Old Man

OLD MAN (ὁ παλαιός ἄνθρωπος). The expression “the old man” appears three times in the NT, and refers to the unregenerate nature and activities which characterized a man prior to his new life “in Christ.” It is frequently tr. “the old self” or “the old nature.” Paul states in Romans 6:6 that “our old self” was crucified with Christ, and exhorts Christians to live conscious of this fact. In Ephesians 4:22 he urges his converts to “put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts,” and in Colossians 3:9 he pleads for honesty on the basis of having “put off the old nature with its practices.” In this period in redemptive history between the finished work of Christ in the past and the consummation of God’s plan in the future, Christians live as citizens of two worlds who are constantly conscious of (1) the crucified nature of “the old man,” and yet (2) the need to deaden the effects of that depravity in their lives which will be eradicated finally when Christ comes again. This tension which is experienced by all believers is the occasion for almost all of the exhortations in the NT.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See Man; Old Man.


A term thrice used by Paul (Ro 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9) to signify the unrenewed man, the natural man in the corruption of sin, i.e. sinful human nature before conversion and regeneration. It is theologically synonymous with "flesh" (Ro 8:3-9), which stands, not for bodily organism, but, for the whole nature of man (body and soul) turned away from God and devoted to self and earthly things.

The old man is "in the flesh"; the new man "in the Spirit." In the former "the works of the flesh" (Ga 5:19-21) are manifest; in the latter "the fruit of the Spirit" (Ga 5:22,23). One is "corrupt according to the deceitful lusts"; the other "created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:22-24 the King James Version).

See also MAN, NATURAL; MAN.

Dwight M. Pratt