Don’t Y’all Destroy the Body
Sometimes, the old King James Version is the clearest translation to see the message God gave. We no longer use the word “ye” as the plural of “you,” but they did in the days of King James. The modern usage of the word “you” makes it impossible for us to see if the word is singular or plural. People from the southern states have sought to solve this problem to express the plural of “you” as “y’all.” I have even heard Southerners emphasize this more by saying, “Y’all all are invited.”
One place where the KJV uses “ye” is in Paul’s letter to Corinth. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Some wrongly use these verses to “prove” that because our bodies are the temples of God, we must take care of them. They want to show that it is a sin to abuse the body with drugs, drinking and overeating for they destroy our bodies. However, to use this verse to “prove” that point is to distort what God said.
The passage does not discuss our bodies (plural) or our temples (plural). It says, “Ye are the temple of God.” The word “ye” is plural and the word temple is singular, thus all of us together form the singular temple of God, the church. When Paul speaks about destroying the temple, he is not speaking of destroying our bodies (plural) but His body (singular). The problem at Corinth was not that the Christians were abusing their physical body, but His spiritual one.
How does one destroy His body? Obviously, one problem at Corinth was religious division caused by “preacheritis.” Instead of exalting Christ, they began to exalt men (I am of Paul, Apollos or Cephas). The church was fractured because some honored some men, while some exalted others.
The temple was being destroyed by selfishness and self-love so that some had such little respect for brethren that they were suing their brethren in the civil court. Such attitudes divide the body.
Today, others splinter the body to gain notoriety and fame. Others do it to gain a following. While others seek to force their unique beliefs on all members. Then, there are those who destroy the unity of the church by showing partiality, especially to their friends or their family members.
Look at the consequences of all who selfishly destroy the unity of the church. “Him shall God destroy.” To understand Paul’s use of “ye” in this passage shows the importance of the unity of the body. The body is His and not ours to be used for our own selfish purposes. Exalt and unify His body!