Week 3: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Our Bodies, Our Christ

Engaging the Text:

  1. First Reading:

    Find a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Read 1 Corinthians 1-2:5 slowly and deliberately. What “jump out at you”? What stand out? What do you have a hard time with or what resonates with you?

    ~consider reading the passage aloud

  2. Second reading

    Read the passage again. Either after the first time, later the same day or on a different day. What questions arise from this reading? What did you notice in this reading that you didn’t earlier? What is happening? Is the reading one consistent section or can be broken up into different parts? Note the people and places named - have you heard of them before?

  3. Questions

  • Be careful with this passage. It has been used by Christians for body shaming and sexual shaming or has been watered down to tell youth “don’t have sex”. This passage is not about sexual shaming, but about using others for personal gratification. In what ways do we use others for our entertainment?

  • Notice how often Paul talks about the relationship between the body and individual behavior. How does Paul view the body of a Christian?

  • What did it mean for the church at Corinth to struggle with sexual freedom? What are issues of sexual freedom that are confronting the church today?

  • In Corinth, some felt the body was inferior to the “enlightened” mind and so anything physical activity was permissible. How does Paul view the body in relationship with God?

  • Paul comments specifically on prostitution in our text, but there are many ways we can misuse our bodies. What are the sexual “sins” of our day? How might abuse of the body show up in our culture? How might we view body issues such as substance abuse, obesity, body image and pornography in the light of this text?

  • Prostitution was legal in ancient Corinth. Corinth was a major hub for worship of Aphrodite. Prostitution was central to the worship of Aphrodite and thousands of prostitutes were employed at the temple in Corinth. The issue Paul is addressing is not, “Is it lawful?”, but “Is it beneficial to the greater community”?

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

12 ‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’, and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, ‘The two shall be one flesh.’ 17 But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org