Gr., ψυχή (psy·kheʹ); Lat., aʹni·ma; Heb., נפש (neʹphesh)
In the Christian Greek Scriptures the Greek word psy·kheʹ occurs by itself 102 times, first in Matthew 2:20. This includes Ephesians 6:6 and Colossians 3:23, where it is in the expression “whole-souled.” Additionally it is used in many compound Greek words such as in Philippians 2:2, 19; 1 Thessalonians 5:14. The New World Translation consistently renders psy·kheʹ as “soul.” This uniform rendering by the same English word proves very enlightening as to how the inspired writers used psy·kheʹ and what properties they ascribed to it.
In the Hebrew Scriptures the Hebrew word neʹphesh occurs 754 times, first in Genesis 1:20. The New World Translation consistently renders it “soul” and in each case it proves understandable in the light of its context. The use of this one Hebrew word in many different contexts helps us to ascertain the basic idea inherent in the word as the Bible writers used it, namely, that it is a person, an individual, or a lower creature; or, the life that a person or an animal enjoys as such. This is totally different from what the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans religiously and philosophically called a soul.
To aid in understanding the uses of “soul,” we have grouped below, under various headings, texts where “soul” occurs.
Animals are souls
A living person or individual is a soul
The creature soul is mortal, destructible
Life as an intelligent person
Soul delivered from Hades (“hell”)
Soul distinguished from spirit
God has soul