the weblog of Alan Knox

My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2008 in scripture | 21 comments

When Jesus was on the cross, Matthew and Mark record that he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This line also occurs at the beginning of Psalm 22:

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet – I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. (Psalm 22:1-31 ESV)

Was Jesus’ cry on the cross related to this psalm? Was this a cry of despair or hope?


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  1. 3-22-2008


    I believe His cry is directly related to this psalm and that on the cross it was a cry of anguish as He was made to suffer the penalty for sin. Of course, ultimately, Christ knew that He would rise again in three days. I believe, however, since He was fully human as well as fully divine that He cried out in physical agony as He suffered physically as well as spiritually on that old rugged cross.

  2. 3-24-2008

    I’m thinking along the same lines as Joe. The stripes and the nails, not to be disregarded in any way, shape or form, were yet nothing compared to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus was making. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.” Christ was bearing the weight of the sin of the world. God was chastising Him, punishing Him, for the sin of the world, and Jesus became sin for us.

    I think His cry was a cry of despair, because God had forsaken Him, although of course as Joe said, He knew He would rise again. Jesus “for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” He had fulfilled what He came to do, but it wasn’t until His death that God was pleased with Him, because the sacrifice would not have been valid otherwise.

    Moments later, He would be descending to set the captives free and to take the keys to death and Hades. But during those moments on the cross, I think He truly was sin and He truly was forsaken.

  3. 3-24-2008

    Recently, I’ve had some questions about the traditional understanding of God “rejecting” Jesus and turning his back on him while Jesus was on the cross.

    The problem that I have is that God appears to act in quite an opposite manner with sinners elsewhere in scripture.

    Even looking at the very first sin in the garden, when Adam and Eve sinned, God did not forsake them, reject them, or turn his back on them. He came looking for them! Is this not mercy in action?

    I have come to the not-too-tightly-held conclusion that perhaps Jesus’ cry is from a human perspective — thinking that Father had forsaken him. Not unlike Job thinking that Father had done all these horrible things to him when, in fact, we know quite the opposite from the narrative given us.

  4. 3-24-2008

    Hi Steve,

    In my case I’ve come to my personal perspective on this through my own channels of thinking, apart from what I’ve been taught traditionally, although I do understand that the Father rejecting the Son is traditional teaching. I’ll also say that my own perspective is not set in stone. 🙂

    In this area that we’re discussing, I see one major difference between Adam (and the rest of sinful mankind), and Jesus. Nobody else ever became sin. Nobody ever took the weight of the guilt of the sin of the entire world upon themselves. Everybody has sinned, but nobody has ever paid the actual price for their sin.

    Consider this passage from Romans:

    But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21-26).

    Imagine if Jesus had not borne the sin of the world upon Himself. God would not have been able to pursue Adam, nor anyone else in all of humanity. It’s because Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we were able to become the righteousness of God in Christ.

    In Job’s case, it truly wasn’t God who had done all that stuff to him. But in Christ’s case it was God who “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.” (2 Cor 5:21).

    As the earlier passage says, God was able to pass over the sins that mankind previously committed. I believe He could only do this because of the pre-ordained once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. If not for Christ becoming sin, God would have had to reject all of mankind. Instead, He put the sin of the world on the sinless One and poured out His wrath on Him. This is rejection that no one has ever known!

    The good news, of course, is that since Christ was the perfect, spotless sacrifice, and He had perfectly and blamelessly accomplished all that was necessary to fulfill righteousness, God raised Him up from the dead, and all who believe in Him are raised together with Him and made alive together with Him forever!

  5. 3-24-2008


    Thanks for the comments and the discussion on this post. I’m going to go a little different direction here. Of course, what follows is my opinion, since we are not told exactly what Jesus meant when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I think he was referring to Psalm 22 – which is why I included the entire psalm in this post. Thus, there was both despair and hope in Jesus’ cry. The despair is obvious, but where is the hope? In the midst of the despair, the psalmist (and Jesus) continues to call on God. Similarly, there is a future hope in the psalm – “I will tell… I will praise…” Finally, I see hope in one of the other statements that Jesus made on the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” While Jesus felt forsaken, he did not think that God had left him. We may not exactly understand what that meant, but I do think it shows both despair and hope.


  6. 3-25-2008

    Hi guys,

    I’ll also reaffirm that where I’m coming from on this is just my opinion, and it’s not set in stone.

    It truly does appear that the whole of Psalm 22 is related to Jesus’ experience on the cross. Alan, you also mentioned Jesus’ words, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit,” which is a quote from Psalm 31, which also appears to relate a lot to what Jesus was going through on the cross.

    The reason I think Jesus truly was forsaken on the cross (again, just my opinion) is because at some moment – whether for a split second or during the entire ordeal (perhaps starting with the scourging or with the crucifixion or at some other moment during the final time of Jesus’ life) – He became sin. There can be no sin in the presence of God. In the fullness of time, God took all sin and laid it on Jesus. The sin issue has been dealt with once and for all.

    Isa 53:4,9,10,12
    Smitten by God, and afflicted…
    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
    Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
    He has put Him to grief…
    And He was numbered with the transgressors,
    And He bore the sin of many,
    And made intercession for the transgressors.

    But even in all this, He knew that at the moment He took His final breath and said, “It is finished,” bowed His head and ‘gave up the ghost’ (John 19:30), He would have accomplished the perfect sacrifice. It wasn’t until His death that God would be completely satisfied with the sacrifice. At that moment, Jesus “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

    I don’t think He could have fully completed the perfect sacrifice unless He had been rejected by God, because of sin. If Christ didn’t pay the full price, then we’re still in our sins.

    Again, just my opinion, and I agree that we don’t fully understand all of this, nor do we have to fully agree on all this. 🙂

  7. 3-25-2008

    I meant to add at the end, but forgot, that I agree that there is both anguish and hope in Jesus’ cry, due to all that was happening in the moment and due to all that He knew it was ultimately accomplishing.

  8. 3-25-2008


    I agree with almost everything that you’ve said. However, I think that sin can be in the presence of God. I think we witness this in Scripture and we live it every day. Can you help me understand what you mean by the phrase, “There can be no sin in the presence of God”?


  9. 3-25-2008

    However, I think that sin can be in the presence of God.

    That was the point I was trying to make earlier about God coming to find Adam and Eve.

    The traditional teaching is that sin cannot be in the presence of God, therefore when Jesus became sin, God had to turn his back on him.

    But I can’t find scriptural backing for the notion that sin can’t be in the presence of God — unless by that we refer to the fact that sinners often hide from the presence of God (again, see Adam and Eve).

  10. 3-25-2008

    Hi guys,

    I’ll gladly attempt to share where I’m coming from, and I’ll try to be brief. Although in this case that will be impossible for me. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll make some sweeping generalizations that in the grand scheme need corroboration, but I’ll just say for now that this is where I’m at right now in my scriptural understanding of things.

    I’ll first say that I’m coming from the perspective of a trichotomous view of man; that is, man is made up of 3 distinct parts: body, soul and spirit. The spirit, I believe, is the core, the reality of who we are. Man is a spirit. He (a spirit) happens to dwell temporarily in a body here on earth and he has a soul. I would describe the soul as the mind, will, emotions, etc. Again, I’m speaking in generalities.

    When Adam was created, I believe His spirit was “alive to God.” God said that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. So when he ate from the tree, what died? His body didn’t die – although it eventually would die. However, a dead body wasn’t the eternal ramification of sin. Even when our bodies die, our spirits remain. Adam’s soul didn’t die. (He still had a mind, will, emotions, etc). I believe it was his spirit that died. It died to God. He became separated from God, and was doomed to spiritual death for all eternity, unless something could be done to restore his spirit. And then, in short, what happened to Adam was passed on to all who have ever lived.

    Now, when I say that sin cannot dwell in the presence of God, I’m talking about the sin condition that dwells in the spirits of unregenerate man. This is commonly referred to as “The old man” or “the old self.” (As mentioned in Rom 6:6).

    If you notice in the Old Testament, God did not dwell in man. He “came upon” man from time to time. He spoke to man. He manifested himself to and through man and He even wrestled with man, but He did not dwell together with unregenerate man. Man’s spirit was dead to God, infected with sin, unable to be in the presence of God. But now, under the New Covenant, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, He makes regenerated man His dwelling place. We are His temple. This was not possible apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    We have been made alive together with Christ. We are alive to God again. God dwells with us even when we sin, because sin is no longer our spiritual condition. As I mentioned in a previous comment, Jesus put away sin once and for all. This is so very important in understanding our salvation, and why we still sin. The sinful actions that we commit are no longer a fruit of a sin condition, or a sin nature (although the NIV will tell you otherwise, because 23 times it incorrectly translates “sarx” as “sinful nature”). The sinful actions we commit are due to the sarx (the flesh) not our nature. (Our flesh is not our nature). Our new nature is righteous, holy, perfect. We have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. This is our new spiritual nature. However, as long as we live in these bodies (our bodies are not who we are, they are simply temporary ‘tents’), we will still deal with the flesh… which is not who we are and which is not what God dwells in.

    I’m sorry I’m being so long here. On the one hand I’m trying to cover all my bases but on the other hand I know I’m opening up more Pandora’s boxes that I could shake a stick at. 🙂

    The bottom line is that, if I’ve been clear enough in how I’ve explained my view, you can see what I mean by “sin cannot dwell in the presence of God.”

    I don’t want to burden you with the task of rebutting anything that you disagree with here. I know I’ve said a lot. 🙂 I’ll gladly discuss this further if you so desire, but I most certainly don’t want to hoard your time with a long discussion about this.

  11. 3-25-2008

    Steve and Joel,

    Thank you both for further explaining what you meant. I appreciate the discussion very much.


  12. 3-25-2008

    Joel, thank you for taking the time to share more of your thoughts. I always appreciate your tone and your thoughtful comments, so I definitely have no desire to get into a protracted argument with you over this. 🙂

    I’ll first say that I’m coming from the perspective of a trichotomous view of man; that is, man is made up of 3 distinct parts: body, soul and spirit.

    I appreciate your honesty about your presuppositions. It’s always good for us to know what the foundations of our reasoning are.

    In this case, I think I would stop right there and ask if this trichotomy is, itself, a biblical concept, or rather a reasoned one derived from various references.

    You are probably fully aware that there is debate among theologians as to whether man is dichotomous or trichotomous.

    Frankly, I don’t know where I fall on that spectrum of opinion, but I think that I would likely lean more toward a dichotomous view (i.e., “soul” and “spirit” being somewhat interchangeable terms).

    Bottom line, I think it’s a bit risky to build too much logic on either “di” or “tri”.

    Having said all that, I’m not understanding from your most recent comment how any of that has any bearing on whether or not sin can be in the presence of God.

    You said that sin cannot be in the presence of God (therefore, God would have been forced to turn his back on Jesus on the cross), yet your trichotomy explanation almost seems to give explanations for how sin can be in the presence of God.

    I’m obviously confused, yet I don’t want you to feel any need to further attempt to clarify if you don’t wish.

    It’s not a huge issue for me either way, to be honest! 🙂

    Thanks for the gracious dialogue, and we can continue if you want.

  13. 3-26-2008

    Hi Steve,

    It’s solely a ‘time’ issue, in that I love discussing this but won’t necessarily be able to take a whole lot of time with it, but I’ll gladly try to clarify what I’m saying.

    Psuche (most commonly translated “soul”) and Pneuma (most commonly translated “spirit”), are two distinct Greek words, but I think it’s true that they are sometimes used interchangeably.

    In two particular accounts, a distinction is made, but not defined. 1 Th 5:23 says, “and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless…” and Heb 4:12 talks about the living word of God “piercing even to the division of soul and spirit…”

    In the rest of the NT, I see their distinct meanings standing out within the contexts in which they’re used.

    In general, I understand “spirit” to be the part of us that has been born again (John 3:3), made a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), has become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4). It’s the part of us that was crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20) and was then made alive together with Him (Eph 2:5, Col 2:13).

    Because of the full definitions of the words (see links above), I understand the Psuche (soul) to have more to do with the mind, will and emotions. I understand the Pneuma (spirit) to be the essence of who we are; the part of us that animates our soul and body. Again, I understand that there can be some overlapping of these definitions and uses of the words.

    But overall, I see the spirit as distinct from the soul. I see the spirit as the part of us that, although was ‘alive,’ was yet ‘dead to God’ (due to being born in Adam), and then it became alive to God after being born of the Spirit.

    The Bible speaks of Christians in these ways: We are the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). We have been perfected forever (Heb 10:14). We have become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), born again, made a new creation, etc, etc.

    According to my understanding of the soul, all of the above has not happened in my soul, nor my body. It’s obvious that my body is not perfect. 🙂 Nor has my body been born again! And as I look at my soul, same thing. If my soul was a partaker of the divine nature, I would never make bad decisions. I would never sin. I would never rebel against God’s ways. I would never think bad thoughts.

    As that verse from Hebrews says, God has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. I believe that in my spirit I have been perfected forever and become a partaker of the divine nature, but my soul is still in a process of sanctification.

    Unfortunately I’m running out of time right now. Got to get ready for work.

    Quickly then, the reason I would say all this means that sin cannot be in the presence of God is because our spirits died to God (because of Adam), and God could not have any relationship with our spirits until they were made alive together with Christ. When we were born again, God came to live in us.

    Hope this clarifies what I’m saying, but if not I’ll try to clarify some more. As with you, this is not something that makes me sleepless. 🙂 But I do think it’s important, and I enjoy discussing it.

  14. 3-26-2008


    Thanks for the further explanation. Even with the tripartite division, are you saying that God can be present with our spirits but not with our bodies or souls? Was this true when Jesus walked the earth? Wasn’t God in the presence of sin then?


  15. 3-26-2008

    Hi Alan,

    Those are great questions, and not that I have the definitive answer to them but my thought for the first question would be to say that our spirit is actually who we are. We ‘are’ a spirit. (Period). That’s the very essence of who we are.

    We (a spirit) have a soul (mind, will, emotions) and we (a spirit) live in a body (temporarily). God is present with us in our spirit. If someone is not born again, God is not present in their spirit. They are separated from God. If we (born again people) are led by the Spirit, our souls (mind, will, emotions) and bodies are animated from within our spirit (which is one spirit with God – 1 Cor 6:17). In other words, to answer your question, it is our spirit that God indwells (not our souls our bodies).

    All people can know about God through our souls and bodies (this means anyone, born-again or not – see Romans 1, “what can be known of God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them”), but I I’d say that He is not “present” in our souls and bodies. He is only present in the spirits of born again people.

    As I previously noted, I see in the OT that God never came and indwelled unregenerate man. He “came upon” them, He spoke to them, He loved them, He gave them prophesies, and so on and so on, but His actual presence never touched their unregenerate spirits.

    In response to whether God was present with sin when Jesus walked the earth, I’d say He was not. Jesus was without sin. (Heb 4:15, 2 Cor 5:21). And this leads me back to my point (which again, I’m not adamant about, but all this is why it makes sense to me) that during the time when God did make Jesus to be sin for us, Jesus experienced temporary separation from the Father.

    Again, I don’t mean to be hoarding your blog with my long comments, but short answers are hard for me when it comes to this sort of thing. 🙂 I welcome any and all counter thoughts, or if you’d rather leave it be, that’s great too!

  16. 3-27-2008

    Joel, fascinating continued discussion, and again I so appreciate your spirit (or would that be soul? hehe) in all of this.

    As I previously noted, I see in the OT that God never came and indwelled unregenerate man. He “came upon” them….

    I think this shows where you may be pushing some words a little too far and making finer distinctions than intended by the text.

    For example, in Luke 4:18, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1 in saying “The spirit of the Lord is upon me….” So was God not actually indwelling Jesus’ spirit?

    I’m just askin’ 😉

    Seriously, though, you have some great points. I just think you might be pushing the definitions a bit far.

    There also seems to be one major flaw in your logic. You see the idea (whether correct or not) that God did not actually indwell people in the OT because of the lack of true covering for their sins and then you derive from that a conclusion that God cannot have sin in his presence. From that, then, you conclude that God must have forsaken Jesus on the cross because Jesus was sin. To put it in bullet point form:

    1. God did not indwell people prior to the cross.
    2. Therefore, God cannot have sin in his presence.
    3. Therefore, God must have forsaken Jesus on the cross.

    I think that progression is pretty majorly flawed. Even if the first premise (God did not indwell people prior to the cross) is accurate, the second statement (God cannot have sin in his presence) is conjecture. If God didn’t indwell prior to the cross, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t. It just means that he chose not to.

    Therefore, the conclusion (God forsook Jesus) is not solid, if based on the other points.

    Your thoughts?

  17. 3-27-2008

    Hi Steve,

    You have some great thoughts. The unfortunate thing here is that while I’m attempting to be brief (always a hard thing for me), the depth of this type of discussion goes far too deep for brevity (at least in the way I know how to explain all of where I’m coming from). For example, I realize that “came upon man” and “is upon Me” sound the same, but I meant the term in a different sense, using a much broader definition of “came upon,” while “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” means something much more specific.

    As I think I previously said, each and every thing I say is probably opening up its own Pandora’s box. 🙂 Each individual thing needs much more corroboration. Each individual thing I’ve said has come about after several years of learning and growing and it’s impossible to build a full case for where I’m coming from, especially with your good and legitimate questioning of my points.

    Putting my logic into bullet form as you did, while it’s probably in the correct order of my logical thought process, also leaves out a lot of little tidbits that I’ve not been able to hone in on. My ‘conjecture’ could actually be replaced with other bits of biblical information. Instead of 3 bullet points, there would probably be 93 that perhaps would or perhaps wouldn’t satisfy anyone but me. 🙂

    But either way, I highly respect you and Alan and everyone else and I think it’s been a worthwhile discussion even if we haven’t arrived at a particular agreed upon conclusion.

  18. 3-27-2008

    Joel, I understand completely your frustration with this type of discussion forum.

    I do think it’s possible to deal with individual points, however, without having to deal with the other 92 😉 (For some reason, when you said 93 bullet points, I had mental images of you nailing all 93 to a church door somewhere…hehe)

    With regard to the “upon me” reference, the only point I was trying to make is that Jesus is quoting Isaiah. If “upon me” in Jesus’ case meant that God was indwelling him, then wouldn’t the same have to be true of Isaiah’s statement since Jesus used his words?

  19. 3-27-2008

    See, Steve, your nitpicking makes it harder for me to make my points. LOL 😉

    In this case, I would say that I realize that I needed to be even more general than I was (or more specific, depending upon how you look at it), because I think that phrase “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” means the same in both Isaiah’s case and in Jesus’ case (and in many other “came upon” instances). In neither case do I think that the actual phrase itself was used to indicate an indwelling presence of the Spirit.

    Which opens up even more questions. Was Jesus indwelled by the Spirit when He walked the earth as a man? On the one hand the answer could be “yes,” in that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but on the other hand Jesus had to return to the Father in order to send the Holy Spirit. More questions, more things to discuss! But I just don’t have time for it all. 🙂

    It can’t accurately be said that I’m frustrated with all this. I used to spend hours and hours debating and discussing things like this with people. I loved every minute of it. But these days I’m simply more limited (focused?) in regards to how far I want to go in various discussions. This is basically due to the fact that I now have a broader range of friends (especially online) and I have to pick and choose how far I want to go in various discussions. I would love to go down each and every one of these roads… it’s really stimulating for me… but I’m slowly learning that I have to keep my mouth shut if I don’t want to open various doors, just because I simply don’t have the time to finish what I start. I have much more learning to do in that area!

  20. 3-27-2008

    Steve and Joel,

    I’m enjoying this discussion, especially the tone of the discussion. I appreciate how the two of you can disagree and yet maintain a brotherly attitude toward one another.


    There are passages of Scripture – such as the ones you listed – which seem to point toward a trichotomous view of man. However, there are others that seem to point toward a different view. Because of that, I think its difficult to come to a strong conclusion on that point. However, whether man is three-part, two-part, or other-part, it seems that Scripture speaks of man as a unity of those parts, not separate parts. The strict trichotomous position also has a problem with passages such as, “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”… but isn’t the heart and mind part of the soul?

    Similarly, the idea that the “spirit” of a man is the only part that is born again seems to contradict Scriptures that talk about the “soul” (mind, heart, etc.) being affected and even the “body” being affected by regeneration. For example: “We have the mind of Christ.” “Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.” “Whoever finds his life (soul – psuche) will lose it, and whoever loses his life (soul – psuche) for my sake will save it.” There are many others.

    But, again, those are minor things. I’ve also been taught the various views of the make-up of man – dichotomy, trichotomy, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t think either view takes into account all of Scripture. Perhaps these views are trying to answer questions that Scripture doesn’t ask or answer, so we are left to speculate, infer, and extrapolate. I think that’s fine, and important, as long as we take all the evidence into account.


  21. 3-28-2008

    Hi Alan,

    I agree that many of these things are minor in the grand scheme of things, in that we’re still who we are whether we fully understand it all or not, and whether we agree on all the details or not.

    I heavily lean towards the trichotomous view (I have many thoughts regarding of the verses you brought up), but I have friends who hold the dichotomy view and I recently heard of someone with a quadripartite view – body, soul, spirit… and heart being a fourth distinct part of man.

    Scripture itself doesn’t necessarily “define” each of the words (heart, soul, mind, flesh, body, spirit, etc), but since we have Greek definitions and we can see each word used in various contexts, we can understand general meanings of the words. However, at the same time I agree that the whole counsel of scripture is needed for the clearest picture, and I know of no one (especially myself) who has a hold on that. 🙂