|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:12-20 Some among the Corinthians seem to have been ready to say, All things are lawful for me. This dangerous conceit St. Paul opposes. There is a liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, in which we must stand fast. But surely a Christian would never put himself into the power of any bodily appetite. The body is for the Lord; is to be an instrument of righteousness to holiness, therefore is never to be made an instrument of sin. It is an honour to the body, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead; and it will be an honour to our bodies, that they will be raised. The hope of a resurrection to glory, should keep Christians from dishonouring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body. Other vices may be conquered in fight; that here cautioned against, only by flight. And vast multitudes are cut off by this vice in its various forms and consequences. Its effects fall not only directly upon the body, but often upon the mind. Our bodies have been redeemed from deserved condemnation and hopeless slavery by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We are to be clean, as vessels fitted for our Master's use. Being united to Christ as one spirit, and bought with a price of unspeakable value, the believer should consider himself as wholly the Lord's, by the strongest ties. May we make it our business, to the latest day and hour of our lives, to glorify God with our bodies, and with our spirits which are his.
Verse 19. - That your body is the temple (or rather, a sanctuary) of the Holy Ghost. He has already said that the Church is a shrine or sanctuary of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16); but here for the first time expression is given to one of the deepest and newest truths of Christianity (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:16). Three great epochs are marked by the use of the word temple. In the Old Testament it means the material temple, the sign of a localized worship and a separated people; in the Gospels our Lord uses it of his own mortal body; in the Epistles it is used (as here) of the body of every baptized Christian, sanctified by the indwelling Spirit of God. Ye are not your own. We cannot, therefore, use our bodies as though they were absolutely under our own control. They belong to God, and, "whether we live or die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,.... What is said in 1 Corinthians 3:16 of the saints in general, is here said of their bodies in particular. The Holy Spirit, in regeneration and sanctification, when he begins the good work of grace on a man, takes possession of his whole person, soul and body, and dwells therein as in his temple. So the Jews (o) call the body of a righteous man the "habitation" of the Holy Spirit. Now it is most abominably scandalous and shameful that that body, which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, which is sacred to him as a temple, should be defiled by the sin of fornication: it is added,
which is in you, which ye have of God; meaning the Holy Spirit which was in them, as in his temple; which dwelt in their hearts, and influenced their bodies, lives, and conversations; and which they received of God as a wonderful instance of his grace and love to them; that he should be bestowed upon them, to regenerate, renew, and sanctify them, to implant every grace, to make them a fit habitation for God, and meet for the inheritance of the saints in light:
and ye are not your own: their own masters, at their own dispose, to live to their own lusts, or the lusts of men; men have not power over their bodies to abuse them at pleasure by fornication, or such like uncleanness, neither single nor married persons; see 1 Corinthians 7:4 and of all men, not the saints, who are neither their own nor other men's, nor Satan's, but God's; not only by creation, but by choice and covenant; and Christ's by gift, by purchase, and powerful grace, and in a conjugal relation to him; wherefore fornication ill becomes them.
(o) R. Joseph Albo. apud Pocock. Not. in Pert. Mosis, p. 120, 121.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. What? know ye not? &c.—Proof that "he that fornicates sinneth against his own body" (1Co 6:18).
your body—not "bodies." As in 1Co 3:17, he represented the whole company of believers (souls and bodies), that is, the Church, as "the temple of God," the Spirit; so here, the body of each individual of the Church is viewed as the ideal "temple of the Holy Ghost." So Joh 17:23, which proves that not only the Church, but also each member of it, is "the temple of the Holy Ghost." Still though many the several members form one temple, the whole collectively being that which each is in miniature individually. Just as the Jews had one temple only, so in the fullest sense all Christian churches and individual believers form one temple only. Thus "YOUR [plural] body" is distinguished here from "HIS OWN [particular or individual] body" (1Co 6:18). In sinning against the latter, the fornicator sins against "your (ideal) body," that of "Christ," whose "members your bodies" are (1Co 6:15). In this consists the sin of fornication, that it is a sacrilegious desecration of God's temple to profane uses. The unseen, but much more efficient, Spirit of God in the spiritual temple now takes the place of the visible Shekinah in the old material temple. The whole man is the temple; the soul is the inmost shrine; the understanding and heart, the holy place; and the body, the porch and exterior of the edifice. Chastity is the guardian of the temple to prevent anything unclean entering which might provoke the indwelling God to abandon it as defiled [Tertullian, On the Apparel of Women]. None but God can claim a temple; here the Holy Ghost is assigned one; therefore the Holy Ghost is God.
not your own—The fornicator treats his body as if it were "his own," to give to a harlot if he pleases (1Co 6:18; compare 1Co 6:20). But we have no right to alienate our body which is the Lord's. In ancient servitude the person of the servant was wholly the property of the master, not his own. Purchase was one of the ways of acquiring a slave. Man has sold himself to sin (1Ki 21:20; Ro 7:14). Christ buys him to Himself, to serve Him (Ro 6:16-22).
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