1 Corinthians 6:18-20

1_Corinthians_618SRS is no more sinful than breast implants.

This set of verses begins with an admonition against fornication, and then specifies that the reasoning behind this admonition is that your body does not belong to you.

Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. (King James Version)

One should also remember that despite his outreach to the Gentiles, Paul originated as a Pharisee, a Jew born of Jews (despite his Roman citizenship), and followed the strictures of the Old Testament.  These included laws about man being made in the image of God, and against body modification (such as Genesis 1:27 (q.v.), and Leviticus 19:28 “ Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.“, which is the origin of the Judaic practice of forbidding tattoos).  This prohibition here is a logical outgrowth of those laws and tradition.

Since transsexual surgery removes and creates genitals (or breasts, or facial features) of a different type than you were born with, therefore it is a violation of the temple of the Holy Spirit within you. (Savage) Well let’s take that as a valid position, and test it. Which of the following constitutes a violation of the temple of the Holy Spirit?

  • Ear piercings and earlobe stretching.
  • Other body piercings.
  • Tattoos.
  • Liposuction.
  • Breast implants.
  • Face lifts.
  • SRS/GRS.

Each of these is a case where a human changes the body of another human. Why is SRS/GRS somehow restricted, but all of the other cases not? What about more medically necessary changes, such as:

  • Blood transfusions.
  • Heart valve replacements and heart bypass surgery.
  • Appendectomies and tonsillectomies.
  • Stomach surgery to reduce weight?
  • Organ transplants?

None of these are explicitly given a “thumbs up” in 1 Corinthians 6, yet it’s safe to say that a very large number of Christian believers will have at least one of these procedures. Now they can argue that “God doesn’t want us to forgo medicine, and medically necessary treatments are acceptable.” But they can’t tell us why SRS/GRS – a proven medically acceptable treatment – somehow doesn’t make the cut.

Return to Religion, Faith, and the Transgender Person


Savage, Helen “Changing Sex? : Transsexuality and Christian Theology” Durham Theses, Durham University, 2006. Diss, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, 2006.

1 thought on “1 Corinthians 6:18-20

  1. Pingback: The Bible and Transgender Persons Part 7: Is Surgery a Sin? | Transas City

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