A steward is someone who owns nothing but manages the possessions of another for their benefit and profit. Usually we think of property and money when we think about stewardship. That’s right and we’ll examine that kind of stewarding in a future video. But I also want you to think about stewarding your body. That’s right, your body is not your own. It belongs to God, and, as such we must consult him about how to manage our bodies for our good and his glory. We get a theology of the body in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-20:

First, your body is damaged by sin (9-10). Paul begins his Body Theology by confessing body-damaging sin.

Second, your body is saved by God (11). “And such were some of you” (past tense). You were that— but you are now this. You were defiled, damaged, destroyed, but now you are washed, sanctified, justified. This is a full-body and full-soul salvation.

Third, your body remains vulnerable (12). Although Paul knows he has experienced a body-and-soul salvation, he is conscious of his remaining spiritual and physical weakness and vulnerability. Many things are permissible, but he doesn’t want to hinder his re-creation by doing what is not beneficial or helpful. He is not free from the need for daily discipline of his bodily appetites.

Fourth, your body is for the Lord (13-14). “The body is for the Lord.” God has given each of us a body to give back to him. He did not give us a body so that we can give it to anybody and everybody in immoral sexual relations. He did not give us a body so that we can give it to overwork or sloth. He gave us a body to give back to him. The body is for the  Lord.”

Fifth, the Lord is for the body (13-14). He made it, cares for it, and maintains an eternal interest in it. He even took on a body, suffered in a body, and rose again in a body. He has a human body to this day. The Lord is for the body. This is not of minor importance. Our future resurrection shows how much honor God puts on the body and how much we should honor in the meantime what he will honor for all time.

Sixth, your body is a member of Christ (15-17). Yes, our souls are members of Christ’s body. But so are our bodies!

Seventh, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (vv. 18-19). Some of us pay more attention to the homes we live in than the home the Holy Spirit lives in.

Eighth, your body was bought with a price (20). The more we calculate the price paid for our bodies by the precious blood of Christ, the more we sense an obligation to our new owner. We’ve been bought with a price. We are not our own.

Therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (20). Paul’s argument is: God created us body and soul and redeemed us body and soul, so we are to serve him body and soul. Our souls and bodies are his and for his glory. That should make a difference in how we view them and treat them.

If that’s a theology of the body, what does it mean in terms of practice? How do we glorify God with our bodies? I’ve already answered that to some extent with previous videos on Sleep and Sabbath. I want to fill this out further in the next few videos which will look at exercise, diet, and purity.

In the meantime, a simple action item. Write out the points 4-8 on this card and memorize them. We need healthy truth in the mind to have any hope of healthy bodies.

Real men steward their bodies.

Discussion Questions

  1. The church has often emphasized the soul to the exclusion of, or the minimizing of, the body. As a result, neglecting the body is sometimes seen as a virtue or a mark of super-spirituality. How is this reflected in your own view of your body and soul.
  2. How does God show his interest in our bodies?
  3. How do we avoid going to the other extreme of idolizing our bodies.


Further Reading

Who Does My Body Belong To?

The Spiritual Gift of Physical Exercise

10 Reasons Believers Should Take Care of Themselves Physically

What Your Body Knows About God

Holy alliance

Toward a Theology of Human Embodiment

The Body and Christian Theology