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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Corinthians 15

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1-2

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. “Now I give you to know, brothers” (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3, for γνωρίζω): Paul writes, with a touch of blame, as though informing the Cor(2234) of what the staple of his message had been, that on which their whole Christianity is built (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5, Romans 6:3)—viz., “the good news which,” on the one hand, “I proclaimed to you (for cognate noun and vb(2235), emphasising the benefit of the news, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:18, etc.), which also,” on the other hand, “you received; in which also you stand fast (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 11:2), through which also you are being saved”. 1 Corinthians 15:11 similarly contrasts the correspondent part of proclaimers and receivers in attesting the saving facts (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23). The three relative clauses describe the inception, continuance, and progressive benefits of the faith of this Church.— σώζεσθε affirms a present, continuous salvation (cf. Romans 8:24, Ephesians 2:8); but “salvation,” with Paul, always looks on to the future (see Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ff.).—The connection of τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν; is difficult to seize. The two interpretations of the R.V., txt. and marg. (also A.V.), are those commonly adapted: (a) making the τίνι λόγῳ dependent on γνωρίζω, as appositive to τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κ. τ. λ., “I make known the good news … with what word I preached, etc.” (so Bg(2236), Hn(2237), Ed(2238)); (b) prefixing the clause, with an inversion of the normal order, to the hypothetical εἰ κατέχετε, which states the condition of σώζεσθε, “(you are saved), if you hold fast by what word I preached (it) to you” (Bz(2239), Mr(2240), Ev(2241), Gd(2242), Bt(2243), El(2244), Sm(2245), Wr(2246), Bm(2247)). There are convincing objections to both views, advanced by Mr(2248) and El(2249) against (a), and by Ed(2250) and Hn(2251) against (b): beside the harsh inversion it requires, (b) leaves the interrog. τίνι (the instances of τίς for ὃς, with ἔχω, adduced in Bm(2252)’s Grammar are not really parl(2253)), and the substitution of λόγος for εὐαγγέλιον, unexplained. Preferring therefore construction (a,) one feels that at this distance the τίνι λόγῳ clause practically dataches itself from γνωρίζω (Hf(2254)); the Ap. restates τὸ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν in the altered shape of a challenge to the memory and faith of his readers—an interrogation prompted by the misgiving expressed directly afterwards in εἰ κατέχετε: “In what word (I ask) did I preach (it) to you?—(you will remember) if you are holding (it) fast!—unless you believed idly!” The λόγος is “the word of the gospel” (Acts 15:7; cf. Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5), “the story of the cross,” etc. (1 Corinthians 1:17), as told by P.—quo sermone (Bz(2255)); not qua ratione (Vg(2256)); nor quo pacto (Er(2257), Cv(2258)). Can it be that the Cor(2259) have let this slip? or did they believe it εἰκῇ—not frustra, in vain (so Vg(2260), and most others, as in Galatians 3:4), but in the common cl(2261) sense of εἰκῇ, temere (cf. Romans 13:4, Colossians 2:18), heedlessly, at random, without serious apprehension, without realising the facts involved. The self-contradiction of the τινὲς (1 Corinthians 15:12) shows levity of belife. For ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ, see 1 Corinthians 14:5.


Verses 1-11

1 Corinthians 15:1-11. § 50. THE FACTS CONCERNING CHRIST’S RESURRECTION. The doubt which the Ap. combats strikes at the fundamental, probative fact of his Gospel. He must therefore go back to the beginning, and reassert the “first things” he had taught at Cor(2233) (1 Corinthians 15:1-4); to establish the resurrection of Jesus Christ is logically to destroy the theorem, “There is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12). Six successive appearances of the Risen One are enumerated—the first made to Kephas, and the last to Paul himself—(1 Corinthians 15:5-9); the list is not intended as exhaustive, but includes the names most prominent in the Church, the witnesses whose testimony would be best known and most accessible. The Ap. dwells on the astonishing mercy that was in this way vouchsafed to himself (1 Corinthians 15:9 f.), insisting finally, on the unbroken agreement of the Apostolic preaching and of the Church’s faith in regard to this supremely important event (1 Corinthians 15:11).


Verse 3-4

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 answer the question put in 1 Corinthians 15:2, reinforming the readers: “For I delivered to you amongst the first things, that which I also received”.— καὶ emphasises the identity of the παραδοθὲν and παραλημφθέν, involved in the character of a “faithful steward” (1 Corinthians 4:1 f., cf. John 17:8, etc.). How these matters had been received—whether by direct revelation (Galatians 1:12) or through other contributory channels (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 11:23 above)—is irrelevant.— ἐν πρώτοις, in primis, in chief (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15 f.). The things thus delivered are “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. Amongst the three πρῶτα, the first and third are πρώτιστα (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14 f., Romans 4:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, etc.); the second is the link between them, signalising at once the completeness of the death and the reality of the resurrection (cf. Romans 6:4; Romans 10:7); ὅτι ἐτάφη καὶ ὅτι ἐγήγερται is a more vivid and circumstantial expression for ὅτι ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν (1 Corinthians 15:12, etc.).—The two chiefest facts P. and the other Apostolic preachers (1 Corinthians 15:2) were accustomed to verify, both separately and jointly, from the Old Testament, κατὰ τὰς γραφάς (Acts 13:32 ff; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22 f., Romans 1:2 ff.), after the manner of Jesus (Luke 22:37; Luke 24:25 ff., John 3:14). But it was the facts that opened their eyes to the meaning of the Scriptures concerned (cf. John 2:22; John 20:9). The death and burial are affirmed in the aor(2262) as historical events; the resurrection is put with emphasis into the pf. these, as an abiding power (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1Co_15:17; 1Co_15:20) = ἐγερθεὶςοὐκέτι ἀποθνήσκει (Romans 6:9; cf. Hebrews 7:25).—“For our sins,” see parls.—“pro peccatis nostris abolendis” (Bg(2263)). “P. could not have said ὑπὲρ f1τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν if Christ’s death were only an example of self-denial, not because ὑπὲρ must be rendered ‘instead of’ (in loco), but because the ref(2264) to sin involves with ὑπὲρ the notion of expiation” (Ed(2265)); cf. the excellent note of Mr(2266); see the exposition of the relation of Christ’s death to man’s sin in 2 Corinthians 5:18 ff., Romans 3:23 ff; Romans 5:6-11, Galatians 3:10 ff., with notes in this Comm(2267) ad locc.; also 1 Corinthians 15:56 below, and note. The definition on the third day indicates that “in His case restoration to life ensued, instead of the corruption of the corpse that sets in otherwise after this interval” (Hf(2268)). Jesus appears to have seen a Scriptural necessity in the “third day” (Luke 24:46).


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 15:5. καὶ ὅτι ὤφθη κηφᾷ, εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα: so much of the evidence P. states as having been formally delivered to the Cor(2269) along with the facts attested; for these two clauses are under the regimen of παρέδωκα (1 Corinthians 15:3). The manifold testimony was detailed with more or less fulness at diff(2270) times; but P. seems always to have related imprimis the witness of Kephas and the Twelve, beside the revelation to himself (1 Corinthians 15:8). The Lord’s manifestation to Peter (on the form Kephas, see 1 Corinthians 1:12) preceded that given to the body of the Apostles (Luke 24:34). Peter’s evidence, as the witness of Pentecost and ἀπόστολος τ. περιτομῆς, was of palmary importance, ἀξιόχρεων εἰς μαρτυρίαν (Thd(2271)), esp. in view of the consensus to be asserted in 1 Corinthians 15:11 (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12).— ὤφθη with dat(2272), appeared (pass, aor(2273), in reflexive sense: see Bm(2274), pp. 52, 187), is used of exceptional, supernatural appearances (see parls.). “The twelve,” the college of the App., without exact regard to number: actually ten, wanting Judas Iscariot, and Thomas absent on the first meeting. Luke speaks on this occasion of “the eleven (the Western reading here) and those with them,” Luke 24:33; Paul cites the official witnesses.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 15:6 carries forward ὤφθη into a new sentence, independent of παρέδωκαὅτι: the four remaining manifestations P. recites without indicating whether or not they formed a part of his original communication.— ἔπειτα (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1Co_15:46, 1 Corinthians 12:28) ὤφθη κ. τ. λ.: “After t at (deinde) He appeared to above ( ἐπάνω, cf. Mark 14:5) five hundred brethren once for all” (semel, Bz(2275)). Nowhere else has ἐφάπαξ the meaning simul, at once (so Vg(2276), and most interpreters, in violation of usage). This was the culminating manifestation of the risen Jesus, made at the general gathering to which His brethren were invited by Him in a body, as it is related in Matthew 28:7; Matthew 28:10, Mark 16:7; the appearance to “the eleven” described in Matthew 28:16 ff. is recorded as the sequel to this summons, and implies the presence of a larger assembly (see esp. the words οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν in 1 Corinthians 15:17), such as P. alludes to; the great charge of Matthew 28:18 ff., closing the First Gospel, corresponds by its importance to this ἐφάπαξ.—P. writes a quarter of a century after the event; the followers of Jesus were mostly young in age for “the majority” ( οἱ πλείονες) to have been still alive. On ἕως ἄρτι, see 1 Corinthians 4:13.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 15:7. “After that, He appeared to James”—sc. James, the brother of the Lord, as elsewhere in P. (Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:12), included in the ἀδελφοὶ τ. κυρίου of 1 Corinthians 9:5 above (see note); associated with P. in Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18 (see notes). The manifestation to James—only mentioned here—the chief of our Lord’s formerly unbelieving brothers (John 7:5), explains the presence of “His brothers” amongst the 120 disciples at Jerus. (Acts 1:14) and James’ subsequent leadership in the mother Church. His high position at the time of writing accounts for his citation in this place. Paul made acquaintance with James as well as Peter on his first visit to the Jerus. Church (Galatians 1:18 f.). The well-known story about the meeting of Jesus with James told by Jerome (De viris illustr., 2) implies an earlier date for this than Paul’s narrative admits of, since ἔπειτα signifies succession in time; succession of rank cannot be intended.—“After that, to all the apostles”: in this formal enumeration, ἀπόστολοις bears its strictest sense, and could hardly include James (see Acts 1:13 f.; he is not certainly so styled in Galatians 1:19). Paul was, presumably, aware of the absence of Thomas on the occasion of 1 Corinthians 15:5, and his consequent scepticism (John 20:24 ff.); he therefore says distinctly that all participated in this latter sight, which coincides in point of time with Acts 1:6-12, not John 20:26. The witness of the First App. to the resurrection was complete and unqualified.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 15:8. ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων, ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι: “But last of all, as it were to the abortion (a creature so unfit and so repulsive), He appeared also to me”.— ἔσχατον (adv(2277)) πάντων marks the conclusion of a long series; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9, also Mark 12:22.— ὡσπερεί, a frequent cl(2278) conjunction, “nonnihil mitigat—ut si [or quasi]: docet non debere hoc nimium premi, … Articulus vim habet ( τῷ ἐκτρώματι). Quod inter liberos est abortus, inquit, id ego sum in apostolis.… Ut abortus non est dignus humano nomine, sic apostolus negat se dignum apostoli appellatione” (Bg(2279); similarly Est., Mr(2280), Al(2281), Ed(2282), Sm(2283)); ἔκτρωμα need not be pressed beyond this figurative and descriptive meaning. However, Cv(2284), Gr(2285), Bt(2286), Gd(2287), and many find in the phrase an indication of the suddenness and violence of Paul’s birth into Christ; Hn(2288) and El(2289) see pictured in it, more appropriately, the unripe birth of one who was changed at a stroke from the persecutor into the Apostle, instead of maturing normally for his work,—“P. describes himself thus in contrast with those who, when Jesus appeared to them, were already brothers or apostles, already born as God’s children into the life of faith in Christ” (Hf(2290)). Sm(2291) aptly suggests that τὸ ἔκτρωμα was one of the insulting epithets flung at Paul by the Judaists; in their eyes he was a wirklich Missgeburt. He adopts the title—“the abortion, as they call me”—and gives it a deeper meaning. His low stature may have suggested the taunt: cf. 2 Corinthians 10:10, and Acta Pauli et Theclae, 3. An abortion is a living, genuine offspring.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 15:9. ἐλάχιστος corresponds to ἔσχατον πάντων (1 Corinthians 15:8); “the least” properly comes “last”: cf. Ephesians 3:8, which enhances this expression; also 1 Timothy 1:15.— ὃς οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς καλεῖσθαι κ. τ. λ., “who am not fit to bear the name of apostle”.— ἱκανὸς (lit(2292) reaching up to, hinreichend), as distinguished from ἄξιον (worthy: 1 Corinthians 16:4), denotes adequacy, competence for office or work (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:5); the words are interchangeable “where the capacity to act consists in a certain moral condition of mind and heart” (Ed(2293): cf. Matthew 3:2, and John 1:27).— διότι (propterea quod, Bz(2294)) ἐδίωξα κ. τ. λ., “because I persecuted the Church of God”—a remorse which never left the Ap. (cf. Galatians 1:13, 1 Timothy 1:13 ff., Acts 26:9 ff.); the prominence of this fact in Luke’s narrative is a sign of Paul’s hand. The Church of Jerus., whatever opposition to himself might proceed from it, was always to Paul “the church of God” (Galatians 1:13; Galatians 1:22): on this phrase, see note to 1 Corinthians 1:2. For καλέομαι, in this sense, cf. Romans 9:25 f., Hebrews 2:2. This ver. explains how P. is “the abortion” among the App.; in respect of his dwarfishness, and the unripeness of his birth into Apostleship.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 15:10. “God’s grace,” which makes Paul what he is (see 1 Corinthians 9:1 f.: the double εἰμὶ is firmly assertive—“I am what I verily am”), is the favour, utterly undeserved, that summoned Saul of Tarsus from the foremost rank of the persecutors to the foremost rank amongst the servants of the Lord Jesus: cf. 1 Timothy 1:14, Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 2:7, Galatians 1:13 ff. The grace of Apostleship implies the antecedent grace of forgiveness and adoption.— καὶ χάρις αὐτοῦ εἰς ἐμὲ κ. τ. λ., “and His grace that was extended (or went out) unto me, has not proved vain”: cf. the emphatic ἐμοὶ of Ephesians 3:8; the repeated art(2295) marks me as the signal object of this grace; for χάρις εἰς, cf 1 Peter 1:10.— κενή (cf. 1 Peter 1:14) means not void of result (that is ματαία, 1 Peter 1:17), but void of reality: Paul’s Apostleship was no titular office, no mere benevolence towards an unworthy man; the favour brought with it a labour quite as extraordinary—“nay, but ( ἀλλʼ) more abundantly than they all did I labour”.— κοπιάω connotes exertion, painful or exhausting toil; see note on κόπος, 1 Corinthians 15:8. So that, if last and least at the outset, and conspicuously unfit for Apostleship, in execution P. took the premier place: see 2 Corinthians 10:13-18; 2 Corinthians 11:23; 2 Corinthians 12:2 ff., Romans 15:15-21.— αὐτῶν πάντων, presumably, more than all the rest together: by his single labours P. had extended the kingdom of Christ over a region wider than all the Twelve had traversed up to this date.—From the depth of Paul’s self-abasement a new pride is ready to spring, which is corrected instantly by the words, οὐκ ἐγὼ δέ, ἀλλʼ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ σὺν ἐμοί: “not I, however, but the grace of God (working) with me”—this really wrought the work; I was its instrument. See 1 Corinthians 3:7 ff., 1 Corinthians 12:6, Philippians 2:12 f., Ephesians 3:20, Colossians 1:29; and for the turn of expression, Galatians 2:20.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 15:11 breaks off the comparison between himself and the other App., into which Paul was being drawn, to sum up the statement of fact and evidence concerning Christ’s resurrection: “Whether then it were I (1 Corinthians 15:8 f.) or they (Kephas, the Twelve, the first disciples, James 5 ff.), so we proclaim (1 Corinthians 15:3 f.), and so you believed (1 Corinthians 15:2)”. For εἴτε, εἴτε, giving alternatives indifferent from the point of view assumed, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:22, 1 Corinthians 10:31, etc.— οὕτως is emphatic: in the essential matters of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and the crucial point of the resurrection of Jesus, there is not the least variation in the authoritative testimony; Peter, James, Paul—Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth—are in perfect accord, preaching, believing, with one mind and one mouth, that the crucified Jesus rose from the dead.—On κηρύσσω, see note to 1 Corinthians 1:23.—This closes the case on the ground of testimony.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 15:12. δὲ contrasts with the affirmation of all Christians (1 Corinthians 15:11) the contradictory dogma of τινὲς ἐν ὑμῖν. For their sake P. made the rehearsal of 1 Corinthians 15:1 ff. “But if Christ is preached, (to wit) that He is raised from the dead”—not “it is preached that Christ, etc.”: the preaching of Christ is the preaching of His resurrection; ἐγηγερμένος and ἐσταυρωμένος (see 1 Corinthians 1:23 f., 1 Corinthians 2:2) are, both of them, predicates inseparable from χριστός (cf. Romans 4:24 f., Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 10:9, 2 Corinthians 5:15; Acts 17:18, 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 3:21, etc.). For the pf. ἐγήγερται, see 1 Corinthians 15:4.—If this is so, “how (is it that) amongst you some say?”—a crying contradiction, that Christ is preached as risen and is so believed by the readers, and yet some of them say, ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν, “There is no (such thing as a) resurrection of dead (men)!” (cf. the modern dogma, “Miracles never happen”),—a sweeping denial of anything of the kind. The doctrine of the Sadducees (Acts 23:8); cf., for the Greeks, out of countless parls., Æschylus, Eumen., 639 ἅπαξ θανόντος οὔτις ἐστʼ ἀνάστασις.—The deniers are “some” (not many), quidam, quos nominare nolo (Mr(2297): cf. 2 Corinthians 10:2, etc., Galatians 1:7): “were they the ‘few wise men’ of 1 Corinthians 1:26?” (Ed(2298)). Their maxim belonged to the current “wisdom of this age” (1 Corinthians 1:20, 1 Corinthians 3:19 f.).— πῶς, of surprised expostulation, as in Galatians 2:14; for the emphasis on ἐν ὑμῖν, cf. John 14:9, πῶς σὺ λέγεις;


Verses 12-19

1 Corinthians 15:12-19. § 51. IF CHRIST IS NOT RISEN? Paul has intrenched his own position; he advances to demolish that of his opponents. His negative demonstration, taking the form of a destructive hypothetical syllogism, has two branches: he deduces (a), in 1 Corinthians 15:13-15, from the (supposed) non-existence of the fact of resurrection, the falsity of the faith ( κενὴ πίστις) accorded to it, and of the witnesses attesting it; (b), in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, from the non-existence of the fact, the unreality of the effects derived from it ( ματαία πίστις). Are the sceptics at Cor(2296) prepared to affirm that the App. are liars? and that the new life and hopes of their fellow-Christians are an illusion? In arguing these two points, P. presses on the impugners twice over (1 Corinthians 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:16), that their general denial logically and in principle excludes Christ’s resurrection.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 15:13 opposes ( δὲ) the thesis of the τινὲς by a syllogism in the modus tollens—“sublato genere, tollitur et species” (Gr(2299)): if bodily resurrection is per se impossible, then there is no risen Christ (so Bg(2300), Mr(2301), Al(2302), Bt(2303), Ed(2304), El(2305), etc.); the abstract universal negative of the deniers 1 Corinthians 15:16 will restate in the concrete. Hn(2306) and Gd(2307) (somewhat similarly Cm(2308), Cv(2309)) hold, on the other hand, that P. is making out the essential connexion between Christ’s rising and that of the Christian dead—in which case he should have written ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν; he speaks of “the dead in Christ” first in 1 Corinthians 15:18. Hn(2310) and Gd(2311) justly observe that the τινὲς might have allowed Christ’s resurrection as an exception; but the point of Paul’s argument is that this is logically impossible, that the absolute philosophical denial of bodily resurrection precludes the raising up of Jesus Christ; on the other hand, if He is risen, the axiom ἀνάστασις οὐκ ἔστιν is disproved, the spell of death is broken, and Christ’s rising carries with it that of those who are “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 1 Thessalonians 4:14; cf. John 11:25, Hebrews 2:15).


Verse 14-15

1 Corinthians 15:14-15. The implicit affirmative conclusion just intimated P. will develop afterwards. He has first to push the opposing axiom to further consequences. (1) if the fact is untrue, the testimony is untrue—“But if Christ is not raised, vain therefore is our proclamation, vain also your faith”.— κενός (see note on οὐ κενή, 10; and cf. κενόω, 1 Corinthians 1:17, etc.) signifies void, unsubstantial (inanis, Vg(2312))—a hollow witness, a hollow belief, while μάταιος (1 Corinthians 15:17; see parls.) is “vain” as ineffectual, frustrate. For κήρυγμα, see note on 1 Corinthians 1:21; on its distinction from λόγος (2), see 1 Corinthians 2:4 : ἡμῶν includes P. and his colleagues (1 Corinthians 15:11). For ἄρα, see 1 Corinthians 5:10.—If “the message is empty,” declaring a thing that is not, “the faith is also empty,” building on the thing that is not; preaching and faith have no genuine content; the Gospel is evacuated of all reality.—For the character of P. and his fellow-witnesses this conclusion has a serious aspect: “We are found moreover (to be) false witnesses of God”—men who have given lying testimony, and that about God, “the worst sort of impostors” (Gd(2313))! τοῦ θεοῦ is objective gen(2314), as the next clause shows; it is always “God” to whom P. imputes the raising of Christ, who by this act gave His verdict concerning Jesus (Romans 1:4, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:20; Acts 2:36; Acts 13:30-39; Acts 17:31).— δὲ καὶ calls emphatic attention to another and contrasted side of the matter in hand.— εὑρισκόμεθα approaches the sense of ἐλεγχόμεθα or ἁλισκόμεθα (see parls.)—“discovered” in a false and guilty position.—Nothing can be stronger evidence than this passage to the objective reality, in Paul’s experience, of the risen form of Jesus. The suspicion of hallucination, on his own part or that of the other witnesses, was foreign to his mind; the matter stood on the plain footing of testimony, given by a large number of intelligent, sober, and responsible witnesses to a sensible, concrete, circumstantial fact: “Either He rose from the grave, or we lied in affirming it”—the dilemma admits of no escape.— ὅτι ἐμαρτυρήσαμεν κ. τ. λ.: “in that we testified against God that He raised up the Christ—whom He did not raise, if indeed then (as ‘some’ affirm) dead (men) are not raised up”. κατὰ τ. θεοῦ, adversus Deum (Vg(2315), Est., Mr(2316), Hn(2317), Gd(2318), Ed(2319), Sm(2320)), as always in such connexion in N.T. (see 1 Corinthians 4:6 and parls.), not de Deo (Er(2321), Bz(2322), Al(2323), El(2324), A.V.); the falsehood (ex hyp.) would have wronged God, as, e.g., the ascription of miracles to God traduces Him in the eyes of Deists.— ἤγειρε τὸν χριστόν, “the Messiah,” whom “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3 f.; cf. Luke 24:46, Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22 f., etc.) God was bound to raise from the dead.— εἴπερ ἄρα, si videlicet (Bz(2325)), supposing to be sure; see 1 Corinthians 8:5; and 1 Corinthians 5:10, for ἄρα.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 15:16 restates the position of the τινές (1 Corinthians 15:13; see note), in order to press it to another, even more intolerable conclusion: (1) 1 Corinthians 15:14-15 proved the witness untrue, if the fact is unreal; (2) 1 Corinthians 15:17-18 conclude the effects unreal, if the fact is unreal.


Verse 17-18

1 Corinthians 15:17-18 unfold this latter consequence in a form parl(2326) to the former: εἰ δὲἄρα (1 Corinthians 15:14). For ματαία (syn(2327) with ἀργή, James 2:20; with ἀνωφελεῖς, Titus 3:9), see note on κενόν (1 Corinthians 15:14); a faith is “frustrate,” “null and void,” “which does not save from sin; now “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), but His resurrection makes His death valid, publishing it to men as accepted by God and availing for redemption (Romans 4:25; Romans 8:33 f., 1 Corinthians 10:9; Luke 24:46 f.; Acts 13:32-38—observe the γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω); it is hereby that “God gives the victory”over both sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57). ln Christ’s resurrection is the seal of our justification, and the spring of our sanctification (Romans 6:4-11); both are wanting, if He is still in the grave. The absence of both is implied in being “yet in your sins”—unforgiven, unrenewed. Now this is contrary to experience (1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 6:11); the Cor(2328) readers know themselves to be saved men, as Paul and the App. know themselves to be honest men (1 Corinthians 15:15). P. leaves the inference, which observes the strict method of the modus tollens, to the consciousness of his readers (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20): “We are true witnesses, you are redeemed believers; on both accounts it is certain that Christ has risen,—and therefore that there is a resurrection of the dead”.—A further miserable consequence of the negative dogma emerges from the last: ἄρα καὶ οἱ κοιμηθέντεςἀπώλοντο. “Then also those that were laid to sleep in Christ perished!”—perished (ptp(2329) and vb(2330) both aor(2331)) when we laid them to rest, and with the “perishing” which befalls those “yet in their sins” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 8:11, Romans 2:12; Romans 6:23, etc.; also John 8:21; John 8:24). They were “put to sleep in Christ” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14), as the sense of His presence and the promises of His gospel turned their death into sleep (John 11:2, etc.). The ματαιότης of being lulled to sleep when falling into utter ruin! They thought “the sting of death” drawn (1 Corinthians 15:56), and lay down to rest untroubled: cruelly deceived! For the unclassical position of ἄρα, see Wr(2332), p. 699.


Verse 19

1 Corinthians 15:19 expresses the infinite bitterness of such a deception. In the right order of words (see txtl. note), μόνον is attached to ἠλπικότες (cf. Luke 24:21): “If in this life we have only had hope in Christ”—no present deliverance from sin, no future inheritance in heaven—“we are more than all men to be pitied”. for a hope without legitimate basis or ultimate fruition, Christians have sacrificed all material good! (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:30 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:11 ff.; Hebrews 10:32-39, Luke 18:22, etc.). ἠλπικότες ἐσμὲν = ἠλπίκαμεν (1 Timothy 4:10), with stress laid on the actual condition of those who have formed this futile hope. ἐν χριστῷ points to Christ as the ground of Christian hope (cf. Philippians 2:19). ἐν τῇ ζωῇ ταύτῃ brings to mind all that the Christian forfeits here and now—losing “this life” for the vain promise of another, letting earth go in grasping at a fancied heaven; no wonder the world pities us!—Ed(2333) ad loc(2334) answers well the censure passed on the Ap., as though he made the worth of goodness depend on its future reward: (1) P. does not say “we are more worthless”—a good man may be very “pitiable,” and all the more because of his worth; (2) on Paul’s hypothesis (1 Corinthians 15:17), moral character is undermined, while future happiness is destroyed, by denial of the Resurrection.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 15:20. νυνὶ δέ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:18) marks the logical point P. has reached by the reductio ad impossibile of the negative proposition attacked in 1 Corinthians 15:12. Christ has been raised; therefore there is a resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-18): “now” the ground is cleared and the foundation laid for the declaration that the Christian dead shall rise in Him—“Christ has been raised from the dead, a firstfruit of them that have fallen asleep”; He has risen in this character and purpose, “not to remain alone in his estate of glory”(Gd(2335)).— ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμημένων (pf. of abiding state: cf. John 11:11 f., Matthew 27:52) = ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν and πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν (Colossians 1:18, Revelation 1:5).—Cm(2336) and Bg(2337) are surely right in seeing here an allusion to the first harvest-sheaf ( ἀπαρχὴν του θερισμοῦ ὑμῶν, Leviticus 23:10 : cf. in this connexion Matthew 13:39 ff. with John 5:28 f. and Revelation 14:14 ff.) of the Passover, which was presented in the Sanctuary on the 16th Nisan, probably the day of the resurrection of Jesus; this allusion is in the Easter strain of 1 Corinthians 5:6 ff. (see notes). The first ripe sheaf is an earnest and sample of the harvest, consecrated to God and laid up With Him (cf. Romans 6:10 f.) in anticipation of the rest. The Resurrection has begun.


Verses 20-28

1 Corinthians 15:20-28. § 52. THE FIRSTFRUIT OF THE RESURRECTION AND THE HARVEST. Paul has proved the actuality of Christ’s personal resurrection by the abundant and truthful testimony to the fact (1 Corinthians 15:5-15), and by the experimental reality of its effects (1 Corinthians 15:17). In 1 Corinthians 15:20 a he therefore amrms it unconditionally, having overthrown the contrary assertion that “there is no resurrection of the dead.” But Christ never stands alone; He forms “a body” with “many members” (1 Corinthians 12:12); He is “firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:18, John 15:5, etc.). His rising shows that bodily resurrection is possible; nay, it is inevitable for those who are in Him (1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20 b, 1 Corinthians 15:23). In truth, the universal redemption of Christ’s people from the grave is indispensable for the realisation of human destiny and for the assured triumph of God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). The Ap. thus advances from the experimental (§ 51) to the theological proof of his theorem, much as in Romans 5:1-21.


Verse 21-22

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 explain the identification of the risen Christ with those sleeping in death, which was assumed by the word ἀπαρχή. It rests on the fact that Christ is the antitype of Adam, the medium of life to the race as Adam was of death. This parl(2338) is resumed in 1 Corinthians 15:46 ff., where it is applied to the nature of the resurrection body, as here to the universallty of the resurrection. These two passages form the complement of Romans 5:12-21; the antithesis of Adam and Christ—who represent flesh, trespass, death and spirit, righteousness, life respectively—is thus extended over the entire career of the race viewed as a history of sin and redemption.—“For since through man (there is) death, through man also (there is) a resurrection of the dead”: διʼ ἀνθρώπου, “through a man (qua man)”—through human means or mediation. For ἐπειδὴ, quandoquidem (Cv(2339)), see 1 Corinthians 1:21 f.; the first fact necessitated and shaped the second: man was the channel conveying death to his kind (Romans 5:12), through the same channel the counter current must flow (Romans 5:15, etc.).—This goes deeper than ἀπαρχή; Christ is the ἀρχή, the principle and root of resurrection life (Colossians 1:18).—“Through man” implies that Death is not, as philosophy supposed, a law of finite being or a necessity of fate; it is an event of history, a calamity brought by man upon himself and capable of removal by the like means.— ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῷ ἀδὰμ κ. τ. λ.: “For just as in the Adam all die, so also in the Christ all will be made alive”. The foregoing double διʼ ἀνθρώπου opens out into “the (representative) Adam and Christ”—the natural and spiritual, earthly and heavenly counterparts (1 Corinthians 15:45 ff.), the two types and founders of humanity, paralleled by ὥσπερκαὶ οὕτως (cf. Romans 5:12 ff.).—The stress of the comparison does not lie on πάντες, as though the Ap. meant to say that “all (men)” will rise in Christ as certainly as they die in Adam (so, with variations, Or(2340), Cm(2341), Cv(2342), Mr(2343), Gd(2344), Sm(2345), El(2346), referring to John 5:28 f., Acts 24:15): says Bt(2347) says, the absence of ἄνθρωποι tells against such ref(2348) to the race (contrast Romans 5:12; Romans 5:18), also the use of ζωοποιέω (see below). The point is that as death in all cases is grounded in Adam, so life in all cases is grounded in Christ (cf. John 6:53; John 11:25)—no death without the one, no life without the other (Aug(2349), Bg(2350), Hf(2351), Ed(2352), Hn(2353), Bt(2354)). πάντες = οἱ πολλοί (Romans 5:18 f.), as set in contrast with εἷς ἄνθρωπος.— ζωοποίεω is narrower in extension than ἐγείρω (1 Corinthians 15:20), since the latter applies to every one raised from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:15 f., 1 Corinthians 15:35); wider in intension, as it imports not the mere raising of the body, but restoration to “life” in the full sense of the term (Hf(2355); cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45, Romans 6:8; Romans 8:11; John 5:21; John 6:63),—an ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς (John 5:29). A firm and broad basis is now shown to exist for the solidarity between Christ and the holy dead ( οἱ κεκοιμημένοι) affirmed in 1 Corinthians 15:20.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 15:23. But ἀπαρχὴ implies difference in agreement, distinction in order along with unity in nature and determining principle. Hence the added qualification, ἕκαστος δὲ ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι, κ. τ. λ.: “But each in his proper rank—Christ (as) firstfruit; thereafter, at His coming, the (people) of Christ”. τάγμα signifies a military division (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:40). There are two τάγματα (cf. Matthew 13:8) of the resurrection host; the Captain ( ἀρχηγός, Hebrews 2:10; cf. ἀπαρχὴ above), in His solitary glory; and the rest of the army now sleeping, to rise at His trumpet’s sound (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16).—It is incongruous to make a third τάγμα out of τὸ τέλος (1 Corinthians 15:24) as Bg(2356) and Mr(2357) would do, paraphrasing this as “the last act (of the resurrection),”—viz., the resurrection of non-Christians. Their introduction is irrelevant: P. has proved the resurrection of Christ, and is now making out that the resurrection of His sleeping ones is bound up with His own. Christ and Christians are the participants in the resurrection of life. ἔπειτα, opp(2358) of πρῶτον (cf. 46) implied in ἀπαρχὴ, is defined by ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ. Some attach the latter phrase to οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ, referring it to the first advent; but Christ’s παρουσία in the N.T. always signifies His future coming. There is nothing to exclude O.T. saints (see 1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 11:26; Hebrews 11:40, John 1:11), nor even the righteous heathen (Acts 10:35, Matthew 25:32; Matthew 25:34, John 10:16), from the τάγμα of “those who are Christ’s”.


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 15:24. εἶτα τὸ τέλος: “Then (is) the end”—sc., “at His coming”. Christ’s advent, attended with the resurrection of His redeemed to eternal life, concludes the world’s history; then “the harvest” which is “the end of the world” (Matthew 13:39 f., 49; cf. Revelation 14:15 f.), “the end of all things” (1 Peter 4:7), the dénoûment of the drama of sin and redemption in which “the Adam” and “the Christ” have played out their respective parts, the limit of the human horizon.—As ἔπειτα was defined by ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ, so εἶτα by the two ὅταν clauses: “when He yields up the kingdom to His God and Father, when He has abolished every rule and every authority and power”. The two vbs. denote distinct, but connected and complementary acts. παραδιδῷ (the reading παραδιδοῖ is sbj(2359), not opt.: Bm(2360), p. 46) is pr. sbj(2361), signifying a proceeding, contingent in its date and manner of occurrence, but concurrent with εἶτα, which again rests upon ἐν τ. παρουσίᾳ. The aor(2362) sbj(2363) καταργήσῃ (Lat. futurum exactum) signalises an event lying behind the παραδιδῷ and by its nature antecedent thereto,—“when He shall have done away, etc.”; every opposing force has been destroyed, then Christ lays at the Father’s feet His kingdom. “Cum tradat (not tradiderit: so Vg(2364), eading παραδῷ) regnum, etc., cum evacuerit omnem principatum, etc.”—The title τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, “to Him who is God and Father,” contains the reason for this παράδοσις: Christ’s one aim was to glorify the Father (Luke 2:49, John 4:34; John 6:38; John 17:4, etc.); this end was reached proximately at the cross (John 19:30), and will be so ultimately when our Lord, having “subdued all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21), is able to present to the Father a realm dominated by His will and filled with His obedient sons (cf. Matthew 6:9 f.). This is no ceasing of Christ’s rule, but the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom: παραδιδῷ does not connote the losing of anything (see John 17:10); it is just the rendering to another of what is designed for Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 Corinthians 5:5, Romans 8:32, Luke 4:6; Luke 10:22, etc.). “The end” does not mean the termination of Christ’s sovereignty, which in its largest sense began before the world (John 1:1-3; John 17:5) and is its goal (Colossians 1:16); but the termination of the reign of sin and death (Romans 5:21; cf. John 6:37 ff.). At the συντέλεια “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” “the kingdom of Christ and of God,” fills the N.T. horizon (Ephesians 5:5, Revelation 11:15; Revelation 22:3).— ἀρχὴν, ἐξουσίαν κ. τ. λ., should not be limited (with Ff(2365) generally, Est., Ed(2366), Gd(2367), El(2368), Sm(2369): Everling, Paulin. Angelol. u.s.w., p. 44, in view of Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 2:15, etc.) to angelic powers, or demons; nor (as by Cv(2370), Gr(2371): cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6) to earthly rulers: πᾶσανπᾶσαν … (see πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς, 25; πάντα ὑπέταξεν, 27; also Romans 8:37-39) embraces all forces oppugnant to God (Bg(2372), Cr(2373), Hn(2374), Hf(2375), Bt(2376)), on earth or above it, whether they exercise princely sway ( ἀρχὴν) or moral authority ( ἐξουσίαν) or active power ( δύναμιν). Death is a βασιλεὺς amongst these (Romans 5:14); and behind death Satan (Hebrews 2:14 f.), “the prince” and “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 14:30). On καταργέω, see note to 1 Corinthians 1:28.


Verse 25

1 Corinthians 15:25 sustains the representation of the τέλος just given by prophetic words of Scripture (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3 f.): “For He must needs reign, until He has put all the enemies underneath His feet”. Not till every enemy of God is vanquished can Christ’s existing kingdom reach its end. P. is thinking of the culmination, not the cessation, of Christ’s kingship (see note on παραδιδῷ, 1 Corinthians 15:24).— πάντας is added to the text of the Psalmist, as if to say: “Every one of the foes proscribed in the Messiah’s charter must submit, before He can present to His Father a perfect kingdom”; see parls., for other applications of this cardinal O.T. dictum.—On δεῖ, see note to 1 Corinthians 8:2.— ἄχρις οὗ—radically “up to,” rather than “until, (the time at) which”—in later Gr(2377) takes sbj(2378) of future contingency dispensing with ἄν (Wr(2379), p. 371)—.The words of Psalms 110. are freely adapted: θῇ gets its subject from αὐτόν, viz. Christ—not God, as imported by Est., Bz(2380), Bg(2381), Hf(2382), Gd(2383), to suit the Ps.; it is parl(2384) in tense-construction to καταργήσῃ (1 Corinthians 15:24, see note).


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 15:26. ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται θάνατος: “(As) last enemy death is abolished”—in other words, “is abolished last among these enemies”.— ἔσχατος is the emphatic part of the predicate; and καταργ. (see 1 Corinthians 1:28) is in pr(2385) tense, of what is true now in God’s determination, in the fixed succession of things (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:13). Death personified, as in 1 Corinthians 15:55, Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 20:14. If all enemies must be subdued, and death is last to fall, then“the end” (1 Corinthians 15:24) cannot be until Christ has delivered His own from its power and thus broken Death’s sceptre.—This ver. should close with a full stop. καταργεῖται θάνατος is the Christian counter-position to the ἀνάστασις οὐκ ἔστιν of Cor(2386) philosophy; the τινὲς of 1 Corinthians 15:12 say, “There is no resurrection”; P. replies, “There is to be no death”. The dogma of unbelief has been confuted in fact by Christ’s bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:13 ff.); in experience, by the saving effect thereof in Christians (1 Corinthians 15:17); and now finally in principle, by its contrariety to the purpose and scope of redemption (1 Corinthians 15:21-26), which finds its goal in the death of Death. Hofmann makes τὸ τέλος in 1 Corinthians 15:24 adverbial to 1 Corinthians 15:26 (“at last,” cf. 1 Peter 3:8), with the ὅταν clauses as its definitions and the γὰρ clause parenthetical: “then finally, when etc., when etc. (for etc.), as last enemy death is abolished”. His construction is too artificial to be sustained; but he sees rightly that this ver. is the climax of the Apostle’s argument.


Verse 27-28

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 are a supplement to 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. They reaffirm, in new words of Scripture, the unlimited dominion assigned to Christ (1 Corinthians 15:25-27 a), in order to reassert more impressively the truth that only through His absolute victory can the kingdom of God be consummated (24a, 28b). The opening γὰρ adduces, by way of comment, a prophecy parl(2387) to that cited in 1 Corinthians 15:25 and specifically applied in 1 Corinthians 15:26. Psalms 8 promised to man complete rule over his domain (cf. Hebrews 2:5 ff.); as man Christ here stands forth the countertype of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21 f.) who forfeited our estate, winning for Himself and His own the deliverance from death (Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:14 f.) which seals His conquest and sets “all things under His feet”. But ( δὲδέ) this subjection of all things to Christ is no infringement of God’s sovereignty nor alienation of His rights; on the contrary, it is the means to their perfect realisation. Such is the purport of the two ὅταν sentences, the second of which repeats in another way, after the interposed δῆλον ὅτι clause, what the first has announced, τότε αὐτὸς υἱὸς furnishing their common apodosis (cf. 54); so Hf(2388), R.V. marg., after the Vg(2389) and Lat. interpreters. The two vv. then read as follows: “For ‘all things did He put in subjection under His feet’. But when He hath said, ‘All things are brought to subjection’ (manifestly, with the exception of Him that put all things in subjection to Him)—yea, when all things have become subject to Him, then shall (also) the Son Himself become subject to Him that made subject to Him all things, to the end that God may be all in all”.—God is the tacit subject of ὑπέταξεν, as supplied by the familiar Ps. and brought out by the ptps. in 1 Corinthians 15:27 b, 28b; but Christ is subject to εἴπῃ—not God speaking in Scr., or at the end of the world (so Mr(2390), Ed(2391), El(2392), etc.), nor γραφή (D.W(2393), and others), nor propheta (Bg(2394)). “All things are subdued!” is the joyful announcement by the Son that the grand promise recorded in the 8th Psalm is fulfilled; “the ὑπέταξεν of God affirms the purpose, the ὑποτέτακται of Christ attests its accomplishment” (Hf(2395), Hn(2396)). Thus ὅταν εἴπῃ is simultaneous with ὅταν καταργήσῃ (1 Corinthians 15:24) and ὅταν θῇ ὑπὸ τ. πόδας (1 Corinthians 15:25): Christ proclaims the victory at last achieved; He reports that, with the abolition of death, His commission is ended and the travail of His soul satisfied. For anticipatory sayings of His, giving an earnest of this crowning word, see Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18, John 3:35.— ὅταν ὑποταγῇ κ. τ. λ. (1 Corinthians 15:28) reassumes objectively, as matter of fact, what was given subjectively in ὅταν εἴπῃ κ. τ. λ. as the verdict of Christ upon His own finished work. Those who read δῆλον ὅτι κ. τ. λ. as a principal sentence, the apodosis to the first ὅταν clause (A.V., Mr(2397), El(2398), etc.), borrow from the protasis πάντα ὑποτέτακται—more strictly ὑποτετάξεται or (by zeugma) ἔσται, after the virtually fut(2399) εἴπῃ (cf. 28b, 54b); this, however, makes a halting sentence: “But when He [God] says, ‘All things have been made subject,’ it is evident [that this will be, or that all things will be subjected] with the exception of Him, etc.”—an affirmation of quite subsidiary importance, on which the writer has no need to dwell. The non-inclusion of God in the category of “things subjected” is rather a self-evident assumption made by the way, and serving to prepare for and throw into relief the real apodosis, “then shall the Son Himself also become subject, etc.,” to which both the ὅταν clauses press forward. The advl(2400) use of δῆλον ὅτι (perhaps better written δηλονότι = δηλαδή), signifying manifestly or to wit (sine dubio, Vg(2401)), is familiar in Attic Gr(2402); no other certain instance occurs in the N.T. The remark that He who gave dominion is not Himself under it, reserves behind the Messianic reign the absolute supremacy of God, to which Christ will conform at the plenitude of His kingship.— τὰ πάντα (equivalent to “the universe”) gathers into a totality the πάντα otherwise separate and diverse: cf. Colossians 1:17, τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν.— ὑποταγήσεται (mid(2403) in force, like the 2nd aor(2404) pass(2405) in Romans 10:3, in consistency with the initiative ascribed to Christ throughout) has often been explained away, to avoid Arian or Sabellian inferences from the text; it affirms no other subjection of the Son than is involved in Sonship (see note on 24). This implies no inferiority of nature, no extrusion from power, but the free submission of love ( αὐτὸς υἱός, “the Son of His own accord will subject Himself”—not in addition to, but in distinction from the πάντα), which is the essence of the filial spirit that actuated Christ from first to last (cf. John 8:29; John 12:27, etc.). Whatsoever glory He gains is devoted to the glory and power of the Father (John 17:2, etc.), who glorifies Him in turn (John 17:5; Philippians 2:9 ff.). ὑποταγήσεται speaks the closing word of Christ’s mission, as ἰδοὺ ἥκω τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημά σου was its opening word (Hebrews 10:7).—It is hard to say whether ζνα θεὸς κ. τ. λ. is dependent on υἱὸς ὑποταγήσεται (so most commentt.) or on τ. ὑποτάξαντι (so Hf(2406), and some others). This solemn conclusion most fitly attaches to the princ. vb(2407); it expresses the loyal purpose of the Son in His self-subjection, whose submission exhibits the unity of the Godhead (cf. John 10:30-36; John 17:23), and constitutes itself the focus and uniting bond of a universe in which God’s will is everywhere regnant and His being everywhere immanent.— πᾶσιν neuter, like πάντα.


Verse 29-30

1 Corinthians 15:29-30. There are certain conditions of interpretation bearing on the sense of the much discussed expression οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν which bar out a large number of attempted explanations: (a) οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι, unless otherwise defined, can only mean the recipients of Christian baptism, in its well-understood sense as the rite of initiation into the Christian state administered upon confession of faith (1 Corinthians 1:13 ff., 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 6:3 f., Galatians 3:27, etc.). (b) ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν (not ὑπὲρ νεκρῶν, “on behalf of dead persons” as such: cf. 1 Corinthians 15:2, etc.) points to a specific class of “the dead” interested in the baptism of the living—presumably to “the (Christian) dead” of the last §, and probably to those amongst them who were connected with “the baptised” in question. (c) In following up 1 Corinthians 15:29 with the words of 1 Corinthians 15:30 ( τί καὶ ἡμεῖς κινδυνεύομεν;) (2409). associates himself with the action of “those baptised for the dead,” indicating that they and he are engaged on the same behalf (for καὶ ἡμεῖς associating “we” with persons aforementioned, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:13, Galatians 2:16; Galatians 4:3, Ephesians 2:3, etc.). This last consideration excludes the interpretation, at present widely adopted (Ambrst., Anselm, Grot., Mr(2410), Holsten, Al(2411), Hn(2412), Bt(2413), El(2414), Sm(2415)), that P. alludes to a practice then (it is conjectured) in vogue at Cor(2416), which existed much later amongst the heretical Cerinthians and Marcionites (see Cm(2417) ad loc(2418) in Cramer’s Catena; Tert(2419), De Resurr. Carnis, 48, adv. Marc., v., 10; Epiph., Hær., xxviii., 6), viz., that of the vicarious baptism of living Christians as proxies for relatives or friends dying unbaptised. With such a proceeding P. could not have identified himself, even supposing that it existed at this time in the Church (of which there is no evidence), and that he had used it by way of argumentum ad hominem. An appeal to such a superstitious opus operatum would have laid the Ap. open to a damaging retort. Gd(2420) justly asks, ‘A quoi eût servi ce procédé de mauvaise logique et de bonne foi douteuse?” This objection tells less forcibly against the view, lately suggested, that P. alludes to some practice of substitutionary baptism observed in the Pagan mysteries, finding thus a witness to the Resurrection in the heathen conscience, καὶ ἡμεῖς adding thereto the Christian practical testimony; but condition (a) forbids this solution. As El(2421) admits, condition (b) also bears strongly against the prevalent exposition. (b) moreover negatives the idea of Cm(2422) and the Gr(2423) Ff(2424), maintained by Est. and Ev(2425) (see the ingenious Addit. Note of the latter), that ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν means, as Thp(2426) puts it, ὑπὲρ ἀναστάσεως, ἐπὶ προσδοκίᾳ ἀναστάσεως: if P. meant this, why did he not say it? The following ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν indicates that by ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν definite (dead) persons are meant. Ed(2427) notices with approval the rendering of John Edwards (Camb., 1692), who supposed these “baptized” to be men converted to Christianity by the heroism of the martyrs; somewhat similarly, Gd(2428) This points in the right direction, but misses the force of ὑπέρ (on behalf of; not διά, on account of), and narrows the ref(2429) of τῶν νεκρῶν (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1Co_15:20; 1Co_15:23); there is no indication in the ep. of martyrdoms at Cor(2430) (see, on the contrary, 1 Corinthians 4:9 f.). P. is referring rather to a much commoner, indeed a normal experience, that the death of Christians leads to the conversion of survivors, who in the first instance “for the sake of the dead” (their beloved dead), and in the hope of reunion, turn to Christ—e.g., when a dying mother wins her son by the appeal, “Meet me in heaven!” Such appeals, and their frequent salutary effect, give strong and touching evidence of faith in the resurrection; some recent example of the kind may have suggested this ref(2431) Paul designates such converts “baptised for the dead,” since Baptism seals the new believer and commits him to the Christian life (see note, 1 Corinthians 12:13) with all its losses and hazards (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:30). The hope of future blessedness, allying itself with family affections and friendship, was one of the most powerful factors in the early spread of Christianity. Mr(2432) objects to this view (expounded by Köster) that τ. νεκρῶν needs definition by συγγενῶν καὶ φίλων, or the like, to bear such meaning; but to each of these βαπτιζόμενοι those who had thus influenced him would be “the dead”. The obscure passage has, upon this explanation, a large, abiding import suitable to the solemn and elevated context in which it stands; the words reveal a communion in Christ between the living and departed (cf. Romans 14:9), to which the hope of the resurrection gives validity and worth (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2 These. 1 Corinthians 2:10).—For ἐπεί, since otherwise, else (alioquin, Vg(2433); Germ. da sonst), see note on 1 Corinthians 5:10.— τί ποιήσουσιν; (see LXX parls.) indicates that the hope on which these baptisms rest will be stultified, without a resurrection; it will betray them (Romans 5:5).— εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ κ. τ. λ., “If absolutely (omnino, Vg(2434): see note, 1 Corinthians 5:10) dead men are not raised” (the axiom of the unbelievers, 12, 15, etc.), unfolds the assumption involved in ἐπεὶ as the protasis of τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν; which repeats, with emphasis on the pronoun, the former question—“Why indeed are they baptised for them?” how can they be interested in the baptism of survivors, if they have perished (1 Corinthians 15:18)? On this assumption, converts would have been gained upon false hopes (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19), as well as upon false testimony (1 Corinthians 15:15).—“Why also do we run hazard every hour?”—further consequent of εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται: “our case (that of the App. and other missionaries, braving death unceasingly: see 11; 1 Corinthians 4:9 ff., 2 Corinthians 4:10 ff; 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.; John 15:18 to John 16:22) is parl(2435) to theirs; as they, in love for the dead whom they hope to meet again, take up the cross of Christian profession, so we in the same hope face hourly peril”.


Verses 29-34

1 Corinthians 15:29-34. § 53. THE EFFECT OF UNBELIEF IN THE RESURRECTION. To clinch the argument for the truth and the necessity of the Christian resurrection and to bring it home to the readers, the Ap. points out how futile Christian devotion must be, such as is witnessed in “those baptised for the dead” and in his own daily hazards, if death ends all (1 Corinthians 15:29-31); present enjoyment would then appear the highest good (1 Corinthians 15:32). The effect of unbelief in the future life is already painfully apparent in the relaxed moral tone of a certain part of the Cor(2408) Church (1 Corinthians 15:33 f.).


Verse 31-32

1 Corinthians 15:31-32 a. In no slight jeopardy do P. and his comrades stand; for his part he declares, “Daily I am dying; my life at Ephesus has been that of a combatant with wild beasts in the arena—for what end, if there is no resurrection?” With καθʼ ἠμέραν ἀποθνήσκω cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23, Romans 8:36; referring to his present “affliction in Asia,” P. writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8 f., “We have had the sentence of death in ourselves”. Ed(2436) softens the expression into “self-denial, dying to self and the world”: better Cv(2437), “obsideor assiduis mortibus quotidie”; and Gd(2438), “Not a day, nor an hour of the day, when they might not expect to be seized and led out to execution”—.(2439). had not been in this extreme peril at Cor(2440) (see Acts 18:9 f.), and his readers might think the description overdrawn; so he exclaims, νὴ τ. ὑμετέραν καύχησιν κ. τ. λ.: “Yea, by the glorying over you, brothers, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord!” cf. the protests of 2 Cor. 2:18, 23; 2 Corinthians 11:10 f., 2 Corinthians 11:31, Romans 9:1. He protests by this καύχησις as by that which is dearest to him: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 7:3; 2 Corinthians 7:14 ff.; similarly in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 f., 2 Thessalonians 1:4, Philippians 4:1, etc. For this rare use of the pron(2441), cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24, τ. ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν (and note), 2 Corinthians 9:3. νή (= ναί) with acc(2442) of adjuration, a cl(2443) idiom.—Paul’s “glorying” he “holds in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7); it is laid up with Christ as a καύχημα εἰς ἡμέραν χ. (Philippians 2:16; cf. Philippians 3:8; Philippians 4:3 ff. above, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Colossians 1:4, etc.).—“If in the manner of men I have fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, what is the profit?” κατὰ ἄνθρωπον bears the stress, “humanitus—spe vitæ præsentis duntaxat” (Bg(2444): cf. iii., 3 f.); seeking the rewards—applause, money, etc.—for which men risk their lives. Instead of these, P. earns poverty and infamy (1 Corinthians 4:9 ff., Philippians 3:7 f.); if there is no “day of Christ” when his “glorying” will be realised, he has been befooled (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19 and note, Philippians 3:14, 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 19:27 ff., Luke 14:14; Luke 22:28 ff.).— ὄφελος (from ὀφέλλω, to increase; nearly syn(2445) with μισθός, 1 Corinthians 3:8, etc.; or κέρδος, Philippians 1:21) signifies the consequent advantage accruing to P. from his fight; that it brings present moral benefit is obvious, but this is not the point (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; see Ed(2446) ad loc(2447), touching the diff(2448) of pagan and Christian morality).— ἐθηριομάχησα is probably figurative, though Gd(2449), Weizsäcker (Apost. Zeitalter, pp. 325 f.), McGiffert (Christianity in the Apost. Age, pp. 280 f.), with some older expositors, take it that P. had been actually a θηριομάχος in the Ephesian amphitheatre, despite his Roman citizenship. But no such experience is recorded in the list of his woes in 2 Corinthians 11; moreover it appears from Acts 19:31-40 that P. had friends in high quarters at Eph., who would have prevented this outrage if attempted. Ignatius (ad Rom., v.; cf. ad Smyrn., iv.) applies the figure to his guards, borrowing it probably from this place. The metaphor is in the strain of 1 Corinthians 4:9 (see note); cf. also Psalms 22:12; Psalms 22:16, etc., and the use of θηρίον in the Rev.—In view of this last parl(2450) and of 2 Timothy 4:17, Krenkel in his Beiträge, V., finds the “wild beast” of Paul’s struggle in the Imperial Power, which (2451). thinks was already so designated “in the secret language of Christians” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:5 f.). But nothing in Acts 19 indicates conflict on P.’s part with the magistrates of Eph. (and Lk. habitually traces with care his relations with Roman authorities); it was the city-mob, instigated by the shrine-makers, which attacked him; before the riot he had been probably in danger of assassination from this quarter, as well as from “the Asian Jews,” who set upon him afterwards in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27 ff.). Bt(2452) observes the climax: κινδυνεύω, ἀποθνήσκω, θηριομαχῶ.

1 Corinthians 15:32 b states in words of Scripture the desperation that ensues upon loss of faith in a future life: “If (the) dead are not raised (the Sadducean dogma repeated a sixth time), ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die!’ ” εἰ νεκροὶ κ. τ. λ. is rightly attached by the early Gr(2453) and most modern commentt. to the following clause. Paul is not drawing his own conclusion in these words, nor suggesting that the resurrection supplies the only motive against a sensual life; but he points out (cf. 33 f.) the patent fruit of the unbelief in question. This is just what men were saying on all sides; the words quoted voice the moral recklessness bred by loss of hope beyond death. Gr(2454) and Rom. literature teem with examples of this spirit (see Wisdom of Solomon 2:6; Herod., ii., 78, Thuc., ii., 53, and other reff. furnished by Ed(2455) ad loc(2456)); indeed Paul’s O.T. citation might have served for the axiom of popular Epicureanism. Hn(2457) describes ancient drinking-cups, recently discovered, ornamented with skeleton figures wreathed in roses and named after famous philosophers, poets, and gourmands, with mottoes attached such as these: τὸ τέλος ἡδονή, τέρπε ζῶν σεαυτόν, σκηνὴ βίος, τοῦτʼ ἄνθρωπος (written over a skeleton holding a skull), ζῶν μετάλαβε τὸ γὰρ αὔριον ἄδηλόν ἐστιν. cf. our own miserable adage, “A short life and a merry one!”


Verse 33-34

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 deliver Paul’s judgment upon the situation: the disbelief in the Resurrection declared in the Cor(2458) Church is of a piece with its low ethics (1 Corinthians 3:1 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:18 to 1 Corinthians 5:2) and its heathen intimacies (1 Corinthians 8:10, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, 2 Corinthians 5:14 to 2 Corinthians 7:1); it springs from ἀγνωσία θεοῦ, from a feeble religious consciousness.— μὴ πλανᾶσθε (see parls.), “Be not misled (seduced)”: the seduction lay in the specious philosophy under which sceptical tenets were advanced, concealing their demoralising tendency. The line the Ap. quotes (an ordinary senarius of the dialogue in the Attic drama: χρηστά, so written in the best copies, was probably read f1χρήσθʼ, Wr(2459), Hn(2460)) is attributed to Menander (322 B.C.), of the New Comedy and an Epicurean, by Tert(2461) and Hier., followed by most others. But this was a proverbial gnomé, and probably current long before Menander. ὁμιλίαι bears the narrower sense of conversations (A.V.; colloquia, Vg(2462)), or the wider sense, more fitting here, of intercourse, companionships (R.V.).— ἐκνήψατε δικαίως κ. τ. λ. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32 b, 1 Corinthians 11:21; and parls. for ἐκνήφω): “Rouse up to soberness in righteous fashion, and cease to sin” (the first impv(2463) is aor(2464), of a single action; the second pr., of a course of action)—a startling call, to men fallen as if into a drunken sleep under the seductions of sensualism and heathen society and the fumes of intellectual pride. δικαίως signifies the manner of the awaking; it is right the Cor(2465) should rouse themselves from self-delusion; P. assails their conscience.— ἀγνωσίαν γὰρ θεοῦ τινες (cf. 12) ἔχουσιν, “For some have (maintain) an ignorance of God” (cf. the use of ἔχω in 31, 1 Corinthians 8:1, Romans 4:2; Romans 5:1, respecting states of mind); this asserts, beyond τὸν θεὸν ἀγνοοῦσιν, a characteristic, a persistent condition, in which the Cor(2466) τινὲς share with the heathen (1 Corinthians 12:2, Romans 1:19 ff., etc.).— πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν λαλῶ, “I say (it) for a shame to you,” otherwise than in 1 Corinthians 4:14. “Ignorance of God” is a deeper evil than the ingratitude toward the Ap. which he censured earlier; this can only be remedied by a thorough inward reaction—“ad pudorem vobis incutiendum dico” (Cv(2467)). That these wise Cor(2468) should be taxed with “ignorance,” and “of God” on the knowledge of whom they flattered themselves above all (1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 8:4), was humiliating indeed.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 15:35. ἀλλὰ ἐρεῖ τις: this form of interlocution belongs to Jewish dialectic (see parls.); cf. 1 Corinthians 15:12, also ἐρεῖς μοι, Romans 9:19, and the familiar Pauline challenge, τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν;—“How are the dead raised up? With what sort of ( ποίῳ δέ) body moreover do they come?”—two distinct questions. δὲ might indeed introduce the same question in an altered form (Mr(2469), Bt(2470), El(2471), Sm(2472)), but the vbs. and the interr(2473) prons. are both different. The first (cf. Luke 1:34, John 3:9; John 6:52, Hebrews 2:3, 1 John 3:17) intimates the impossibility of the thing, and is answered in 1 Corinthians 15:36; the latter, the inconceivability of the manner, answered in 1 Corinthians 15:37 ff. (so Cm(2474), Cv(2475), D.W(2476), Hf(2477), Ed(2478)). The sceptics advance their second question to justify the first: they say, “The resurrection P. preaches is absurd; how can any one imagine a new body rising one of the perished corpse—a body suitable to the deathless spirit?” The vbs. are logical pr(2479), as concerned with general truths (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:26); “actio rei declaratur absque significatione temporis” (Er(2480)).— ἔρχονται (cf. John 5:29; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, θεὸς ἄξει) graphically represents the difficulty of the objectors: “In what bodily form do we picture the dead coming on the scene?”


Verses 35-42

1 Corinthians 15:35-42 a. § 54. THE MANNER OF THE RESURRECTION. We enter on the second part of the Apostle’s argument touching the Resurrection: see the analysis, Introd. to Div. V. He has established the truth of the doctrine and the certainty of the event, and proceeds consequently to set forth the manner of its occurrence and the nature of the new body to be assumed. P. has still in view the unbelieving “some,” and pursues the dialectical and apologetic vein of the foregoing context. The deniers found in the inconceivability of the process (1 Corinthians 15:35) a further and, in their eyes, decisive objection against the reality of the fact. In vindicating his doctrine upon this side, P. therefore confirms its truth; he traces its analogies in nature, and its harmony with the order of Divine revelation; and the first half of his grand argument culminates in the second. See Edwards’ subtle analysis of 1 Corinthians 15:35-44.


Verse 36

1 Corinthians 15:36. ἄφρων (opposite of φρόνιμοι, 1 Corinthians 4:10, 1 Corinthians 10:15) taxes the propounder of these questions not with moral obliquity, but with mental stupidity (see parls.). Wanting the art(2481) (cf. Luke 12:20), the word is an assertion rather than an exclamation: “Insensé que tu es, toi qui te crois si sage!” (Gd(2482)). Some attach σὺ as subject to ἄφρων, but this weakens the adj(2483), and the pron(2484) is required to give due emphasis to σπείρεις following. With a little sense, the questioner might answer himself; every time he sows his garden-plot, he assumes the principle denied in regard to man’s material form, viz., that death is the transition to a further life—“that which thou thyself sowest, is not made alive except it die”.This answers πῶς ἐγείρονται; by ref(2485) to the analogy of nature. P. does not explain, any more than Jesus, the modus operandi of the Resurrection; what he shows is that the mystery raises no prejudice against the reality, for the same mystery is wrapped up in every vegetating seed.— ἐγείρονται in the question is substituted by ζωοποιεῖται in the answer (see note on 1 Corinthians 15:22; cf. other parls.), since it is life that rises out of the dying seed, and the Resurrection is an evolution, not a reinstatement. Our Lord uses the same figure with the like implication, but another application, in John 12:23 f.


Verse 37-38

1 Corinthians 15:37-38 make answer to the second branch of the question of 1 Corinthians 15:35, by the aid of the same profound analogy.— καὶ σπείρεις, οὐ τὸ σῶμα τὸ γενησόμενον σπείρεις, “And what thou sowest—not the body that will come to be dost thou sow”. It is the object of the sower to realise a new ποιότης in his seed. If any one interrupted him with the question, “What sort of a body can the grain take that you drop in the earth to rot?” the sower would dismiss him as a fool; he has seen in this case “the body that is to be”. Now the actuality of the lower resurrection vindicates the conceivability of the higher.— τὸ γενησόμενον states not merely a future certainty (that shall be; quod futurum sit, Vg(2486)), but a normal process (oriturum, Bz(2487): quod nascetur, Cv(2488), Bg(2489)).— ἀλλὰ γυμνὸν κόκκον, “but a naked grain”—unclothed with any body, wanting the appearance and furnishing of life (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:3, ἐνδυσάμενοι, οὐ γυμνοί).—For εἰ τύχοι (“if it should chance, of wheat”), see note on 1 Corinthians 14:10 : the kind of grain is indiff.—“or of any of the rest (of the seeds)”. The grain of wheat gives to the eye no more promise of the body to spring from it than a grain of sand.— δὲ θεὸς stands in opposition to σὺ σπείρεις—God the lifegiver responding to the sower’s trustful act(2490) “But God gives it a body, according as He willed” ( ἠθέλησεν)—not “as He wills” (according to His choice or liking), but in accordance with His past decree in creation, by which the propagation of life on the earth was determined from the beginning (Genesis 1:2 f.; for the vb(2491), cf. note on 1 Corinthians 12:18). To allege an impossibility in the case is to impugn the power and resources of the Creator (cf. Acts 26:8), manifested in this very way every spring-time. The Divine will is the efficient nexus between seed and plant (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:6).—“And (He gives) to each of the seeds a body of its own ( ἴδιον)”. This added clause meets the finer point of the second question of 1 Corinthians 15:35; God will find a fit body for man’s redeemed nature, as He does for each of the numberless seeds vivified in the soil. “How unintelligent to think, as the Pharisees did, that the same body that was buried must be restored, if there is to be a resurrection! Every wheat-stalk contradicts thee!” (Mr(2492))


Verse 39

1 Corinthians 15:39. The rest of the § goes to sustain 1 Corinthians 15:38 b, showing the inexhaustible variety of organic forms in the Divine economy of nature and the fitness of each for the life it clothes. This is manifest, to begin with, in the varied types of animal life: οὐ πᾶσα σὰρξ αὐτὴ σάρξ, “All flesh is not the same flesh”—in the zoological realm there is no uniformity, but endless differentiation. (Ed(2493) makes πᾶσα σὰρξ predicate—“the same flesh is not all flesh,” i.e., physical assimilation means differentiation—getting out of the sentence a physiological idea obscure in itself and not very relevant to the context). Instead of men, cattle, birds, fishes, with their heterogeneous natures, being lodged in the same kind of corporeity, their frame and organs vary with their inner constitution and needs. If God can find a body for beast and fish, in the lower range, no less than for man, why not, in the higher range, for man immortal no less than for man mortal?— κτῆνος (from κτάομαι), denoting cattle as beasts of purchase in the first instance, is applied to four-footed beasts at large: cf. Genesis 1:25 ff; Genesis 2:20.


Verse 40

1 Corinthians 15:40. The possibility of a future body unimaginably diff(2494) from the present is indicated in the contrast suggested by the diff(2495) regions of the two: “Bodies also heavenly there are, and bodies earthly”. The σὰρξ of 1 Corinthians 15:39 is now dropped, for it belongs only to the σῶμα ἐπίγειον. What does P. mean by his σώματα ἐπουράνια? The previous context and the tenor of the argument lead us to think of bodies for celestial inhabitants, sc, the angels (Luke 20:36, Matthew 28:2, etc.), as suitable to their condition as the σώματα ἐπίγεια are for the forms of terrestrial life just enumerated (so Mr(2496), D.W(2497), Al(2498), El(2499), Sm(2500)); moreover σῶμα is never used elsewhere in Bib. Gr(2501), and rarely in cl(2502) Gr(2503), of inorganic bodies. On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 15:41 in connexion with 1 Corinthians 15:40 b strongly suggests the sun, moon, etc., as the “heavenly bodies” in Paul’s mind (so Bg(2504), Hf(2505), Hn(2506), Ed(2507), Bt(2508), Gd(2509), and most moderns). The former considerations preponderate, esp. when we find P. in 1 Corinthians 15:47 ff. (see notes) resuming the same contrast in the antithesis between “the earthy man” and “the heavenly”. Paul is thinking of the risen Christ whom he had seen, more than of the angels, as supplying the type of the σῶμα ἐπουράνιον; cf. Philippians 3:20 f. Gm(2510), Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Everling (Die paul. Angelologie u.s.w., pp. 46 ff.) combine the above interpretations by attributing to P. the belief of Philo and the Jewish mystics that the stars are animated, and are to be identified with the O.T. “angels,” as by the heathen with their gods. This notion is wanting in Biblical support. P. asserts that there are “bodies” for heavenly beings, just as there are tor earthly (cf. 49); the adj(2511) ἐπουράνια supplies the ποιότης desiderated in 1 Corinthians 15:35. The heavenly and earthly bodies, alike as being “bodies,” are far diff(2512) in “glory”.— ἀλλὰ ἑτέρα κ. τ. λ. traverses the mistaken inference as to the identity of nature in the two kinds of organism, which might be hastily drawn from 1 Corinthians 15:39 b: “But the glory of the heavenlies is indeed one (glory), and the (glory) of the earthlies another”.— ἑτέρα (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 12:8 ff.) implies a diff(2513) wider, or at least more salient, than that connoted by the ἄλλη of 1 Corinthians 15:39; 1 Corinthians 15:41; where the two are distinguished in cl(2514) Gr(2515), ἄλλος marks a generic, ἕτερος a specific diff(2516) How utterly diff(2517) was the glory of the risen Lord, who appeared to P. (Acts 26:13), from that of any earthly Potentate!


Verse 41

1 Corinthians 15:41. Even amongst the σωματα ἐπουράνια there are varieties, just as amongst the ἐπίγεια (1 Corinthians 15:39), such as are indicated by the diff(2518) of aspect in the visible celestial objects: “There is one glory of sun, and another glory of moon, and another glory of stars—for star differs from star in glory”. While these luminous orbs are not to be identified with the “heavenly bodies” of 1 Corinthians 15:40 (see note), they serve to symbolise the diversity of glory amongst them; all are glorious, but in degrees.— ἄλλη, as in 1 Corinthians 15:39 (contrast 1 Corinthians 15:40), indicates diff(2519) within the same order. The frequent symbolic association of sun and stars with God, the angels, the righteous, and with the glorified Jesus, may account for the asyndetic transition from 1 Corinthians 15:40 b (signifying persons) to 1 Corinthians 15:41. From the distinctions manifest amid the common glory of the visible heavens we may conjecture corresponding distinctions in the heavenly Intelligences and in the bodies appropriate to them.

1 Corinthians 15:42-49. § 55. THE FIRST ADAM AND THE LAST. The Ap. has now removed à priori objections, and brought his theory of bodily resurrection within the lines of natural analogy and probability of reason. He has at the same time largely expounded it, intimating (1) that the present is, in some sense, the seed of the future body, and (2) that the two will differ as the heavenly must needs differ from the earthly. He goes on to show that this diff(2520) has its basis and pattern in the diff(2521) between the primitive Adam and the glorified Christ, who are contrasted in condition (1 Corinthians 15:42 b, 1 Corinthians 15:43), in nature (1 Corinthians 15:44 ff.), and in origin (1 Corinthians 15:47 ff.).


Verse 42-43

1 Corinthians 15:42 a sums up what has been advanced in 1 Corinthians 15:36-41, and presents it in six words: οὕτως καὶ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν, “So indeed is the resurrection of the dead”. It is as possible as that plants of wholly diff(2522) form should shoot from the seed sown by your own hand; and the form of each risen body will be determined by God, who finds a suitable organism for every type of earthly life, and can do so equally for every type and grade of heavenly life, in a region where, as sun, moon, and stars nightly show, the universal splendour is graduated and varied infinitely.

1 Corinthians 15:42-43. σπείρεται ἐν φθορᾷἐν ἀτιμίᾳἐν ἀσθενείᾳ: “The sowing is in corruption (perishableness) … in dishonour … in weakness”. It is better, with Cv(2523), Wr(2524) (p. 656), and Hn(2525), to regard σπείρεται and ἐγείρεται as impersonal, since no subject is supplied; the vbs., thrice repeated with emphasis, are contrasted in idea; the antithesis lies between two opp(2526) stages of being (cf., for the mode of expression, Luke 12:48). σπείρεται recalls, and applies in the most general way, the σπείρεις and σπέρματα of 1 Corinthians 15:36 ff. To interpret this vb(2527) as figuring the act of burial (“verbum amœnissimum pro sepultura,” Bg(2528); so Cm(2529), Gr(2530), Mr(2531), Bt(2532), El(2533), and many others) confuses the analogy (the “sowing” is expressly distinguished from the “dying” of the seed, 1 Corinthians 15:36), and jars with ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ (a sick man, not a corpse, is called weak), and with ψυχικὸν in 1 Corinthians 15:44; cf. also 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, where φθορά, τὸ φθαρτόν, τὸ θνητὸν τοῦτο are identified with the living ἡμεῖς. Our present life is the seed-time (Galatians 6:7 ff.), and our “mortal bodies” (Romans 8:10 f.) are in the germinal state, concluding with death (1 Corinthians 15:36), out of which a wholly diff(2534) organism will spring. The attributes φθορά (cf. δουλεία τ. φθορᾶς, Romans 8:21), ἀτιμία (cf. Philippians 3:21), ἀσθενεία (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:4)—summed up in the θνητὰ σώματα of Romans 8:11 and μορφὴ δούλου of Philippians 2:7—are those that P. is wont to ascribe to man’s actual physique, in contrast with the ἀφθαρσία, δόξα, δύναμις of the post-resurrection state: see 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:4, Romans 1:4; Romans 8:18-23. Thus, with variety in detail, Est. (“moritur corpus multis ante mortem miseriis et fœditatibus obnoxium, suscitabitur idem corpus omni ex parte gloriosum”), Cv(2535), Hf(2536), Hn(2537), Ed(2538) Gd(2539) refers the threefold σπείρεται to the three moments of burial, mortal life, and birth respectively; van Hengel identifies it with procreation, quite unsuitably.


Verse 44

1 Corinthians 15:44. “There is sown a psychic body; there is raised a spiritual body.” This dictum grounds the antithesis unfolded in 1 Corinthians 15:42 f. upon its proper basis; the diff(2540) is not a matter of condition merely, but of constitution. Corruption, dishonour, feebleness are, in great part, penal inflictions (Romans 5:12 ff.), signalising not a natural defect, but a positive subjection to the power of sin (1 Corinthians 15:53-56); man, however, is essentially ψυχὴ under the present order (1 Corinthians 15:45), and his body therefore is essentially ψυχικὸν as determined by that order (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:13, and note; Colossians 2:20 ff., Matthew 22:30, etc.), being fitted to and expressive of the “soul” wherein his earthly being centres; see the note on ψυχικός 1 Corinthians 2:14. Though inadequate, “natural” is the best available rendering of this adj(2541); it indicates the moulding of man’s body by its environment and its adaptation to existing functions; the same body is χοϊκὸν in respect of its material (1 Corinthians 15:47).— ψυχικὸν is only relatively a term of disparagement; the “psychic body” has in it the making of the “spiritual”; “its adaptation for the present service of the soul is the sowing of it, that is the initial step in its adaptation for the future uses of the spirit. An organism fitted to be the seat of mind, to express emotion, to carry out the behests of will, is in process of being adapted for a still nobler ministry” (Ed(2542)): “he that sows to the Spirit (in the natural body), will reap of the Spirit (in the spiritual body),” Galatians 6:8.—“If there is a psychic body, there is also a spiritual”: a frame suited to man’s earthly life argues a frame suited to his heavenly life, according to the principle of 1 Corinthians 15:38 b (cf. the argument from lower to higher in Matthew 6:30); and the σῶμα πν. lies, in some way, germinally hidden in the σῶμα ψ., to be unfolded from it under “the universal law of progress” (Ed(2543)).— ἔστιν (existit) bears emphasis in each clause; from the fact of sense P. argues to the fact of faith. Observe txtl. notes 1–3.


Verse 45

1 Corinthians 15:45 puts into words of Scripture the law of development affirmed, thereby showing its agreement with the plan of creation and its realisation in the two successive heads of the race. Into his citation of Genesis 2:7 (LXX) P. introduces πρῶτος and duplicates ἄνθρωπος by ἀδάμ (ha’adâm), to prepare for his antithetical addition ἔσχατος ἀδὰμ εἰς πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν. On the principle of 1 Corinthians 15:44 b, the Adam created as ψυχὴ was the crude beginning of humanity (the pred. ψυχὴ ζῶσα is shared by A. with the animals, Genesis 1:20; Genesis 1:24)—a “first” requiring a “last” as his complement and explanation. The two types differ here not as the sin-committing and sin-abolishing (Romans 5:12 ff.), but as the rudimentary and finished man respectively, with their physique to match.— αδὰμ is repeated in the second clause by way of maintaining the humanity of Christ and His genetic relation to the protoplast (cf. Luke 1:23-38), essential as the ground of our bodily relationship to Him (1 Corinthians 15:48 f.; cf. Hebrews 2:14 ff.).—The time of Christ’s γενέσθαι εἰς πν. ζωοπ., in view of the context and esp. of 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff., can only be His resurrection from the grave (Est., Gr(2544), Mr(2545), Hn(2546), Hf(2547), El(2548)), which supplies the hinge of Paul’s whole argument (cf. Romans 1:4; Romans 6:4 ff; Romans 10:9, etc.); not the incarnation (Thp(2549), Bz(2550), Baur, Ed(2551)), for His pre-resurrection body was a σῶμα ψυχικόν (Romans 8:3, etc.; 2 Corinthians 13:4, Philippians 2:7, etc.). By rising from the dead, Christ ἐγενήθη εἰς πνεῦμα—He entered on the spiritual and ultimate form of human existence; and at the same time, ἐγενήθη εἰς πν. ζωοποιοῦν—He entered this state so as to communicate it to His fellows: cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Colossians 1:18, Revelation 1:5; also Romans 8:10 f., 2 Corinthians 4:14; John 6:33; John 11:25; John 14:19, etc. The action of Jesus in “breathing” upon His disciples while He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22 f.), symbolised the vitalising relationship which at this epoch He assumed towards mankind; this act raised to a higher potency the original “breathing” of God by which man “became a living soul”. “Spirit is life-power, having the ground of its vitality in itself, while the soul has only a subject and conditioned life; spirit vitalises that which is outside of itself, soul leads its individual life within the sphere marked out by its environment” (Hf(2552)); cf. John 3:34; John 4:14; John 5:25 f.; Hebrews 7:25.— ἔσχατος ἄνθρωπος recalls the Rabbinical title, ha’adâm ha’acharôn, given to the Messiah (Neve Shalom, ix. 9): Christ is not, however, the later or second, but the last, the final Adam. The two Adams of Philo, based on the duplicate narrative of Genesis 1, 2—the ideal “man after the image of God” and the actual “man of the dust of the earth”—with which Pfleiderer and others identify Paul’s πρῶτος and ἔσχατος, χοϊκὸς and ἐπουράνιος ἀδάμ, are not to be found here. For (a) Philo’s first is Paul’s last; (b) both Paul’s Adams are equally concrete; (c) the resurrection of Christ distinguishes their respective periods, a crisis the conception of which is foreign to Philo’s theology; (d) moreover, Genesis 1:26 is referred in 1 Corinthians 11:7 above to the historical, not the ideal, First Man.


Verse 46

1 Corinthians 15:46 might have been expressly aimed at the Philonian exegesis; it affirms a development from lower to higher, from the dispensation of ψυχὴ to that of πνεῦμα, the precise opp(2553) of that extracted from Genesis 1, 2 by Philo. ( ἀλλʼ οὐ) “Nay, but not first is the spiritual, but the psychic—after that ( ἔπειτα: cf. 23) the spiritual”. P. states a general law ( σῶμα is not to be understood with the adjs.): the ψυχικὸν as such demands the πνευματικὸν to follow it (1 Corinthians 15:44); they succeed in this order, not the reverse. “The Ap. does not share the notion, long regarded as orthodox, that humanity was created in a state of moral and physical perfection.… Independently of the Fall, there must have been progress from an inferior state, the psychic, which he posits as man’s point of departure, to a superior state, the spiritual, foreseen and determined as man’s goal from the first” (Gd(2554) ad loc(2555): see the whole passage).


Verses 47-49

1 Corinthians 15:47-49 draw another contrast between the two “men,” types of the two eras of humanity, which is suggested by the words χοῦν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς (‘aphâr minha’adamâh) of Genesis 2:7. The first is ἐκ γῆς, χοϊκός (terrenus, Vg(2556); more literally, pulvereus, Bz(2557)); the second is ἐξ οὐρανοῦ (om. κύριος). The former epithets, and by antithesis the latter, point to bodily origin and substance (cf. 40, also 2 Corinthians 4:7, ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν), but connote the whole quality of the life thus determined.—The expression ἐξ οὐρανοῦ (e cœlo, Bz(2558); not de cœlo, Vg(2559)) has led to the identifying of the δεύτερος ἄνθρ. with the incarnate Christ (see Ed(2560)), to the confusion of Paul’s argument (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 15:45). This phrase is suggested by the antithetical ἐκ γῆς: the form of existence in which the risen Jesus appeared was super-terrestrial and pneumatic (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:2); it possessed a life and attributes imparted “from heaven”—by an immediate and sovereign act of God (Romans 1:4; Romans 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Ephesians 1:19 f., Peter 1 Corinthians 1:21, etc.). This transformation of the body of Jesus was foreshadowed by His Transfiguration, and consummated in His Ascension; P. realised it with the most powerful effect in the revelation to himself of the risen Christ “from heaven”. The glorious change attested, indeed, the origin of Christ’s personality, but it should not be confused with that origin (Romans 1:4; cf. Matthew 17:5). From His resurrection onwards, Christ became to human faith the ἄνθρωπος ἐπουράνιος (Romans 6:9 f., Revelation 1:17 ff.), who was taken previously for a θνητὸς and χοϊκὸς like other men.—Baur, Pfleiderer, Beyschlag (N.T. Theology), Sm(2561), and others, see in the ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ the pre-existent Christ, whom they identify with Philo’s ideal or “heavenly man” of Genesis 1:26 (see note on 1 Corinthians 15:45 above); on this interpretation an entire Christology is based—the theory that Christ in his pre-in-carnate state was simply the Urmensch, the prototype of humanity, existing thus, either in fact or in the Divine idea, with God from eternity, and being in this sense the Eternal Son. Doubtless the “second man” is ideally first and reveals the true end and type of humanity, and this conception is, so far, a just inference from Paul’s teaching. But what P. actually sets forth is the historical relation of the two Adams in the development of mankind, Christ succeeding and displacing our first father (1 Corinthians 15:46, see note; 49), whereas the Baurian Urmensch is antecedent to the earthly Adam.

The above χοϊκὸς and ἐπουράνιος have severally their copies in χοϊκοὶ and ἐπουράνιοι (1 Corinthians 15:48). Is this a purely physical distinction, between pre- and post-resurrection states of the same men (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:44)? or is there a moral connotation implied, as Hf(2562) and Ed(2563) suggest? The latter seems likely, esp. on comparison of Philippians 3:18 ff., Colossians 3:1-4, Romans 6:4, and in transition to the exhortation of 1 Corinthians 15:49. Those who are to be “heavenly” in body hereafter already “sit in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6), while those are “earthy” in every sense “whose flesh hath soul to suit,” οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες.—Admitting the larger scope of 1 Corinthians 15:48, we accept the strongly attested hortatory φορέσωμεν of 1 Corinthians 15:49 : “Let us wear also the image of the Heavenly One”. The εἰκὼν embraces the entire “man”—not the body alone, the σχῆμα and σκεῦος ἀνθρώπου (Philippians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:4)—in Adam and Christ respectively (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15; Colossians 3:10); and we are exhorted to “put on Christ” (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27), realising that to wear His moral likeness here carries with it the wearing of His bodily likeness hereafter: see 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Romans 8:11; 1 John 3:2 f.


Verse 50

1 Corinthians 15:50. τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί (see note, 1 Corinthians 7:29) introduces, with a pause, an emphatic reassertion of the ruling thought of the previous §—that of the opposition between the psychic body of the First Adam and the spiritual body of the Second; manifestly the former is unfit for God’s heavenly kingdom—with the latter, it is assumed (48b; cf. Luke 20:34 ff., 1 John 3:2 f.), we must be clothed to enter that diviner realm: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom; nor indeed doth corruption (perishableness) inherit incorruption (imperishableness)”. The second assertion explicates the first: σὰρξ κ. αἶμα = φθορά (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:42, and note), since decay is inherent in our bodily nature; ἔξω ἄνθρωπος διαφθείρεται (2 Corinthians 4:16; cf. Romans 8:10 f.). “Flesh” is the matter and “blood” the essence and life-vehicle of man’s present corporeity. Nature forbids eternal life in this earthly dress (cf. note on 46). “Inherit” points to the kingdom as the right of the sons of God (Romans 8:17, etc.; cf. Matthew 25:34), but a heritage unrealised during the “bondage of corruption” (see Romans 8:21 ff.). Another, but removeable, disability of “flesh and blood” appears in Matthew 16:17.


Verses 50-58

1 Corinthians 15:50-58. § 56. VICTORY OVER DEATH. The second part of the argument of this chapter has now reached the same platform as the first (cf. §§ 51 and 54). The Resurrection of the Body, it has been shown, is an essential part of the Divine world-plan and necessary to the fulfilment of God’s kingdom through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-27); and the transformation of the earthly into the heavenly, of the psychic into the pneumatic form of being, is involved in the present constitution of things and accords with the lines of development traceable in nature and revelation (1 Corinthians 15:36-49). In a word, P. holds the Christian resurrection to be grounded in the person and mission of Christ, as He is on the one hand the Son of God and mediatorial Head of His kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), and on the other hand the Second Adam and Firstborn of a spiritual humanity (1 Corinthians 15:22 f., 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). He finds the key to this great controversy, as to so many others, in the supremacy of Christ, the “one Lord, through whom are all things and we through Him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). It remains for him only to state the practical conclusion of this reasoning (1 Corinthians 15:50), to describe our anticipated transformation and victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:51-57), and to urge his readers in this confidence to accomplish worthily their life’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58).


Verse 51-52

1 Corinthians 15:51-52. This bodily change, indispensable in view of the incompatibility just affirmed, is the object of a momentous revelation communicated to P., to which he calls our earnest attention: “Lo, I tell you a mystery!” On μυστήριον, see note to 1 Corinthians 2:1. P. began by demonstrating the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11); he then reasoned upon it, in its bearings on religion and nature (1 Corinthians 15:12-49); now he adds a new specific revelation to crown his teaching. In doing so, P. challenges his opponents in the right of his inspiration and authority, hitherto in the background in this chap. 1 Corinthians 15:15 only vindicated his honesty.

In 1 Corinthians 15:51 b ἀλλαγησόμεθα (required by 50 and repeated in 52) bears the stress; to it the first πάντες (reiterated with emphasis) looks forward; οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα is parenthetical: “We shall all—not sleep, but—we shall all be changed”. ἀλλάσσω is interpreted by ἐνδύομαι of 1 Corinthians 15:53 and μετασχηματίζω of Philippians 3:21. As much as to say: “Our perishable flesh and blood, whether through death or not, must undergo a change”. That such a change is impending for the dead in Christ is evident from the foregoing argument (see esp. 22 f., 36, 42 f.); P. adds to this the declaration that the change will be universal, that it will extend to those living when the Last Trumpet sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52), amongst whom he then hoped that many of the present generation would be found: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7; also 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ff., where the like is affirmed ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου. This hope dictates the interjected οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, which disturbs the grammar of the sentence and necessitates the contrastive δὲ attached to the repeated πάντες (see txtl. note; Wr(2564), p. 695; also El(2565) ad loc(2566)). There is no need to suppose a trajection of οὐ (as if for οὐ πάντες, or οὐ μὲν πάντες κοιμηθησ.), nor any diff(2567) between the sense of ἀλλαγησ. in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 : the certainty of change in all who shall “inherit incorruption” is declared (1 Corinthians 15:51), and the assurance is given that while this change takes place in “the dead” who are “raised incorruptible,” at the same time “we” (the assumed living) shall undergo a corresponding change (52; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:2 ff.). Thus in “all” believers, whether sleeping or waking when Christ’s trumpet sounds, the necessary development will be effected (1 Corinthians 15:53 f.).—The critical moment is defined by three vivid phrases: ἐν ἀτόμῳ (cl(2568) Gr(2569), ἐν ἀκαρεῖ), ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ (in ictu oculi, Vg(2570); in a twinkling), ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ σάλπιγγι—the first two describing the instantaneousness, and the last (with allusion perhaps to the saying of Matthew 24:31 : cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16) the solemn finality of the transformation. The former idea is emphasized, possibly, to preclude the fear of a slow painful process. The σάλπιγξ was the wartrumpet, used for signals and commands (cf. ἐν κελεύσματι, 1 Thessalonians 4:16); and σαλπίσει (sc. σαλπιγκτής) is indef. in subject, according to military idiom (cf. Xen., Anab., I., ii., 17). 1 Thess. iv. identifies the “trumpet” with the “archangel’s voice”: any such description is of course figurative.


Verse 52-53

1 Corinthians 15:52-53. The necessity for change, negatively declared in 1 Corinthians 15:50, is now reaffirmed positively, as a necessity lying in the nature and relations of the changed: “For this corruptible (perishable) is bound ( δεῖ: cf. 1 Corinthians 11:19) to put on incorruption (imperishableness), and this mortal to put on immortality”. The double τοῦτο speaks, as in 2 Corinthians 5:2, Romans 7:24, out of P.’s painful self-consciousness: cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10, Galatians 6:17.— τὸ θνητὸν and τὸ φθαρτόν (concrete, of felt necessity: φθορά, 50, abstract, of general principle) relate, as in 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff., to the present, living body of the ἡμεῖς, not to the dead body deposited in the grave. The aforesaid “change” is now represented as an investiture ( ἐνδύσασθαι) with incorruption and immortality; the two ideas are adjusted in 2 Corinthians 5:4, where it is conceived that the living Christian will “put on” the new, spiritual body “over” ( ἐπ- ενδύσασθαι) his earthly frame, which will then be “absorbed” ( καταποθῇ) by it.


Verse 54

1 Corinthians 15:54. This clothing of the saints with immortality fulfils a notable O.T. word respecting the Day of the Lord: “Then will be brought to pass the word that is written, Death has been swallowed up ( κατεπόθη, the vb(2571) adopted in 2 Corinthians 5:4 as above) unto victory!” ὅταν, with its double clause, recalls the double ὅταν of 1 Corinthians 15:24 and of 1 Corinthians 15:27 f. (see notes), which are parl(2572) to each other and to this, alike marking the great “when,” the epoch of the consummation. The destruction of the “last enemy” secures absolute “victory” for Christ and His own. Paul corrects the LXX txt. of Isaiah 25:8, which makes Death the victor,— κατέπιεν θάνατος ἰσχύσας; he appears to have read the Heb. passively bulla‘, for Massoretic billa‘: Theodotion’s translation is identical with Paul’s. lanetsach (for ever) is often rendered εἰς νῖκος (later Gr(2573) form of νίκη) by the LXX, according to the Aramaic sense of the noun; its Heb. sense implies a final and unqualified overthrow of the King of Terrors, and therefore admits of P.’s application. “This is the farthest reaching of all O.T. prophecies; it bears allusion to Genesis 3” (Dillmann; see also Delitzsch, on the Isaianic txt.), and reverses the doom there pronounced.


Verses 55-57

1 Corinthians 15:55-57. At this climax P. breaks into a song of triumph over Death, in the strain of Hosea’s rapturous anticipation of Israel’s resurrection from national death. [Many interpreters, however, put the opp(2574) sense on Hosea 13:14, as though God were summoning Death and the Grave to ply all their forces for Israel’s annihilation, and this accords with the prophet’s context; but violent alterations of mood are characteristic of Hosea: see Nowack ad loc(2575) in Handkom. z. A.T., also Orelli’s Minor Prophets, or Cheyne in C.B.S.] The passage has the Hebraistic lilt of Paul’s more exalted passages; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4 ff., and parls. there noted.

“Where, O Death, is thy victory?

Where, O Death, is thy sting?

Now the sting of Death is Sin, and the strength of Sin is the Law;

But to God be thanks, who gives to as the victory

Through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

P. freely adapts the words of Hosea, repeating θάνατε in the second line, where Hosea writes she’ô! (LXX ᾅδη), since death is the enemy he pursues throughout (Ed(2576) notes that ᾅδης never occurs in Paul’s Epp.); and he substitutes syn(2577) terms for each of the other nouns to suit his own vein, νῖκος being taken up from 1 Corinthians 15:54, and κέντρον preparing for the thought of 1 Corinthians 15:56.— f1τὸ δὲ κέντρον κ. τ. λ. throws into an epigram the doctrine of Romans 4:8. and Galatians 3 respecting the inter-relations of Sin, Law, and Death: “Mors aculeum quo pungat non habet nisi peccatum; et huic aculeo Lex vim mortiferam addit” (Cv(2578)). Sin gives to death, as we mortals know it, its poignancy, its penal character and humiliating form, with the entire “bondage of corruption” that attaches to it: see esp. Romans 5:12; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:10; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:24; Romans 8:10; Romans 8:20 ff., Hebrews 2:14 f. Apart from sin, our present bodily existence must have terminated in the course of nature (1 Corinthians 15:44-46); but the change would have been effected in a far diff(2579) way, without the horror and anguish of dissolution—as indeed it will be for the redeemed who have the happiness to be alive at the Second Advent (see 51 f., and parls.). For those who “fall asleep in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:14), death, while it is still death and naturally feared ( οὐ θέλομεν ἐκδύσασθαι, 2 Corinthians 5:4), is robbed of its “sting” (cf. 1 John 4:18, also John 5:24; John 8:51 f., 1 Corinthians 11:25 f., 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 20:6), viz., the sense of guilt and dread of judgment—“tametsi adhuc nos pungit, non tamen letaliter, quia retusum est ejus acumen, ne in animæ vitalia penetret” (Cv(2580)).— κέντρον is sting (as in Revelation 9:10), not goad (as in Acts 26:14); Death is personified as a venomous creature, inflicting poisoned and fatal wounds. Here Death reigns through Sin, as in Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21 pictures Sin reigning in Death: the effect through the cause, the cause in the effect.—While Death gets from Sin its sting, Sin in turn receives from the Law its power. δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας νόμος condenses into six words Paul’s teaching on the relation of Sin to Law (see Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 6:14; Romans 6:7; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3; Galatians 4:21 to Galatians 5:4)—the view, based on his experience as a Pharisee, that the law of God, imposing on sinful man impossible yet necessary tasks, promising salvation upon terms he can never fulfil and threatening death upon non-fulfilment, in effect exasperates his sin and involves him in hopeless guilt; ἁμαρτίαδιὰ τ. ἐντολῆςμε ἀπέκτεινεν (Romans 7:11).—The exclamation of relief, “Thanks be to God, etc.,” is precisely parl(2581) to Romans 7:25 a, 1 Corinthians 8:1 f.—The believer’s “victory” lies in deliverance through Christ’s propitiatory death (Romans 3:23 f.; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17 f., 30, 1 Corinthians 6:11 above) from the condemnation of the Law, and thereby from “the power of Sin,” and thereby from the bitterness of Death. Law, Sin, and Death were bound into a firm chain, only dissoluble by “the word of the cross—God’s power to the saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18; cf. Romans 1:16 f., 1 Corinthians 8:1 ff.). Thus the Ap. finally links his doctrine of the Bodily Resurrection and Transformation of Christians to his fundamental teaching as to Justification and the Forgiveness of Sins; ch. 15. is a part of the λόγος τ. σταυροῦ which alone P. proclaims at Cor(2582) (1 Corinthians 2:1 f.).—God “gives to us the victory,” won for us by “our Lord Jesus Christ,” which otherwise Sin, strengthened (instead of being broken) by the Law, had given to Death. The pr(2583) ptp(2584) τῷ διδόντι τὸ νῖκος asserts the experience of redemption (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Corinthians 13:5, Romans 5:1 f., Ephesians 1:7); similarly ὑπερνικῶμεν, Romans 8:37, declares the continuous triumph of faith: for the sentiment, cf. Romans 5:2-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 ff., Philippians 4:4, 1 Peter 1:3-9.


Verse 56

1 Corinthians 15:56 is set aside by Sm(2585), and Clemen (Die Einheitlichkeit d. paul. Br., ad loc(2586)), after Straatmann and Völter, as a “marginal note” of some early Paulinist, on the ground that it is out of keeping with the lyrical strain of the passage, and with the absence of the anti-legal polemic from this Ep. But the ideas of this ver. fill the contemporary Rom. and Gal. Epp., and are uppermost there in Paul’s highest moods (see Romans 8:31 ff., 2 Corinthians 5:13-21); they are expressed with an originality and pregnant force unmistakably Pauline, and in a rhythmical, imaginative turn of expression harmonising with the context. In this Ep., which “knows nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” the Ap. was bound to link his theology of the Resurrection to the doctrine of salvation by the Cross: see 1 Corinthians 15:17 f., in proof that the λόγος τῆς ἀναστάσεως is one, in Paul’s mind, with the λόγος τοῦ σταυροῦ.


Verse 58

1 Corinthians 15:58 briefly directs the previous teaching against the unsettlement caused by Cor(2587) doubts. This unbelief was taxed in 1 Corinthians 15:32 ff. with sensualism and ignorance of God; its enervating effect on Christian work is here indicated. For ὥστε with impv(2588), cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 4:5, etc.— ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε, “show yourselves steadfast”: see note on 1 Corinthians 7:23, also 1 Corinthians 10:32, 1 Corinthians 11:1; for the adj(2589), see parls. In Colossians 1:23 the combination ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακίνητοι (“not-to-be-moved”) is almost identically repeated; similarly in Aristotle, Nic. Eth., ii., iv., 3, τὸ βεβαίως καὶ ἀμετακινήτως ἔχειν is specified as a condition of all right and virtuous doing.— περισσεύοντες κ. τ. λ. adds the positive to the foregoing negative side of the injunction: “abounding (overflowing: see parls.) in the work of the Lord always”. τ. ἔργον τ. κυρίου (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1; Colossians 3:23 f., Matthew 21:28, Mark 13:34) is “the work” which “the Lord” prescribes, while “the work of God” (Romans 14:20 : cf. Romans 3:9 above) is “the work” which “God” does: contrast 1 Corinthians 12:5-6 above.—“Knowing (as you do) that your toil is not empty in the Lord.” εἰδότες implies assured knowledge, such as springs from the confirmation of faith given in this chap. On κόπος, see note to 1 Corinthians 3:8; and on κενός, 1 Corinthians 15:14 : the “toil” is “empty” which is spent on illusion; “ce n’est pas là une activité d’apparat, accomplie dans le néant, comme si souvent le travail terrestre, mais un sérieux labeur, accompli dans la sphère de l’éternelle réalité” (Gd(2590)); hence the pr(2591) ἐστὶν rather than ἔσται.— ἐν κυρίῳ: in the sphere of Christ’s authority, wrought under His headship, which supplies the basis of all Christian relations and duties; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:36, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 7:22, etc.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-15.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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