1 Corinthians 3:17

Destroyeth (pqeirei). The outward temple is merely the symbol of God's presence, the Shechinah (the Glory). God makes his home in the hearts of his people or the church in any given place like Corinth. It is a terrible thing to tear down ruthlessly a church or temple of God like an earthquake that shatters a building in ruins. This old verb pqeirw means to corrupt, to deprave, to destroy. It is a gross sin to be a church-wrecker. There are actually a few preachers who leave behind them ruin like a tornado in their path. Him shall God destroy (pqerei touton o qeo). There is a solemn repetition of the same verb in the future active indicative. The condition is the first class and is assumed to be true. Then the punishment is certain and equally effective. The church-wrecker God will wreck. What does Paul mean by "will destroy"? Does he mean punishment here or hereafter? May it not be both? Certainly he does not mean annihilation of the man's soul, though it may well include eternal punishment. There is warning enough here to make every pastor pause before he tears a church to pieces in order to vindicate himself. Holy (agio). Hence deserves reverential treatment. It is not the building or house of which Paul speaks as "the sanctuary of God" (ton naon tou qeou), but the spiritual organization or organism of God's people in whom God dwells, "which temple ye are" (oitine este umei). The qualitative relative pronoun oitine is plural to agree with umei (ye) and refers to the holy temple just mentioned. The Corinthians themselves in their angry disputes had forgotten their holy heritage and calling, though this failing was no excuse for the ringleaders who had led them on. In Acts 6:19 Paul reminds the Corinthians again that the body is the temple (nao, sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit, which fact they had forgotten in their immoralities.

Read 1 Corinthians 3:17