Rev. Dr Mark Keown


The human body and Christ’s church: Extending Paul’s metaphor through his somatic understanding
Wednesday 26 March 2025 | 2:15pm

Paul has a rich understanding of the human body. He affirms its createdness and supreme value. In Romans and 1 Corinthians, Paul also speaks of the local church as the body of Christ made up of many members. This session argues that Paul’s view of the individual human body can be legitimately applied to his understanding as the church as the body of Christ. As such, we can appropriately extend his understanding beyond what he says in passages specifically focused on the local church as the body of Christ. In this session, first, Paul’s understanding of the human body is summarized. Next it outlines Paul’s understanding of the local church as the body of Christ. Then, it draws the two ideas together considering the church in light of Paul’s understanding of the human body. Like the human body, the local church is a creation and composition of God. However, it is prone to the weakness of its flesh whereby it becomes corrupted. If unabated, the church will die. Yet, the church is also a temple in which God’s Spirit dwells. The path to its healing and growth is a community living in Christ by the Spirit. Such a community is formed together into the image of the Son through the power of the Spirit. Implications for the church today are then suggested.

Mark Keown


Rev. Dr Mark Keown is Director of Evangelistic Leadership at Laidlaw College and a Presbyterian minister who presently attends Massey Presbyterian. He has served in a variety of spaces in evangelism, children’s and youth ministries, worship, and senior leadership. Mark has written a number of articles, essays, blog posts, and books including Evangelism in Philippians (2008), What’s God Up to on Planet Earth? (2010), Philippians, EEC, 2 vols. (2017), Jesus in a World of Colliding Empires, 2 vols. (2018), Discovering the New Testament (3 Vols, 2018–21), Reading the New Testament (2024), Galatians (2024), Pneumaformity (2024), and Jesus as the New Joshua (2024). Married to the Rev Dr Emma and owned by Redmond the dog, he loves cycling and playing in his band AllReady Not Yet.