1 Corinthians 3:11-17

Judging the Temple of God

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,

which is Jesus Christ. 

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold,

silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 

every man’s work shall be made manifest:

for the day shall declare it,

because it shall be revealed by fire;

and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon,

he shall receive a reward. 

If any man’s work shall be burned,

he shall suffer loss:

but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,

and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 

If any man defile the temple of God,

him shall God destroy;

for the temple of God is holy,

which temple ye are.

~ 1 Corinthians 3:11-17

If any man’s work is not built on the purity of holiness, love, and perfection in the gospel of Christ, those works shall be burned. The Christian will still be able to stand before God because did not defile his temple.

This passage in Corinthians hints of the Bema seat of Christ. It speaks of three aspects of judgment; purification, reward, and punishment.

Many think that the Bema seat is only a judgment for our rewards. But that is a partial or incomplete view of the Bema seat judgment.

The Bema seat was used in Greece for rewards in athletic competition. It was used by Rome to provide judicial actions of correction, and condemning people to death.

It is clear by the context of this passage that Paul is speaking of all three of these judicial components.

The picture of the Bema seat judgment. It is a judgment of reward, purification (correction), and justice based on every thing we have done. Hopefully, this clears up some misconception regarding the Bema seat judgment.

To disregard the whole meaning of this scripture is not far from adding or taking away from the Word of God.

This is how some of us build a foundation other than on Jesus Christ; We frame this or other passages of scripture around a doctrine rather than let our doctrine be framed around all of scripture. 

Please do not build on hay or stubble.

Scripture says:

If any man shall add unto these things,

God shall add unto him the plagues

that are written in this book:

and if any man shall take away from the words

of the book of this prophecy,

God shall take away his part out of the book of life,

and out of the holy city,

and from the things which are written in this book.

~ Revelation 18b-19

There is no distinguishing between Christian or non-Christian in the above passage. It is about being obedient to the Holy Spirit vs. changing the Word of God for any reason.

Woe to those who do this for God will remove their name from the Book of Life as noted above.

If someone defiles his temple and does not make it right and get it cleansed, that person God will destroy as listed in verse 17. That is why it is so important to know what defiles our temple, (body, soul, and spirit).

What Defiles the Temple of God

But those things which proceed out of the mouth

come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,

murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts,

false witness, blasphemies:

these are the things which defile a man:

~ Matthew 15:18-21


And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity:

so is the tongue among our members,

that it defileth the whole body,

and setteth on fire the course of nature;

and it is set on fire of hell.

~ James 3:6


Behold, I make all things new.

And he said unto me,

Write: for these words are true and faithful.

And he said unto me, It is done.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

I will give unto him that is athirst

of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things;

and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

But the fearful, and unbelieving,

and the abominable, and murderers,

and whoremongers, and sorcerers,

and idolaters, and all liars,

shall have their part in the lake which burneth

with fire and brimstone:

which is the second death.

And there shall in no wise enter into it

any thing that defileth,

neither whatsoever worketh abomination,

or maketh a lie:

but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

~ Revelation 21:5-8, 27

If any of the things listed above that describe are a part of your life and are defiling your temple, then you are in danger of the judgment.

Those that defile God’s temple through the world of iniquity (practicing sin) are akin to those who add to or take away from the word of God.

For we represent the word of God by every  our lives. God will take out His penknife and “shall take away his part out of the book of life.”

Blessed are the pure in heart:

for they shall see God.

~ Matthew 5:8

Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you. 

Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;

and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep:

let your laughter be turned to mourning,

and your joy to heaviness.

~ James 4:7-9

With God all things are possible.