Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We see in the above passage one instance in which the word choice of the translation can alter the meaning of the passage; here simply by changing a singular into a plural. Where Paul, in context, is rebuking the church at Corinth for their conduct before the world. They tolerated a man who was having sex with his father’s wife. They were suing each other, something they may have had a right to do, but which was shameful behavior, in full view of nonbelievers. They were not only tolerating that which ought to be intolerable but turning around and making a mockery of the unity of the Church by having nonbelievers settle their disputes!

“The person who sins sexually sins against his own body”; Paul here is talking about an individual. For contrast he then says in the Greek text, “the body to which you all belong is a temple”. This is important! The individual may be sinning against his own flesh and blood, but that body also is a member of another body, the church! The temple of the Spirit ought to expel wicked people (5:13), remove petty disputing before nonbelievers, rid the individual members of sin . All of that comes with seeing that the Spirit dwells in the singular body, not our many plural bodies.

Your body is important, what with you do with it matters but we must recognize the greater Body surrounding us and behave as a member of a unified whole.

Ethan Kirl