Bible Studies/breath of life


Passages in both the old and new testament indicate that either God the father or Jesus imparted God's spirit or the breath of life upon people. Does this mean that the human race does not always have the breath of life and has it only at certain times?

Hi Colin,

You asked whether the breath of life is temporary or permanent in humans.

The short answer, without trying to be either cute or rude, is that we have the breath of life as long as we are breathing, and after we stop breathing, we no longer have it.

Psa. 104:29 ". . .you (God) take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust."
In Isa. 2:22, (in the context of not worshipping idols, nor being followers of) man, ". . .whose breath is in his nostrils:"

However, there is an overlap between the breath of life and the subject of what is the human soul, and what is its nature.  Perhaps this is what you had in mind in asking your question.

In Gen. 2:7, we see that God formed the first man out of dust (and water), but he was not alive, or "living" until God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.  Without oxygen, the body does not work.  Without the body working, it does not get oxygen. It is somewhat like the chicken and egg question, [which is one reason scientists, trying to prove evolution, argue over which subatomic cell functions evolved first when they can only work concurrently.]  Only here, we are told that God created the body of Adam and somehow jump-started the circulatory system.  It is described in terms that are easy to understand, somewhat like a "mouth to mouth" resuscitation.  

We also notice in v. 7, that when God "breathed" life-giving oxygen into Adam's nostrils, "man became a living soul".  This says that man became a soul, not that he was given one.  In Gen. 3:19, Adam was told that came from dust and would "return" to dust.  We are told in Eze. 18:4, 20, ". . .the soul that sins, it shall die" [not live in torment].   "His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psa. 146:4).

For a scriptural explanation of what happens at death, see "Okay, I'm Dead, Now What?" at

In referencing the new testament, we assume you are referring to Acts 17:25.  
If, however, you had Jn. 20:22 in mind, where "he breathed on them and said unto them, Receive you the holy ghost (spirit)", then please resubmit your question, as we do not want to take space to address this here, if this was not your question.  
The holy spirit is something that God gives (2Kings 2:9, Eze. 37:14, Joel 2:28-29, Lk. 11:13, 2Tim. 1:7), that can be in us (Gen. 41:38, Num. 27:18), that we can "quench" (extinguish, like a fire) within ourselves (1Ths. 5:19), and it can be taken away from us (1Sam. 16:14, Psa. 51:11).

If we did not properly understand your question, or if you have other questions on this or other subjects, such as the nature of the human soul, or the nature of God's holy spirit,  feel free to write anytime.  All scriptures are KJV unless noted otherwise.

We hope this helps.


Mel and Guyna

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Mel and Guyna Horne


Anyone can read the Bible but sometimes it helps to have someone assist with the understanding (Acts 8:26-40). Truth comes from God through his holy spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13, 1Cor. 2:12), which is available to anyone who believes, repents and seeks God fervently and wholeheartedly, with humility, faith and persistence (Mat. 7:7, Deu. 4:29, Isa. 66:2, Jas. 4:1-10, Phil. 2:12). Truth is not limited to, or by, manís religious organizations, church traditions, popular beliefs or personal opinions (Jn. 8:32, 14:6). We will try to help anyone who is trying to understand scripture or Christian living. [Please do not submit homework questions as they will be rejected.]


Over 50 years of personal study of the entire Bible (Deu. 8:3, Mat. 4:4, 2Tim. 3:16, Deu. 4:12, Rev. 22:18). B.A. in Theology with continuing studies in religious history and education (2Tim 2:15, 1Ths. 5:21). Years of informal counseling of young adults, teens, couples, and prisoners, based on scripture and on actual life experience in the world outside of classrooms and church buildings and including a long and happy marriage. After years of experience with organized religion, we are non-denominational. Publications:; on God's Holy Days, Lying, the Sacred Names Doctrine; articles on Terrorism and Islam, the Gospel of Christ, Preparing Yourself for Life in the Kingdom of Christ; What Happens After Death

Organizations are of men, not God. While God may use some of them to facilitate his plan, organizations train their people to follow, not to lead. God was able to create the whole Creation, as we see it, in only six days, because he did not use a committee. Ten years after 9/11, the only thing approved for construction at the New York site was a mosque.

"If a man would teach others, he must first teach himself." - Source Unknown. B.A. in Theology, over 50 years of personal study, the last sixteen of which have been full time study and research resulting in publication of several books and many articles.

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