” is used for “soul” (nefesh)
*Judges 15.19- “strength” is used for “spirit” (ruach)
*Deut 24.15- “heart” is used for “soul” (nefesh)
*Judges 16.16-17- his soul (nefesh) was annoyed and he told all that was in his heart (lev)
*Jer 17.9-10- the heart (lev) is deceitful; the Lord searches the heart (lev) and will test the “mind” (kil’ya’ot meaning “kidneys)
*1 Cor 5.5- that his spirit (ruach) may be saved says the same thing as Heb 10.39 where it talks about the preservation of the soul (nefesh)
*Josh 5.1- their hearts (lev) melted and there was no spirit (ruach) in them
*Psa 51.10 and 17- create a clean heart (lev) and renew a right spirit (ruach); a broken spirit (ruach) and a broken and contrite heart (lev)
*Ecc 12.7- the spirit (ruach) returns to God and the soul (nefesh) returns to life in Job 33.30 say the same thing
*Psa 31.5- into your hands I commit my spirit (ruach) but he will not abandon my soul (nefesh) in Psa 16.10
*Ezek 18.4- the soul (nefesh) that sins will die, but Matt 10.28 says you cannot kill the soul (nefesh)
*Judges 16.25- Lev (heart) is translated “spirit”
*Job 7.11- I will speak in the anguish of my spirit (ruach), I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (nefesh)-a parallelism
*Job 15.35- the Hebrew word for “belly” (bitanam) is translated as “mind”
*Psa 16.7- my mind (kilya’ot meaning kidneys) instructs me (why is “kidneys” used? Because the kidneys “filter impurities out, so should our “mind”)
*Luke 1.17- in the spirit (ruach) of Elijah
*2 Chr 6.37- “take thought” means “return to their heart (lev)”
*Ezra 1.1- the Lord stirred up the spirit (ruach) of Cyrus
*Neh 2.12- heart (lev) is translated “spirit”
*1 Sam 2.35- to do what is in my heart (lev) and soul (nefesh)- a parallelism
*1 Sam 30.6- embittered is “bitter in soul” (nefesh) in Hebrew, then in verse 12 it says his spirit (ruach) revived
*1 Kings 21.5- your spirit (ruach) is sullen, but then in verse 7 it says let your heart (lev) be joyful
*Psa 143.4- my spirit (ruach) is overwhelmed within me and my heart (lev) is appalled within me
*Ezek 36.26- I will put a new heart (lev) and a new spirit (ruach) within you-a parallelism
*Rev 2.23- the Lord searches the minds (could be nefesh, ruach, kilya’ot or lev because they have all been translated as “mind”) and the hearts (lev…but could be nefesh, kilya’ot or me’ahim)
*Prov 16.9- the mind (Hebrew “lev” meaning heart) of man plans his way
*Jer 4.19- my soul (me’ah meaning bowels) my soul (me’ah meaning bowels)! I am in anguish in my heart (lev).
*Jer 15.1- my heart (nefesh meaning soul) would not be with this people
*Jer 20.12- who sees the mind (kilya’ot meaning kidneys) and the heart (lev)-a parallelism
*Jer 32.41- with all my heart (lev) and all my soul (nefesh)-a parallelism
*Ecc 12.7- then the dust (the body) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit (ruach) will return to God who gave it-two natures of man
*Lam 3.20-21- surely my soul (nefesh) remembers; this I recall to my mind (lev meaning heart in Hebrew)- a parallelism
*Ezek 18.31- and make yourselves a new heart (lev) and a new spirit (ruach)-a parallelism
*Phil 1.27- are standing firm in one spirit (ruach), with one mind (In Hebraic thought, this could be translated with any of the other words because they are all synonymous)-a parallelism

In conclusion, this has been just a small sampling of this concept and as you can see, Jewish thought has taught that the “heart” was the “stomach.” Understanding and reasoning comes in the heart, not the head. The circumcision of the “heart” is used to describe this, but it relates to the mind, soul, spirit, kidney, bowels and liver because these terms are synonymous. Study these words and parallelisms out and it will give you greater insight into this concept used in the Scriptures.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Questions, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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