What does 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 really mean?

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.


Setting the Scene for 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The scene in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 takes place in the city of Corinth, a bustling hub of trade and culture in ancient Greece. The apostle Paul is addressing a group of early Christians who have gathered in a meeting place, likely a house church or a community center. The room is filled with a diverse group of believers, including both Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free individuals.

Paul, who is known for his passionate and persuasive preaching, is speaking fervently about the importance of honoring God with their bodies. He reminds the Corinthians that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and they should therefore flee from sexual immorality and any other sins that defile their bodies. The audience listens intently, some nodding in agreement while others look convicted by Paul’s words.

The setting is simple yet profound, with the soft glow of oil lamps illuminating the room and casting shadows on the faces of the listeners. The atmosphere is charged with the weight of Paul’s message, urging the Corinthians to live lives that glorify God in every aspect. As the discussion continues, the group is challenged to consider how they can honor God with their bodies and live in a way that reflects their faith in Christ.

What is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 about?

This verse from 1 Corinthians 6:19 is a powerful reminder that our bodies are sacred and should be respected as temples of the Holy Spirit. We, as human beings, should let the presence of God within us guide how we treat our bodies and live our lives.

Just think about it – if you knew that the Holy Spirit was dwelling within you, how would that change the way you care for yourself? How would it influence the choices you make and the way you treat your body? This verse urges us to honor and protect our physical selves, knowing that they are vessels for something divine. This verse ultimately calls us to live with mindfulness and respect for our bodies, understanding that they are not just earthly shells but sacred spaces for the presence of God. It challenges us to consider how our actions and habits impact our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, and encourages us to strive for a life that is in harmony with the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.

Understanding what 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 really means

1. Introduction and context
2. Exploration of key phrases
3. Cross-references to other biblical passages
4. Relevance to modern life
5. Anecdote for illustration
6. Paul addresses the believers in Corinth in this passage, emphasizing the sanctity of their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This teaching is set within the broader context of Paul’s instructions on moral purity and the avoidance of sexual immorality. The Corinthians lived in a society rife with moral laxity, much like our own, making Paul’s message both timeless and urgent.

The phrase “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” is profound. It signifies that our bodies are not merely vessels for our souls but sacred spaces where God’s Spirit resides. This concept elevates the physical realm, reminding us that our actions in and through our bodies have spiritual significance. Another key phrase, “you are not your own,” underscores the notion of divine ownership. We belong to God, having been “bought at a price,” which refers to the sacrificial death of Jesus. This idea of being redeemed for a purpose calls us to live in a manner that honors God.

Other scriptures reinforce this message. Romans 12:1 urges believers to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,” while Ephesians 4:30 warns against grieving the Holy Spirit. These passages collectively underscore the importance of maintaining purity and integrity in our physical lives as acts of worship.

The relevance of this teaching today cannot be overstated. Understanding that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit provides a counter-narrative in a culture that often promotes self-indulgence and moral relativism. It calls us to holistic stewardship of our physical and spiritual well-being. This understanding can shape our choices, from what we consume to how we engage in relationships. A young professional struggled with unhealthy habits. Upon grasping the concept that their body was a temple of the Holy Spirit, they found the motivation to make healthier choices. This transformation was not just about physical health but also about honoring God through their lifestyle.

Reflect on your own life. Are there areas where you need to recognize God’s ownership and treat your body as a sacred temple? How might this perspective change your daily choices and long-term goals? Engaging with these questions can lead to profound personal and spiritual growth. Paul’s exhortation in this passage calls us to recognize the divine value of our bodies and to live in a way that honors the Holy Spirit within us. It’s a reminder that our everyday actions matter and that we are part of a larger, sacred story. How will you respond to this call today?

How can we honor God with our bodies?

We can honor God with our bodies by understanding that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. This means taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually in order to glorify God. We show respect for the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit within us by living a healthy lifestyle and making choices that honor God. This includes taking care of our bodies through proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and avoiding behaviors that harm our bodies.

Additionally, honoring God with our bodies involves using our physical selves to serve others and spread His love. This can include acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion that reflect the love of Christ to those around us. We demonstrate our commitment to following God’s will and spreading His message of love and grace by using our bodies to carry out good works and serve others. Honoring God with our bodies ultimately expresses gratitude for the gift of life and the opportunity to serve Him. We show our dedication to living a life that is pleasing to God and fulfilling His purpose for us by treating our bodies with respect and using them for His glory.


Think of your body as a home, one you would want to keep clean and welcoming. Every choice you make impacts the foundation of this home. Your actions echo into your work, your family, and every aspect of life. How will you honor this sacred space today? Will you choose to build up or tear down?