Flesh

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in the Old Testament denotes

(1) a particular part of the body of man and animals (Gen 2:21; Gen 41:2; Ps 102:5, marg.);

(2) the whole body (Ps 16:9);

(3) all living things having flesh, and particularly humanity as a whole (Gen 6:12f);

(4) mutability and weakness (2Chr 32:8; comp. Isa 31:3; Ps 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" (Jdg 9:2; Isa 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" (Rom 6:19; Mt 16:17). Being "in the flesh" means being unrenewed (Rom 7:5; Rom 8:8ff), and to live "according to the flesh" is to live and act sinfully (Rom 8:4ff).

This word also denotes the human nature of Christ (Jn 1:14, "The Word was made flesh." Comp. also 1 Tim 3:16; Rom 1:3).


This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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