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Many people believe that the Scriptures teach that each of us is a temple of God. Is that true? What do the Scriptures actually say:

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1Corinthians 3:16

At first glance that verse does appear to say that we are temples of God. However, the KJV use of “Ye – You – Your” to represent the Greek plural tells us that is not the meaning of Paul.

The word “ye” (plural) represents the corporate church i.e. all of you together are the temple of God. Or as Peter described it – many stones built into one temple.

If Paul had wanted to say that each of our bodies was a temple of God he would have had to say:

“Know ye not that ye are *temples* (not temple) of God.

While it is true that the Holy Spirit dwells in each of God’s children, it does not follow that I am “the temple of God”. The Spirit dwells in our spirits but that does not mean my spirit is a
temple. There is only one Temple of God and each of us are part of that Temple. In the same way we are all members of Christ’s body; many parts but only one body.

Here is another verse which seems to say our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit:

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? 1 Corinthians 6:19

Again, the grammar of the KJV precludes that meaning. ( “ye your body you”) the “ye, your and you’ are all plural and “body” singular.

If Paul meant that each person’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, to be grammatically correct the pronouns must agree with the nouns and he would have had to use singular pronouns and say:

“What? know thee not that thy body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in thee…”

So, what did Paul mean when he said “your body is the temple”? He was referring to the body of Christ, not a person’s individual body. Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. All of God’s children together are the body of Christ and that body is the temple of God on earth That statement is in perfect agreement with Paul’s prior statement in 1 Cor 3:16 that “ye are the temple of God”.

Paul certainly was not saying that all of you together are the temple of  Holy Spirit in 1 Cor 3:16 and then saying each of you is the temple of  Holy Spirit in 1 Cor 6:19. He would be contradicting


There are some who believe and teach that our bodies are temples of God and that if we eat certain foods or do something that is not healthy for our bodies that we are “defiling the temple of God” and God will destroy those who do so. They believe that is what Paul was teaching in 1 Cor. 3:16-17

I will quote Paul again:

(16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of  God dwelleth in you?

(17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Since we know that Paul was not speaking of someone’s individual body as a temple, we also know that he could not have been warning the church about defiling an individual body.

The subject of this passage is not about defiling a fleshly body with foods, it is about false teachers defiling the church – the body of Christ - with doctrines that would hurt and destroy the Temple of God.

1 Cor 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

1 Cor 3:10 I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

We are the Temple of God and let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon because whosoever defiles that temple, *him* God will destroy.

Harold and Donna Kupp

I am not a Seventh Day Adventist (and never have been), a natural
Jew, or a Catholic.  I am simply the least of Christ's brethren who
love Him and keep His Commandments.

Creation date: Mar 9, 2009 12:17pm     Last modified date: Jul 15, 2017 5:49pm   Last visit date: Sep 25, 2023 7:09am
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