Your Body is God’s Temple

I Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

I 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?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.


Do All to the Glory of God

I Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.


Be Separate

II Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


Abstain From Fleshly Desires

II Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

I Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.


MEMORY VERSE: Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? —II Peter 3:11


CENTRAL THOUGHT: The scriptures set boundaries on our thoughts, desires, words and actions. They may not spell out specific things, but provide a principle or a standard to which we can compare every issue of life.




I Corinthians 3:16 “Ye”: true believers; genuine Christians, whether individually or collectively as the church. “Temple”: sanctuary; sacred abode; the place of Divine manifestation.

17 “Defile” and “Destroy”: from a word meaning I corrupt; perish; waste away; spoil; ruin; destroy.

I Corinthians 10:31 “Do all to the glory of God”: “This rule is designed to be one of the chief directors of our lives. It is to guide all our conduct, and to constitute a ‘test’ by which to try our actions. Whatever can be done to advance the honor of God is right; whatever cannot be done with that end is wrong” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).

II Corinthians 6:17 “Come out from among them”: from Isaiah 52:11; historically applied to the priests and Levites who were returning from Babylon, and now a call to God’s people, the church of God, to forsake the company and conversation of idolaters, false churches, and evil customs and manners of the world.

II Timothy 2:22 and I Peter 2:11 “Lusts”: desire; craving; eagerness for; passionate longing; especially for what is forbidden.




Reminding ourselves of the literal tabernacle which Moses built after God’s set pattern, and the judgments that went forth upon the men who defiled it by bringing in strange fire or going into the holiest place in flagrant violation to God’s strict commands; and the later temple which Solomon erected—the glory of God that descended there and the sacredness of that place—helps us to be more aware of the reverence still owed to God concerning both our own bodies individually and the body of Christ collectively.

The admonition to do all to God’s glory and to glorify God in body and spirit comes out of the discussion about idolatry and eating foods offered to idols and the often accompanying immorality and fornication. The early Christians were learning this amid a society whose leaders taught that fornication was not wrong, much like our society today. Paul’s clear command was to come out from among these grievous evils and be completely separate, whether in business partnerships, close friendships, spiritual fellowship, or marriage.

Paul’s charge to Timothy, targeting the evils especially appealing to youth, was to flee from them and pursue, with all haste, and aggressively chase, as a hunter after his prey, the positive qualities of a Christian.

Peter’s charge is to abstain, or keep absolutely away from the desires of the flesh which we know are forbidden by God. Why? They war against the soul. They not only impede Christian progress, but they actively assail the regenerated soul. Peter also gives us a general standard of all behavior—that which will ensure the believer is completely READY to meet the Lord on that last, great day.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Eating, Drinking and Fornication: Which scriptures provide guidelines for what is associated with the body?
  2. For God’s Glory:  Which verses explain this all-important motive which should direct every thought, word and action?
  3. Separate: God said to “come out from among them.” What might that mean to us today?
  4. Lusts: What words describe the action we should take concerning fleshly lusts? Apply this to a particular situation in a young person’s life.
  5. Ready: What actions might we list as important to being prepared to meet the day Jesus comes? Which would we definitely avoid?





Today we included verses that provide principles which will help us determine what we should do in any given situation.

Consider what we do with our bodies. Paul said he kept under his body, meaning that he didn’t allow his appetites to rule him (I Corinthians 9:27). Another principle he gave was that he wouldn’t allow himself to brought under the power of anything (I Corinthians 6:12). These concepts go together with the awareness that my body is God’s temple, it has been purchased at the price of Jesus’ own blood, and I am not my own. Everything I do, eat or drink must be for His honor and glory. Not long ago, I was meditating on this principle and the Lord spoke to me so clearly: “That is a forgotten principle.” It seems that teachings along this line are not thought to be important anymore. Allow me to reason with you just a little.

There are substances that are clearly understood to be habit-forming; that bring one under their power. There seems to be no question about hard drugs, pain-killers, or powerful inhalants that destroy the bodies and minds of men, women, boys and girls. But lines are being blurred in society today concerning “soft” drugs—marijuana, for example—and “legal” drugs, such as alcohol, even though they are highly addictive, destructive to the body, and mind-altering. I think we can agree that such effects would definitely not be to God’s glory; neither would the abuse given to the body by the substances in smoking or chewing tobacco.

The use of stimulants such as caffeine, whether mild-to-moderate or jolting in intensity, although widely used and accepted as a part of daily life, should also be considered in the light of these biblical principles. There is no question but that caffeinated beverages, which have skyrocketed in popularity and consumption, are highly addictive. Even professed Christians make excuses and joke about how dependent they are on their daily dose, experience withdrawal symptoms if they are deprived, and admit to not being able to get through the day without it. That is truly being “under the power.” Would this be to God’s glory?

Another “untouchable” but highly addictive substance is sugar, the over-consumption of which is the hidden source, as many medical studies indicate, of most major diseases— cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Obesity, depression, and behavioral problems can all be related to imbalances in the delicate systems of the body which are caused by too much sugar.

Some other things to consider: Temperance and moderation are enjoined in the entirety of Scripture. Solomon advised on the wisdom of eating “for strength and not for drunkenness” (Ecclesiastes 10:17) and eating only as much honey (natural sugar) as was “sufficient” for your body (Proverbs 25:16). It is not good, he warns, to eat “much” of it (Proverbs 25:27). These principles give us a good idea of how God intended for us to feed the bodies which are His temple. How much is too much? It is our solemn responsibility to study the facts carefully and make our decisions, not from fleshly desires but from educated convictions.

There are other specific areas addressed by these scriptures which we will deal with in later lessons.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




One Sunday morning in Kenya, I was listening to a message that dealt with this subject—the body being His temple. It was one of those times God came down and I sat for several hours reveling in His presence and marveling at a deeper revelation of His Holiness. It was one of those times I did not want to leave. A greater vision of His Holiness changed me. It changed my desires, my actions and my heart.

Sometimes when talking about bringing one’s body under subjection, the flesh can rise up within and rebel at God’s word. Through this encounter with God, He showed me it isn’t about a list of rules, although I do need to follow the guidelines established in the scriptures. But more than that, when we see God in His purity, in His power, and in His glory, it changes our hearts. And that change in turn gives us the desire to be more like Him—to be pleasing in His sight and in His presence.

When God came down into the tabernacle and into the temple, it was because they had followed the instructions He had given and He found it a worthy dwelling place. How can we expect it to be any different today? If our body is His temple, we should have the desire for Him and make any personal “sacrifice” we must, that He would find us ready for Him to dwell within. Let us take the time to increase our vision of God. It will increase our desire to cleanse and maintain our bodies for His presence. How can words describe when God finds our lives, our conduct, our choices and our sacrifices worthy, and fills our body with His presence and glory? There is nothing more beautiful!

–Sis. Nicole Elwell