The word "flesh" in the New Testament has many meanings. It is common for a New Testament writer to use several different meanings of a word in the same book or letter, and even in the same passage.

Sometimes people create doctrines by mixing up these meanings.

The various meanings of the word "flesh"...


(Matthew 16:17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

People didn't tell Peter.

(Matthew 24:22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

(Galatians 1:16) To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.

Paul didn't go to the apostles or to anyone else to confirm that his revelation from Christ was real and true.

(2 Corinthians 7:5) For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

In this verse the phrase "our flesh" could be replaced by the word "we." Notice that their troubles were not physical but were, rather, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Therefore, the word "flesh" does not necessarily refer to the physical body (and, in fact, it often doesn't.)

(Ephesians 6:12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Paul was persecuted by people it's true, but he informs us that the wicked powers of darkness operating in the spiritual realm were the source of his trials. These powers of darkness influence people to sin.

The soul/spirit in the spiritual realm

(Matthew 19:5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

The souls/spirits of a married couple become intertwined. I don't believe this is referring to conjugal relations as it is often interpreted — Jesus seems to be talking about something more profound. This seems to refer to a continual state, not an occasional act.

(1 Corinthians 6:16) What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

Paul refers to the verse above regarding the unity of the married couple. The conjugal act of union entangles the souls of the two people in a way that is only proper for married couples.

(Ephesians 5:30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
(Ephesians 5:31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

In receiving salvation through faith in Christ, we become part of the family of God. Our souls become spiritually united with Jesus in a similar manner as occurs with a married couple.

(John 1:12,13) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This verse refers to spiritual rebirth of a believer. This spiritual rebirth is not like human birth nor is it something we can provide for on our own (3 examples):

(2 Corinthians 10:3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.

Both uses of the word "flesh" must mean the same thing because Paul uses the words together in the same sentence. He provides a clear meaning of these words in the context.

The verses before refer to the phrase "walk in the flesh:"

(2 Corinthians 10:1,2) Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base [timid] among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Paul is referring to weakness of character, to being a weak leader. They think Paul is timid but he is claiming that he will be strong and exert his full authority as an apostle to correct them. Thus, the word "flesh" refers to an aspect of character, to a spiritual quality of Paul's soul, not to his physical presence or condition.

The verses after refer to the phrase "war after the flesh:"

(2 Corinthians 10:4,5) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

The spiritual war is in the realm of ideas and beliefs as well the realm of faith. Those who walk in faith engage their soul in this battle against those spiritual influences which seek to drag them down.

A few verses on we learn that Paul is using the term "flesh" to mean "outward appearance":

(2 Corinthians 10:7) Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.

The part of the soul more easily influenced by sin

(Matthew 26:41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

One part of the soul (the spirit) is strong, the other (the flesh) is weak. I don't believe the flesh referred to here is the body. It is not the physical world that tempts people to sin but it is, rather, the spiritual realm.

(Romans 6:19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

The word "members" refers to every part of the body which can express sin including: vocal chords (sinful speech), face (hateful grimaces), hands and arms, etc. But the sinful expressions of people originate within their soul and attitude so the physical members of the body are merely expressions of the soul of humans.

(Hebrews 9:13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
(Hebrews 9:14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The purpose of the Old Testament animal sacrifices was to cleanse from sin. It is not the body which is stained by sin but the soul, specifically, the sin nature.

The part of the soul that sins

(Galatians 5:19-21) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lust], idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [conflict], emulations [rivalries], wrath, strife, seditions [rebellions], heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings [noisy parties], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This verse makes it clear what the flesh is. It is not the body

These works of the flesh each have a mental and a physical component. The important point is that it is not the body which causes these, it is the depraved soul. Therefore, the word "flesh" does not mean "body." It refers to that part of the soul which entices us to commit sin and which drives us to sin.

(Romans 7:25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Paul is considering two aspects of humanity: (1) that which is not tainted by sin (called "the mind"), and (2) that which is tainted and tempted by sin. It seems he was influenced by Greek thinking in referring to the mind in this way.

(Romans 7:18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

This verse confused the Protestant Reformers. They taught that humans are totally depraved, that none of their acts are good, that every act we do is fully sinful. This is nonsense. Our human soul is basically good but being tainted by the sin nature makes it is difficult for us to clearly discern the good from the bad. This sin nature has severed our fellowship with God, and performing good works is insufficient to re-establish the broken fellowship. God demands absolute moral perfection which we simply cannot deliver.

Notice that Paul states that he wishes to do good; at least that part of his soul is morally connected with God's will. The difficulty is in the execution of the good, of not becoming distracted by the temptations and habits which distract us from doing the good. But the Protestant Reformers with their teaching about total depravity deny that we can even desire to do good, but this verse refutes that. Many fundamentalist evangelical Protestant denominations today teach total depravity using such crass images as menstrual rags and dung heaps. But we are created in the image of God and the fact that we have taken on a sin nature does not change that fact.

Here are the passages in question which are misinterpreted to come up with the teaching of total depravity:

(Isaiah 64:5-7) Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

This passage states clearly that God meets those who are righteous and holy. The problem is that the society has become corrupt and they don't do this anymore. This passage does not teach the doctrine of total depravity.

(Philippians 3:8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

The things referred to as dung are all the works of the law which are not performed in faith. This verse does not teach the doctrine of total depravity. Nor does it teach that we must abandon ceremonies, rituals, holy days, traditions, etc. The Protestant Reformers felt they had to destroy everything and this idea still permeates Protestant-based Christianity today.

(Romans 7:5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

In this verse the word "flesh" clearly does not refer to the body, it refers to that aspect of our soul and will which is influenced by sin and which performs sinful behaviors.

(John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Humans have two parts: (1) spirit, and (2) flesh. Both are parts of the soul. The spirit is that part which operates without influence by sin; the flesh is that part which is bound by sin.

(1 Corinthians 5:5) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I think this verse is often misinterpreted by confusing the meaning of the word "flesh." When taken as meaning the body we must conclude that Paul wants the sinful man excommunicated so he can be killed by Satan before he loses his salvation. But we see later that this man repented and was accepted back into the church. This seemed to be the hoped-for and expected outcome, not that the man died. One goal of excommunication is for the sinner to repent.

(2 Corinthians 2:6-8) Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

(Galatians 5:13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Our freedom in faith should not cause us to feel free to sin. We must at all times fight against the temptations of the sin nature within us, the "flesh." The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit assists us in this war against sin.

I find it odd that so many fundamentalist evangelical Protestants spend so much time exhorting us to not sin; they emphasize it in nearly every sermon. The reason this is so odd is that they also teach that the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit prevents us from sinning by granting us supernatural sinless perfection (or some such equivalent version of this teaching). Clearly their teaching about this topic is confused.

(1 John 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

(Galatians 2:20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

(Romans 13:14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Certainly sin does not originate in the body but, rather, from the soul. It is the soul in the spiritual realm which is entangled with the wicked spirits of Satan's kingdom of darkness, and it is the soul which has a sin nature.

(Jude 8) Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

The word "flesh" refers back to the phrase in verse 4, to those who are "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness." These are using the gospel of grace to justify living sinful lives.

(Galatians 5:24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Paul uses the word "crucify" to mean kill. Notice that it is not the body which is killed upon redemption but, rather, the sin nature which resides in the soul and which causes sinful actions and attitudes.

(Colossians 2:11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.
(Colossians 2:13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

Paul refers to the sin nature. Just as the physical act of circumcision for the Jews united them to God's covenant and brought them redemption, so also Christians are united to Christ's covenant by receiving his offer of forgiveness. Being baptized is comparable to being circumcised — both are outward evidences of saving faith.

(1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

It is not the body that sins but, rather, the soul. The body tempts us to sin only because the sin nature of the soul is tempted to responded to the bodily senses in sinful ways. There is nothing wrong with the bodily urges of hunger, for example, but we should not respond by overeating.

Biological humanity

(John 3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Humans have ancestors and descendants.

(Romans 9:8) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

The word "flesh" refers to ancestors and descendants.

(Jude 7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The phrase "strange flesh" refers to promiscuous homosexual relationships.

(Ephesians 5:30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

In receiving salvation through faith in Christ, we become part of the family of God.

Cultural humanity

(Romans 11:14) If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

Paul is referring to the Jews.

(Philippians 3:4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more.

Paul goes on to recite his pedigree as well as his religious achievements as a Jew.

The body

(Luke 24:39) Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Jesus is telling them that he is not merely a phantom, an apparition, but that he is fully present in the physical realm, that he has a body.

(Galatians 4:13,14) Ye know how through infirmity [weakness] of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

The reason Paul preached to them was because of his weakness of the flesh. This probably refers to the physical damage to his face caused by his recent stoning. The only reason he was there able to preach to them is because he had to change his plans because he was stoned nearly to death to he had to stay a while to recover.

Paul refers to the physical condition as a temptation to himself. Presumably he was tempted to quit preaching altogether; to either give up his ministry or at least to take a temporary hiatus.

The word flesh here refers to the physical body.

(Ephesians 2:15) Having abolished in his [Jesus'] flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.

The word "flesh" refers to the body of Jesus which was crucified.

In this verse Paul is referring to the uniting of the Israelites and the Gentiles through Jesus' work. The Old Testament law contained laws, commandments, and ordinances which in effect separated the Israelites from God by highlighting their deficiencies. And the Gentiles were separated from God by not being part of the covenant. But Jesus joins both into one new man by his work "in the flesh", by his sacrificial death on the cross.

(Colossians 2:5) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

Paul is not in Colossae with them but is thinking about them from somewhere else. The phrase "in the flesh" means "in person."

(John 6:51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Jesus took on human nature and a human body — he refers to this as "flesh". In order to have eternal life we are to eat his body which he calls "living bread." I think there are two meanings to this (note: I believe this is to be interpreted literally, not figuratively):

(Romans 2:28) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.

The word "flesh" refers to the body.

(Acts 2:31) He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

The word "flesh" refers to the body, in this case, the resurrected body of Jesus.

(1 Corinthians 15:39) All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

The word "flesh" refers to the physical bodies of humans and animals. The word "flesh" is used for living bodies whereas the word "body" is used for other physical objects:

(1 Corinthians 15:40) There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

(Romans 14:21) It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Paul is referring to food sacrificed to idols.

(Galatians 6:13) For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

The Judaizers demanded that Christians practice the Mosaic law.

(Ephesians 5:29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

We take care of our physical bodies. Just as we look after our physical body, Jesus looks after the church.

(Philippians 1:24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Paul is talking about remaining alive rather than dying. The body dies but not the soul.

The physical aspects of life

(2 Corinthians 4:11) For we which live [the still-living apostles] are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Paul is referring to his many trials and difficulties in sharing the gospel as an apostle and he refers to these using the word "flesh" (actually, with the phrase, "mortal flesh"). He also refers to these with the word "death":

(2 Corinthians 4:12) So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

(Philemon 1:16) Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

There are two aspects to life: the physical (in the flesh) and the spiritual (in the Lord.) Paul was asking Philemon to consider his slave Onesimus to be his equal in the physical realm, that is, to free him as his slave. He was also asking Philemon to consider Onesimus to be a brother in the Lord.

(2 Corinthians 7:1) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Paul distinguished between the flesh and the spirit. But notice that the word "flesh" does not mean "the body" but, rather, it refers to physical conditions, to physical relationships with others. The context of the preceding verses makes this clear

(2 Corinthians 6:14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

The word "spirit" refers to a person's individual walk with God, with their faith. Paul is not saying that we have two natures, one physical and one spiritual, but he is noting that our spiritual nature, our soul, has various aspects and relationships.

(2 Corinthians 12:7) And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

I assume that Paul's thorn in the flesh is the persecution of the Judaizers who oppose Paul in every city.

(Colossians 1:24) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.

Paul uses the word "flesh" to refer to his various trials and tribulations which include physical difficulties as well as persecution and opposition to his evangelization.

(1 Corinthians 7:28) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

They will have difficulties as a Christian couple trying to raise children due to persecution.

(Ephesians 6:5) Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

The word "flesh" refers to the areas of life that a master rules over a servant. This includes every aspect of living: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual.

The spiritual body in the spiritual realm

(John 6:54,55) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Jesus is referring to his literal body, but not to his physical body. In the spiritual realm Jesus manifests his human nature in various forms:

(Acts 2:26) Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope.

This is a citation from Psalms 16:9. The word "flesh" refers to the person after death, clearly not the physical body which decays, but to the person who lives on after death. It seems to me that the spiritual body animated by the soul is referred to rather than the soul itself.

Human nature, physical plus spiritual, body and soul

(John 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Jesus was fully human with a human body and soul. He was also fully divine. The word "flesh" in this verse refers to full humanity in all its aspects. In taking on human nature (the flesh) Jesus "deified" human naturemaking it possible for us humans to become deified as well. This occurs at the final resurrection just before the Great White Throne judgment. Once deified we are not God nor gods but we will have the same nature that the human side of Jesus had (and still has).

(1 John 4:2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.

Jesus took on full human nature. This includes body and soul.

(1 Timothy 3:16) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Jesus took on full human nature. This includes body and soul.

(Hebrews 10:20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Jesus took on full human nature. This includes body and soul. His very being was involved in securing our redemption.

Works as opposed to faith

(Galatians 3:3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Every aspect of salvation is by the spirit, not of the flesh. The word "flesh" in this verse refers to the activities of people who are trying to perfect themselves in faith through emphasis on works, by working, by doing devotions and prayers and ceremonies

Note that this use of the word "flesh" refers to the soul and the spiritual realm — it is not the body which attempts to perfect itself spiritually but, rather, the soul. Some commentators I've read seem to limit the word "flesh" to the physical body but this is incorrect. Some uses of the term do mean this but many do not as I have shown.

(Galatians 3:2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

(Galatians 4:23) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

The word "flesh" refers to Abraham's attempt to fulfill God's promise by having a child with Sarah's maid. He was not acting in faith.

(John 8:15) Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

Jesus is referring to people who are judging him based on various human criteria such as his pedigree in the religious community of the day. He doesn't judge that way; he judges by a persons faith in God.

(Galatians 6:8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Paul contrasts works of the flesh with works of the Spirit, with works of faith. Only works done in faith have eternal merit.

(Galatians 6:12) As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

The Judaizers blended works and faith. They believed that Christians had to follow the Mosaic law. This included circumcision.

(Philippians 3:4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more.

Paul goes on to recite his pedigree as well as his religious achievements as a Jew.

The pus which exudes from diseased skin

(Jude 23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

The image of a garment spotted by the flesh refers to the Old Testment Levitical law of ceremonial uncleanness. The example in Jude is of a person with a skin condition which stains the clothing rendering both the person and the garment unclean. The garment must be burned and the person quarantined until the condition heals.

(Leviticus 13:2) When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests.

(Leviticus 13:14) But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean.

(Leviticus 13:52) He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire.

This meaning of the image of flesh in this verse is that we should avoid people who teach error and rescue innocent people who are deceived by their lies.

Flesh and bones vs flesh and blood

Jesus uses the phrase "flesh and bones" which seems to have all the same meanings as the word "flesh" as the following passages make clear.

(Genesis 2:23) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

(Genesis 29:14) And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

(2 Samuel 5:1) Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.

(Job 2:5) But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

(Proverbs 14:30) A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

Some make a strong distinction between the phrases "flesh and bone" and "flesh and blood" but I am not persuaded such a distinction exists (except when referring to literal blood or literal bones). It seems that when the word "blood" or "bone" is associated with the word "flesh" it means the same as when the word "flesh" is used alone.