555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

198. What Does the Word "Spiritual" Really Mean?




The word is one which Christians ought to guard zealously in religious phraseology. There is a recent tendency to use the word in a loose sense, giving it merely its philosophical or scientific meaning rather than its real Bible and theological significance. In secular phraseology the word means: relating to spirit, rather than to matter. Many varying shades of meaning grow out of this basic idea: one poet may be more spiritual than another; one artist than another; one musician than another. In this sense the word implies a relation to thoughts, emotions, impulses, connected with the soul of a man rather than his body. But the Christian use of the word is distinctive. It is given as the third definition of the word in the Standard Dictionary: "Of or relating to the soul as acted on by the Holy Spirit." An apt quotation from Henry Drummond is given: "The spiritual life is the gift of the living Spirit The spiritual man is no mere development of the natural man. He is a new creation, born from above." In Christian phrase ology, then, a man is spiritual as he is possessed, filled and dominated by the Holy Spirit