Ephesians 5:29

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church

But many people today hate their bodies. Some even do self-harm and cut their bodies. Wasn't that the case in the church back then?

  • Hi Tony, this question is explicitly asking about contemporary applications, which are off-topic. Please could you reformulate this in line with the site guidelines. – Steve Taylor Jan 25 at 6:44
  • I think it would be enough to edit this to compare it with verses like 1 Kings 18:28 which show people self-harming (in that case for religious reasons - I'm not sure if there are any self-harm because of mental illness examples in the Bible.) – curiousdannii Jan 25 at 11:44

When Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, the city was second in importance only to Rome. At that time the Greeks and the Romans held a very high opinion of themselves as warriors, athletes and intellectuals. There was a stone image to the goddess Nike in Ephesus - the winged goddess of victory, both in war and in peaceful competition. There were three gymnasiums in Ephesus - which may say something about their priorities in life.

The point is that the Christians in Ephesus were more concerned with being members of the body of Christ, the church. Just as Christ loves those who belong to him, so too were the Christians in Ephesus to take care of one another as an expression of the love and care within the church.

As Paul said elsewhere, Christians belong to Jesus Christ (Romans 1:6; 7:4). They have been purchased with the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:12).

To all who belong to Jesus Christ, they have the experience of being loved by God and of having everything to live for. Their lives have purpose and direction. Therefore they care for and nurture their bodies because they are living, not for self, but for others.

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    Up-voted. 'Self-obsession', as you point out, is a form of self love. Certain activities have a deeper motivation than is apparent.Suicide itself, puts the individual first, above all others. – Nigel J Jan 24 at 16:52
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    This answer implies that Christians can't experience serious mental health problems, which is absolutely not true. Many faithful Christians have depression. Some even commit suicide. That does not negate their faith. – curiousdannii Jan 25 at 0:28
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    @NigelJ Christians do disagree about whether a true Christian could really commit suicide. But it shouldn't be in dispute that Christians can at least have serious cases of depression. (There are some churches within pentecostalism that teach a form of prosperity gospel who would disagree with me - and for this I would call them dangerous heretics.) – curiousdannii Jan 25 at 2:33
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    I have removed three unnecessary references from the answer which are breaches of the SE Code of Conduct, and had already received two 'offensive' flags. The last paragraph of both Question and Answer verge onto modern applications anyway, which is off topic for this site, and so I'd suggest that a total removal of the paragraph would improve the quality of the answer. – Steve Taylor Jan 25 at 6:38
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    (+1) Thanks for the update, Lesley. I do really appreciate your answer on the whole, and it's not bad to volunteer a bit of modern application now and then where it's clearly arising from the text. The main issue was the CoC piece, and I'm only raising the 'off topic' concern because the question actively requires users to go off-topic in order to answer the question completely, which is what you'd done. – Steve Taylor Jan 25 at 10:06

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