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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Inner Man

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INNER MAN . The implied contrast involved in this expression may be regarded as exclusively Pauline. The antithesis between the adorning of the visible body, and ‘the incorruptible (ornament) of a meek and quiet spirit,’ ‘the hidden man of the heart’ ( 1 Peter 3:3 f.) is an example of the Paulinism which pervades this encyclical letter (see Moffatt, Historical NT 2 , p. 250). The contrast, so vividly portrayed in Romans 7:22 f., is essentially ethical in its character. It is between the law which passion blindly follows, and that to which ‘the mind’ or the informed conscience yields a delighted because a reasoned obedience (cf. Sanday-Headlam, Romans, in loc .). Different from this is the contrast in 2 Corinthians 4:16 , where ‘our outward man,’ decaying and dying, stands over against ‘our inward man,’ which is in a constant state of renewal. Here we have the antithesis of the ‘temporal’ and the ‘eternal’ elements in man’s complex personality ( 2 Corinthians 4:18 ). This phrase is found in an absolute sense in Ephesians 3:16 , where it denotes the entire basis of man’s higher life, on which God’s Spirit works, and in which Christ dwells. The intellectual and moral apprehension of the fruits of the Incarnation depend, first and last, upon whether ‘the inward man’ has its roots struck deep in that Divine love which is the first cause of man’s redemption ( Ephesians 3:17 ff.; cf. John 3:16 ).

J. R. Willis.


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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Inner Man'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/i/inner-man.html. 1909.

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