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Are you Filtering God Out? (Hearing God’s Voice 2)

May 15, 2020

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Bible Gem 359 - Why the Plural "you" in 1 Cor 6:19

April 9, 2019


Firstly, Paul’s use of the your-body-is-the-temple-of-God/Holy-Spirit-argument” is interesting. In each case he is countering something that is heinous to him. He is trying to remind the Corinthians of the sense that God indwells them. If God indwells us then how can they allow those things to happen. It is meant to shock them into submission to the Holy Spirit. As I said in the Gem a few days ago it makes perfect sense for the plural “you” to used in the context of the unity of the body issue. We would expect it to be there. But why is it plural in the 1 Cor 6:19? That is a little strange. We would think that Paul would use the singular form as only one person is giving themselves to a prostitute, but no he uses the plural form. 


The use of the plural can mean a number of things: 


1.       More than one person from the Corinthian church were involved with the temple prostitutes and indulging themselves in delighting the flesh. 

2.       All of the Corinthians were prostituting themselves in the OT sense of going after other gods and/or idols.

3.       Paul is using the plural form to show the Corinthians even though you do it as an individual the effect on the body of Christ is “plural”. It is a body issue not an individual issue. 


As my friend John reminded us yesterday ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump”. It reminds me of the sin of Achan in Joshua 7; where individual sin became an issue for the body corporate. It was certainly true in this case. Sexual issues were rife among the Corinthians to the point where a man was having a sexual relationship with his step mothers and other looking on were proud of it. Now that is depravity. Again let me quote from John’s comments yesterday “Nobody wants unity with the prostitute but there’s no realization of that truth and if you put out the one for the sake of the body no one fully understands and dissension enters in.”  There are some issues that are just so important to the point whereby someone has to be disciplined and put out of the body. 


Paul’s use of the plural “you” here is an attempt to shock the Corinthians into understanding the practice of just one of them is sufficient to pull down the body. If it could happen to the Israelites over Achan taking some forbidden things, would not the same principle apply in the case of co-joining with a temple prostitute. How could you do that anyway when you are joining Christ’s body with her at the same time? Yes if Christ’s Holy Spirit is in you, you are subjecting Him to something abhorrent. But more than that, the “plurality principle” is such that you implicate the whole body of Christ. 


This happens on a two levels. 

  1. the reputation of the body is harmed by one Christian’s delinquent behaviour. 

  2. there is a spiritual level on which this is operating which brings judgement on the body of Christ for allowing such to happen. Even more so if those looking on are condoning what is happening by their indifference or their silence. 


No wonder the Corinthians were in disarray and needed strong words from Paul, shock treatment, a warning letter and a painful visit. 



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The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Oswald Chambers


You must be near God in order to hear God. Rick Warren


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