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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

pur'-sun, pur'-s'n, pur-un-al'-ti (nephesh, 'ish, 'adham, panim, prosopon, hupostasis): The most frequent word for "person" in the Old Testament is nephesh, "soul" (Genesis 14:21, "Give me the persons, and take the goods"; Genesis 36:6, the King James Version "all the persons" Numbers 5:6 the King James Version "that person," etc.) 'ish "a man," "an individual," Is also used (Judges 9:2, "threescore and ten persons"; 1 Samuel 16:18, "a comely person," etc.); 'adham, "a man," "a human being" (Numbers 31:28, "of the persons, and of the oxen"; Proverbs 6:12, "a worthless person," etc.); 'enosh, "a man," "a weak, mortal man," occurs twice (Judges 9:4, the King James Version "vain and light persons"; Zephaniah 3:4); ba`al, "owner," "lord," is once translated "person" (Proverbs 24:8, the King James Version "a mischievous person"), and methim, "men," once (Psalm 26:4, the King James Version "vain persons"); panim "face," is frequently translated "person" when the reference is to the external appearance, as of persons in high places, rich persons who could favor or bribe, etc., chiefly in the phrases "regarding the person," "accepting the person" (Deuteronomy 10:17 Malachi 1:8).

In the New Testament prosopon, "face," "countenance," stands in the same connection (Matthew 22:16,"Thou regardest not the person of men"; Galatians 2:6, "God accepteth not man's person"; Acts 10:34, "God is no respecter of persons"; Romans 2:11, "there is no respect of persons with God"; Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 James 2:1, 9); in 2 Corinthians 1:11 we have "persons" (prosopon), absolute as in the later Greek, "the gift bestowed.... by many persons," the only occurrence in the New Testament; in 2 Corinthians 2:10 prosopon may stand for "presence," as the Revised Version (British and American) "in the presence of Christ," but it might mean "as representing Christ"; in Hebrews 1:3, the King James Version hupostasis, "that which lies under," substratum, is rendered "person," "the express image of his person," i.e. of God, which the Revised Version (British and American) renders "the very image of his substance," margin "the impress of his substance," i.e. the manifestation or expression of the invisible God and Father. "Person" is also frequently supplied as the substantive implied in various adjectives, etc., e.g. profane, perjured, vile.

In the Apocrypha we have prosopon translated "person" (Judith 7:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "face"; Ecclesiasticus 10:5, etc.); the "accepting of persons" is condemned (The Wisdom of Solomon 6:7; Ecclesiasticus 4:22, 27; 7:06; 20:22, the Revised Version (British and American) "by a foolish countenance"; 35:13:00; 42:01:00; "With him (God) is no respect of persons, Ecclesiasticus 35:12).

The Revised Version (British and American) has "soul" for "person" (Numbers 5:6), "face" (Jeremiah 52:25), "man" (Matthew 27:24); "reprobate" for "vile person" (Psalm 15:4), the American Standard Revised Version, the English Revised Version margin "fool" (Isaiah 32:5, 6); the American Standard Revised Version "men of falsehood" for "vain persons" (Psalm 26:4); for "a wicked person," the Revised Version (British and American) has "an evil thing" (Psalm 101:4); "back to thee in his own person" (auton, different text) for "again thou therefore receive him" (Philemon 1:12); "take away life" for "respect any person" (2 Samuel 14:14); "with seven others" for "the eighth person" (2 Peter 2:5); "false swearers" for "perjured persons" (1 Timothy 1:10); "seven thousand persons" for "of men seven thousand" (Revelation 11:13).

Personality is that which constitutes and characterizes a person. The word "person" (Latin, persona) is derived from the mask through which an actor spoke his part (persona). "From being applied to the mask, it came next to be applied to the actor, then to the character acted, then to any assumed character, then to anyone having any character or station"; lastly, it came to mean an individual, a feeling, thinking and acting being. For full personality there must be self-consciousness, with the capability of free thought and action-self-determination-hence, we speak of personal character, personal action, etc. A person is thus a responsible being, while an animal is not. Personality is distinctive of man. The personality is the unit of the entire rational being, perhaps most clearly represented by "the will"; it is that which is deepest in man, belonging, of course, not to the realm of space or the region of the visible, but existing as a spiritual reality in time, with a destiny beyond it. It is the substance (hupostasis) of the being, that which underlies all its manifestations; hence, the rendering "the express image of his person" in Hebrews 1:3 the King James Version. Hupostasis was employed by the early Greek Fathers to express what the Latins intended by persona; afterward prosopon was introduced.

Recent psychology has brought into prominence elements in the subconscious realm, the relation of which to the personality is obscure. There seems to be more in each individual than is normally expressed in the personal consciousness and action. The real, responsible personality, however, is something which is always being formed. The phenomenon of double personality is pathological, as truly the result of brain disease as is insanity.

In the Bible man is throughout regarded as personal, although it was only gradually that the full importance of the individual as distinct from the nation was realized. The use of prosopon for "person" indicates also a more external conception of personality than the modern. With the Hebrews the nephesh was the seat of personality, e.g. "Thou wilt not leave my soul (nephesh) to Sheol" (Psalm 16:10); "Thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol" (Psalm 30:3). God is also always regarded as personal (who has created man in His own image), and although the representations seem often anthropomorphic they are not really such. The divine personality could only be conceived after the analogy of the human, as far as it could be definitely conceived at all; but God was regarded as transcending, not only the whole of Nature, but all that, is human, e.g. "God is not a man, that he should lie" (Numbers 23:19 1 Samuel 15:29); "Canst thou by searching find out God?" (Job 11:7 Isaiah 40:28; compare Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ecclesiastes 8:17, etc.). In the New Testament the personality of God is, on the warrant of Jesus Himself, conceived after the analogy of human fatherhood, yet as transcending all our human conceptions: "How much more?" (Matthew 7:11); "Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?" (Romans 11:34). Man is body, soul and spirit, but God in Himself is Spirit, infinite, perfect, ethical Spirit (Matthew 5:48 John 4:24). He is forever more than all that is created, "For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things" (Romans 11:36). The human personality, being spiritual, survives bodily dissolution and in Christ becomes clothed again with a spiritual body (Philippians 3:21 1 Corinthians 15:44).

W. L. Walker




The Personality of the Holy Ghost
... The Personality of the Holy Ghost. A Sermon (No.4). ... I. First of all, we shall have
some little instruction concerning the proper personality of the Holy Spirit. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 1 1855/the personality of the holy.htm

Professionalism and Personality
... LXXI PROFESSIONALISM AND PERSONALITY. 1 Corinthians xii.31. The wonderful chapter
which follows this verse becomes still more interesting ...
/.../peabody/mornings in the college chapel/lxxi professionalism and personality.htm

Whether the Nature Abstracted from the Personality Can Assume?
the Nature abstracted from the Personality can assume? ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether the nature abstracted from.htm

Self-Sacrifice and Personality. March 6.
... Self-sacrifice and Personality. March 6. ... Self-sacrifice, instead of destroying
the sense of personality, perfects it. MS. Letter. 1843. ...
/.../kingsley/daily thoughts /self-sacrifice and personality march 6.htm

Prayer is Projecting One's Spirit Personality.
... Prayer the Deciding Factor in a Spirit Conflict Prayer is Projecting One's
Spirit Personality. Now prayer is a spirit force, it ...
/.../gordon/quiet talks on prayer/prayer is projecting ones spirit.htm

Introductory. Thesis: the Co-Eternal Personality of the Son or ...
... Chapter II. Section 1. Introductory. Thesis: the co-eternal personality of
the Son or Word. Sec. Sec. 2-5. Those who, while rejecting ...
/.../select works and letters or athanasius/section 1 introductory thesis the.htm

The Mystery of Personality
... The Mystery of Personality. "There is not one of us but in some measure
is in his debt." "The Cincinnati Enquirer. 7. "All the hold ...
/.../herrick/frank h nelson of cincinnati/the mystery of personality.htm

The Personality of Power.
... THE PERSONALITY OF POWER. A Personally Conducted Journey. Everyone enjoys
the pleasure of travel; but nearly all shrink back from ...
/.../ talks on power/the personality of power.htm

The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
... CHAPTER I. THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. ... I. All the distinctive characteristics
of personality are ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. ...
/.../torrey/the person and work of the holy spirit/chapter i the personality of.htm

A Brief Reference to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke their ...
... St. Matthew and St. Luke Their Agreement with St. John, in Respect to the
Distinct Personality of the Father and the Son. In addition ...
/.../tertullian/against praxeas/chapter xxvi a brief reference to.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) That which constitutes distinction of person; individuality.

2. (n.) Something said or written which refers to the person, conduct, etc., of some individual, especially something of a disparaging or offensive nature; personal remarks; as, indulgence in personalities.

3. (n.) That quality of a law which concerns the condition, state, and capacity of persons.

... persons. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. PERSON, PERSONALITY. pur ... 13). Personality
is that which constitutes and characterizes a person. The ...
/p/personality.htm - 16k

... and all the gods were but men who had died; (2) "Animism," which traces religion
to early man's fancy that every object in Nature had a personality like his own ...
/c/comparative.htm - 29k

Choose (116 Occurrences)
... As the conception of personality and of individual relation and responsibility to
God developed from Ezekiel onward, together with the resulting doctrine of ...
/c/choose.htm - 54k

Chosen (197 Occurrences)
... As the conception of personality and of individual relation and responsibility to
God developed from Ezekiel onward, together with the resulting doctrine of ...
/c/chosen.htm - 53k

Woman (4043 Occurrences)
... The narrative of the Fall (Genesis 3) ascribes to woman supremacy of influence,
for through her stronger personality man was led to disobedience of God's ...
/w/woman.htm - 45k

Messiah (9 Occurrences)
... God" 2. Attitude of Jesus to the Messiahship 3. The Christian Transformation 4.
New Elements Added (1) Future Manifestation (2) Divine Personality (3) Heavenly ...
/m/messiah.htm - 43k

Creator (19 Occurrences)
... creating something out of nothing, but an expression of God, as the Absolute Reason,
under the forms of time and space, causality and finite personality. ...
/c/creator.htm - 15k

Gifts (144 Occurrences)
... is a person of great faith (Matthew 17:19 f), while his power of inspiring the patient
with confidence points to the possession of strong, magnetic personality...
/g/gifts.htm - 61k

Image (126 Occurrences)
... moral law. This gives man his position of lordship in creation, and invests
his being with the sanctity of personality. The image ...
/i/image.htm - 60k

... the Semites 4. Confusion with Other Races 5. Reliability of Genesis 10 6. Semitic
Languages 7. Semitic Religion (1) Its Peculiar Theism (2) Personality of God ...
/s/semites.htm - 27k



Related Terms


Choose (116 Occurrences)

Chosen (197 Occurrences)

Woman (4043 Occurrences)

Messiah (9 Occurrences)

Creator (19 Occurrences)

Gifts (144 Occurrences)

Image (126 Occurrences)





Life (6001 Occurrences)



Dreamer (4 Occurrences)

Person (807 Occurrences)

Immortal (3 Occurrences)

Immortality (6 Occurrences)

Personal (15 Occurrences)

Personally (8 Occurrences)

Dream (82 Occurrences)

Testament (13 Occurrences)

Jeroboam (96 Occurrences)

Satan (50 Occurrences)

Adam (29 Occurrences)

Creation (35 Occurrences)




Job (60 Occurrences)

Holy (1097 Occurrences)


Zeruiah (25 Occurrences)

Oracle (57 Occurrences)

Lot (145 Occurrences)

Godhead (5 Occurrences)

Guilt (180 Occurrences)


Maachah (19 Occurrences)

Maacah (30 Occurrences)

Mordecai (52 Occurrences)

Presence (527 Occurrences)

Python (6 Occurrences)

Prayer (406 Occurrences)



Astonied (12 Occurrences)

Astonished (92 Occurrences)

Amazed (75 Occurrences)


Self (28 Occurrences)

Shoulder (72 Occurrences)


Eli (36 Occurrences)


Healing (60 Occurrences)

Preaching (116 Occurrences)

Blasphemy (15 Occurrences)



Family (438 Occurrences)

Infinite (8 Occurrences)

Charity (29 Occurrences)

Hymenaeus (2 Occurrences)

Figure (19 Occurrences)

Will (64996 Occurrences)


Jericho (59 Occurrences)


God (45911 Occurrences)

Soul (554 Occurrences)




Wrath (503 Occurrences)

General (9 Occurrences)

Exaltation (9 Occurrences)

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