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Temple of the Holy Spirit


(1 Cor.6:13): “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

Within the context, this is the first use of the word “body,” and here is used in reference to the human body, since “meats for the belly” and the “body is not for sexual immorality” are mentioned.  Paul begins setting up a series of arguments to show that the “body is not for sexual immorality” as the proverb of the day sought to prove.

ARGUMENT #1 (v.15): Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”

Here Paul is indeed discussing the human body, and that the human body of the Christian is important to Christ, because it is a member of Christ. Though not expressly stated, the body of Christ is implied as well, since the members and their bodies make up His body, the church. Therefore, when a child of God goes into a harlot, he is misusing a member of the body of Christ and brings shame not only upon himself, but on Christ’s body.

 ARGUMENT #2 (V.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 introduces yet another “body.” The first “body” he introduced was the human body of the individual Christian. The second “body” was implied with the use of the phrase “members of Christ” (v.15) – that body being the “body of Christ.”

Now the third body Paul introduces is the body created when two human bodies come together. In this case, a man’s body being joined together with a harlot, becoming one flesh or body – essentially a “marriage body.” Paul uses marriage language (“for two, saith he, shall be one flesh”) and applies it to a perversion that occurs when the two “become one flesh.”

Paul then continues saying, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Paul is still speaking to this “marriage body.” Fornication is the only sin that one can commit that is grounds for the dissolution of the marriage. Here, he is affirming what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:9. Once you one sees the agreement between this passage and the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:9, the silly notion that Paul gave a “second exception” for divorce in remarriage in the next chapter is seen as being even more foolish than EVER before.

ARGUMENT #3 (vv.19-20): What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

3 different bodies have been referred to already in this context: 1. Human body 2. Body of Christ, of which human bodies are members 3. Marriage body. To understand Paul’s meaning it is important to determine which of the 3 bodies (or else determine a 4th body) Paul has in mind.

How would the Corinthians determine the meaning here (other than through miraculous means)?  They could guess (as many today do) or use a reasoned method of interpretation. One way is to find out how the word is used in other locations. They certainly would remember Paul’s words, found just 3 chapters prior (Chapter 3). Of course there were no verse numbers and chapter headings in the original manuscripts, however, Paul spoke of the temple of God as the church (1 Cor.3:16-17). They would also remember that their “bodies” were members of Christ. Paul is referring to the same temple – the one and only temple (“THE TEMPLE”) – the church.

Not only were they using members of Christ (their bodies) in their sin, and not only were they perverting their marriage body by joining together with a harlot, but also the temple of the Spirit – the church.

Therefore, the temple referred to in 1 Cor.6:19-20 is that of the one temple – singular (1 Cor.3:16-17; 6:19-20; cf. 2 Cor.6:16-17). 1 Cor.6:19-20 is not discussing little “temples” or “bodies” at all. Rather Paul is discussing the singular temple of Christ – His church – that becomes polluted when an individual member joins himself with a harlot, committing adultery against his wife and spiritual adultery against the temple or church of Christ – that which was bought with a price (Acts 20:28).

 NOTE ALSO THE PLURAL PRONOUNS: What? know YE (plural, you all) not that YOUR (plural, you all) BODY (singular, church) is the TEMPLE (singular, church) of the Holy Ghost which is in YOU (plural, you all), which YE (plural, you all) have of God, and YE (plural, you all) are not YOUR (plural, you all) own? For YE (plural, you all) are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in YOUR (plural, you all) BODY (singular, not bodies), and in YOUR (plural, you all) spirit, which are God's.” (“body” and “spirit” are God’s). 

The church-temple picture is found in various places in Scripture and certainly here in 1 Corinthians 3 & 6.    Send article as PDF   

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