In the TR of 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul says

ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὸ σῶμα ὑμῶν ναὸς τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν ἁγίου πνεύματός ἐστιν οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ θεοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν

The following is how some of the major English versions translate the Greek:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (KJV)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (ESV)

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV)

I don't know Greek grammar, and I am not an expert in interpretation. But as Paul is referring to your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, I was trying to figure out if he was talking about your bodies collectively or your body individually... or phrased another way, was he referring to his total audience as a whole or his to the individual person who would be reading his epistle.

  • Generally, since soma is singular in form in this verse, it would be singular. IIRC, Wallace notes that neuter nouns such as this can be plural in a sense when singular in form - but that usually is in a collective sense, not a plurality - i.e. Normally a group of things identified as a group rather than a number of individuals seen as individuals. I do not have my resources in front of me, but I believe the KJV & ESV renderings are better.
    – user13379
    Nov 23, 2016 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


At the time when the KJV was written English still distinguished between the 2nd person singular (“thou, thee, thy”) and the 2nd person plural (“ye, you, your”). It was thus clear to the 17th-century reader that “your body” means “the body of each and every one of you” (τὸ σῶμα ὑμῶν), that is: “all of your bodies”. In modern English “your body” means “the body of one of you”. The editors of the NIV have simply tried to hammer in the fact that this verse is addressed not to one singular “you” but to a whole group of people.

  • Okay so it seems as if soma is being used here in the collectibe sense from whatyou all are saying, but now a plurality. So that would make its reference the body of Christ as a single entity and not the plurality of believers?
    – C Bryant
    Dec 1, 2016 at 6:10

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