The soul and the spirit are the two primary immaterial aspects that Scripture  ascribes to humanity. It can be confusing to attempt to discern the precise  differences between the two. The word “spirit” refers only to the immaterial  facet of humanity. Human beings have a spirit, but we are not spirits. However,  in Scripture, only believers are said to be spiritually alive (1 Corinthians 2:11Hebrews 4:12; James 2:26), while unbelievers are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13). In  Paul’s writing, the spiritual was pivotal to the life of the believer (1 Corinthians 2:143:1Ephesians  1:3; 5:19; Colossians 1:9; 3:16). The spirit is the  element in humanity which gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship  with God. Whenever the word “spirit” is used, it refers to the immaterial part  of humanity that “connects” with God, who Himself is spirit (John 4:24).

The word “soul” can refer to both the  immaterial and material aspects of humanity. Unlike human beings having a  spirit, human beings are souls. In its most basic sense, the word “soul”  means “life.” However, beyond this essential meaning, the Bible speaks of the  soul in many contexts. One of these is humanity’s eagerness to sin (Luke 12:26). Humanity is naturally evil, and our souls  are tainted as a result. The life principle of the soul is removed at the time  of physical death (Genesis  35:18; Jeremiah  15:2). The soul, as with the spirit, is the center of many spiritual and  emotional experiences (Job 30:25; Psalm 43:5; Jeremiah 13:17). Whenever  the word “soul” is used, it can refer to the whole person, whether alive or in  the afterlife.

The soul and the spirit are connected, but separable (Hebrews 4:12). The soul is  the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are. The spirit is the aspect of  humanity that connects with God.