We do not possess a soul, we are a soul.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Using Strong’s Concordance: Soul <05315> nephesh
Translated in the King James Version – ‘soul’ 475 times, ‘life’ 117 times, ‘person’ 29 times, ‘mind’ 15 times, ‘heart’ 15 times, ‘creature’ 9 times, ‘body’ 8 times, ‘himself’ 8 times, ‘yourselves’ 6 times, ‘dead’ 5 times, ‘will’ 4 times, ‘desire’ 4 times, ‘man’ 3 times, ‘themselves’ 3 times, ‘any’ 3 times, ‘appetite’ 2 times, misc 47 times
Animals are souls
Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature [ <05315> nephesh – soul ] that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [ <05315> nephesh – soul ] after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
As a living soul we are not immortal. Souls that sin are condemned to death.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
When we die we become a dead soul.
The translators of the English Bible have obscured this by translating the Hebrew for dead ‘soul’ as dead ‘body’.
Leviticus 21:11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body [ <05315> nephesh – soul ], nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
Numbers 6:6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body [ <05315> nephesh – soul ].
Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body [ <05315> nephesh – soul ] of any man shall be unclean seven days.
When we go to the grave, our soul goes to the grave.
Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?
Jesus’ soul, for example, was in the grave prior to his resurrection.
Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol – the grave); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades – the grave), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
When we die, our faculties perish and we corrupt back into dust.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
In the grave we are unconscious.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing,
Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Because we are unconscious, death is spoken of as ‘sleep’.
1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
We do not go to heaven when we die.
Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens:
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
The hope of salvation in the Bible is not that of an immortal soul, but that of resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Immortality is the reward given only to the faithful.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Not all will be raised from the dead. Those who are ignorant of God’s purpose will remain in the grave forever.
Psalms 49:20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
Those who are aware of God’s purpose will be raised from the dead to be judged.
The faithful (those who have tried to live by God’s commandments) will be given eternal life.The unfaithful (those who reject God’s commandments) will die again and perish forever.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
This resurrection to judgment will take place when Christ returns.
Acts 17:31 Because he (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
The idea of a place called hell where souls are tormented comes from pagan philosophy.
The Hebrew and Greek words (sheol and hades respectively) translated ‘hell’ refer to the grave.
We all die because we all sin.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
To be saved from death we need our sins to be forgiven.
If we want our sins forgiven we must believe and obey the gospel preached by Jesus Christ and his apostles.
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
When we understand the Gospel, God requires a response from us.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
From this we see that if we want salvation from death we must:
1. Believe the Gospel
2. Repent of our sinful way of life (change the way we live).
3. Be baptised by immersion in water for the remission of our past sins.
4. Live a new life by the commandments of Jesus Christ.
We cannot live a sinless life. After baptism we will still sin, but providing we are making a conscious effort to live by the commandments of Christ our sins will be forgiven by confession in prayer.
1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Without baptism into Christ, we are without hope of salvation, for we are still in our sins.
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Without hope of salvation our soul dies and remains in the grave forever.
I hope you find this helpful.