Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Your body is a temple. Even though this is a Bible verse, it’s not uncommon to hear this phrase in a variety of contexts. However the actual 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 meaning is often ignored.
In this passage Paul is writing to a church that is largely ignoring what God says and has some pretty serious problems. He is urging them to take seriously God’s words and to live in light of what Jesus has done.
The church today is facing very similar issues and we NEED to listen to what this verse has to say. Even though it was written almost 2,000 years ago, its message is just as needed today.
Let’s start by taking a look at the context in which 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is found.
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The Context Of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The book of 1 Corinthians really isn’t a book as much as it is a letter. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth. Throughout this letter he rebukes the church for a variety of issues. Apparently they are struggling.
One of the biggest issues Paul addresses is sexual purity. They are doing things even those outside the church are looking at and saying that’s not right…
That’s what’s happening in 1 Corinthians 6. Paul is imploring this church to view their bodies in light of what Jesus has done for them. To help them understand, Paul uses a powerful illustration that they would have connected with.
Let’s dive in and see what Paul says.
The 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Meaning
To help us better understand the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I’m going to break this passage down into four sections. This will help us better unpack what Paul is saying and how it applies to our life.
Once we understand the meaning we will look at four practical ways we can apply it to our everyday lives.
Your Bodies Are Temples Of The Holy Spirit Meaning
Paul starts off his argument with an illustration— our bodies are a temple. You’ve likely heard that before even if you’ve never been in a church. It’s common to hear people say this about why we should eat right and workout; our bodies are a temple.
But a temple in Paul’s day is very different than today. Throughout the Old Testament the temple was where the Israelites met with God. They worshipped, made sacrifices, and prayed there. This was a holy place, a sacred place. It was a sign that God was with his people.
Paul here is making a major claim. Now because of the work of Jesus, the temple isn’t limited to a single location. Rather it is within each follower of Jesus.
Don’t miss the significance of this. You don’t have to go somewhere to meet with God; he is with you everywhere you go. Similarly, those around you that aren’t following God can see who he is through you.
This is not only an incredible gift, but also a responsibility. Paul continues by telling us about how this actually plays out.
You Are Not Your Own Meaning
You are not your own. Those words don’t sit well in our individualistic culture do they?
Now, it’s important for us to remember who these words are written to. This isn’t directed at those outside the church. Rather it’s directed at those who have chosen to follow Jesus.
When we decide to follow Jesus we accept him as the king of our lives. We give up our right to control our lives. That’s why Jesus says if we want to follow him we must pick up our cross and die to ourselves.
For more about dying to yourself check out:What Does It Mean To Take Up Your Cross? (Luke 9:23 Meaning)
Followers of Jesus are not their own. They are servants to the king.
Paul continues with this thought…
You Were Bought At A Price Meaning
You were bought at a price. Christians have been “purchased” at a great price, the blood of Jesus. We belong to him because he paid the price for us.
Now, the question is, why did we need to be bought? Our sin indebted us and we were slaves to our actions and desires. This debt meant we were on our way to death.
But at just the right time Jesus saved us. He paid our debt. He made a way for us to get back to him. Now we are no longer slaves, but we belong to Christ.
We ought to take seriously what Paul says next because of the price that Jesus paid for us.
For more about the wages of sin check out: What You NEED To Know About The Romans 6:23 Meaning (the wages of sin is death)
Therefore Honor God With Your Bodies Meaning
Remember, the Corinthian church had some issues. And one of the biggest issues was sexual immorality. There were cases of incest and many visited prostitutes. Yet, the church never called out this sin; it was running rampant through the church.
The problem in this church was a loose view of sin. The church looked no different than the culture around them. Which really isn’t so different today.
Paul’s argument here is to remember what Jesus has done for them and for them to live accordingly.
Because you were bought at a price and you are not your own, therefore you must honor God with your bodies. The church in Corinth was not honoring God; they were actually bringing dishonor. And Paul is urging them to correct their behavior.
Certainly this applies to sexual sin; Paul does this immediately prior in 1 Corinthians 6:18. But we shouldn’t limit honoring God with our bodies to just sexual sins. But in all our ways, actions, and thoughts we should seek to honor God.
3 Ways To Honor God With Your Body
Now that we’ve looked at the 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 meaning, I want to end by giving you three questions to help you apply it. I want to encourage you to ask yourself these questions and be honest with your answers.
I think the struggles of the Corinthian church are very similar to the struggles we have today. This passage can be a mirror that will help reflect and reveal areas of your life where you are not honoring God.
1. Is It A Sin?
We have a low view of sin in our culture. We excuse it and brush it aside. It’s not a big deal. I’m not hurting anyone. Sin is an archaic idea. And so on…
But the reality is it’s not. Sin has a big effect on us and our relationships. Sin hurts our relationship with God.
We need to correct this view and behavior. The first question we should ask ourselves is, is it a sin? Is this thing we are doing something the Bible clearly tells us not to? And if the answer is yes, then we should stop it.
Now, I want to be clear here. We don’t avoid sin to earn anything from God. He’s freely given us salvation, and his love isn’t dependent on our actions.
We avoid sin because of what Jesus has done for us; it’s our response to salvation. Plus Christians should recognize that sin has never brought life. It has only taken from us and left us wanting more.
God is showing us a better way to live. It’s a way that leads to peace and joy and relationship with our creator. So, ask yourself, what sin is in my life that I’m avoiding?
2. Is It Wise For Me To Do?
If it’s a sin we should avoid it. But what about the areas that the Bible doesn’t directly speak to? In those grey areas we should seek wisdom. What’s the wisest thing for me to do?
Take for example drinking alcohol. The Bible doesn’t say having an occasional drink is a sin. However if someone struggles with alcoholism, it’s not smart for them to hang out at a bar. Not that hanging out in a bar or even having a beer is a sin, but it could lead to sin for someone who struggles with it.
Part of honoring God with our bodies is asking ourselves, what’s the wisest thing for me to do? What will happen if I choose to do this or not?
In the grey areas of our life we need to practice wisdom. What’s the wisest thing for me to do?
3. What Is My Life Communicating To Those Around Me?
What you do as a follower of Jesus tells the people around you something about God. You are his representatives, his ambassador. That’s your God-given mission.
The problem is many Christians never actually look at what their life is communicating to those around them.
A hard truth I’ve learned is that though I might have the freedom to do something, it still has a consequence. I may lose influence because of the choices I make.
There are people in our life that we have the opportunity to positively influence. Part of honoring God with your body is not doing things that will damage those relationships.
You will never leave an impact on anyone if you just hold onto your freedoms and do what you want. Sometimes you have to give up something so that you can gain influence in someone’s life to help them see the change they need to make. That’s why Paul said, “I will become all things to all people so that I may win a few.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
Is your life communicating the message of Jesus to those around you?
Closing Thoughts On The Meaning Of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
If you are a follower of Jesus your body is not your own. Jesus paid a high price for your freedom and forgiveness. Because of this it’s your job to honor him with what you choose to do.
I think today we have many of the struggles that the church in Corinth was facing. We have a low view of sin. We don’t see the damage it does to us and the price that Jesus paid. The 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 meaning challenges this perception and urges us to honor God.
I would encourage you to take a few minutes to prayerfully consider if you are honoring God with your body. Think about what Jesus has done for you, and ask yourself, am I living in light of this?
Thank you for reading this blog post! I hope it helped you better understand that you bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and how that applies to your life.
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