Body as Temple

1 Corinthians 3 is the first passage that speaks of a body being a temple. Paul speaks of reward for service, compensation for all that is built on the foundation. The foundation is Christ and what is built on it is what makes up ministry–stuff done to edify the Body, the building, the Church.

1 Corinthians 6 also talks about the body and the temple. Verse 15 says “your bodies are the members of Christ.” Christ is one–one body with many members. The body is one, our bodies are members of Christ’s Body. So in verse 19 Paul says, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.”

Rather than saying “your bodies are the temple” he says “your body [singular] is the temple.” So, is he saying that Jeff’s physical body is a temple or is he saying that since my body is a member of Christ’s body, this one body, Christ’s, is the temple?

Ephesians 2 is the last passage referring to a body and a temple. Verse 21 says, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple.” We are all parts of one building, one temple, not many individual temples. He further stresses the unity in verse 22, “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” This joining into one building is the temple, the residence of the Holy Spirit.

Now, most commentaries will take 1 Corinthians 3 or Ephesians 2 and have no problem saying that refers to the Church. The problem arises in 1 Corinthians 6 and most commentators say our physical body is the temple of the Spirit.

The NIV, in fact, just goes ahead and interprets for you that it refers to each of our individual physical bodies by, for no apparent reason, making the singular “body” plural. The only other verses to compare this with both refer to the Church, the Body of Christ, being the temple.

What thinkest thou?

One thought on “Body as Temple”

  1. “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 2:5

    Our body is part and parcel of Christ’s earthly Temple. Individually and corporately we are the temple of Christ’s earthly temple. Peter calls us “living stones” to me that implies our bodies individually are Christ’s temple, while on a larger scale we are part of a bigger earthly temple. To me I see no problem with either translation, because we are identified as living stones, which implies singular and plural.

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