ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia


This word has various meanings in the Bible.

In the Old Testament, it denotes:

  1. a particular part of the body of man and animals (Genesis 2:21; 41:2; Psalms 102:5, marginal note.)

  2. the whole body (Psalms 16:9)

  3. all living things having flesh, and particularly humanity as a whole (Genesis 6:12-13)

  4. mutability and weakness (2 Chronicles 32:8; compare Isaiah 31:3; Psalms 78:39).

    As suggesting the idea of softness it is used in the expression “heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). The expression “my flesh and bone” (Judges 9:2; Isaiah 58:7) denotes relationship.

In the New Testament, besides these it is also used to denote the sinful element of human nature as opposed to the “Spirit” (Romans 6:19; Matthew 16:17). Being “in the flesh” means being unrenewed (Romans 7:5; 8:8-9), and to live “according to the flesh” is to live and act sinfully (Romans 8:4-5, 7, 12).

This word also denotes the human nature of Christ (John 1:14, “The Word was made flesh.” Compare also 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:3).