On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

On January 22, 1973, the decision of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in our country.  Since then, over 50 million American sons and daughters have been put to death under the sanction of our laws.  50,000,000.  That number roughly equals the combined populations of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

map

Put another way, that number is Lucas Oil Stadium filled to capacity 786 times.

But of course, numbers are only part of the picture.

Often, there is great tragedy in the lives of those who receive (and perform) abortions, such that I myself could not pretend to have experienced.  Behind every aborted child are a man, a woman, and a doctor–real people who walk among us every day, with whom we share our jobs, our campuses, our pews, our homes, and our hearts.  Ultimately, there is no demarcation between “we” and “they” when it comes to abortion.  There are people in your life and in mine who have received abortions; others have been complicit in encouraging or facilitating abortion; and many more have been personally affected by abortion.  Indeed, there is scarcely an American today whose life is not different because of the absence of these 50 million men and women.

What Word from the Lord befits such a day as today?  Two passages spring to mind.

Psalm 82. A Psalm of Asaph.

God has taken his place in the divine council;
     in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
     and show partiality to the wicked?     Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
     maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
     deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
     they walk about in darkness;
     all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods,
     sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
     and fall like any prince.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
     for you shall inherit all the nations!

The Lord God is King and Judge of the universe.  There is indeed a day appointed when every man shall stand judgment before God and receive from Him in accordance with his deeds.  With perfect justice, the Lord will set all things right in the end; and even now He is present and active in judging the lawless and upholding the cause of His people.  With the psalmist, we pray fervently that the Lord’s justice would be enacted in this world, just as we actively seek to employ what power we have to “rescue the weak and the needy… from the hands of the wicked.”  This the Lord commands; this we must do.

1 John 1:5b-6, 8-9

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth….  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

There is no man or woman on earth who has not broken the perfect law of God and rebelled against His authority over their lives.  The whole world–every one of us together–has forsaken the Lord and invited His just wrath and condemnation upon us.  But the same Lord, a gracious and compassionate God, has provided salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus for all who repent of their sins and place their trust in Him.  Make no mistake: There is nobody good enough to be beyond the need of salvation by Christ, and there is nobody sinful enough to be beyond the saving power of Christ.  The facilitation, encouragement, and commission of abortion are terrible sins, condemned by God for their scorning of His image; but Jesus has paid the full penalty deserved by all who turn to Him, and He confers upon them a status of perfect righteousness in the eyes of God.  The guilt of abortion is washed away in the inestimable pardon and forgiveness the Christian receives from God by faith.  This the Lord promises; this He will surely do.  Just ask Jane Roe.

The grace of Christ to you.

The Church as God’s Temple 3: One Holy Catholic Dwelling

Ephesians 2:19-22

Our final passage for consideration is found in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and in keeping with his exalted tone and transcendent topics elsewhere in the letter, Paul’s treatment of God’s people as God’s temple is at its most extensive and sublime here.  Following his famous blessing of Christ in chapter 1 and his equally famous exposition of salvation by grace through faith in the beginning of chapter 2, Paul begins to trumpet the glorious inclusion of the Gentiles along with the Jews in God’s plan of redemption.  By his blood, Christ has “made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility… that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body….  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph 2:14-16, 18).[1]  From here Paul rapidly crescendos through three relations, with each surpassing the former in intimacy and privilege:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22, emphasis added).

It is clear that Paul employs dual senses of the Greek word oikos (household/house) as a way to transition from the family description to the temple description,[2] but is it clear that the temple is meant to be understood as greater?  Besides its position at the end and its relatively lengthy elaboration, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sees ample evidence of this: “The family, after all, is a collection of individuals, whereas when you come to a building… there is a truer merging of the parts….  [T]he child has access to the father, but the child is still outside the father.  But here the idea presented is God dwelling within us, taking up His abode within us.”[3]

Obviously, a comparison of 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 and Ephesians 2:19-22 reveals that the designation of the temple’s “foundation” and the structural role of Christ differ between the two letters.  Though some critics may be tempted to cite such differences as evidence of the non-Pauline authorship of Ephesians, this stance is altogether too narrow-minded in its assumption that Paul could not or would not adapt the metaphorical physical elements in order to emphasize different facets of the true spiritual reality in different contexts.  In fact, given our previous examination of Paul’s dual identification of the “foundation” in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, we can readily accept such an explanation.  In the same way that Paul laid a foundation for the Corinthians in a true, secondary sense, so the apostles and the prophets (and, by logical extension, the deposit of gospel doctrines which they proclaim) act as the foundation for the church in a true, secondary sense.[4,5]  What then is Paul’s purpose in shifting Christ out of the foundation role here?  Paul’s capital emphasis on unity in this passage leads him to designate Christ the cornerstone, that specific part of the foundation which joins the walls of the structure both to the foundation and to one another.[6]  The shape, angle, and direction of every other piece of the building is ultimately determined to be correct or incorrect by its relation to the cornerstone.[7]  Since all believers (both Jew and Greek) are rightly oriented toward Christ through the same means (salvation by grace through faith), it follows that every believer fits harmoniously into the structure and is thus united to one another through Christ.

In an unexpected linguistic turn, Paul indicates the living nature of the new covenant temple in stating that it “grows” (Eph 2:21)—a term clearly borrowed from the realm of organic development.  In so doing, Paul mixes the imagery of the temple with the imagery of his favorite church metaphor, the body of Christ.  Since the temple can develop ‘organically’ in this passage, we are not surprised to find the body developing ‘architecturally’ later in Ephesians 4:12 (“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”).[8]  To conclude his discourse on unity in the temple, Paul returns to the more familiar ‘building’ language in appropriating the statements just made about the universal church to the local church in Ephesus: “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:22).  Thus the local church/temple is a manifestation of the one universal church/temple, growing toward completion by the addition of individual believers and by cooperation with one another in right relation to Christ.

Conclusion: God’s Presence Has Consequences

Like so many other elements of God’s kingdom during the overlapping of the ages, the eschatological temple of God prophesied in the Old Testament has arrived and, at the same time, is not yet complete.  Paul’s conception of the local and universal church as the temple of God is not merely a thought experiment or a helpful illustration; God has indeed come and made his dwelling among his people by the Holy Spirit, who is building his temple (cf. Eph 2:21-22) and directing his people to build (cf. 1 Cor 3:10).  The glory of the divine presence is neither a vanished antiquity of the old covenant nor a distant prospect of the final consummation; it is a present reality.[9]  Because of this divine presence, the church is holy, set apart for God (cf. 1 Cor 3:17); as Hodge writes, “It belongs to him, is consecrated to his use, and can neither be appropriated by anyone else nor used for anything outside his service without causing it to be profaned.…  It is his house, in which he alone has any authority.”[10]  As an inevitable consequence of this consecration, the church is called to the task of sanctification—of “bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1).  Furthermore, the presence of God is a powerfully unifying presence.  Every believer united to Christ is established on the one and only foundation, aligned with the one and only cornerstone, and therefore also united to all other believers in one structure.[11]

What is our proper response to this magnificent truth?  Let us look to Paul once more:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:1-5).

The presence of the living God among us—his dwelling, his living temple—cannot be any less than the single most defining and controlling factor in determining our identity and directing our activity, in this world and unto eternity.

Amen.


[1] “[The ‘dividing wall’] may be an allusion to the barricade which in Jerusalem separated the court of the Gentiles from the temple proper, and on which there was an inscription threatening death to any non-Jew who tried to pass it:  ‘No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure.  Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death.’”  William Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians (New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1967), 133.

[2] Ibid.,141.

[3] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation (Studies in Ephesians chapter 2; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1976), 336, 338.  Emphasis original.

[4] “Not at all in themselves or because of any intrinsic merit were they entitled to this distinction, but as divinely appointed witnesses and ambassadors who were constantly pointing away from themselves, to Christ….  A parallel would be the fact that Jesus called himself ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12), but he also called his disciples ‘the light of the world’ (Matt 5:14).”  Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians, 50, 147.  Emphasis original.

[5] Much ink has been spilt debating the identity of the “prophets” Paul mentions here as New-Testament-era, Old-Testament-era, or both; since the issue is ultimately tertiary to Paul’s main point in the passage, we will not entertain specific arguments here.  Cf. Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians, 142; and Charles Hodge, Ephesians (ed. Alister McGrath and J. I. Packer; Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1994), 95.

[6] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981), 749.

[7] Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians, 143.

[8] Ridderbos, Paul, 431.

[9] Bryan Chapell, Ephesians (ed. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken; Reformed Expository Commentary; Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing Company, 2009), 132.

[10] Hodge, Ephesians, 97.

[11] “When holiness is the main characteristic, the unity looks after itself.”  Lloyd-Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation, 344.

The Church as God’s Temple 2: A Consecrated Dwelling

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

(14) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For 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.
(17) Therefore go out from their midst,
     and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
     then I will welcome you,
(18) and I will be a father to you,
     and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

In the prior chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul ascends to the heights of theology to proclaim the towering truth of Christ’s new creation wrought by the reconciling of sinners to God through the gracious imputation of Christ’s righteousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:17-21).  As is typical for Paul, a doctrinal address leads naturally to a practical address; so in 6:1, Paul says, “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”  He then quickly turns to a parenthetical excursus about the intense hardships of his ministry, but in 6:14 he returns to his exhortation of the Corinthian church: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”  Alfred Plummer traces the origin of the yoke imagery to Deuteronomy 22:10, which prohibits the teaming of animals of different species to pull the plow; thus he says, “Heathen belong to one species, Christians to quite another, and it is against nature that Christians should be yokefellows with them.  They will not walk as Christians do, and Christians must not walk in their ways.”[1]  Commentators agree that this “yoke” relationship is not limited only to marriage (the most natural and most frequently presumed application among Christians) but to various other intimate or binding arrangements with nonbelievers as well.[2]

Paul then names several pairs of opposites to illustrate the radical dichotomy between Christians and pagans.  By way of analogy, “believer” is to “unbeliever” as “righteousness” is to “lawlessness,” “light” is to “darkness,” “Christ” is to “Belial,” and “the temple of God” is to “idols” (2 Cor 6:14-16).  This last comparison is placed at the end specifically so that Paul may elaborate upon it, which is itself a strong case for seeing the antithesis between God’s temple and idols as particularly important among the lot.  As Plummer explains, “The history of Israel had shown with terrible distinctness that God allowed no agreement between His house and idols.…  The absolute incongruity is between God’s sanctuary, in which not even an image of Himself might be put up, and images of false gods.”[3]  Hodge rightly recognizes the additional significance of idolatry as a recurring point of concern for Paul in the Corinthian letters, as the church wrestled with the ethical implications of their participation in pagan idol feasts and festivals.[4]

At this juncture, Paul makes plain the basis for his prohibition and for the church’s essential incompatibility with the pagans: “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16).  The church is not only at odds with the heathen because of the new creation worked in her by God; the church is at odds with the heathen because of God’s very presence dwelling in and among her.  After stating thus, Paul offers proof of the church’s status as God’s temple by combining a number of Old Testament passages:[5]

I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
rrrrand I will be their God,
rrrrand they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
rrrrand be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
rrrrthen I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
rrrrand you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:16b-18).

Beale draws out the significance of the fact that Paul treats the church as fulfilling this Old Testament temple prophecy; this means that “Paul is not merely making an analogy between a temple idea and that of Christians, but that Christians are the beginning fulfillment of the actual prophecy of the end-time temple.”[6]  Paul’s teaching of the church as God’s temple is not an illustration; it is a reality!  Indeed, this is the only way it could hold such immediate and radical ramifications.  Even within his Old Testament quotation, we see once again that Paul’s theology drives him directly to call out its demands upon the life of the church: “Therefore go out from their midst…” (2 Cor 6:17).  Yet even this he follows to its conclusion—that is, to the blessings of sonship and fellowship given to the obedient (2 Cor 6:18).

Paul could scarcely be clearer about the necessary connection of orthodoxy to orthopraxy than he is in the closing remarks to his temple discourse: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body [sarx] and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1).  Herman Ridderbos observes the connection between the ethical cleansing here endorsed by Paul and the ritualistic cleansing necessary for temple worship and participation in the old covenant.[7]  Commentators hold various views on Paul’s meaning by “flesh and spirit” in this particular instance, since the two are typically cast in opposition to one another in the Pauline epistles.  In light of the preceding phrase’s emphasis on totality (“every defilement”), we favor Plummer’s interpretation of “flesh and spirit” in this verse as a merism signifying the whole person;[8] however, interpretations such as Hodge’s which see more significance in the two terms individually are by no means unacceptable.[9]

Regardless, Paul’s primary meaning in the passage is clear as day: “The presence of God requires the purity of his people.”[10]


[1] Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians (ed. S. R. Driver, A. Plummer, and C.A. Briggs; ICC; Edinburgh, England: T. & T. Clark, 1915), 206.

[2] Says Ladd, “This must refer to relationships with idolatrous pagans of such a sort that it compromised one’s Christian testimony.”  George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 540.

[3] Plummer, Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, 208.

[4] Hodge, A Commentary on 1&2 Corinthians, 542.

[5] For a listing of the potential OT texts from which the quotation could be compiled, see Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 254-255.  Regarding the general practice of NT writers “[quoting] the Scriptures as saying what is nowhere found in so many words, but what nevertheless the Scriptures clearly teach,” see Hodge, A Commentary on 1&2 Corinthians, 549.

[6] Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 254.  Emphasis original.

[7] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (trans. Richard John De Witt; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 262.

[8] Plummer, Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, 204-205.

[9] Hodge, A Commentary on 1&2 Corinthians, 550.

[10] C. K. Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (ed. Henry Chadwick; BNTC; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1973), 200.

The Church as God’s Temple: A Dwelling under Construction

In modern Western society, there exists no precise cultural or religious analog to the temples of the Ancient Near East and of the Greco-Roman world.  For this reason, the function and significance of temples for biblical peoples—and most notably the Israelites of the Old Testament—is often lost to modern readers.  Consequently, when the apostle Paul adopts temple language and imagery at several points in his New Testament epistles, the full meaning and import of his remarks are frequently obscured by this cultural distance, which can in turn lead to a tendency among modern Christians to read past such passages without mining their fullest depths.  Perhaps the best known of Paul’s temple references by contemporary churches is his teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:19, where, after denouncing the Corinthians’ practice and tolerance of sexual immorality, he chides, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”[1]  The modern familiarity with this particular passage and its appropriation of temple language comes as no surprise, given both the hyper-sexual and hyper-individualistic emphases of today’s culture.  However, Paul brings his temple theology to bear in a wide range of contexts in his letters;[2] and, significantly, his direct comparisons of Christians with the temple are more often corporate than individual in nature, identifying either certain local churches or indeed the universal church as God’s ‘temple.’[3]

In particular, three passages in Paul’s letters deserve special attention for their specific identification of God’s people with God’s temple.  With each drawing out different dimensions of this identification within their respective contexts, the overall emphasis is clearly placed on the ramifications of God’s dwelling in and among the churches of Christ, which collectively comprise the temple of the new covenant.

1 Corinthians 3:5-17

(5) What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. (6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (7) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (8) He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. (9) For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

(10) According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.  Let each one take care how he builds upon it. (11) For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—(13) each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. (14) If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. (15) If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

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

Throughout the first several chapters of 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses the twin crises of division and poor leadership in the Corinthian church.  It is not surprising that Paul would invoke his temple theology as an argument against the disunity of the Corinthian believers, since the Jerusalem temple had been a key touchstone for the unity and identity of the people of God in the old covenant, as P. W. Comfort notes.[4]  This relation of the Corinthian church to the temple of God comes last in a string of three images which at first may not seem to bear any particularly obvious connections.  The first is that of a field (1 Cor 3:5-9), whereby Paul explains that the various leaders of the Corinthian church are comparatively insignificant to God, who is ultimately responsible for the church’s life and growth.  Paul is clear that he, Apollos, and the other leaders should not be viewed in competition with one another but rather in cooperation and ultimately in submission to their common Master.

Then, within a single sentence, Paul abruptly shifts to another image: “You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor 3:9).  Outside of their shared facility in advancing Paul’s arguments, few scholars note any strong connection between the images of field and building; however, G. K. Beale demonstrates that “the close association of ‘garden’ and ‘temple’ in the Old Testament and Judaism would plausibly have influenced a similar link in Paul’s mind at some level.”[5]  In this image, Paul is the “skilled master builder” who “laid a foundation” for the Corinthian church, a foundation upon which the Corinthians’ present leaders now build (1 Cor 3:10).  In the very next verse, Paul appears to contradict himself by saying that “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11).  However, one need not rob either verse of its face value in order to reconcile the two statements:  From a redemptive-historical perspective, Christ’s eternal person and completed work had laid the foundation prior to Paul’s preaching activity; but existentially, Paul has appropriated Christ to the lives of the Corinthians through his preaching and teaching among them, and in this sense has “laid the foundation” of gospel truth.[6]  It is upon this foundation—the doctrines of the gospel and ultimately Christ himself—that the leaders of the Corinthian church are called to build, and Paul says, “Let each one take care how he builds upon it” (1 Cor 3:10).  He explains that the value of each builder’s contributions will be tested by fire on “the Day”—undoubtedly a reference to the eschatological judgment which the prophets called the ‘Day of the Lord’—and the builder will receive a reward for works that endure (1 Cor 3:13-14).  For works that fail the test, “He [the builder] will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved” (1 Cor 3:15).[7]

It is only now in verse 16 that Paul introduces the term temple, but a strong confluence of evidence (not the least of which being the direct conjunction of the two images) overwhelmingly points to Paul’s identification of this temple with the building just described.[8]  Here Paul reaches the apex of his argument: “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).  The English language is at a natural disadvantage in translation because of the lack of visible distinction between singular you and plural you; but a look at the Greek reveals that all the you‘s in the verses just quoted are indeed plural, referring to the collective Corinthian church.

Why must the leaders of God’s church take such great care as they ‘build’ her?  It is because, in the words of Charles Hodge, “They are engaged in the erection of no ordinary building.  They are not raising up a house for themselves to be constructed of what materials and on whatever plan may suit their taste.  They are building the temple of God.”[9]  Whereas the careless builder will escape with his life, the one who “destroys God’s temple”—as local churches can indeed be destroyed—[10] will himself be destroyed by God in an act of retribution.[11]  “For God’s temple is holy” (1 Cor 3:16); numerous scholars note strong overtones here of the Old Testament association of holiness with danger—“almost like an electric charge,” says C. K. Barrett.[12]  Rather than a mere rhetorical device, Hodge sees this association as a fitting reality, for “God is not less jealous of his spiritual temple, than he was of the typical temple, built of wood and stone by the hands of men.”[13]  Paul goes on to expound the importance of holiness in relation to this new temple in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, to which we shall turn, Lord willing, on another day soon to come.

The peace of Christ to you.


[1] All Scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

[2] With reference to literal temples, Rom 2:22; 1 Cor 9:13 (different Greek word, referring to entire temple area rather than just the holy place); with reference to temple in eschatological events, 2 Thess 2:4; with reference to Christians as temple, 1 Cor 3:9-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; Eph 2:19-22; with language of ‘offering’ and ‘sacrifice,’ Rom 11:16; 12:1; 15:16; 1 Cor 5:7; 10:18; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:17; 4:18; 2 Tim 4:6; with language of ‘build[ing] up,’ 1 Cor 8:1; 10:23; 14:4-5, 12, 17, 26; 2 Cor 10:8; 13:10; Eph 4:12, 16, 29; Col 2:7; 1 Thess 5:11; with language of ‘foundation,’ Rom 15:20; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Tim 2:19; with language of ‘building’ (i.e. edifice), 1 Cor 3:9; 2 Cor 5:1-10; with language of ‘house,’ 2 Cor 5:1-10; 1 Tim 3:15; 2 Tim 2:20-21; with language of God’s ‘dwelling,’ Rom 8:9, 11; 2 Cor 13:5; Eph 3:17; Col 1:19; 2:9; 3:16; 2 Tim 1:14.

[3] For this reason and others, a majority of scholars consider the corporate aspect of Paul’s temple theology to be fundamental, with the individual aspect of 1 Cor 6 being essentially an outgrowth of the corporate as it applies to an individual’s conduct.  For an example of this position, see the comparative exegeses of 1 Cor 3 and 1 Cor 6 in Jonathan A. Draper, “The tip of an ice-berg: the temple of the Holy Spirit,” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa no. 59 (July 1987): 57-65.  For a reaction to the alleged scholarly overemphasis of the corporate aspect in Paul’s temple theology, see Nijay Gupta, “Which ‘body’ is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19)? Paul beyond the individual/ communal divide,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly Vol. 72 no. 3 (July 2010): 518-536.

[4] P. W. Comfort, “Temple,” Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne and Ralph P. Martin; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 924.  The fullest extent of the unifying force of Paul’s temple theology is seen in Ephesians 2:19-22, which is treated below.

[5] G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (ed. D. A. Carson; NSBT 17; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 246.

[6] As Robertson and Plummer explain, “It is only by admitting some inconsistency of language that the truth can be at all adequately expressed….  Each statement, in its own proper sense, is true; and we need both in order to get near to the truth.” Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians (ed. S. R. Driver, A. Plummer, and C.A. Briggs; ICC; Edinburgh, England: T. & T. Clark, 1914), 61-62.

[7] Scholars are divided as to whether the building materials in this image are to be understood as doctrines/ teachings or as the lives of those Christians who are taught; since the overall meaning of the image is little affected by it, we shall not press the matter here.  Cf. Robertson and Plummer, First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, 62.

[8] For instance, “The only other place in Scripture where a ‘foundation’ of a building is laid and ‘gold,’ ‘silver’ and ‘precious stones’ are ‘built’ upon the foundation is Solomon’s temple….  Paul also calls himself a ‘wise master builder’… which echoes the use of the same word applied to those who helped build Israel’s tabernacle.”  Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, 247.

[9] Charles Hodge, A Commentary on 1&2 Corinthians (Geneva Series; Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1978), 58.

[10] C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (HNTC; New York, N. Y.: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968), 91.

[11] Robertson and Plummer, First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, 67.

[12] Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 92.  Cf. Robertson and Plummer, First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, 67-68.

[13] Hodge, A Commentary on 1&2 Corinthians, 59.