We Are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (2 of 4) by Jonathan McLeod

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We Are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (2 of 4)
Series: We Are the Church
Jonathan McLeod
I Corinthians 3:16-17

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17).


When we read about a ‘‘church’’ in the Bible, ‘‘church’’ never refers to a building. The Greek word that’s translated ‘‘church’’ is ekklesia, which literally means ‘‘assembly,’’ or ‘‘gathering.’’ A church building is where a church meets. We are the church.

In the NT, there are several metaphors for the church. A metaphor is ‘‘a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar’’ (e.g., ‘‘He’s a bull in a china shop.’’) In this series, we’re going to examine four metaphors for the church. The church is (1) the family of God, (2) the temple of the Holy Spirit, (3) the bride of Christ, and (4) the body of Christ.

[Read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.]


First Corinthians was a letter written by the apostle Paul to a church located in the city of Corinth. Paul tells these believers, ‘‘You are God’s temple’’ (1 Cor. 3:16). In the original Greek, ‘‘you’’ is plural. Paul is saying that the church is ‘‘God’s temple.’’ Why is the church called a temple?

Before the tabernacle (the predecessor of the temple) was built, God said, ‘‘Let [the Israelites] make me a sanctuary [i.e., the Most Holy Place] , that I may dwell in their midst’’ (Exod. 25:8). Why was the tabernacle built? It was built so that God could ‘‘dwell in [the Israelites’] midst.’’ In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul writes, ‘‘We are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’’’


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