2 Corinthians 4:16 — The Inward Man
Some religionists are materialists. By that we mean they contend that man is totally material — supposedly, he does not have a spirit or soul. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, the World-Wide Church of God (the late Herbert Armstrong’s cult), and others subscribe to this notion. But the Bible does not endorse it.
In 2 Corinthians 4:8ff, Paul had discussed the great tribulations to which children of God are heir. In spite of these difficulties, he says, “we faint not.” Why? For although our “outward man” (the physical body) is progressively decaying, nonetheless, the “inward man” is being renewed day by day (as energized by the divine Spirit through the Word of God).
What is the “inward man”? Clearly it is the soul of the person that abides (in this case the Christian’s soul as strengthened by divine instruction — Ephesians 6:17), regardless of what happens to the body.
The Lord Himself had taught that man may destroy one’s body, but he cannot destroy the soul (Matthew 10:28). The inner man is accountable to the law of God (Romans 7:22), and is capable of being strengthened by divine influence through sacred truth (Ephesians 3:16; 6:17).
This passage would be meaningless if man were wholly material. Mark the expression “inner man,” and note: Soul of man as strengthened by the Spirit. See Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16; 6:17.
Scripture references: 1 Corinthians 4:8; Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 10:28; Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16, 6:17