The Bible is a book about spiritual things. It describes both God and mankind as being spiritual in nature. While we all have a physical aspect to our being, Scripture explains that we also have a soul. In fact, the words, “soul” and “spirit” are often used interchangeably, depending on the context. So, what is the difference between the soul and spirit? Wayne Jackson’s website, The Christian Courier,* has one of the best explanations I have ever read regarding this topic. Here’s an excerpt of what he says:
    A soul is a person. Sometimes the word soul signifies merely an individual person. The prophet Ezekiel declared that the soul (i.e., the person) who sins will surely die (Ezekekiel 18:20). Peter would write centuries later that eight souls were saved by water in the days of Noah (1 Peter 3:20). See also Exodus 1:5.
    A soul is life itself. In some contexts, a soul simply has reference to biological life. It is the animating force that is common to both humans and animals. All creatures have “life” (see Genesis 1:30; cf. ASV footnote). The wicked king, Herod the Great, sought to take the “life” of baby Jesus (Matthew 2:20; cf. Revelation 12:11). In one of the visions of the Apocalypse, certain creatures of the sea were said to possess “psuche” [Greek word] or life (Revelation 8:9).
    A soul can refer to the mind. A soul can have to do with that aspect of man that is characterized by the intellectual and emotional (Gen. 27:25; Job 30:16). It is the eternal component of man that is fashioned in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26). It can exist apart from the physical body (Mt. 10:28; Rev. 6:9).
    Spirit can refer to the air we breathe or wind. [It] can literally denote a person’s breath. The queen of Sheba was breathless when she viewed the splendor of Solomon’s kingdom (see 1 Kings 10:4-5). The word can also signify the wind. For instance, some people pursuing empty goals are but striving after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17).
    A spirit can refer to a non-physical being. The term spirit can be employed, however, in a higher sense. It sometimes is used to depict the nature of a non-material being (e.g. God). God (the Father), as to his essence, is spirit (John 4:24). He is not a physical or material being (Luke 24:39; Mt. 16:17). Another member of the godhead is specifically designated as the “Holy Spirit”). Similarly, angels are spirit in nature, though they are not deity (Hebrews 1:14).
    A spirit can refer to a person. Sometimes the word spirit can be used by way of the figure of speech known as the synecdoche (part for the whole, or vice versa) for a person himself. John wrote: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Note that the term “spirits” is the equivalent of “false prophets” in this text.
    Spirit can be used as a synonym for the soul. Spirit may refer to the “inward man” (2 Cor. 4:16) that is fashioned in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). Thus, it is a synonym of “soul.” A sacred writer noted that the “spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” (Proverbs 20:27). This is an allusion to that element of man that distinguishes him from the beasts of the earth.
Daniel affirmed that his spirit was grieved within his body (Daniel 7:15). And Paul noted that it is man’s spirit that is capable of “knowing” things (1 Cor. 2:11). Paul also affirmed that church discipline is designed to save a man’s “spirit” in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5; see also, 1 Cor. 16:18; 2 Cor. 7:1; James 2:26).
    A spirit can refer to a mental state or disposition. Spirit sometimes stands for a person’s mental disposition or attitude — either for bad or good. Examples include the following: a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), a meek and submissive spirit (1 Peter 3:4), or a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
    Conclusion. From this brief discussion, then, it is readily apparent that the careful student must examine biblical words in their context. The context can override all other linguistic considerations (e.g., etymology and grammar). A Bible term, extracted from its original context, loses its divine authority. One thing is for certain. An honest student cannot study the uses of “soul” and “spirit” in the documents of Scripture, and then conclude that humans are wholly mortal. And yet this is what skeptics contend, and some religionists allege as well.
* < https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/526-soul-and-spirit-whats-the-difference >


    It is early Sunday morning. You haven’t slept all that well and you are still very tired from a long, hard week at work. It is also raining and cold outside. To be quite honest, you just don’t really feel like going to worship this morning. Maybe you think to yourself, “I believe in God. I pray every day. I don’t do anything bad or sinful. Do I really have to be at worship services all the time? Can’t I just go every now and then?” …. Have you ever felt this way? It’s not that uncommon. So, is our attendance absolutely necessary? In order to arrive at the answer, there are few other questions one should ask themselves first.
    Is pleasing God important to me? Jesus taught His disciples, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15). He also said that only those who fulfill the will of God will enter into heaven (Matthew 7:21). With that in mind, listen to what He told the woman at the well, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him [emphasis added],” (John 4:23). It is God’s desire – it is His will – that you and I worship Him. Therefore, if we truly want to please God, then we must worship Him and we must do it in the way that He has prescribed to us in His word.
    Am I thankful for what God has done for me? Understanding the “Scheme of Redemption” – the sacrifice that God and Jesus made on our behalf (John 3:16) – should be more than enough to motivate us to worship God. When the disciples came face to face with the reality of Jesus’ power and deity in calming a storm and saving their lives, they worshiped Him! (Matthew 14:30-33) Are you thankful for God’s gift of salvation? Then, show that to Him by singing praises and worshiping Him in His church (1 Peter 2:9).
    Do I want the best for my family and myself? Edification, knowledge, and brotherly love are only really possible to develop in a corporate setting. They can’t be increased alone. Just being around fellow Christians can also have a major, positive impact on one’s life. With so many negative influences in the world, we certainly need positive reinforcement. The church provides that! (John 13:35; Galatians 6:2; 1 Thess. 5:11) It is an “organism” (more so than an organization); a body, a family, that cries and rejoices together – you won’t typically find that kind of support in a worldly setting (1 Corinthians 12:23-26). Worship is yet another way we build up each other (Colossians 3:16).
    Is the salvation of my soul important to me?  According to 2 Timothy 2:10, salvation is “in” Christ Jesus – that is, one must be in His body. This implies that one cannot be saved outside of the church. Just being a member is not all that is required of a disciple. There is no such thing as “isolation salvation” presented in the Scriptures. So, active involvement in the church, Christ’s body, is necessary. This is exactly what is seen in the many examples of the first Christians (Acts 2:44, 11:26, 14:27, 20:7; Romans 16:5, 16:16; 1 Cor. 14:23). Worship is connected to salvation.
    If you answered “No” to these questions then, stay at home in bed. God wants those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. In the meantime, ponder this: if you don’t like assembling with the saints to worship God, if you don’t look forward to lifting up His name in praise with the church at every opportunity available because of the thankfulness in your heart, … then what do you think you will be doing in heaven? Revelation 4-5 gives us a glimpse into heaven. The only thing revealed in that scene is a view of worship! Everyone there was worshiping God. So, if we truly want to be prepared for heaven, then let’s worship our God and “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Hebrews 10:25).


    It is believed there were tens of millions who converted to Christianity throughout the Roman Empire within just a couple of hundred years after the church began in Jerusalem around 33 AD (Acts 2). The exponential growth of Christianity from its infancy was absolutely phenomenal! Here in America, the church of Christ experienced yet another remarkable growth period in the middle of the past century. Estimates from the 1960s put the total membership of the churches of Christ at around 2.5 million. That’s an impressive number! Unfortunately, that growth rate has since declined, considerably, since about 1980.

 Today’s Trend

    Today, the fastest growing religion in the world is no longer Christianity – although it still makes up about 31% of the world’s population, more than any other religion. Adherents to Christianity, that is, those who follow the teachings and doctrines of its founder, Jesus Christ, have decreased substantially and at an increasingly rapid pace. The people who obey the Gospel plan of salvation, as clearly outlined in the New Testament, (Mark 16:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-4) and who are putting on the name Christian (Galatians 3:27; Acts 11:26) are no longer converting at the rates previously seen. There’s a different trend. Instead of converting to Christianity, people are now increasingly converting to Churchianity.
    Churchianity has become the fastest growing religion in America. What exactly is Churchianity? Let’s allow Paul to explain, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim 4:3). This is how Churchianity has come into existence; it is attractive to those who do not know their Bibles. Churchianity assures people they are right with God by just listening to some religious leader, attend an entertaining “worship” service, and being involved in church functions. It is a religion more focused on the the social aspect of the church than on the Scriptural aspect based upon truth. Never has there been a lack of religious institutions in the world. But, there continues to be a growing lack of fundamental truth regarding the one true church of our Lord. This has resulted in yet another, new community of faith based solely on traditions, habits, and instructions of institutionalism rather than book, chapter, and verse of the Scriptures.

What about you?

    Are you a Christian or a Churchian? Are you more concerned about what Jesus and the apostles teach through the inspired words of the Bible, or do you prefer to adapt to whatever some manufactured tradition mandates? Are you more concerned about what the church is doing for you, or are you more focused on what you can do for the Lord’s kingdom? Do you come to worship to “get something out of it” for yourself, or do you come to give honor, praise, and glory only to God? Do you see souls all around you who are in need of God’s saving grace, or do you see people who are not lucky enough to belong to your special club? I hope you can see the difference between being a Christian and Churchian. You can’t be both and only one of the two will make it to heaven (cf. Matthew 7:21). Choose wisely!


Anger Begets Anger
by Troy Spradlin
   One of my instructors at Southwest School of Bible Studies once said, “A husband and wife should never yell at each other … unless there is a fire!” That is funny, in one sense, but it is also true. Harsh arguments and angry words are never constructive for a marriage, or any relationship. Never! Kind words and wisely used speech will always build a stronger relationship. Solomon teaches this principle in Proverbs 15:1-2.
   A soft answer turns away wrath … Gentleness will disarm those who are angry. When someone confronts us, our natural defense is to shield ourselves. We will often retaliate with angry speech of our own. It is difficult to remain calm and deal with the situation in a loving manner. Hard arguments and disagreements are always handled best with soft words. Gideon’s conduct in Judges 8:1-3 is a good example.
   But a harsh word stirs up anger … A word that causes pain will create resentment. Wrath will produce wrath and anger will beget anger. Using harsh or afflictive words in an argument is equivalent to throwing gas on a fire! Arguments become more escalated when each party continues to use hateful speech. Ephesians 4:26 teaches “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”
   The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly … Knowing what to say and when to say it requires experience and wisdom. This only comes with time. It’s unfortunate when we intend to say something kind but instead, our words end up causing pain because they weren’t applied correctly. There are times when even wise counsel can be foolishly given. Choose your words wisely.
   But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness … One of my favorite quotes is, “Better to be thought of as a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” God gave us one tongue and two ears. We should take the hint that maybe we should listen twice as much as we talk. Learning to listen takes a lot of practice for some of us. It is human nature, but we should remember Solomon’s proverb and do so wisely.
   Once a word leaves our lips in anger, or malice, it is forever out there where it may continue to cause hurt. An older, wiser preacher once told me that if you do allow a harsh word to be spoken to a loved one that you later regret saying, then go to that person and “take back” every single word. Verbalize to them your remorse and retract everything you said. Do not just leave the words with them by offering a simple “I’m sorry.” Part of having agape love for others means looking out for their best interest. Your lingering hateful words are certainly not something that is in their best interest. Take them back!
James describes the power of our speech in a very poetic manner, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). He goes on to say that “no man can tame the tongue,” and that “with it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men,” (3:8,9). Perhaps, the most difficult part of being a Christian is watching what we say. If we are to love God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39), then, speaking kindly to others is a clear indication of that love in action.


by Troy Spradlin
  Many communities have a certain object, or a landmark, which stands out as an identifying symbol for that city. For example, when you see a picture of a large stainless steel arch, what city comes to mind? How about a red suspension bridge spanning the entrance to a bay, with what city do you identify it to represent? What about the Statue of Liberty, or the Eiffel Tower? These are all objects that have become representative symbols for their associated cities. Now, how about our community? Something I have noticed as being prominent in our local community is the close tie we have with water, such as, our bays and rivers, the US Navy, our history with sawmills, and the fishing, canoeing, and kayaking tourism industries. So, when I drive by that big anchor in front of Milton High School, I am reminded of all those things regarding or community. But, I am also reminded of spiritual things. Specifically, it reminds me of Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
  While an anchor is certainly a fitting symbol for representing our physical community of Milton, it is also a fitting symbol for our spiritual community, the Margaret Street church of Christ. I have even heard members describe Margaret Street in such a manner, saying that “it has been an anchor” for them over the years. Why is that? Why would they describe the church in such a way? It is because Margaret Street is a place where they find Jesus! It is a place where they can find and build upon hope! It is a place that has served as a stalwart of the faith for more than 60 years. That makes our congregation exceptional and appealing.
  The context of that verse is about the confidence we can have in the promises of God. Just as an anchor holds a ship in place, by being secured outside of the ship, our hope holds us in place, but it is secured outside of this world. Our hope is in a holier, greater place, because Christ has gone ahead of us to secure our salvation in heaven. With this promise, we can have a “sure and steadfast” confidence and faith. A sure anchor does not drag. It is in firm ground and the ship’s crew may trust it. A steadfast anchor is one that will not break, because it is strong and made of good, tough iron. There is no fear of it failing, no matter what strain may be put upon it. Margaret Street church of Christ places its trust in that sure and steadfast anchor and that is why it is such a special place. Here, we can build our faith together with like-minded people – all helping each other to get to heaven.
  With this in mind, we would like to present to you a new logo for Margaret Street, one that incorporates the symbol of the cross and anchor, placed within an open Bible (pictured below). It not only is an appropriate symbol for representing the basis of our hope and faith, but it is also an appropriate symbol for our community, both spiritually and physically. We hope you like it! – God bless!