In looking at
the trinity of God and that man was made in the image of God, it
is necessary to discuss what the Bible calls the heart.
The Hebrew Old Testament word for heart is lebab. It
means the most interior organ, and leb is used to
describe feelings, will, and even intellect. It is found seven
hundred and ninety five times in the O.T.
The Greek New Testament word kardia, meaning the heart,
or figuratively, thoughts and feelings, is found one hundred and
Both God and man are spoken of as having thoughts or feelings
from the heart. They are so closely patterned that God said of
David, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine
own heart.” However, the heart is not a separate attribute
of the Triune God, neither is it separate from the three parts
of man’s nature. It is of an interesting note that even the
angels and animals are also spoken of as having thoughts and
feelings of the heart, though different from that of man or God.
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his
heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's
sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his
youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing
living, as I have done.
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be
their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have
found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart,
which shall fulfil all my will.
Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart
be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was
made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild
asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet
with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God
ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it
whomsoever he will.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will
sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like
the most High.
Most of what
we attribute to the soul is spoken of as coming from, or
residing in the heart. Man’s evil deeds are said to originate
from the heart—“out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.”
Thoughts however, as we have put forth, are an attribute of the
soul, coming from the mind. Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she
heard the testimony of the shepherds, “kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart.” However, other verses such
as, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” lead us to
believe that the heart and mind are different entities.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth
from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said,
Wherefore think ye evil in your
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?
But Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in
your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that
they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
So also, from
the heart we experience love, sorrow, anguish, hatred, pride,
and other emotions, an attribute we have again assigned to the
soul. In the great commandment, we are told to “love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart”; however, in the same verse it
says, “and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and
with all thy mind”. Therefore, we cannot merely say that the
heart is the same as the soul.
But because I have said these things unto you,
sorrow hath filled your heart.
2 Cor 2:4
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote
unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but
that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou
shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon
Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his
heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and
slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he
hated him not in time past.
Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD
thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from
the house of bondage;
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,
and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
aspect that we have attributed to the soul is that of our will;
but with, and from the heart we are to desire, seek, set,
devise, purpose, and obey—which are all functions of the will.
However, again, we may not be able to say that the heart and
soul are one, because the Scripture differentiates between the
two in the following verse,
“if thou seek him with all thy
heart and with all thy soul.”
15:15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn
with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire;
and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round
22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your
God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD
God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy
vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name
of the LORD.
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile
himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the
wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the
eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and
exhorted them all, that
with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
2 Cor 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let
him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye
have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt
find him, if thou seek
him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
We also find
in the Scriptures, verses that link the heart to the spiritual
part of man’s nature. Indeed, many verses teach that it is in
the heart where our spirit abides. Furthermore, it is where the
Holy Spirit abides in those who have trusted Christ. The devil
also communicates to our spiritual nature, as in the case of
Judas, through what is called the heart.
1 Pet 3:4
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which
is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of
his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye,
being rooted and grounded in love,
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the
heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
the Bible, we find that the conscience, or God consciousness, is
a remnant or attribute of our spiritual nature. However, we find
that this function of our spiritual being is also linked to the
heart. Nevertheless, just as with the soul, we may not say that
the heart is the same as the spirit—
“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness.”
1 Sam 24:5
And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him,
because he had cut off Saul's skirt.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart,
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and
brethren, what shall we do?
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and
our bodies washed with pure water.
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean
while accusing or else excusing one another;)
part of man’s nature, the body, is also linked to the heart.
Aside from the obvious fact that we have an internal organ by
the same name, we must not be so naïve as to believe that that
is what the Scripture is referring to. There are instances where
that is the case; but the real meaning has more to do with the
physiological impact upon our being through the brain, nervous
system, the five senses, and most importantly, what is called
the enteric nervous system. Enteric is Greek for
intestine, or the second brain, consisting of our
esophagus, stomach, and intestines. This system contains over
half of the nerve cells in our body, and has a great deal to due
with our physical as well as our emotional state. Although we
are not always conscious of its impact upon our lives, we have
all had gut feelings, butterflies, or a sick
feeling (not nausea caused by diseases) in the
stomach. It is also through this system whereby the foods we
eat, drugs, and intoxicants enter our bloodstream and have a
direct impact upon our emotional lives. Can a person who is
starving or has some deficiency in their diet be contented or
emotionally happy? It would be difficult indeed. The Scripture
also links wine and other alcoholic beverages to changes in our
moods and our overall attitude. This does not even begin to
probe the depth of all the different drugs that man has produced
that alter our psychic in a myriad of ways. These all impact us
through this Enteric system. However, again, as with the
soul and spirit, the Scripture differentiates between the heart
and the body—“My flesh and my heart faileth.” So we may
not say that the heart and body are one and the same.
25:37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone
out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that
his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
18:14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he
took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the
heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast
ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the
sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax; it
is melted in the midst of my bowels.
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within
us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened
to us the scriptures?
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of
his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe
on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given;
because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with
wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and
Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served
in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to
make his face to shine,
and bread which strengtheneth man's heart
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,
and wine unto those that be of
Whoredom and wine and
new wine take away the heart.
Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did
good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons,
filling our hearts with food
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye
have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of
my heart, and my portion for ever.
we can associate the attributes of the body, soul, and spirit
with the heart; and yet the Bible makes a distinction between
these parts of man and the heart; what definition may we give to
this word that is so plentifully used throughout the Scripture?
To answer this it would be helpful here to use other references
to the heart besides those that relate to man. Jesus, when he
spoke of His burial and the time He would spend in Paradise—the
place where the Old Testament saints awaited their
resurrection—said, “so shall the Son of man be three days and
three nights in the heart of the earth.” The literal meaning
is that Paradise was in the center of the earth. His body would
lie in the grave, but His soul would descend to this place for
three days and nights. In another reference to heart,
Moses and the children of Israel sang a song of how the Lord had
parted the Red Sea and how “the depths were congealed in the
heart of the sea.” Both of these verses ascribe to heart the
meaning of center, inward, or middle, just as it is the literal
meaning of the word for the heart and other organs of the
body—those organs being in the interior of man. However, if we
apply this meaning in a non-literal way, we are speaking of the
inner life of man—those thoughts, feelings, emotions,
sensations, spiritual awareness, and convictions that are the
product of the body, soul, and/or spirit of man. The heart
therefore, is a wide-ranging term applied to the inner man,
without making any distinction in his triune nature. It is a
general characterization of all the operations of man that
affect the course of man’s life, whether physically,
psychologically, or spiritually.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights
in the heart of the
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee,
To day shalt thou be with me in
And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered
together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths
were congealed in the
heart of the sea.
Who hath put wisdom in
the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire
burned: then spake I with my tongue,
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house
of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my
law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and
will be their God, and they shall be my people.
It is also
the heart, the inner man that must be converted. It is with the
heart that man must believe in Christ unto salvation. It is also
here where God’s Spirit comes to dwell in His children, that He
might regenerate the whole of man. God works to redeem us from
the inside out. He is not interested in just putting a coat of
paint upon an old house—our flesh. He is gutting the house and
making it all brand new.
2 Cor 4:6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from
the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2 Cor 1:22
Who hath also sealed us,
and given the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,
to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the
breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that
ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Create in me a clean
heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
And I will give them one
heart, and I will put a
new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of
their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
we are admonished to “keep thy heart with all diligence.”
We are to guard against all the influences that may affect our
inner man, and the decisions that come forth as a result of
those influences. We are especially to be careful not to have a
“double heart”—one which seeks to follow the Lord, but
also covets the things of this life. Our hearts must be purified
and united to “worship
the Lord thy God, and him only … serve.”
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the
issues of life.
They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering
lips and with a double
heart do they speak.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your
hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the
LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
for they shall return
unto me with their whole heart.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me
with all your heart.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan:
for it is written, Thou
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.