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What Does the Bible Say About Spirits?


Definition of a Spirit

Providing the definition of a spirit probably is central to answering the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" Unlike a dictionary which provides definitions of words in a single entry on a single page, the Christian Bible often repeatedly defines a single word in various scriptures. God's word teaches us eight basic truths about spirits:

1. A spirit is a living being.
2. Spirits can be evil or holy, but never neutral.
3. Spirits have different amounts of power and different ranks in the spirit realm.
4. Man is a spiritual being.
5. Spirits do not have flesh or bones.
6. Ghosts are not departed spirits
7. God is a Spirit.
8. Satan is a spirit.

Spiritual Beings Are Alive

All of the six truths mentioned above are based on God's word, which answers the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" Being alive means being able to talk, hear, understand, move, think, interact with others, etc. Inanimate objects can do none of these things, because they are not alive. Biblical scripture from Genesis, the first book of the Bible to Revelation, the last book of the Bible, repeatedly lets us know that spirits talk, hear, understand, move, think, interact with others, etc.

We read, "...immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs. And no man could bind him.... And always night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him. And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not; for he (Jesus) said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he (the unclean spirit) answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many" (KJV, Mark 5:2-9).

We now have part of the answer to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" It says that they are alive. We see that the unclean spirit, whose name is Legion, had possessed a man. Legion is actually many evil spirits (verse nine of the passage). Legion is able to speak, to listen, understand, and think. Legion is alive. This is only one of numerous scriptures that teach us this specific part of the definition of a spirit, which is: a living, intelligent being.

Evil or Holy, But Not Neutral

Understandably, many people believe that some spirits are evil, some are good, and others are neutral. However, those who will receive biblical answers to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" are quickly corrected on this belief. All spirits are either evil and in service to the kingdom of darkness or they are holy and in service to God; none are neutral. We cover this question thoroughly in the article Is There Such a Thing As Neutral Supernatural Beings?.

Power and Rank in the Spirit Realm

The sixth chapter of the biblical book of Ephesians speaks to the Christian believer in Jesus of the reality of spiritual warfare. This passage is part of the answer to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" We read, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

Some spirits are called powers; some are called principalities, and others are rulers of the darkness. We also read about the different types of angels such as the holy angel, Michael, the archangel in service to God (Jude 9). Michael obviously has great authority among the angels of the Lord. Evil angels in service to Satan also are of different ranks and have various amounts of power and authority in the kingdom of darkness. We are steadily building on our biblical answer to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?"

Man Is a Spirit

Yes, man is a spirit. That does not mean that he is not also flesh. God's word says that man is a three part being: flesh, mind, and spirit. The apostle Paul wrote, "...I pray God your whole SPIRIT, and SOUL, and BODY be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). In the article, What Is the Difference Between Soul and Spirit? we explain the difference between soul and spirit.

No Bones No Flesh

We continue finding answers to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" Is a spirit air? It's understandable that most people think of spirits as a kind of living "air," because they do not have flesh or bones. The Lord Jesus, after he had risen from the dead back to life, said to his followers, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have" (St. John 24:39). The literal flesh and blood man whose body served as the housing of God himself while he lived on Earth, was letting his followers know that the Son of man, who had died on the cross, stood in their midst very much alive. Those who are confused regarding how Christ was both man and God are highly advised to read Who Was Jesus?

Ghosts Are Not Departed Spirits

The subject of ghosts and departed spirits will almost always come up when answering the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" God's word reveals just what a ghost is and what it is not; and it teaches the things that God wants his people to understand about departed spirits. This subject is thoroughly covered in The Christian Bible on Spirits of the Deceased, Necromancy, and Seance

God Is a Spirit

We know of a certainty that the Lord Himself is a Spirit, because we read that Jesus taught, "God is a Spirit..." (St. John 4:24).

Satan Is a Spirit

We know that Satan was created a very beautiful, powerful, and high ranking angelic being who rebelled against the throne of God. Angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:7). How do we know that Satan was created an angel? God's word lets us know as it provides answers to the question, "What does the Bible say about spirits?" The Origin of Satan focuses on the creation and origin of the arch enemy of the Lord Jesus--Lucifer.

Related Reading

What Is the Origin of Evil According to the Christian Bible?

What Does the Devil Look Like?

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Hi, I would like to ask a spiritual question. I was having a discussion with a brethren, regarding sinning in dreams. I always thought that we are to repent of them once we wake up, however he believes we are to control our dreams and in our dreams we have the power through God to rebuke the sin, if we cant, it shows we have impure hearts. Can I ask if anyone has come across this kind of teaching?? I don't know if scripture reveals any kind of things such as this. I certainly don't know how to control my dreams, and its not often I find im sinning in my dreams however now with this new information, apparently Im impure in heart if I do. Would really love some insight, I do not know if this is a common topic or one really speaks about much, any feedback would be great if you have revelation on this. Thanks and God bless.
by: Jesus Returning
Posted on 2015-05-26 04:27:34

To: Jesus Returning:

When we have a question to which we can't find a direct answer in the Bible, we look at the lives and examples of the Bible under similar circumstances. I must vehemently disagree with the advice given to you. You will not find a scripture or an example anywhere in the Bible that instructs you to control your dreams. Neither will you find that the Word of God says a dream in which a persons sins means that person has an impure heart. I backslid and discovered I liked beer. When I came back to the Lord, I started dreaming that I was at a bar really enjoying a cold one. I'd have these dreams whenever I was struggling with my faith. The dreams were encouragement to return to the pub to drink my troubles away. That's not the biblical thing to do. It also is not biblical for you to repent of sin committed in a dream. You didn't sin. If the sin in the dream is one that gave you pleasure or relief when you were a sinner, then I'd wake calling Satan a liar, and declaring you are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
by: Heavenly Manna
Posted on 2015-05-27 21:49:36

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