Examples of the use of the Greek psykhe to mean “life as a creature” may be found at Matthew 6:25; 10:39; 16:25, 26; Luke 12:20; John 10:11, 15; 13:37, 38; 15:13; Acts 20:10. Since God’s servants have the hope of a resurrection in the event of death, they have the hope of living again as “souls,” or living creatures. For that reason Jesus could say that “whoever loses his soul [his life as a creature] for the sake of me and the good news will save it. Really, of what benefit is it for a man to gain the whole world and to forfeit his soul? What, really, would a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mr 8:35-37) Similarly, he stated: “He that is fond of his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life.” (Joh 12:25)
These texts, and others like them, show the correct understanding of Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:28: “Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” While men can kill the body, they cannot kill the person for all time, inasmuch as he lives in God’s purpose (compare Lu 20:37, 38) and God can and will restore such faithful one to life as a creature by means of a resurrection. For God’s servants, the loss of their “soul,” or life as a creature, is only temporary, not permanent.—Compare Re 12:11.
Mortal and destructible.
On the other hand, Matthew 10:28 states that God “can destroy both soul [psykhen] and body in Gehenna.” This shows that psykhe does not refer to something immortal or indestructible. There is, in fact, not one case in the entire Scriptures, Hebrew and Greek, in which the words nephesh or psykhe are modified by terms such as immortal, indestructible, imperishable, deathless, or the like.
On the other hand, there are scores of texts in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures that speak of the nephesh or psykhe (soul) as mortal and subject to death (Ge 19:19, 20; Nu 23:10; Jos 2:13, 14; Jg 5:18; 16:16, 30; 1Ki 20:31, 32; Ps 22:29; Eze 18:4, 20; Mt 2:20; 26:38; Mr 3:4; Heb 10:39; Jas 5:20); as dying, being “cut off” or destroyed (Ge 17:14; Ex 12:15; Le 7:20; 23:29; Jos 10:28-39; Ps 78:50; Eze 13:19; 22:27; Ac 3:23; Re 8:9; 16:3), whether by sword (Jos 10:37; Eze 33:6) or by suffocation (Job 7:15), or being in danger of death due to drowning (Jon 2:5); and also as going down into the pit or into Sheol (Job 33:22; Ps 89:48) or being delivered therefrom (Ps 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; Pr 23:14).