Saturday 14 February 2015

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

"Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (v. 16)

1 Corinthians 3:16-23 Saturday 14 February 2015

Psalm: Psalm 107:33-43


Temples would have been rife in Corinth given its cosmopolitannature, and the number of different faiths and beliefs practised inthe city. They would have been very familiar to the members of theCorinthian church.

But it is just as likely that when Paul is talking about atemple he is referring to the great temple in Jerusalem (which wasdestroyed in AD 76). This would have been the temple where Jesuswas dedicated (Luke 2:22-40), where Jesus debated with theteachers as a 12-year old (Luke2:41-51), and from where Jesus threw out the money changers (Luke19:45-47). The temple was a focus for the Jewish people and afocus for their faith. It was there in the Holy of Holies that Godwas believed to be present.

Paul stresses that this last point when he speaks about thepresence of God's Spirit when he says that "you are God's temple".It is difficult to establish from the English whether he isreferring to individuals Christians in Corinth or the church as awhole. It could be either.

The Methodist Church describes discipleship as "whole life, lifelong and world transforming", so acknowledging that we are God'stemple adds a new dimension to discipleship. How we treatourselves, how we treat others is a reflection on how we treat andvalue God. And as if that isn't enough, Paul adds the warning "Ifanyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person.

If taken corporately (ie referring to the church being atemple), then Paul is returning to the familiar theme of theopening chapters of this letter - unity. It is God's temple andGod's Spirit dwells in you - it is not Paul's temple or Apollos' orCephas' and certainly the spirit of Paul or Apollos or Cephas doesnot dwell in them.

As a theme throughout the passage there is the affirmation fromPaul: "You are God's temple and  ... God's Spirit dwells inyou ... God's temple is holy, and you are that temple" (vv. 16, 17)and finally "you belong to Christ" (v. 23)

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to you to be "God's Temple"? How does thatinfluence the way you live?
  • In what way is your church is God's Temple?
  • How does the fact "you belong to Christ" sustain you in yourfaith and discipleship?

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