What does this verse mean, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul”?

Hello R,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Though we naturally fear people who can kill us, Jesus was giving us the true eternal perspective. We should not fear man, but God. Why? Because God alone has the authority to deny bringing us back to life—destroying the capacity for the resurrection to eternal life.

The soul is mortal. The word soul that appears in this verse is the Greek word “psuchē” which means “breath,” “life,” or “soul”. This word  is translated 40 times in the NT as “life” or “lives,” with the meaning commonly attributed to the word “life” (Matthew 2:20; 6:25; 16:25; etc.). The word “soul” is rendered 58 times as “soul” or “souls” (Matthew 10:28; 11:29; 12:18; etc.). In some of these instances it means simply “people” (Acts 7:14; 27:37; 1 Peter 3:20). In other instances it is translated as, or equivalent to, some personal pronoun (Matt. 12:18; 2 Cor. 12:15;  Ps. 16:10). At times it refers to the emotions (Mark 14:34; Luke 2:35), to the natural appetites (Rev. 18:14), to the mind (Acts 14:2; Phil. 1:27), or to the heart (Eph. 6:6).

Therefore, there is nothing in the word soul (psuchē) itself that even remotely implies a conscious entity that is able to survive the death of the body and hence be immortal. In no instance of its use in the Bible does soul (psuchē) refer to a conscious entity able to exist apart from the body. The Bible knows nothing of a living, conscious soul that, supposedly, survives the body.

If we fear, reverence and obey God, we don’t need to fear men that want to kill our bodies because God will preserve our souls if we were dead. And He will resurrect our bodies at His second coming. “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, … and the dead in Christ shall rise … and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17;1 Corinthians 15:51-53.).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Sign Up for Our Updates

Get notified of our latest updates. Don't worry, they're occasional :)

You May Also Like