The flesh is one of the most confusing words in the Bible. What does it mean? And is the flesh good or bad?
Why did Paul say he was alive in the flesh but then say he had crucified the flesh? Why does he say the body of the flesh has been circumcised (so it’s gone, right), then say he served sin with his flesh (no wait, it’s back!).
It doesn’t make sense.
Nor does it help when some Bibles mistranslate the original word for flesh (sarx) as sinful nature. (I’m looking at you New International Version.)
Fear not. The flesh is not hard to understand. Below is everything you need to know about the flesh. For a full list of scripture references and explanatory notes check out my entry for “The Flesh” in the Grace Glossary.
Everything You Need to Know about the Flesh
The flesh can refer to: (1) our physical bodies, (2) people, or (3) worldly unspiritual things.
To be “in the flesh” means (1) being alive “in the body” or (2) an…