“My body is a temple.” We’ve all heard this as a mantra for dieting, exercise, taking care of one’s self. When you really think about it, the words have a less than Christian ring – an odd thing for a biblical phrase.
The Bible does state (at the end of 1 Cor. 6) that “Your body is a temple,” but it goes on to this crucial end: “of the Holy Spirit.” Omitting those last words changes the whole meaning. In its biblical form, the admonition is to honor God with your body, remembering that His Spirit dwells in you. It is, by the way, used against sexual immorality. Sloganized in popular culture, it is used against overeating. You are to take care of your body because your body is a temple of … you.
A temple, it is good to remember, is the house of a deity, giving the popular urge disturbing overtones of worshiping the god within. Of course, most people who say it are not changing a profound Christian teaching to a statement of pantheistic self-worship. Usually they’re just reducing it to a trite, self-focused bumper sticker. Either way it’s no longer Christian – all for want of four words.