Bible Question:

What are the things that defile the temple (body)?

Bible Answer:

In 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, the Holy Spirit tells us that each individual person who trusts Jesus Christ to forgive his or her sins is a temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within them. If God the Holy Spirit dwells within us, then we are a temple of God – a fleshly temple.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (NASB) 1 Corinthians 3:16

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)

2 Corinthians 7:1 says that we can defile our bodies and thus the temple of God by sinning.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB)

If we return to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we discover how our bodies can be defiled if we read the verses that come before and after. Starting with 1 Corinthians 6:18 Christians are urged to flee immorality or sexual sins.

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NASB)

The verse that follows 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is 1 Corinthians 7:1 and it discusses sexual purity. Notice that 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 urges us to not touch a woman which is a Jewish figure of speech to avoid sexual touching. 1 Corinthians 7:2

wants us to avoid immoralities or porneia. The Greek word for porneia refers to a wide range of sexual activities. The verses before and after 1 Corinthians 6:19 reveal that we defile ourselves and our bodies when we engage in any type of sexual sin.


God warns us in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 that sexual sin is against one’s own body. All other sins are outside the body or the temple of God. Other sins are damaging as well, but especially sexual sin. If we sin, we need to confess our sin to the Lord and He will forgive. That is His promise.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NASB) 1 John 1:9

Suggested Links:

Filled With The Spirit
Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?
What is the correct definition of fornication?
Can I be forgiven for watching porn?
Can a person make love when fasting?
Is masturbation a sin in marriage?