1 Corinthians 6:19
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?
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(19, 20) What? know ye not . . .?—These verses read better rendered thus: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you? Which you have from God, and you are not your own. For you were bought with a price. Glorify God then in your body.

There are two reasons why we are not our own. (1) The Spirit which has possession of our bodies is not our own, but given us “of God.” (2) We have been bought with a price, even the blood of Christ; it is a completed purchase (1Peter 1:18-19). Our bodies not being our own to do as we like with, we have no right to give them over unto sin. The last words of the verse are not a cold logical deduction from the previous argument, but rather an earnest exhortation suggested by the solemn thought of our oneness with Christ, and the price paid by Him to make us His.

The words “and in your spirits,” which are in the Authorised version, are not in the older Greek MSS. They were probably added to give a kind of verbal completeness to the exhortation. They only tend, however, to weaken the force of the passage as St. Paul wrote it. The dignity of the body is the subject of the previous passage, and the necessity for its purity the sole theme of the entire argument.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Know ye not, &c. — As if he had said, There is another view in which the baseness of this crime must appear to you, Christians, in consequence of your relation to that blessed agent, the Spirit of God. For your body is the temple of God — Dedicated to him, and inhabited by him; even by that Spirit which is in you — As true believers in Jesus, John 7:37-38; Ephesians 1:13. Which ye have — Which you receive; of God — As a most important, most necessary gift, without which you could not be Christ’s, Romans 8:9. What the apostle calls elsewhere, the temple of God, (chap. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17,) and the temple of the living God, (2 Corinthians 6:16,) he here styles the temple of the Holy Ghost; plainly showing that the Holy Ghost is the living God. The two things, as Whitby observes, necessary to constitute a temple of God, belong to the bodies of believers: they are consecrated to God, and he resides in them. “Excellent, therefore,” says he, “is the inference of Tertullian; that since all Christians are become the temple of God, by virtue of his Holy Spirit sent into their hearts, and consecrating their bodies to his service, we should make chastity the keeper of this sacred house, and suffer nothing unclean or profane to enter into it, lest the God who dwells in it, being displeased, should desert his habitation thus defiled.” And ye are not your own — Even as to your bodies, any more than your souls. Both are God’s, not only by creation and preservation, but by redemption, being bought with a price; and that infinitely beyond what you can pretend to be worth, even the precious blood of Christ, by which you have been redeemed out of the hands of divine justice, and through which, being put in possession of the Holy Spirit, you are rescued from the bondage of sin and Satan, and have become subjects and servants of Christ, who has thus obtained an eternal dominion over you: whose you are too by a voluntary donation of yourselves to him, and a mystical union with him as his temples. Therefore glorify God in your body — By temperance, chastity, purity; and in your spirit — By faith, hope, and love; humility, resignation, patience; by meekness, gentleness, long-suffering, and universal benevolence. Or, as the words may with equal propriety be rendered, Glorify him with your body and your spirit; that is, yield your bodies and all your members, as well as your souls and all their faculties, as instruments of righteousness to God: or devote and employ all you have, and all you are, entirely, unreservedly, and for ever, to his glory.

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.What! know ye not ... - This is the fifth argument against this sin. The Holy Spirit dwells in us; our bodies are his temples; and they should not be defiled and polluted by sin; see the note at 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. As this Spirit is in us, and as it is given us by God, we ought not to dishonor the gift and the giver by pollution and vice.

And ye are not your own - This is the sixth argument which Paul uses. We are purchased; we belong to God; we are his by redemption; by a precious price paid; and we are bound, therefore, to devote ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, as he directs, to the glory of his name, not to the gratification of the flesh; see the note at Romans 14:7-8.

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).

The apostle, 1 Corinthians 3:16, had called the church of Corinth,

the temple of God, and there made use of it to dissuade them from dissensions and divisions, because by them they defiled and destroyed the temple of God; here he calls the members of that church,

the temple of the Holy Ghost, which strongly proveth the Holy Ghost to be God: he mekes use of it here as an argument to dissuade them from the sin of fornication. God’s temple was built for his habitation upon earth, the place which he chose most to manifest himself in to his people, and for a place wherein his people were to pay him that external homage and worship, which he required of them under the law. So as the apostle’s calling them the temple of the Holy Ghost, both minded them of the favour God had bestowed on them, and also of that homage and duty which they with their bodies were to pay unto God; the latter they could not perform, nor hope for the former, while they lived in the practice of a sin so contrary to the will of God. Besides, he mindeth them, that their bodies were not their own, they had them of God: they had them from God by creation, and they were upheld by the daily workings of his providence in their upholding and preservation; God had not given them their bodies for this use, the body was not for fornication, as he had told them, 1 Corinthians 6:13. So as in abusing their bodies, they abused what was not their own, nor in their own power to use, as they listed to use them; but to be used only for those ends, and in that manner, that he who had given them had prescribed and directed: and in these abuses there was a kind of sacrilege; as God of old charged the Jews, Ezekiel 16:17-19, that they had taken the jewels of his gold and his silver, to make images, and commit spiritual whoredom with them; and they had taken his meat, his fine flour, his oil, and incense to set before them, & c.

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.

{14} What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and {15} ye are not your own?

(14) The third argument: because a fornicator is sacrilegious, because our bodies are consecrated to God.

(15) The fourth argument: because we are not our own men, to give ourselves to any other, much less to Satan and the flesh, seeing that God himself has bought us, and that with a great price, to the end that both in body and soul, we should serve to his glory.

1 Corinthians 6:19 justifies the ἁμαρτάνει in respect of the specific description of it given by εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα. “Commits sin,” I say, against his own body; or, in case ye doubt that, and think perhaps that it does not matter so much about the body, know ye not that (1) your body (i.e. the body of each one among you, see Bernhardy, p. 60) is the temple (not: a temple, see on 1 Corinthians 3:16) of the Holy Spirit which is in you (Romans 8:11); and that (2) ye belong not to your own selves (see 1 Corinthians 6:20)? Fornication, therefore, so far as it affects your own body, is a desecration of what is holy, and a selfish rebellion against God your Lord.

οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ Θεοῦ] gives edge to the proof,[1005] and leads on to the second point (οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν) ΟὟ is under attraction from ἉΓ. ΠΝ. (Winer, p. 154 [E. T. 203]).

ΚΑῚ ΟὐΚ Κ.Τ.Λ[1006]] still dependent upon ὅτι, which is to be supplied again after καί, not an independent statement (Hofmann, who takes the καί as meaning also), which would needlessly interrupt the flow of the animated address.

[1005] Chrysostom: καὶ τὸν δεδωκότα τέθεικεν, ὑψηλόν τε ὁμοῦ ποιῶν τὸν ἀκροατὴν, καὶ φοβῶν καὶ τῷ μεγέθει τῆς παρακαταθήκης καὶ τῇ φιλοτιμίᾳ τοῦ παρακαταθεμένου. Further, as to the idea of the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit, in opposition to the abuse of it in debauchery, comp. Herm. Past. Sim. v. 7.

[1006] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20. What a deadly sin, an act of high treason, this is for the Christian, Paul’s final appeal shows: “Or (if you do not yet realise the heinousness of fornication), do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have (οὗ ἔχετε, gen[990] by attraction to Πνεύματος) from God?” The Holy Spirit dwells in the readers: how but in their body, since they are in the body? (1 Corinthians 3:16, cf. Romans 8:11; also John 2:21): there is the same tacit inference from whole to part as in 1 Corinthians 6:15; the same assumption that the body is essential to the man, which underlies the doctrine of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 6:15). The Christian estimate of πορνεία is thus categorically opposed to the heathen estimate. In the temple of Aphrodité prostitutes were priestesses, and commerce with them was counted a consecration; it is an absolute desecration of God’s true temple in the man himself.—“And (that) you are not your own?” This too P. asks his readers if they “do not know?” The possessor is God, who has occupied them by His Spirit, having first purchased them with His Son’s blood: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 3:23; Romans 8:32, 2 Corinthians 5:18 ff., Acts 20:28. “For you were bought at a price!”—the τιμὴ P. does not need to state; it was τίμιον αἷμα (1 Peter 1:18 f.; Ephesians 1:7, Matthew 20:28, Revelation 5:9). Ἀγοράζω, to purchase, syn[991] with (ἀπο) λυτρόομαι, to ransom (1 Corinthians 1:30, Titus 2:14): the latter points to the means of redemption, the former to the proprietorship which it creates (cf. περιεποιήσατο, Acts 20:28); both ideas meet in Ephesians 1:14. The gen[992] of price, τιμῆς, indicates the value at which God rates His purchase.—δοξάσατε δὴ κ.τ.λ.: “Now glorify God in your body”—sc. by a chaste life (contrast Romans 2:23). δή (rare in N.T.; h. l. in P.), kindred to the temporal ἤδη, makes the command peremptory, breaking off discussion (cf. Acts 13:2). ἐν, in, not with, your body—the temple wherein each man serves as priest; here the ναός, in Romans 12:2 the θυσία.—καὶ ἐν τ. πνεύματι κ.τ.λ., of the T.R., is a Syrian gloss, added as if to complete the sense; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:34.

[990] genitive case.

[991] synonym, synonymous.

[992] genitive case.

19. know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost] See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 3:16, and cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:20; Hebrews 3:3; 1 Peter 2:5. Observe also that God in Christ acts through the Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 6:15 of this chapter), so that ‘we are the temple of God’ because ‘the Spirit of God dwelleth in us.’ Nothing can be more effectual than the thought of such an inhabitation, as being the result of our Christian calling, to restrain us from the sin here mentioned.

which ye have of God] Rather, whom ye have from God, referring to the Holy Spirit. Cf. St John 3:5; John 14:26; John 15:26; Acts 2:33. For the use of “which” for “whom,” cf. ‘Our Father which art. in heaven,’ and Titus 3:6.

ye are not your own] Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 7:22; Romans 6:18; Romans 6:22; St John 8:30; also Romans 14:8. The Scriptures frequently remind us that we have passed from slavery to sin into slavery to Christ, the latter slavery, however, being the true freedom of man, enabling him to fulfil the law of his being.

1 Corinthians 6:19. ) a particle denoting the second part of a disjunctive interrogation. The expression, his own, 1 Corinthians 6:18, is in this ver. sweetly limited. Our body is so constituted, as that it may be the temple of God, i.e. His peculiar and perpetual habitation.—τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν, which is in you) This expression assigns the reason [ætiology.—end.]. The Holy Spirit is in you; therefore you are His temple.—οὗ) whom, the Spirit.—καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν, and ye are not your own) This appropriately follows, but yet it is connected more closely with, ye are bought, and in its construction, it also depends on ὅτι, because.

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). 1 Corinthians 6:19Temple (ναὸς)

Better, as Rev., in margin, sanctuary. It is not only a temple, but the very shrine. See on 1 Corinthians 3:16.


See on John 7:39. Omit and in your spirit, which are God's.

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