SOUL, WHAT IS IT?
When reading the scriptures , the Hebrew word "ne'phesh" and the Greek word " phy'khe" meaning " Soul", we notice that it is basically used to refer to " Living Creatures","People" and "Life".
From my research into the topic, I noticed that translators are not always consistent , meaning that in many cases they use the word "life", "people" , or " creatures" for the word soul ,on many other occasions they opt to leave the word "soul".
So to understand which meaning is used, we have to read the verse in context.
SOUL IS USED TO REFERS TO "PERSONS", or " PEOPLE"
After being anointed with holy Spirit , Peter stood with the other eleven and spoke to the crowds , many were pierced in the heart and accepted his message. Here the word soul clearly stands for persons or people.
Acts 2:41 " Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day".(NABRE)
Acts 2:41 " Those then who had accepted his word were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. (DARBY)
Likewise in the days of Noah eight persons,or people were saved.
1Peter 3:20 " Who sometime disbelieved, when once the long-suffering of God did wait, in days of Noah -- an ark being preparing -- in which few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water." (YTL)
1 Peter 3:20 "Who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the [a]water."(NASB)
1 Peter 3:20 "To those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water."(NIV)
SOUL REFERS TO "LIVING CREATURES".
From the account of creation , the word "soul" is used, to refers to living creatures, birds , animals etc.
Genesis 1:20 "And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living souls, and let fowl fly above the earth in the expanse of the heavens."(DARBY) Also Gen. 1:24
Genesis 1:20 "Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens".( NASB) Also Gen 1:24.
Genesis 9:10 "And with every living soul which is with you, fowl as well as cattle, and all the animals of the earth with you, of all that has gone out of the ark—every animal of the earth".(DARBY)
Genesis 9:10 "And with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth."(NASB).
Revelation 16:3 "and every living thing in the sea died".( YTL) "and every living soul died in the sea".(NET) " and every living creature that was in the sea died."
SOUL REFERS TO " LIFE".
Jesus stresses the need for his followers to take up his cross and follow him, if need be to be put to shame,torture or even death for being a Christian. that is forfeit his soul/life
Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul."(NASB)
Mark 8:36 "For what shall it profit a man, if he may gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?(YLT)
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep". (NASB)
John 10:11 Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός· ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν (soul) αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων·(SBLGNT)
THE SOUL : IS NOT IMMORTAL, IT CAN DIE , SUFFOCATE , HAS DESIRE TO EAT.
"And the second messenger did pour out his vial to the sea, and there came blood as of dead, and every living soul died in the sea."(YLT)
"The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died."(NASB)
Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die".(NASB) Also Acts 3:23 .
Matthew 10:28 "And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but fear rather Him who is able both soul and body to destroy in gehenna".(YLT).
Exodus 21:23 "But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life." (ne,phesh for ne,phesh) (NASB)
Job 7:15 "So that my soul would choose suffocation, Death rather than my pains.(NASB)
Leviticus 7:18 "And if [any] of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offering be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, it shall not be reckoned to him that hath presented it; it shall be an unclean thing, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity."(DARBY)
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. " John 17:3 (NASB)
The Greek text implies a continues effort.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,"(NASB)
The common belief as stated below by the Greek philosopher Plato , IS NOT A SCRIPTURAL TEACHING. No where in the scriptures there is a mention that the soul is immortal.
Some point to the parable " Lazarus and the Rich Man" to support their belief in "Hell". A close look at it ,if taken literally , it not only contradicts the scriptures (John3:13), but also the laws of nature, the rich man was buried,whilst Lazarus was not buried, but whisked by the angels to the bosom of Abraham.How on earth could this be possible?.
Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived in Greece 427-347 B.C.E., believed in the afterlife and coined the theory of the immortality of the soul.
"What did Plato believe about the human soul?
Socrates, Plato, and Augustine were all dualists who believed the soul to be immortal. Socrates believed the soul is immortal. ... He asserted that upon physical death of the body, the soul moves onto another body. Building on this belief, he called the body the prison of the soul."