Reasoning with Jehovah's Witnesses: The Spirit of Man

By Kevin Quick


The Spirit of Man

EDITOR'S NOTE: JWs believe that their "spirit" is nothing more than an impersonal "active force" provided by God which activates an inactive "body" to life, and maintains such as a living, breathing creature. There is nothing unique about the "spirit" operating within any individual human. JWs like to compare their "spirit" to the electricity that must be turned on to allow a television to operate. JWs further believe that the Bible uses the term, "soul", to identify a human or animal which has had its inactive "body" brought to a living, breathing state by the addition of the impersonal "spirit".

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that:

a. The spirit of a man has no existence apart from the body. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 383.)

b. At death, the spirit dissipates. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 383.)

c. God [stores the memories] of the one who has died [in case He later decides to REPLICATE (aka "resurrect") that human at some time in the future]. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 333.)


Scriptures commonly used by Jehovah's Witnesses:

Ez 18:4,20: The soul who sins will die.


Eccl 9:3-10: UNDER THE SUN ... For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward ... UNDER THE SUN ... UNDER THE SUN...UNDER THE SUN...there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [Heb. sheol], whither thou goest.


Q1. Is the spirit of a man distinct from his body?

Zech 12:1: the Lord [Jehovah] ... forms the spirit of man within him.

Matt 26:41, Mark 14:38: "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Mark 2:8: Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves ...

Mark 8:12: And sighing deeply in His spirit, He said ...

Luke 1:46,47: And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior."

Rom 1:9: God, whom I serve in my spirit ...

Rom 8:16: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God ...

1 Cor 2:11: For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?

1 Cor 5:5: [I have decided] to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Cor 6:20: glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's ...

1 Cor 14:2: For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in [his] spirit he speaks mysteries.

1 Cor 14:14: For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

2 Cor 7:1: let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit ...

2 Tim 4:22: The Lord be with your spirit.

Q2. What happens to the spirit at death?

Eccl 12:7: then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Is 26:19: Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

Luke 8:52,55: "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep."... And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately ...

Luke 23:46: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" ...

Acts 7:59,60: And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon [the Lord] and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" ... he fell asleep.

Heb 12:22-24: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus ...


a. The spirit of a man is a distinct entity, and normally dwells in the body.

b. At death the spirit departs from the body.