Wow, Ron! That was harsh.
I know, forgive me, but imagine my shock on the elliptical machine, sweat running down my checks, meditating on 1 Corinthians 3, when it hit me! Paul is not talking about exercise!
In the passage, the apostle speaks of rewards in heaven, and then suddenly he starts talking about our bodies being the Temple of God. I wondered, how did he get there? It doesn’t seem to connect. I went back and reread the verses, before and after, and noticed a word I had never seen there: Together. And, boom, it hit me!
And how ironic that I was exercising—taking care of the temple, so to speak—when I realized that eating right, not smoking and exercising had NOTHING to do with what Paul was talking about when he said:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” (1 Cor. 3:16-17)
Now to be clear, in 1 Corinthians 6, he does refer to our bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit, in regards to sexual immorality. This is why sexual sins are especially perverse, because the presence of Jesus is inside our bodies.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 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 Cor. 6:18-20)
This is different than his meaning in chapter three. In chapter six, he says “temples” plural. Meaning, the presence of God dwells in every “individual” believer. But in chapter three, he says, that we, together (plural), are the Temple (singular) of God. He is speaking of the entire body of Messiah as being the replacement for the (soon to be destroyed) Temple in Jerusalem.
Why is this Important!?
Hang with me friends—it is soooo important.