3:16,17 From other parts of the epistle, it appears that the false teachers among the Corinthians taught unholy doctrines. Such teaching tended to corrupt, to pollute, and destroy the building, which should be kept pure and holy for God. Those who spread loose principles, which render the church of God unholy, bring destruction upon themselves. Christ by his Spirit dwells in all true believers. Christians are holy by profession, and should be pure and clean, both in heart and conversation. He is deceived who deems himself the temple of the Holy Ghost, yet is unconcerned about personal holiness, or the peace and purity of the church.
16. Know ye not—It is no new thing I tell you, in calling you "God's building"; ye know and ought to remember, ye are the noblest kind of building, "the temple of God."
ye—all Christians form together one vast temple. The expression is not, "ye are temples," but "ye are the temple" collectively, and "lively stones" (1Pe 2:5) individually.
God … Spirit—God's indwelling, and that of the Holy Spirit, are one; therefore the Holy Spirit is God. No literal "temple" is recognized by the New Testament in the Christian Church. The only one is the spiritual temple, the whole body of believing worshippers in which the Holy Spirit dwells (1Co 6:19; Joh 4:23, 24). The synagogue, not the temple, was the model of the Christian house of worship. The temple was the house of sacrifice, rather than of prayer. Prayers in the temple were silent and individual (Lu 1:10; 18:10-13), not joint and public, nor with reading of Scripture, as in the synagogue. The temple, as the name means (from a Greek root "to dwell"), was the earthly dwelling-place of God, where alone He put His name. The synagogue (as the name means an assembly) was the place for assembling men. God now too has His earthly temple, not one of wood and stone, but the congregation of believers, the "living stones" on the "spiritual house." Believers are all spiritual priests in it. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has the only literal priesthood (Mal 1:11; Mt 18:20; 1Pe 2:5) [Vitringa].