Questions & Answers

Harold S. Paisley

Question: Is man dual or tripartite in being? If the latter, how are spirit and soul distinguished?

Answer: The desire of any young christian to gain some understanding of our being is important. The subject is beyond finite explanation but all believers should be cognizant with what is revealed in the Word of God.

The tripartite nature of man is plainly stated. "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 5:23). Attempts have been made by some to show man as dual, the combination of spirit and body forming the soul, but with the words of Paul before the mind, this dual being of man is untenable and unscriptural.

It is evident that the spiritual side of man is represented by his spirit and soul. However, the spirit and soul are distinct, only divisible by the Word of God. How searching are the words "piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit" (Heb. 4:12).

Apart from this scripture, the spirit and soul are never spoken of as being separated. The spirit is the highest part. Through the spirit, man understands (1 Cor. 2:11) and as a true worshipper can worship by his spirit (John 4:24). The soul, being a lower side of man’s spiritual being, links with the body and emotions as sorrows and affections.

Personality is often connected with the soul, when the body understood as "eight souls were saved by water." Stephen when he fell asleep was spoken of in Acts 8:2 in like manner. "Devout men carried him to his burial." Stephen’s body was buried but he was with Christ in heaven to whom he had committed his spirit.


Question: Has a local assembly and its elder brethren any authority over another local assembly and its elders?

Answer: In answering such a question, the Scriptures of Truth must be the final court of authority in every matter pertaining to relationships and government in assemblies of saints gathered to the person of the Lord Jesus and owning His Name.

It is evident from the plain teaching of the New Testament that each local assembly stands on its own base, and is responsible to the Lord alone as to teaching and government. No other company has any God-given authority to manage the affairs of another.

Each lampstand in Rev. 2-4, stood upon its own golden base responsible to the Lord in the midst of all the churches. Fellowship is of divine ordering, sustained by the hidden link of the Holy Spirit and the opening for guidance in doctrine and practice of the precious Word of God.

In certain difficulties, advice may be requested of other brethren who have the confidence of the assembly, whose advice could be of value, but there is no authority to dictate terms.


Question: When Pilate ordered the Lord Jesus to be scourged, has this laying of stripes upon Him any reference to the stripes of Isaiah 53:5? ("By whose stripes ye were healed"). This question is asked because often the statement is made which would link the event with the prophecy.

Answer: In speaking to fellow believers or to God concerning the sacred sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, language should be reverent and scriptural. The great distinction between what the Saviour received from cruel men and from God must be clearly understood, otherwise confusion will result.

We are sure it was not the stripes from the soldier, nor any other brutal treatment received from human hands of cruel sinners that provided healing for us but that which He received from the hand of God when He laid our sins upon Him. This transpired when He was nailed and uplifted on the tree, not in the judgment hall of Pilate. Jehovah made to meet on Him the iniquity of us all. This mighty Lord, our blessed Lord, bore in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), the stripes by which we are healed, have reference to the strokes of divine justice meted out on Him when as the sin bearer He became our substitute and suffered for sins the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God. We might add this is the very core of the good news of the gospel and the only basis of salvation. "Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again," all this "according to the Scriptures." Hence Isaiah 53:5 is linked with 1 Peter 2:24, rather than John 19:1.