Ghost is a common word that we still use today. However, it’s used in the Bible as well. Many people have their own definition of what they believe the word ghost means. But what does the word ghost mean in Hebrew and Greek?

All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.

What Does The Word ‘Ghost’ Mean In Hebrew?

gava- to expire, die.

nephesh- life; breathe; soul; wind.

This word is translated into ‘soul’ 475 times.

Its basic meaning refers to the essence of life or the act of breathing.

The best biblical definition is found in Psalm 103:1. It’s defined as “all that is within” a person.

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within mebless His holy name!”

– Psalm 103:1

The Hebrew language compares and contrasts “the inner self” and “the out appearance.” These terms can also mean “what one is to oneself” as opposed to “what one appears to be to others.”

The soul of a man, which moves to the afterlife, needs atonement to enter into God’s presence.

Also, God has a soul.

The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

– Psalm 11:5

What Does The Word ‘Ghost’ Mean In Greek?

ekpneo- to expire.

 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’  Having said this, He breathed His last.

– Luke 23:46

ekpsucho- to expire, die.

“Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.”

– Acts 5:5

pneuma- spirit. 

This word is translated into the word ‘spirit’ 111 times and into ‘Holy Ghost’ 89 times.

Pneuma is rarely used to speak of wind, but when so used it is known for its strength, vigor, and force.

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

– John 3:8


In conclusion, many people are right in the sense that the word ghost can mean someone’s spirit. Yet, many times in scripture it’s used to describe the soul of a man. That would be the innermost being that needs atonement to move onto God’s presence in the next life.

That’s what the word ghost means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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