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Spiritual

SPIRITUAL

spir'-it-u-al (pneumatikos, "spiritual," from pneuma, "spirit"):

Endowed with the attributes of spirit. Any being made in the image of God who is a Spirit (John 4:24.), and thus having the nature of spirit, is a spiritual being.

(1) Spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12), in distinction from beings clothed in "flesh and blood"--the devil and his angels. This use of the word has reference to nature, essence, and not to character or moral quality. God, angels, man, devil, demons are in essence spiritual. The groundwork and faculties of their rational and moral being are the same. This limited use of the word in the New Testament has its adverb equivalent in Revelation 11:8, "which (the great and wicked city) spiritually is called Sodom." As the comprehensive term moral includes immoral, so spiritual includes unspiritual and all that pertains to spirit.

(2) With the above exception, "spiritual" in the New Testament signifies moral, not physical antithesis:

an essence springing from the Spirit of God and imparted to the spirit of man. Hence, spiritual in this sense always presupposes the infusion of the Holy Spirit to quicken, and inform. It is opposed

(a) to sarkikos, "fleshly" (1 Corinthians 3:1), men of the flesh and not of the spirit;

(b) to psuchikos, "natural," man in whom the pneuma, "spirit," is over-ridden, because of the Fall, by psuche, the principle of the animal life, "soul"; hence, the unrenewed man, unspiritual, alienated from the life of God (1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10). See MAN, NATURAL;

(c) to natural, meaning physical, ".... sown a natural body; .... raised a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44).

(3) In the New Testament and general use "spiritual" thus indicates man regenerated, indwelt, enlightened, endued, empowered, guided by the Holy Spirit; conformed to the will of God, having the mind of Christ, living in and led by the Spirit. The spiritual man is a new creation born from above (Romans 8:6; 1 Corinthians 2:15; 3:1; 14:37; Colossians 1:9; 1 Peter 2:5).

(4) Ecclesiastically used of things sacred or religious, as spiritual authority, spiritual assembly, spiritual office.

See SPIRIT.

Dwight M. Pratt


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SPIRITUAL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.