The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means (Notable Work)

Mind and Heart

Introduction   (7/2014)

In both the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) the word “heart” is used to refer to the whole of the innermost part of the human, NOT merely the emotions. 

Culturally

However, in the twenty-first century English the word “heart” is used to express the emotions as an individual compartment of the inner part of the human.

It is common for Americans to divide humans into the physical and the metaphysical. 

While this is a widespread insight, the way most Americans compartmentalize the internal (metaphysical) aspect of humans is diverse from many other cultures. 

heart-in-hands

We Americans tend to see people as having two separate parts, wherein one part is the emotions, which we refer to as the heart, then a brain, which houses the mind. 

The Bible does not divide man so easily – it focuses on all three making up the whole of a being – this is Biblically called the “heart.” 

Biblically

When both the Old and New Testaments speak about the heart, it never means merely human feelings (emotions).

The Biblical word “heart,” is the inner aspect of a man, made of three parts all together, with the primary part: the,

A Brain (The Mind)

1) Mental Process, which is the major part (where action & reaction take place), which is to lead a person in their life. 

2) Emotions (which only process as reaction), as icing to enrich our lives.

3) Will, the seat of the will (discretionary, volitional, decision-making) where decisions are made between the rational and the emotive. 

 The following excerpts, though thorough, are by no means exhaustive. 

Strong’s Dictionary

According to Strong’s, the Hebrew word lebab (3824) is rendered: “heart(as the most interior organ); “being, think in themselves,” “breast,” “comfortably,” “courage,” “midst,” “mind,” “unawares,” and “understanding.”

Strong’s Greek Dictionary, states that the Greek word kardia (2588) is rendered: “heart,” i.e. (figuratively), the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle.1

kardia

Ed Bulkley

According to Ed Bulkley, in his book, Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, the Scriptures use at least four terms to describe the immaterial part of man: the heart, soul, spirit, and mind.  The descriptions and functions of these aspects of man seem to overlap.

Bulkley states:

The biblical term heart (lawbab or lebab in Hebrew; kardia in Greek) is the clearest summary of the innermost center of the human being. 

Perhaps the closest psychological term to the heart is the ego, the Latin word for “I,” borrowed by Freud to denote the “self.” 

Peter describes the inner man as “the hidden man of the heart (I Peter 3:4 KJV), or the “inner self(I Peter 3:4 NIV).  It is the center of one’s being (Proverbs 4:23), where he believes and exercises faith (Luke 24:25; Romans 10:9,10).  It is the location of the human deliberation, where wisdom is employed. 

Understanding is said to be the function of the mind (Job 38:36), yet the connection to the heart is undeniable.  The heart is where a person discerns the difference between right and wrong (I Kings 3:9).

Finally, Bulkley says, the heart is the center of courage, emotions, and will. 

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

The heart is the center of man’s character – who he really is (Matthew 15:18)

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks(Luke 6:45).2     

Vine’s Old Testament Dictionary

According to Vine’s:

The Hebrew word Lebab (3824), rendered “heart” is the seat of desire, inclination, or will and can be the seat of the emotions.  The “heart” could be regarded as the seat of knowledge and wisdom and as a synonym of “mind.”  This meaning often occurs when ‘heart” appears with the verb “to know,” “Thus you are to know in your heart...” (Deut. 8:5, NASB); and “Yet the Lord hath not given you a heart to perceive [know]…” (Deut. 29:4, KJV; RSV, “mind”).  Solomon prayed, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad...” (1 Kings 3:9; cf. 4:29).  Memory is the activity of the “heart,” as in Job 22:22: “…lay up his [God's] words in thine heart.” 

The “heart” may be the seat of conscience and moral character.  How does one respond to the revelation of God and of the world around him?  Job answers: “…my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live(27:6).  On the contrary, “David’s heart smote him…(2 Sam. 24:10).  The “heart” is the fountain of man’s deeds: “…in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this(Gen. 20:5; cf. V. 6).  David walked “in uprightness of heart(1 Kings 3:6) and Hezekiah “with a perfect heart(Isa. 38:3) before God.  Only the man with “clean hands, and a pure heart(Ps. 24:4) can stand in God’s presence.3

Vine’s New Testament Dictionary

According to Vine’s:

The Greek word kardia (2588), rendered “heart” (English, “cardiac,”), is the chief organ of physical life (“for the life of the flesh is in the blood,” Lev. 17:11), occupies the most important place in the human system.  By an easy transition, the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.

Heart 2 In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life.  The Bible describes human depravity as in the “heart”, because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then ‘defiles’ the whole circuit of his action, Matt. 15:19, 20.  On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence, Rom. 2:15; Acts 15:9….

The heart, as lying deep within, contains “the hidden man,” 1 Pet. 3:4, the real man.  It represents the true character but conceals it (J. Laidlaw, in Hastings’ Bible Dic.).  As to its usage in the NT it denotes (a) the seat of physical life, Acts 14:17; Jas. 5:5; (b) the seat of moral nature and spiritual life, the seat of grief, John 14:1; Rom. 9:2; 2 Cor. 2:4; joy, John 16:22; Eph. 5:19; the desires, Matt. 5:28; 2 Pet. 2:14; the affections, Luke 24:32; Acts 21:13; the perceptions, John 12:40; Eph. 4:18; the thoughts, Matt. 9:4; Heb. 4:12; the understanding, Matt. 13:15; Rom. 1:21; the reasoning powers, Mark 2:6; Luke 24:38; the imagination, Luke 1:51; conscience, Acts 2:37; 1 John 3:20; the intentions, Heb. 4:12, (cf.) 1 Pet. 4:1; purpose, Acts 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:7; the will, Rom. 6:17; Col. 3:15; faith, Mark 11:23; Rom. 10:10; Heb. 3:12.  The heart, in its moral significance in the OT, includes the emotions, the reason, and the will.3

Holman Bible Dictionary

Holman gives the most thorough explanation concerning the definition of the English word “heart,” when it states:

The heart is the center of the physical, mental, and spiritual life of humans.  This contrasts to the normal use of kardia (“heart”) in Greek literature outside the Scriptures. The New Testament follows the Old Testament usage when referring to the human heart in that it gives kardia a wider range of meaning than it was generally accustomed to have.

First, the word heart refers to the physical organ and is considered to be the center of the physical life. Eating and drinking are spoken of as strengthening the heart (Gen. 18:5Judg. 19:5Acts 14:17). As the center of physical life, the heart came to stand for the person as a whole.

The heart became the focus for all the vital functions of the body; including both intellectual and spiritual life. The heart and the intellect are closely connected, the heart being the seat of intelligence: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross … lest at any time they should … understand with their heart, and should be converted(Matt. 13:15).

The heart is connected with thinking: As a person “thinketh in his heart, so is he(Prov. 23:7). To ponder something in one’s heart means to consider it carefully (Luke 1:662:19). “To set one’s heart on” is the literal Hebrew that means to give attention to something, to worry about it (1 Sam. 9:20). To call to heart (mind) something means to remember something (Isa. 46:8). All of these are functions of the mind, but are connected with the heart in biblical language.

Closely related to the mind are acts of the will, acts resulting from a conscious or even a deliberate decision. Thus, 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.”  Ananias contrived his deed of lying to the Holy Spirit in his heart (Acts 5:4). The conscious decision is made in the heart (Rom. 6:17). Connected to the will are human wishes and desires. Romans 1:24 describes how God gave them up “through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies.”  David was a man after God’s “own heart” because he would “fulfill all” of God’s will (Acts 13:22).

Not only is the heart associated with the activities of the mind and the will, but it is also closely connected to the feelings and affections of a person. Emotions such as joy originate in the heart (Ps. 4:7Isa 65:14). Other emotions are ascribed to the heart, especially in the Old Testament.  Nabal’s fear is described by the phrase: “his heart died within him(1 Sam. 25:37; compare Ps. 143:4). Discouragement or despair is described by the phrase “heaviness in the heart” which makes it stoop (Prov. 12:25).

Again, Ecclesiastes 2:20 says, “Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.” Another emotion connected with the heart is sorrow. John 16:6 says, “because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.” Proverbs 25:20, describes sorrow as having “an heavy heart.” The heart is also the seat of the affection of love and its opposite, hate. In the Old Testament, for example, Israel is commanded: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him(Lev. 19:17 RSV).

A similar attitude, bitter jealousy, is described in James 3:14 as coming from the heart. On the other hand, love is based in the heart. The believer is commanded to love God “with all your heart(Mark 12:30; compare Deut. 6:5). Paul taught that the purpose of God’s command is love which comes from a “pure heart(1 Tim. 1:5).

Finally, the heart is spoken of in Scripture as the center of the moral and spiritual life. The conscience, for instance, is associated with the heart. In fact, the Hebrew language had no word for conscience, so the word heart was often used to express this concept: “my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live(Job 27:6). The Revised Standard Version translates the word for “heart” as “conscience” in 1 Samuel 25:31 (RSV). In the New Testament the heart is spoken of also as that which condemns us (1 John 3:19-21).

All moral conditions from the highest to the lowest are said to center in the heart. Sometimes the heart is used to represent a person’s true nature or character.  Samson told Delilah “all his heart(Judg. 16:17). This true nature is contrasted with the outward appearance: “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7 RSV).

On the negative side, depravity is said to issue from the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9). Jesus said that out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness,  slander (Matt. 15:19). In other words, defilement comes from within rather than from without.

Because the heart is at the root of the problem, this is the place where God does His work in the individual. For instance, the work of the law is “written in their hearts,” and conscience is the proof of this (Rom. 2:15). The heart is the field where seed (the Word of God) is sown (Matt. 13:19Luke 8:15). In addition to being the place where the natural laws of God are written, the heart is the place of renewal. Before Saul became king, God gave him a new heart (1 Sam. 10:9). God promised Israel that He would give them a new spirit within, take away their “stony heart” and give them a “heart of flesh(Ezek. 11:19)Paul said that a person must believe in the heart to be saved, “for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness(Rom. 10:10). (See also Mark 11:23Heb. 3:12.)

Finally, the heart is the dwelling place of God. Two persons of the Trinity are said to reside in the heart of the believer. God has given us the ernest of the Spirit in our hearts(2 Cor. 1:22)Ephesians 3:17 expresses the desire that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” The love of God “is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us(Rom. 5:5).4

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Easton’s states:

According to the Bible, the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but also of all the operations of human life.  “Heart” and “soul” are often used interchangeably (Deut. 6:5; 26:16; compare with Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case.  The heart is the “home of the personal life,” and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen. 20:5, 6; Ps. 11:2; 78:72), pious and good (Luke 8:15), etc.  In these and such passages the word “soul” could not be substituted for “heart.”

Easton’s goes on to say, the heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom. 2:15).  It is naturally wicked (Gen. 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Matt. 12:34; 15: 18; compare Eccl. 8:11; Ps. 73:7).  Hence, the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26; 11:19; Ps. 51:10-14), before a man can willingly obey God.  The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Ps. 95:8; Prov. 28:14; 2 Chr. 36:13).5

 

Elwell’s Theological Dictionary

Elwell’s states:

The Hebrew and Christian views on the nature of man were developed in a religious setting: there is no systematized or scientific psychology in the Bible.  Nevertheless, certain fundamental conceptions are worthy of note:

1. In the OT there is no very marked emphasis on individuality but, rather, on what is frequently now termed corporate personality.  Yet

2. A. R. Johnson has shown that a fundamental characteristic of OT anthropology is the awareness of totality.  Man is not a body plus a soul, but a living unit of vital power, a psychophysical organism.

3. The Hebrews thought of man as influenced from without, by evil spirits, the devil, or the Spirit of God, whereas in modern psychology the emphasis has tended to be placed on dynamic factors operating from within (though at the present time, fresh interest is being evoked in the study of environmental forces as factors influencing human behavior).

4. The study of particular words in the OT and NT affords a comprehensive view of the underlying Hebrew and Christian conceptions of man.

The OT English versions of the Bible, several Hebrew expressions are translated “heart,” the main words being leb and lebab.  In a general sense, heart means the midst, the innermost or hidden part of anything.  Thus, the midst (or heart) of the sea (Ps. 46:2); of heaven (Deut. 4:11); of the oak (II Sam. 14:18).  In the physiological sense, heart is the central bodily organ, the seat of physical life.  Thus, Jacob’s heart “fainted(Gen. 45:26); Eli’s heart “trembled(I Sam. 4:13)

However, like other anthropological terms in the OT, heart is also used very frequently in a psychological sense, as the center or focus of man’s inner personal life.  The heart is the source, or spring, of motives; the seat of the passions; the center of the thought processes; the spring of conscience.  Heart, in fact, is associated with what is now meant by the cognitive, affective, and volitional elements of personal life.

The book of Proverbs is illuminating here: The heart is the seat of wisdom (2:10; etc.); of trust (or confidence) (3:5); diligence (4:23); perverseness (6:14); wicked imaginations (6:18); lust (6:25); subtlety (7:10); understanding (8:5); deceit (12:20); folly (12:23); heaviness (12:25); bitterness (14:10); sorrow (14:13); backsliding (14:14); cheerfulness (15:13); knowledge (15:14); joy (15:30); pride (16:5); haughtiness (18:12); prudence (18:15); fretfulness (19:3); envy (23:17).

The NT word for heart is kardia.  It, too, has a wide psychological and spiritual connotation.  Our Lord emphasized the importance of right states of heart.  It is the pure in heart who see God (Matt. 5:8); sin is first committed in the heart (Matt. 5:28); out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and acts (Matt. 15:19); forgiveness must come from the heart (Matt. 18:35); men must love God with all their heart (Matt. 22:37); the word of God is sown, and must come to fruition, in the heart (Luke 8:11-15).

Paul’s use of Kardia is on similar lines.  According to H. W. Robinson, in his book “The Christian Doctrine of Man,” in fifteen cases heart denotes personality, or the inner life, in general (e.g., I Cor. 14:25); in thirteen cases, it is the seat of emotional states of consciousness (e.g., Rom. 9:2); in eleven cases, it is the seat of intellectual activities (e.g., Rom. 1:21); in thirteen cases, it is the seat of the volition (e.g., Rom. 2:5).  Paul uses other expressions, such as mind, soul, and spirit, to augment the conception of man; but, on the whole, it may be said that the NT word Kardia reproduces and expands the ideas included in the OT words leb and lebab.6

 

Harris’s Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Harris’s states:

lebab is rendered heart, understanding, and mind (also used in idioms such as “to set the heart upon” meaning “to think about” or “to want”).  Concrete meanings of leb referred to the internal organ and to analogous physical locations.  However, in its abstract meanings, “heart” became the richest biblical term for the totality of man’s inner or immaterial nature. 

In biblical literature, it is the most frequently used term for man’s immaterial personality functions as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible; virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the “heart.”

By far the majority of the usages of leb refer either to the inner or immaterial nature in general or to one of the three traditional personality functions of man; emotion, thought, or will.  Thought functions may be attributed to the heart.  In such cases it is likely to be translated as mind” or “understanding.” 

To “set the heart to” may mean to “pay attention to(Ex 7:23) or to “consider important(II Sam 18:32).  Creative thought is a heart function.  Wicked devices originate in the heart (Gen 6:5).  The RSV translates “which came upon Solomon’s heart” as “all that Solomon had planned(II Chr 7:11).

Wisdom and understanding are seated in the heart.  The “wise heart(I Kgs. 3:12; RSV, “wise mind”) and “wise of heart(Prov 16:23) are mentioned.  This idiom can be so strongly felt that “heart” virtually becomes a synonym for such ideas as “mind(II Chr 9:23; RSV) or ‘sense(Prov 11:12; RSV).  The heart functions in perception and awareness as when Elisha’s heart (i.e. Elisha’s perceptive nature; RSV “spirit”) went with Gehazi (II Kgs 5:26).

As the seat of thought and intellect, the heart can be deluded (Isa 44:20; RSV “mind”).  The heart is the seat of the will.  A decision may be described as “setting” the heart (II Chr 12:14).  “Not of my heart” expresses “not of my will (Num 16:28).  The “hearts” of the Shechemites inclined to follow Abimelech (Jud 9:3).  Removal of the decision-making capacity is described as hardening the heart (Ex 10:1; Josh 11:20).  Closely connected to the preceding is the heart as the seat of moral responsibility.  Righteousness is “integrity of heart” (Gen 20:5).7

 soul

The New Testament Word Psyche 

According to Vine’s the NT word psuche (5590), which can be translated “soul,” or “life,” is rendered “heart” in Eph. 6:6, “doing the will of God from the heart.”  In Col. 3:23, a form of the word psuche preceded by ek, literally, “from (the) soul,” is rendered “heartily.” 

See the following (RV) Scriptures: Col. 3:12 (NASB, NJ); Philem. 7, 12, 20 (NKJV, NASB); 2 Cor. 3:3 (KJV, NKJV, NASB, RS, AS); Eph. 1:18 (AS, RS, NASB); Heb. 8:10, 10:16 (RS, AS, KJV, NKJV, NASB); Luke 21:26 (KJV, NKJV); 2 Cor. 7:2 (KJV, NKJV, RS, AS, NASB).3

Conclusion

Hopefully from the plethora of references cited, it is beyond dispute that when the Bible refers to the heart it is not referring to the emotions solely.  While the emotions are a blessing of God, that lend exuberance and passion, both in the negative and positive aspects of sensation; they are never meant as the sole device of discretion. 

This is the place of the seat of the will, but always according to the intellect in response to what God has said.  And while we should consider the emotions in any decisions we make, this is always in a subservient role, never taking preeminence.

There is an abundance of references to the heart as having the lead role in decision-making.  Both the Old and New Testaments present the word “heart” as always used to include the mental process (rational and reason), and the will (volition), as well as the emotions.

 

Final Definition

Personally, I believe the best definition of heart, is the focus and determination of the mind, and the response of the emotions.

The Bible never instructs us to be led by our emotions, but rather by our minds. 

It is with our minds that we focus our attention and choose to obey God, and it is those actions that first are decided with our mind in consideration of what we focus on – that is what God holds us accountable for. 

Holy Spirit & Man

Biblically speaking, we are to focus on God’s Word and His Will, as our will determines the direction that we take. 

Last Caution

We must always remember, what God says about the human heart,  that it: “… is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,”8 because man is a fallen creature, subject to sin; however, it is also with our heart that we exercise faith unto salvation.

bb

 Endnotes  

1. STRONG’S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE TOGETHER WITH DICTIONARIES OF HEBREW AND GREEK WORDS, James Strong, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, USA, 1981, electronic media.

2. WHY CHRISTIANS CAN’T TRUST PSYCHOLOGY, Ed Bulkley, PH. D., Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR 97402, 1993, Page 335, 336.  

3. VINE’S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS, W.E. Vine, Ellis Enterprises Inc., Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA, 1988, electronic media.

4. HOLMAN BIBLE DICTIONARY, General Editor: Trent C. Butler, PH. D., Gerald Cowen, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TE 37234, USA, electronic media.

5. EASTON’S BIBLE DICTIONARY AND BOOK SYNOPSIS, Easton, M.G.,  Ellis Enterprises Inc., Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA, 1988-1999, electronic media.

6. ELWELL’S EVANGELICAL DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY, Walter A. Elwell, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, USA, 1984, electronic media.

7. HARRIS’S THEOLOGICAL WORDBOOK OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, Harris, R. Laid, Moody Press, Chicago, IL 60610, USA, 1980.

8. Jeremiah 17:9.

 

26 comments

  1. [...] is a fact based upon the language and the meanings of the words. See the essay entitled: ”The Heart and the Mind – What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“), yet these individuals display flamboyant presentations, using emotionally driven, [...]

  2. Thanks for posting, it helped a lot. god bless your heart.

  3. Mai,
    Thank you for your kind words. Please keep in your prayers, and I will do the same.

    Brent

  4. [...] God’s Priorities ~ Heart It is in understanding the human heart that we come to understand God’s priority in how we are to conduct our lives.  First, we need to understand the difference between the use of the word “heart” in the Bible (Hebrew: leb [H3820] ~ Greek: kardia [G2588]), as compared to the way that we in the English-speaking world understand the word “heart.” In God’s Word, our emotions are not defined by the use of the word “heart.” Both Testaments never utilize the word “heart” – solely concerning the emotions (see our essay entitled: “The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical Word heart Means“). [...]

  5. [...] essay entitled: “The Heart and the Mind – What the Biblical word ‘Heart’ means” ~ See LINK), the mind, emotions and the [...]

  6. [...] to the emotions singularly (please see our article entitled: “Heart & Mind” ~ Link), but the heart in both Hebrew and Greek refers to the inner man, always the mind first, then the [...]

  7. Luke Williar · ·

    This is an outstanding share. Thank you for this article.

  8. Luke,
    Thanks.
    bb

  9. srinivasagam · ·

    very useful and eye opening with great understanding

  10. Thank you, bb

  11. John premia · ·

    Very nicely expressed thankyou from my heart.

  12. Thank you John, bb

  13. […] This sin – the first sin – was the sin of pride – wherein “thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty“ (Eze. 28:17), which is an observational description of what pride is, that of being lifted up in one’s heart – heart, not meaning the emotions only, but the total inner being of a person (see article entitled: (“The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“) […]

  14. […] As our life here on earth progresses, God will continue to work in our hearts (both in the Greek and Hebrew languages, the word “heart” does not mean simply the emotions as it does in the English. In both languages, it means the total inner-man; 1) the mind, 2) the emotions, 3) and the will.  The mind is where we obey God according to His Word.  The emotions are responses that are never meant to lead our discretion, yet where we feel joy and sorrow – See “The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“). […]

  15. […] As our life here on earth progresses, God will continue to work in our hearts (both in the Greek and Hebrew languages, the word “heart” does not mean simply the emotions as it does in the English. In both languages, it means the total inner-man; 1) the mind, 2) the emotions, 3) and the will.  The mind is where we obey God according to His Word.  The emotions are responses that are never meant to lead our discretion, yet where we feel joy and sorrow – See “The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“). […]

  16. Anonymous · ·

    God is spirit and man was created in HIS image so man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. Heart is similar to spirit the center of your being.

  17. ANONYMOUS.

    Prior to address anything else I must first comment on your fear of stating your name or who you are.

    I can only presume that this fear has driven you to the place of making a random statement based upon your own opinion without having the courage to read what was in the article, or research the subject yourself.

    All that you need to do is to utilize a Hebrew or Greek dictionary and look up the biblical words that are used to translate into the English word “Heart.”

    If you would do so you would look so ridiculous.

    The languages that God chose to have the Bible written in our dead languages, meaning that they are fixed concerning the meaning of any word.

    If you would simply take the courage and the integrity to check out what you’re talking about you wouldn’t set yourself up to appear to be as ignorant as I don’t think you are.

    Tf it becomes apparent that I’m trying to anger you, then I pray I have succeeded.

    Because perhaps anger will drive you out of your cowardness into the honesty of doing the research for yourself, which it is evident you have not done.

    You have opened your mouth and uttered your own interpretation of something, instead of displaying the integrity of turning to God’s word, or even dictionaries concerning the language that the Bible was originally written in, in order to speak something that is intelligent.

    You know we all have opinions, yet it is only the immature that present an opinion that is based upon their own feelings, as opposed to real research.

    For those that spend the time and effort to really dig deep into God’s word and the languages that he uses, their opinions are referred to as an educated opinion, just the opposite of what you have displayed.

    I’ve spent over 60 hours writing this paper, most of that time reading what others, that I deeply respect and who of also spent the time in God’s word and research in order to understand what God means to say, as opposed to what someone thinks and regurgitates with only the conclusion that that is their opinion.

    Now please, use your anger in a positive manner and go out in research the subject then let’s talk again.

    By the way, over 35 years ago I did the same thing that you’ve done, and a kind individual, did exactly what I am doing to you – he was willing enough to look like a cranky old man that spurred me into action.

    I pray that you are motivated in the same manner.

    May God bless you and your pursuits, however if you’re only pursuit is to state what you think about something, then please keep it to yourself and don’t lead anyone else astray.

    Brent

  18. […] be led by our minds (Please see our article which defines the biblical word “heart” ~ LINK) in faith, hence the above […]

  19. […] This sin – the first sin – was the sin of pride – wherein “thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty“ (Eze. 28:17), which is an observational description of what pride is, that of being lifted up in one’s heart – heart, not meaning the emotions only, but the total inner being of a person (see article entitled: (“The Heart and the Mind ~ What the Biblical word “Heart’ Means“) […]

  20. Anare · ·

    Very Enlightening!.

  21. Thanks, Brent

  22. Hal H · ·

    The primary American usage for “heart” is even more narrow than only all emotion.

    Instead, we call various emotions one’s “feelings” most commonly, as distinct from the special case of the “feelings of the heart” (two different things)!

    Most commonly, the “heart” is one’s love feelings, and *not* other emotions unconnected to one’s love-feelings!

    So, today in America, if you ask someone without context what they feel in their heart, they will first think you are asking about their loves — what are their love-feelings regarding what people and/or groups and/or God.

    Emotions like wanting a new car or being afraid of speaking in front of a class, or whatever, all these other emotions are not usually referred to as “in one’s heart” any longer.

    That’s an old, out-of-date usage now.

    To help confuse things though, sometimes people will borrow the intensity of heart-feeling to add emphasis to some non-love feeling when communicating: e.g. — “my heart trembled in fear” or “I wanted that red dress with all of my heart.” and other such idiosyncratic usage instances.

    These are understood now as a kind of hyperbole.

    Yet more complexity: When we go to a church and hear the word “heart” in a sermon, then we have yet another meaning most often — that given in this piece — all emotions, all feelings. Depending on context of the usage.

  23. Hal,
    Allow me to begin to apply concerning your comments regarding the area of reference material, or more easily understood, authority for presupposition.
    May ask what is yours.

    You see as I teach, I teach the word of God.

    As I approach etymology (the study of the origin of words), I do so from the reference point of the old and new Testaments; according to the two major languages they represent that of Hebrew and Greek.

    I utilize biblical scholars in linguistics, defining words as they are commonly presented and accepted within Christian theology.

    So when someone comes along presenting their personal opinions as you have, making statements which I’ve never heard before with a rationality all their own, again my question is what is your reference – who do use the authority in concerning your opinion, or is it all merely your opinion.

    You see everyone has an opinion.

    In fact we all have opinions about everything that exist.

    While people may attempt to oppose this, all I need to do is ask them a few questions to prove the point.

    Such as how do you feel about that word yellow, and if they’re honest they will tell me what their opinion of yellow it’s. To me it is an effeminate color that I don’t particularly care for.

    If I asked them about the word conservative, or the word liberal; they would share their opinions.

    All humans have opinions about everything, though some may claim they do not the only differences is their opinion is very slight, because the subject matter doesn’t appear important to them, but upon further analysis it’s easy determined that they have an opinion about even the most mundane or minimal words.

    Now there are those that study a subject matter intensely wherein we refer to them as having an educated opinion. It cost them something. They became students who dedicated time and commitment to study the subject wherein they become what we refer to as scholars.

    I would not go so far as to call myself a scholar, but having spent thousands of hours studying God’s word, and many hundreds of hours studying the subject of the biblical use of the word heart in both the Greek and Hebrew languages, I can say with complete confidence that I have an educated opinion derived because of what it cost me to learn about the subject and except what others who are much more learned on the subject To say.

    You see if you want to be a master of a subject you must be the best student of that subject.

    This demand humility.

    Humility is not the absence of pride, is what you do to fight pride; such as humbling yourself by admitting your shortcomings and the errors that you make.

    I fully admit that I make errors all the time, and I am I messed up sinner.

    Yet I also observed in my own life that I don’t sin the same type of sins I did in my youth, I observe that the Holy Spirit is sanctifying me.

    The word sanctify means to separate, it is unfortunate that most Christians assume that the separation is from sin; yet the root of the word “hagios” which is the Greek basis for the word holy, while including separation from sin, more importantly has to do with separation to God – is more important to be separated for God’s use, then to be separated from sin – many false religions are better at being separated from sin, yet are not saved or speak the truth concerning God and therefore people go to hell.

    Yet those that separate themselves to God and his use, dedicating their life to him in faith become his children and are saved.

    Now the point in everything I’m saying, is that while you may have noticed I’ve turn this into a lesson, I’m trying to make the point that simply because you have an opinion on a subject matter, does not mean it’s correct.

    You state that the primary American usage for heart is even more narrow than all emotion.

    Then you go on to state your interpretation of the word feelings an attempt to connote that with one’s love feelings, making the supposition that there are different types of feelings.

    I’m sorry but I’m then I have to be honest with you.

    An educated person, who has an educated opinion concerning the etymologies of the words that you’re using, would note the difference between a verb use of the word “feeling,” as compared to the verbal noun of the word “feel.”

    It is the difference in the use of the form of a word rather it is a noun, verb, verbal noun, or the adjectives concerning the words we are addressing That you are not addressing – if you would address the grammar I think you could better make your argument and it would be more rational, and Understandable.

    You make no distinction in the grammar, wherein the grammar makes the distinction of the word.

    Then you see even yourself the ability to define the American usage of words with no reference to your point of origin, or authority for such comments.

    Please share with me these things and let us continue in this conversation.

    It may be that I am just barking up the wrong tree and approaching this from a purely intellectual pursuit, where you are describing something from an experiential frame of reference – and if so please forgive me for my condescension.

    But please explain to me further the basis of your comments.

    Is it that you are a student of psychology and you are promoting the beliefs of a psychological subgroup.

    Or that you are a student of metaphysics and are communicating a particular teachers opinion.

    Or is this simply to how you think things are in your day-to-day experiences.

    What you must understand is that what I present is based upon linguistics, grammar, and accepted norms of these pursuits as they are relevant to the use of the old Hebrew and koine Greek languages as they relate to the Bible.

    And if you read the article you will see that I have numerous references to professionals in this field wherein I present not my opinion but the accepted norm among many professionals as to the common uses of the word “heart.”

    If you wish to talk about how the etymology of the English word heart has progressed within American culture and society, I would be very interested to hear your opinion, along with any reference material so that I could also study and come to understand what you have stated.

    Anyway, please write back. Brent

  24. Hal H · ·

    Hi Brent,

    To answer your first question, just like you, my ‘authority’ is only the degree of my discernment. I find yours valuable in regard to the biblical usage (sense) of the word “heart”. Thanks for that! Sincerely.

    If you know of a more accurate sense of the current American popular sense of the word “heart”, I would honestly be delighted to learn your understanding of the most current popular sense.

    Thanks.

    Why I asked: to better understand Matthew 15:19.

    If the popular understanding of a typical 18 yr old American is that the word “heart” means one’s love-feeling, or even simply one’s love, itself, then the verse will cause difficulty or confusion for *some*, as they might not guess at the intended meaning….if that usage is not explained more clearly, as you have.

    But once it is explained that the usage is meant in the verse to refer to all of one’s internal feeling and thought — love, fear, hope, greed, lust, everything and all — then suddenly the meaning of the verse is clear and helpful, as it should be.

  25. Hal,

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    I appreciate the fact that you were not insulted by my frankness which bordered on condescension.

    I think if we straightened out the grammar concerning certain words such as: “feel,” “feelings,” and “heart,” I think we would probably be much closer in understanding and agreement.

    Concerning your first paragraph.
    I think my use of the word authority concerning your presupposition was a bad choice of words. The correct word should’ve been “basis,” as authority has to do with rank, position, and power.

    I guess my question was what is your reference from.

    Is it based upon your own frame of reference, bias, and worldview; or is it based upon someone’s teaching, perhaps as I later suggested what you learned in psychology, or sociology, or philosophy.

    I complicated the question so I apologize. I simply wanted to know if this was merely your opinion which I later insinuated, or if it was based upon something else. This way I could understand some of your statements.

    Thank you for the compliment, and I appreciate your sincerity.

    Regarding your second paragraph.
    I find that the most accurate sense of a current word used within popular or cultural America would be the common dictionaries that are used in the definition of that word. True sometimes it takes a while for a technical definition to come out but in the modern age of the Internet, as opposed to material publication, the definitions are pretty current.

    Regarding the word heart, in reference to “Merriam-Webster” on the Internet (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heart), I think the following definitions which are based upon the subject matter in context are probably a good starting point. Verbatim:

    Full Definition of HEART
    1
    a : a hollow muscular organ of vertebrate animals that by its rhythmic contraction acts as a force pump maintaining the circulation of the blood
    b : a structure in an invertebrate animal functionally analogous to the vertebrate heart
    c : BREAST, BOSOM
    d : something resembling a heart in shape; specifically : a stylized representation of a heart
    2
    a : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a red heart
    b plural : the suit comprising cards marked with hearts
    c plural but sing or plural in constr : a game in which the object is to avoid taking tricks containing hearts
    3
    a : PERSONALITY, DISPOSITION
    b obsolete : INTELLECT
    4
    : the emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature: as
    a : generous disposition : COMPASSION

    b : LOVE, AFFECTION
    c : COURAGE, ARDOR
    5
    : one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations

    6
    a : the central or innermost part : CENTER
    b : the essential or most vital part of something
    c : the younger central compact part of a leafy rosette (as a head of lettuce)

    The reference that I was referring to concerning the word heart in my article would fit into the figurative expressions regarding the emotions, which would include love but not specifically.

    Concerning the above definition, I believe that number 3 is a consideration of the etymology of the word as used in the Semitic, Hellenistic, and italic (Latin) languages of old, which would include an understanding of the Greek and Hebrew words for “heart.” What I was attempting to present was the word as it was originally used thousands of years ago as the above dictionary defines a number 3, and number 6; that of an understanding that the heart was the inner part of the man, yet more exactly defined within Hebrew and Greek languages as the 1) mind, 2) emotions, 3) and will.

    All individual aspects of the inner person, for which the word heart would define. Within the Hebrew and Greek, the greatest emphasis is placed on the mind, the rationality where logic and determination are combined with information and discernment, with the emotions aligning with the human response to outside conditions and elements. An example would be the word happy. The word happy has as its root the word happen, or occurrence, event or situation.

    Therefore to be happy would be a result of an outside occurrence or something that happened us. This would fit within the realm of the emotions as emotions normally always function as a response to outward stimuli. As a point of reference this paragraph while based in etymology, can be found in philosophy, depending on what particular scholar one would consider.

    Yet what I was dealing with specifically is what I consider the American understanding of the word heart based upon the common vernacular as seen in its everyday use, mainly that of the emotional state of a person.

    Reflected in such comments as:
    “I love you with all my heart”, “you have wounded me to the heart”, yet more appropriately seen in how the word is used in the context of the subject matter. We know that the word heart is a technical word which actually is in reference to the muscle as seen in the above referenced number 1 definition.

    My presumption that the word heart is mainly accepted as emotions is seen in many of the everyday aspects of American life.

    Such as Valentine’s Day, a tradition less than 100 years old, yet when referring to the subject of love, which is an emotion uses a heart as a representation.
    Something which I did not present because I don’t have my source material because it was noted three decades ago is a longitudinal study wherein researchers surveyed people concerning what they believe the word heart meant.

    Unfortunately prior to computers, back in the early 80s we were cursed with having everything written on paper, which unfortunately could be subject to loss or incorrect filing; which is what happened in this occurrence. Otherwise I would’ve quoted this longitudinal study.

    Regarding your statement concerning Matthew 15:19,
    As I discussed in my article the Greek word utilized is “kardia” which is the root for our common translation into the English of the word heart. Yet as the article presents, as proof concerning the heart being the complete in word working of the individual, which was primarily led by the mind, then the emotion, and finally the will where discretion was made between the two; this passage is a perfect example.

    We know that though the human brain ruminates more concerning pictures then words, this is not to say that words are not used within the rationality of the mind.

    This is why those that would attempt to define dreams, not speaking about those which are presented by the Holy Spirit, but the normal dreams of a person are so hard to interpret, because the word pictures can change wherein their association to one particular definition of a word can change as well. This explains why dreams are so unusual, mystifying, irregular, and appeared to lack any kind of formal logic. (As a licensed counselor who trained in psychology on the honors list, you might find some of this in what I just stated – though I do not utilize psychology, I do see useful idioms and terminology’s, as well as ways of describing observation – just want you to know what my frame of references in the above statement).

    Yet we also know that the emotions do not ruminate, meaning we do not hold pictures, word pictures, or logical thoughts which follow a linear perspective.

    Emotions are what we feel, for lack of a better word. And as stated above they are always a response, or reaction. An original event is called an action, a response to the original action is called a reaction. While true we can wake up feeling depressed, there was an original event which created that rather it is serotonin levels in the brain, the fact that our spouse just died, or that we just fell in love, or we just lost her job; the emotion that we feel is based upon something that occurred or happen to us.

    Now the point of this Scripture is that when Jesus uses the word love he refers to evil thoughts, and we know that thoughts have to do with the ruminations of the mind, and not the emotions; not feelings. (It would probably be best if you reread my article noting how passages which use the word heart use descriptive language which can only refer to the mind).

    Then Jesus goes on to name six different sins, which he presented under the category of thoughts; wherein in the next verse, verse 20 he describes these thoughts as that which the files a man. Then he goes on to say that the things that go into a man – physically speaking, food, or certain traditions such as washing the hands, do not defile the man. The word defile here is the Greek word koinoo, which means to make profane, polluted or unclean.

    The whole point that Jesus is making is that sin comes out of the mind and the thought process these are the things that contaminate and make unclean are behaviors. This is why Jesus at one point spoke about adultery being committed in the mind before the physical act ever took place.

    His context was dealing with the Pharisees attempting to teach that it was the food that we ate or the ceremonies that we Such as washing our hands, that these would defile the man.

    Jesus spoke about sin originating in the heart connotatively (in general) speaking, yet in the mind denotatively (specifically) speaking.

    Now in regards to the two paragraphs after your question concerning Matthew 15:19; I think you understand what I was attempting to present.

    The whole reason for the article regarding the Biblical understanding of the word heart in both the Hebrew in the Greek,
    It is that when young people brought up in the church hear the word heart, as it is commonly used in American culture today, they might misunderstand many passages including this one.

    You see the point I’m getting to is at the mind is a rational aspect of the human being, and that it is the mind that we use not only in interpreting God’s word but choosing to follow what it says.

    Hence the reason for the following Scriptures.

    Heart / Mind

    • “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psa_19:14

    • “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? & why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God?” Psa_42:5

    • “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” Psa_119:11

    • “Keep* thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” Pro_4:23

    • “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Rom_12:2

    • “…bringing into captivity every thought” 2Co_10:5

    • “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” Php_2:5

    • “forgetting those things which are behind…” Php_3:13

    • “…think on these things” Php_4:8

    • “…gird up the loins of your mind” 1Pe_1:13

    *”Keep” (nasar) = “guard” A verb meaning to guard, to keep, to observe, to preserve, to hide. The word refers
    to people’s maintaining things entrusted to them, especially to keeping the truths of God in both actions and mind.

    Be strong in the Lord” Eph_6:10

    Present Tense: Continuous Action
    Passive Voice: Subject Recievs the Action
    Imperative Mood: A Command

    You see we can’t feel our way into performing that which God has commanded and intended for us to do as found in his holy word.

    Emotions are like the icing on the cake, they give luster and exuberance to life; yet they also give pain, anxiety, and fear.

    We are not to make decision based upon our emotions, but our mind as it dwells upon God’s word as our guide.

    We are not to allow our emotions to lead us, because they are easily fooled.

    How many times have we fallen and the love, at least thinking it was love when all it actually was was desire and passion.

    We don’t want to do away with the emotions, their what embellish life, it’s what makes of praise service so gratifying.

    Is what brings on the tears as I look at the cross and think about what my Savior is done for me.

    Yet what we must also realize is that before the emotion, because it is a reaction; there was a thought that drove the emotion.

    You see for me to feel insulted by someone it was my mind that had to interpret that what they said was insulting.

    It is our mind that interprets everything that we go through and perceive through our five senses, as well as our perception in considering these things wherein the emotions are produced in accordance.

    You see the whole point that I was trying to get to, wherein I have spoke far too much today; is that God’s word has called us to take our thoughts captive, to not be led by our emotions; to understand that the word for heart used in the Bible is referring to our minds that our minds will either cause us to glorify God or to sin against. And to not believe the lies of our current culture when it defines such words as heart, and love.

    Finally I would ask for you to read the following article concerning biblical love as seen through and experiential framework.

    http://faithbibleministriesblog.com/2014/02/21/how-to-love-gods-way-a-practical-guide-all-believers-can-do/

    Hal I appreciate the time that you’ve taken to consider what I have presented, and I pray that I have not come across as arrogant as sometimes I present myself.

    Pride is something we all have, it is the foundation of every sin, and something we all deal with. I found that what humility is is not the absence of pride, AS MUCH as it is what we do to combat pride in our life – we humble ourselves. And in my life, as seen in God’s word; when I do not choose to willingly humble myself, then God chooses to forcefully humiliate me.

    So let me say right now that if I’ve offended you please forgive me. Your brother in Christ, Brent

    (I apologize for the typos as I’m using voice recognition software, otherwise I would not have the time to answer as completely as I have)

  26. […] I was searching the web for the above, I found this post, which is nice compilation of biblical and other definitions of HEART.  If you read through that web post, you will find that HEART is basically WHO YOU ARE in […]

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