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The church in the New Testament has replaced the sacred Old Testament temple. The New Testament says that Christ’s body is a temple (John 2:19–21), the universal church is a temple (Eph 2:20–21), the individual Christian’s body is a temple (1 Cor 6:19), and in this verse the local church is a temple of God. The you is plural in this passage, signifying the corporate local body of believers. Consequently, every local New Testament church is a temple of God.
Paul uses the word temple, naós, without the article (anarthrous), signifying the quality or essence of the meaning of temple as opposed to a particular location. Greek scholar Ray Summers says, “When the article is used . . . the thing emphasized is identity; when the article is not used, the thing emphasized is quality or character.” The question, Do you not know implies that they should know and understand, and this would be true of us today. The word for temple, naós, refers to the temple proper, where God dwelt, rather than just the temple complex. It was the sacred, holy sanctuary of the Shekinah glory where only the high priest could enter once a year.
Church - People - Building - Location - Place
Now, what makes the church sacred? Is it the people, building, or location? No, it is sacred because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant, like the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament. Why must we be so careful how we build the church (1 Cor 3:10)? Because it is the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God, the sanctuary of God. In view of that, the local church, the assembly of a particular community of believers, is holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in them as a body of believers. Therefore, a local body of believers...
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