The extravagant claims made by some writers for a fully developed system of Biblical psychology has brought the whole subject into disrepute. So much so, that Hofmann (Schriftbeweis) has boldly asserted that “a system of Biblical psychology has been got together without any justification for it in Scripture.” At the outset, therefore, it must be borne in mind that the Bible does not present us with a systematized philosophy of man, but gives in popular form an account of human nature in all its various relationships. A reverent study of Scripture will undoubtedly lead to the recognition of a well-defined system of psychology, on which the whole scheme of redemption is based. Great truths regarding human nature are presupposed in and accepted by the Old Testament and the New Testament; stress is there laid on other aspects of truth, unknown to writers outside of revelation, and presented to us, not in the language of the schools, but in that of practical life. Man is there described as fallen and degraded, but intended by God to be raised, redeemed, renewed. From this point of view Biblical psychology must be studied, and our aim should be “to bring out the views of Scripture regarding the nature, the life and life-destinies of the soul, as they are determined in the history of salvation” (Delitzsch, Biblical Psychology, 15).
As to the origin of the soul, Scripture is silent. It states very clearly that life was inbreathed into man by God (ריּפּח, wayyippah; Septuagint ἐνεφύσησεν, enephúsēsen; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) inspiravit). The human being thus inspired by God was thereby constituted a nephesh ḥayyāh (“living soul”), because the nishmath ḥayyim (“breath of lives”) had been imparted to him (Genesis 2:7). Beyond this the first book of the Bible does not go.
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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia
Keywords: Psychology, Immortal soul, Soul and spirit, Spirit and soul, Soul, Psuche, Psyche, heart and soul, tripartite, heart soul strength, heart soul mind, Trichotomy
Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.
Page indexed by: inWORD Bible Software.