9/29/13 V. 16, We often use this verse to point out that our body is a temple of God, which according to 1Cor 6:19 is true. However, the context for this statement isn’t so much our physical bodies but our spiritual growth. We are a building being grown from the foundation of Jesus Christ up to spiritual maturity. This isn’t just any building, though. It’s a temple for the Spirit of God to dwell in.
Although this applies to individual lives, it seems to fit more that Paul is speaking collectively of the church of God, comprised of all believers. Together we are a temple for the Spirit of God. Paul’s choice of words for temple is specific. The word naos was used mostly in the context of the inner sanctuary, the most holy place of the temple.
V. 17, The context is the quarreling and division among the people, so when Paul speaks of anyone destroying the temple, he is specifically referring to the fact that such conflict destroys the unity of the body of Christ. And when someone by his participation in conflict destroys this unity, God will eventually destroy him. This unity of believers is God’s most holy dwelling place, and it is a dangerous thing to abuse holy things.