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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Corinthians 15

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 15

1 Corinthians 15:10. σὺν ἐμοί] Lachm. has merely σὺν ἐμοί, following B D* F G א* Vulg. It. Or. Ambrosiast. Aug. Rightly; the article was inserted, doubtless, in some cases in a mere mechanical way after εἰς ἐμέ, but in others purposely, in order to have a thoroughly complete contrast to οὐκ ἐγώ, at the suggestion of dogmatic interest, which also produced the weakly attested reading ἐν ἐμοί. The is wanting also before εἰς ἐμέ in D* F G, Vulg. It. and Latin Fathers. But here there was nothing in the context to occasion the insertion, and the article could be dispensed with, and was thus overlooked.—1 Corinthians 15:14. κενὴ καί] Elz., Scholz, Tisch. read κενὴ δὲ καί, against greatly preponderating testimony.—1 Corinthians 15:19. ἐν χριστῷ] stands before ἠλπικότες in A B D* E F G א, min. Vulg. It. Goth. and several Fathers. So Lachm. Rück. Tisch. and rightly, for this position is not easier than that of the Recepta, and hence the great preponderance of the evidence is all the more decisive.—1 Corinthians 15:20. After κεκοιμ. Elz. has ἐγένετο, against decisive evidence; a supplementary addition.—1 Corinthians 15:21. θάνατος] The article is wanting in A B D* K א, Or. Dial. c. Marc. Cyr. Dam. al. Rightly deleted by Lachm. and Rück. From Romans 5:12.—1 Corinthians 15:24. Instead of the Recepta παραδῷ, which Reiche defends, B F G have παραδιδοῖ, and A D E א, min. Fathers παραδιδῷ; the former preferred by Lachm. and Tisch., the latter by Rück. παραδιδῷ, or the παραδιδοῖ, which is likewise to be taken as a subjunctive form (there is no means of deciding between the two), is correct (see the exegetical remarks); ὄταν καταργήσῃ, however, made the aorist come very naturally to the transcribers, who did not apprehend the different relations of the two clauses.—1 Corinthians 15:25.

ἄν before θῇ (in Elz. and Scholz) is omitted in preponderant authorities, and has come in from the LXX. Psalms 110:1.—1 Corinthians 15:29. αὐτῶν] Elz. reads τῶν νεκρῶν, against decisive evidence; a correct gloss;—1 Corinthians 15:31. ὑμετέραν] A, min. Or. have ἡμετέραν. So Rück. But the former not being understood, the latter appeared to be required by ἣν ἔχω.

After καύχησιν Lachm. and Tisch. have ἀδελφοί, on the testimony of A B K א, min. vss. and Latin Fathers. Rightly; it is in keeping with the impassioned address, but was easily overlooked by the transcribers, since no new section of the address begins here (comp. on 1 Corinthians 11:2).—1 Corinthians 15:36. ἄφρον] Lachm. Rück. Tisch. read ἄφρων, following A B D E G א, min. The former is a correction.—1 Corinthians 15:39. Before ἀνθρώπων Elz. has σάρξ again, which is deleted by Griesb. and the later editors, in accordance with decisive evidenc.

ἰχθύων, ἄλλη δὲ πτηνῶν] A preponderance of authority—and this alone can decide here—has it in the inverse order πτηνῶνἰχθύων. So Rück., also Lachm. and Tisch., who, however, read σάρξ again before πτην., which has, it is true, important attestation, but is a mechanical addition. Paul repeated σάρξ in connection with the first kind of animals only, and so arranged his enumeration.—1 Corinthians 15:44. ἔστι σῶμα κ. τ. λ.] εἰ ἔστιν σῶμα ψ., ἔστιν καὶ πνευματ. occurs in A B C D* F G א, min., and several vss. And Fathers. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. And how easily the form of the preceding clauses might occasion the passing over of the εἰ, which, besides, was so exposed to omission from the way in which the following word begins ( ει εστιν).—1 Corinthians 15:47. After δεύτερος ἄνθρ. Elz. and Scholz have κύριος, in opposition to B C D* E F G א* 17, 67** and several vss. and Fathers. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. Rück. Tisch. A gloss. See Reiche, Comm. crit. I. p. 294 ff.—1 Corinthians 15:49. φορέσομεν] Lachm. reads φορέσωμεν, following A C D E F G K L א, and many min. Copt. Slav. Vulg. It. Goth. Theodot. Or. (ed. de la Rue) Method. Bas. Chrys. Cyr. Macar. Epiph. Damasc. Ir. Tert. Cypr. Hilar. Zeno, Ambrosiast. Jer. Pel. al. A great preponderance of testimony! Nevertheless, the very ancient Recepta still retains the important attestation of B and many min. Syr. utr. Arr. Aeth. Arm. Or. ed. Theodoret; Oec. and Theophyl. give and explain both readings. The Recepta is to be retained, because it is necessary in the connection (see the exegetical remarks); the subjunctive is unsuitable, but was easily brought into the text from the fact that σὰρξ κ. αἷμα in 1 Corinthians 15:50 was taken in the ethical sense (see especially Chrys.); as in the physical sense, indeed, it would have stood in opposition to the doctrine of the “resurrectio carnis.” φορέσομεν was first of all interpreted as hortative (which interpretation Theodoret felt it necessary expressly to reject), and then the hortative form of the verb was inserted in the text.—1 Corinthians 15:50. κληρονομεῖ] Lachm. reads κληρονομήσει, following C* D* F G, Vulg. It. and Latin Fathers. Occasioned by the similarity of sound of the preceding κληρονομῆσαι.—1 Corinthians 15:51.(21) πάντες ΄ὲν ἀλλαγ.] Lachm. reads πάντες [ ΄ὲν] κοι΄ηθ., οὐ πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγ. Altogether there are many variations, but all of them arose from the offence which was taken, in connection with the reading of the text, at the idea of Paul and his readers having all of them undergone death. The Recepta occurs in B (which merely omits μέν) D** E K L and almost all min. codd. in Jer. al. Goth. Syr. utr. Copt. Aeth. Arr. and many Fathers, an attestation which, considering how the readings otherwise vary, is a very strong one, although among the uncials C G א support Lachm.—1 Corinthians 15:54. Both the omission of the first part of the protasis (in א* also) and the transposition of the two clauses are insufficiently attested, and are to be explained from the homoeoteleuta.—1 Corinthians 15:55. νῖκος is put first and κέντρον last by B C J א, 17, 64, 71, Copt. Aeth. Arm. Slav. ms. Vulg. and several Fathers. So Lachm. Rück. But they are evidently transposed, after the LXX. in Hosea 13:14.

Instead of ᾅδη, B C D E F G J א* 39, 67** and several vss. and Fathers have θάνατε again. So Lachm. Rück. Tisch.; and rightly, for ᾅδη has come in from the LXX.

CONTENTS.(22)

Disquisition on the resurrection of the dead, occasioned by the deniers of it in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:12). That these deniers had been formerly Sadducees, and had brought forward again their Sadducean views in connection with Christianity (so recently Flatt, following Heumann, Michaelis, Storr, Knapp; and comp. earlier, Calvin, and Lightfoot, Chron. p. 110) is not to be assumed, partly because, in general, Sadduceism and Christianity are too much antagonistic in their nature to mingle with each other, and also because in that case Paul could not have based his refutation upon the resurrection of Christ (Acts 4:2). Nor is it more probable that the opponents had been Epicureans, for it is plain from 1 Corinthians 15:32-34 that the Epicurean turn which they had taken was not the ground, but the consequence of their denial of the resurrection; as, indeed, Epicureanism in general is such an antichristian element that, supposing it had been the source of the denial, Paul would certainly have entered upon a discussion of its principles, in so far as they were opposed to faith in the resurrection. It is certain at the same time that the deniers were not Jewish Christians; for with them the belief in the Messiah stood in the most necessary connection with the belief in the resurrection; comp. Acts 23:6. On the contrary, it must have been Gentile Christians (Baur, de Wette, van Hengel, Ewald, and many others) to whom the resurrection seemed impossible, and who therefore (1 Corinthians 15:35-36) denied it. And it is probable, at all events, that they were persons of philosophical training (Beza, Grotius, Estius, and others, including Ziegler, theol. Abh. II. p. 35 f., Neander, Olshausen, Osiander; Rückert is undecided), because they must in asserting their thesis, ὅτι ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔστιν, have caused some sensation, which, in such a place as Corinth, is hardly conceivable on the part of men strangers to any degree of philosophical education and practice in dialectics; and because the anti-materialistic explanation of the matter, which Paul gives to combat the doubts of his opponents (1 Corinthians 15:35 ff.), makes it probable that the antagonism on the part of the sceptics was a spiritualistic one, i.e. an antagonism resting on the philosophic ground that the restoration of the matter of the body was impossible. That the apostle does not contend at the same time against the world’s wisdom in general (a doubt expressed by de Wette) is the less strange, as he has to do now with a special subject, and has also already delivered a general polemic of this nature, chap. 1 Corinthians 2:3. The small number, however, of men philosophically trained (1 Corinthians 1:26) permits of no further inference than that the sceptics in question also were not numerous ( τινές, 1 Corinthians 15:12). In Athens, too (Acts 17:32), the resurrection of the dead was the stone of stumbling for philosophic culture; and how often has it been so since, and even to the present day!

But to which of the four parties in Corinth did these deniers belong? That they were not of the Petrine or Judaistic party is self-evident. Neither were they of the Christ-party (as Neander, Olshausen, Jäger, and Goldhorn hold them to have been), for Christ has so often and so distinctly taught the doctrine of resurrection of the body, that the denial of it would have been at the most palpable variance with the ἐγὼ χριστοῦ εἶμι. Nor yet were they of the party of Paul, seeing that the doctrine of the resurrection was a most essential article of the Pauline Gospel. There remains, therefore, only the party of Apollos (so also Räbiger and Maier), some of whom having been converted, doubtless, only after the apostle had ceased to labour in Corinth, or having come thither subsequently from other quarters, may have found what he had taught in Corinth regarding the resurrection of the dead not compatible with their philosophical standpoint, and hence—being the more incited to it, perhaps, through party variance—altogether denied that there was a resurrection of the dead.(23) Only we must not take this to mean that the adherents of Apollos as such—their party as such—had denied the resurrection, and that accordingly this denial formed part of their party principles,(24) but only that the “some” (1 Corinthians 15:12) were preponderantly from the number of those who had attached themselves to Apollos and to the party named after him. Of the idea that the denial was a party matter, there is not only no trace whatever in the treatment of the subject, but it would also conflict with what is a necessary presupposition, namely, that the Christianity of the Apollos-party as such cannot have stood in such an essential and real contradiction in point of doctrine to that of Paul. We may add that the denial in question is not to be regarded as a theory, such as we find in 2 Timothy 2:17 f., in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus, who understood the doctrine allegorically, and maintained that the resurrection had already taken place. So, following Chrysostom, Grotius, Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 362, Billroth, and Olshausen. The whole elaborate treatment of the subject does not show the slightest trace of this (see, on the contrary, especially 1 Corinthians 15:12), although the main aim in that case would have been to prove that the resurrection was not a thing past, but something future.


Verse 1-2

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. δέ] forming the transition to a new subject. There is no trace, however, of a question on the part of the Corinthians, to which Paul is giving the answer.

γνωρίζω] not, as is commonly held, equivalent to ὑπομιμνήσκω (Oecumenius), nor yet, as (Rückert weakens the force of the word: I call your attention to; but: I make known to you (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:9; Colossians 4:7, al.). It is, no doubt, in substance a reminding them of something already known, but the expression is more emphatic, more arousing, putting to shame a part of the readers, and accordant with the fundamental importance of what is now to be discusse.

τὸ εὐαγγ.] is not simply the tidings of the death and resurrection of Jesus (Heydenreich, Rückert, and others), but the Christian tidings of salvation generally, because there is here no limiting definition, and as is further in particular clear from ἐν πρώτοις in 1 Corinthians 15:3.

καὶ παρελ. κ. τ. λ.] which you have also received. The thrice used καί denotes with ever increasing emphasis the element to be added(25) to the preceding one.

Regarding παρελ., comp. John 1:11; Philippians 4:9; and regarding ἑστήκ., you stand, are firm, 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 6:13; 1 Peter 5:12; John 8:44.

σώζεσθε] pictures as present the future, quite certain Messianic salvation. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:18.

τίνι λόγῳκατέχετε] condition to σώζεσθε, in which τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. is put first for the sake of emphasis. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:4, 1 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Corinthians 14:7; 1 Corinthians 14:9. Comp. also Plato, Pol. i. p. 347 D: πόλις ἀνδρῶν ἀγαθῶν εἰ γένοιτο, Parm. p. 136 A Baruch 3:13, as indeed in general it is common in the classics (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 238 A) and in the N. T. (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 334 [E. T. 390]) for such words as ought to follow the conjunctions to precede them for the sake of emphasis. Hence: through which (by means of faith in its contents) you also obtain salvation, if you hold fast with what word I preached it to you. Not without design does he add this condition to the σώζεσθε; for his readers were threatened with the danger of being led by the deniers of the resurrection to become untrue to the specific contents of his preaching. Others (including Bengel, Heydenreich, Billroth, van Hengel, Ewald) regard τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. as a more precise definition to τὸ εὐαγγ. εὐηγγ. ὑμ. in accordance with the common form of attraction οἶδά σε τίς εἶ (Winer, p. 581 [E. T. 781]). Against this, however, it may be urged: (1) that the meaning: “I make known to you … if you still hold it fast,” contains in the latter half (which is not to be transmuted, with van Hengel, into the sense: “si curae nobis cordique est quod nunc dico”) a condition which stands in no logical relation to the first half; (2) that εἰ κατέχετε would be at variance with ἐν καὶ ἑστήκατε; (3) that we should then have to assume for ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. the inadmissible (see below) reference to κατέχετε. All these difficulties fall away with the above interpretation, according to which παρελάβετε expresses the historical act of reception; ἑστήκατε, the present faithfulness; σώζεσθε, the certain blessed future; and εἰ κατέχετε, the abiding condition to the attainment of this end; while ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. in turn denotes the exaltation above every doubt in respect of the Messianic salvation really to be attained under this conditio.

τίνι λόγῳ] not as in Acts 10:29, with what ground (Wetstein, Kypke, Heydenreich, and others, following Theodorus of Mopsuestia and Pelagius), which Osiander takes of scriptural ground; for παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμ. κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 15:3, gives, in fact, not a ground, but the contents of the preaching. Hence also it does not refer to the “manner and method of the proclamation” (Neander), but means: through what word, i.e. preaching what. As regards τίνι, instead of a relative, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 216 [E. T. 251]. How different from the seductive discourses of the deniers had this λόγος of the apostle been! According to Hofmann, τίνι λόγῳ is meant to be interrogative, and that in the sense of “with what presupposition,” while εἰ κατέχετε and εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. are the answer to it. Against this it may be urged: (1) that, since εἰ μὴ εἰκ. ἐπιστ. would be a second condition, Paul would have marked the connection in an intelligible way by καί (putting therefore either καὶ εἰ or καί by itself, but not simply εἰ); (2) that λόγος, in the sense of condition or presupposition, is foreign to the N. T. and peculiar to Herodotus, who, however, always expresses sub conditione by ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ; see Schweighäuser, Lex. Herod. II. p. 79 f.

εἰ κατέχετε] This implies not merely the not having forgotten; it is the believing firm retention, which does not let go the doctrine received—the continuance of the ἑστήκατε. Comp. Luke 8:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2. And there is not so much an “aculeus ad pungendum” (Calvin) in this as an admonition of the danger.

ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ.] through which you are also saved, if you hold fast my word,—unless that ye have become believing in vain, without any result. Only in this case, inconceivable to the Christian consciousness (Beza aptly says: “argumentatur ab absurdo”), would ye, in spite of that holding fast, lose the σωτηρία. The words therefore imply the certainty of the σώζεσθαι to be expected under the condition of the κατέχειν. On εἰκῆ, comp. Galatians 3:4; Galatians 4:11; and regarding ἐκτὸς εἰ μή, except if, see on 1 Corinthians 14:5; on ἐπιστ., comp. 1 Corinthians 3:5; Romans 13:11. To refer εἰκῆ to κατέχετε (Oecumenius, Theophylact, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Estius, and others, including Billroth and de Wette) is impracticable for this reason, that εἰ κατέχετε itself is a conditional clause, while to supply such an idea as κατέχετε δὲ πάντως (Theophylact) would be quite an arbitrary course.


Verses 1-11

1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Foundation for the following argument. The latter enlarges upon the resurrection itself as far as 1 Corinthians 15:34, and then upon the manner of it from 1 Corinthians 15:35 to 1 Corinthians 15:54, after which triumph and exhortation, 1 Corinthians 15:55-58, form the conclusion.

The certainty of the resurrection of Jesus was not doubted even by his opponents, who must otherwise have given up the whole historic basis of Christianity, and must have been treated by the apostle as apostates (comp. Ziegler, theol. Abh. II. p. 93; Knapp, Scr. var. arg. p. 316; Räbiger, p. 154 f.); for only in this way was that fact capable of serving him for a firm starting-point for his argument with the view of reducing the deniers ad absurdum. For this reason he sets forth the resurrection of Jesus in its certainty not polemically, but as a purely positive proposition.


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 15:3 f. More precise explanation of the τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. εἰ κατέχετε, by adducing those main points of that λόγος, which are of decisive importance for the further discussion which Paul now has in view. Hofmann’s interpretation of it as specifying the ground of the alleged condition and reservation in 1 Corinthians 15:2, falls with his incorrect exposition of εἰ κατέχετε κ. τ. λ.

ἐν πρώτοις] neuter: in primis, chiefly, i.e. as doctrinal points of the first rank. Comp. Plato, Pol. p. 522 C: καὶ παντὶ ἐν πρώτοις ἀνάγκη μανθάνειν. To take it, with Chrysostom,(26) of the time ( ἐξ ἀρχῆς), comp. Sirach 4:17, Proverbs 20:21, runs counter to the connection, according to which it is rather the fundamental significance of the following doctrines that is concerned. This in opposition also to Rückert’s view of it as masculine: to you among the first (comp. 1 Maccabees 6:6; Sirach 45:20; Thuc. vii. 19. 4; Lucian, Paras. 49; Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 220), which is, moreover, historically untrue, unless with Rückert we arbitrarily supply “in Achaia.”

καὶ παρέλαβον] This conveys the idea: which had been likewise communicated to me,—nothing therefore new or self-invented. From whom Paul had received the contents of 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, he does not say; but for the very reason that he does not add an ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, as in 1 Corinthians 11:23, or words to like effect, and on account of the correlation in which παρέλαβον stands to παρέδωκα (comp. also καὶ παρελάβετε, 1 Corinthians 15:1), as well as on account of the reference extending to the simple historical statements in 1 Corinthians 15:5 ff., we are not to supply: from Christ, through revelation (the common view since Chrysostom), but rather: through historical tradition, as it was living in the church (comp. van Hengel, Ewald, Hofmann). It is true, indeed, that he has that, which forms the inner relation of the ἀπέθανεν κ. τ. λ. and belongs to the inner substance of the gospel, from revelation (Galatians 1:12); but here it is the historical element which is predominantly present to his min.

ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτ. ἡμ.] on account of our sins, i.e. in order to expiate them, Romans 3:23-26; Galatians 3:13 ff., al. The connection of the preposition with the abstract noun proves that Paul, in saying elsewhere ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (comp. also Ephesians 5:25 : ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐκκλησίας), has not used the preposition in the sense of loco, not even in 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13. The idea of the satisfactio vicaria lies in the thing itself, not in the preposition. See on Romans 5:6; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2. It may be added that, except in this passage, the expression ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμ. occurs nowhere in the writings of Paul (not even in Galatians 1:4), although it does in the Epistle to the Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 5:3 (?), Hebrews 9:7; Hebrews 10:12. Regarding the distinction between ὑπέρ and περί the remark holds true: “id unum interest, quod περί usu frequentissimo teritur, multo rarius usurpatur ὑπέρ,(27) quod ipsum discrimen inter Lat. praep. de et super locum obtinet,” Buttmann, Ind. ad Mid. p. 188.

κατὰ τ. γραφ.] according to the Scriptures of the O. T. (“quae non impleri non potuere,” Bengel), in so far as these (as e.g. especially Isaiah 53) contain prophecies regarding the atoning death of Christ. Comp. Luke 24:25 ff.; John 20:9; John 2:22; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22 f., Acts 8:35; 1 Peter 1:11.

The second κ. τ. γρ. does not refer to the burial (Isaiah 53:9) also, as de Wette and most interpreters assume, following Theodoret and Oecumenius, but, as is to be deduced from the repetition of the ὅτι before ἐγηγ., only to the resurrection.(28) See on John 2:22. Christ’s death and resurrection are the great facts of the redemptive work, borne witness to by the Scriptures; the burial (comp. Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 13:29), being the consequence of the one and the presupposition of the other, lies between as historical correlate of the corporeal reality of the resurrection, but not as a factor of the work of redemption, which as such would require to have been based upon Scripture testimony.

ἐγήγερται] not the aorist again; the being risen is the abiding state, which commenced with the ἐγερθῆναι. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:8; Winer, p. 255 [E. T. 339].


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 15:5. “Res tanti momenti neque facilis creditu multis egebat testibus,” Grotiu.

κηφᾷ] Comp. Luke 24:34.(29)

εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα] John 20:19 ff.; Luke 24:36 ff. After the death of the traitor, there were indeed only eleven (hence several witnesses read ἕνδεκα, comp. Acts 1:26), nay, according to John l.c., Thomas also was absent at that time; but comp. the official designations decemviri, centumviri, al., where the proper number also was often not complete. To reckon in Matthias (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Bengel, and others) would make a needless prothysteron of the expression. It may be added that under the ὤφθη we are always to conceive of but one act of appearing, as is especially clear from 1 Corinthians 15:8; hence we are not in connection with τοῖς δώδεκα to think of a combination of John 20:19 ff. and John 20:26 ff. (Osiander, van Hengel, and others), to which some have even added John 21. That Paul narrates the series of appearances chronologically, should not have been questioned by Wieseler (Synopse der Evang. p. 420 f.), who assumes only an enumeration of the individual cases without order of time. It is implied necessarily in the words of historical continuation themselves ( ἔπειτα ὤφθη), as well as in their relation to ἔσχατον πάντων, 1 Corinthians 15:8. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 15:23-24; 1 Corinthians 15:46.


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 15:6 exhibits a change in the construction—which does not continue further with ὅτι—but still belongs to the contents of the παρέδωκα and παρέλαβον down to ἀποστ. πᾶσιν (in opposition to Hofmann); for the point of view of the καὶ παρέλαβον reaches thus far, and it is only at 1 Corinthians 15:8 that personal experience comes in instead of it. Nor is it to be inferred from the transition from the dependent to the independent construction (so frequent also, as we know, in Greek writers), which naturally corresponds with the concrete vividness of the representation, that Paul had not included this appearance and those which follow in his preaching at Corinth, but, on the contrary, was now communicating them to his readers as something new (van Hengel). 1 Corinthians 15:8 is especially opposed to this view, since Paul, in referring to the appearances of the Risen One, had certainly not been silent upon that made to himself (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:1).

ἐπάνω] adverbial, not prepositional, Mark 14:5. Comp. ὑπέρ. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 410. τινές, referred to by Chrysostom, were mistaken in holding it to mean: above, over their head.

πεντακοσ.] Consequently the number of the believers in general was already much greater than that of those who were assembled, Acts 1:15. The remarks to the contrary by Baur and Zeller, according to whom the small number 120 is plainly shown by our passage to be incorrect, are not conclusive, since the appearance here mentioned may, without any arbitrariness, be placed at so early a stage that many pilgrims to the Passover may be conceived as still present in Jerusalem when it took place, and among these many extraneous disciples of Jesus, especially Galileans. The 120 who assembled afterwards were the stock of the congregation of Jerusalem itself. Comp. on Acts 1:15. On the other hand, it is possible that the Lord appeared to the 500 brethren also in Galilee in an assembly of so many of His disciples there (Schleiermacher, Ewald). More precise evidence is wanting. Matthew 28:16 ff. has nothing to do with our passage (in opposition to Lightfoot and Flatt), but applies only to the eleve.

ἐφάπαξ] not: once, for all (Bretschneider, comp. Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 10:10), but, as it is usually understood: at once, simul (Luc. Dem. enc. 21). The former sense would need to be given by the context, which, however, from the largeness of the number, naturally suggests the latter. Van Hengel, too, wrongly insists upon the meaning semel, holding that this appearance took place only once, whereas 1 Corinthians 15:5 applies to several appearances. The peculiar importance of this appearance lies precisely in the simul (Vulgate), ἀνύποπτος δὲ τῶν τοσούτων μαρτυρία, Theodoret. This ἐφάπαξ and the multitude of the spectators exclude all the more decidedly the idea of a visionary or ecstatic seeing, although some have ascribed all the appearances of the Risen One to this source (see especially, Holsten, zum Ev. des Paul. u. Petr. p. 65 ff.). Here we should have upwards of 500 visions occurring at the same time and place, the same in substance and form, and that, too, as psychological acts of the individual mind.

οἱ πλείους] the majority, 1 Corinthians 10:5. Luther gives it wrongly: “many still.”

μένουσιν] superstites sunt. Comp. on John 21:22; Philippians 1:25. ἔχω μάρτυρας ἔτι ζῶντας, Chrysostom. It may be added that the definite affirmation, οἱ πλείους μένουσιν, shows how earnestly the apostolic church concerned itself about the still surviving witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, and how well it knew them.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 15:7. Both of these appearances also are otherwise unknow.

ἰακώβῳ] The non-addition of any distinguishing epithet makes it more than probable that the person meant is he who was then the James κατʼ ἐξοχήν, James the Just,(30) not one of the Twelve, but universally known as the brother of the Lord (see on 1 Corinthians 9:4). Perhaps it was this appearance which made him become decided for the cause and service of his divine brother. Comp. Michaelis on our passage. The apocryphal narrative of the Evang. sec. Hebr. in Jerome, de vir. ill. 2, is, even as regards time, here irrelevant (in opposition to Grotius).

τοῖς ἀποστόλοις πᾶσιν] ἀπόστολοι, since it takes in James also (comp. Galatians 1:19), must stand here in a wider sense than τοῖς δώδεκα, but includes them along with others. In the Book of Acts, Barnabas, for instance, is called an apostle (1 Corinthians 14:4; 1 Corinthians 14:14); and in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, Timothy and Silvanus are comprehended under the conception ἀπόστολοι, of whom, of course, Timothy at least cannot be as yet included here. Chrysostom supposes the Seventy to be included. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 12:28. In no case is it simply the Twelve again who are meant, whom Hofmann conceives to be designated here in their relation to the church. How arbitrary that is, and how superfluous such a designation would be! But πᾶσι stands decidedly opposed to it; Paul would have required to write εἶτα πάλιν τοῖς ἀποστ. Notice also the strict marking off of the original apostles by οἱ δώδεκα, an expression which Paul uses in no other place.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 15:8. Appearance at Damascus. Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:1.

Regarding the adverbial ἔσχατον, comp. Plato, Gorg. p. 473 C Soph. Oed. Col. 1547; Mark 12:22 (Lachm.). It concludes the series of bodily appearances, and thereby separates these from later appearances in visions (Acts 18:9), or some other apocalyptic wa.

πάντων] is not to be understood, as has been usually done, of all those in general to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection, but of all apostles, as is the most natural interpretation from the very foregoing τοῖς ἀποστ. πᾶσι, and is rendered certain by the τῷ ἐκτρώμ. with the article, which, according to 1 Corinthians 15:9, denotes κατʼ ἐξοχήν the apostolic “abortion.”(31)

The apostle’s sense of the high privilege of being counted worthy to see the Risen One awakens in him his deep humility, which was always fostered by the painful consciousness of having once persecuted the church; he therefore expresses his strong sense of unworthiness by saying that he is, as it were ( ὡσπερεί, quasi, only here in the N. T., often in classic writers), τὸ ἔκτρωμα, the untimely foetus, Arist. Gener. An. iv. 5; LXX. Numbers 12:12; Job 3:16; Ecclesiastes 6:3; Aq. Psalms 57:9. See the passages in Wetstein, Fritzsche, Diss. I. p. 60 f.; and as regards the standing of the word as Greek (for which the older Attic writers have ἄμβλωμα), Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 209. In opposition to Heydenreich and Schulthess (most recently in Keil and Tzschirner’s Anal. I. 4, p. 212 f.), who interpret in a way which is linguistically erroneous (adopted, however, as early as by τινές in Theophylact), lateborn, born afterwards in old age, see Fritzsche, l.c. The idea of being late-born, i.e. late in becoming an apostle, is conveyed in ἔσχατον πάντων, not in ἔκτρωμα. What Paul meant to indicate in a figurative way by τ. ἐκτρ. is clearly manifest from 1 Corinthians 15:9, namely, that he was inferior to, and less worthy than, the rest of the apostles, in the proportion in which the abortive child stands behind that born mature.(32) Comp. Bengel: “Ut abortus non est dignus humano nomine, sic apostolus negat se dignum apostoli appellatione.” See also Ignatius, ad Romans 9. The distinct explanation which he gives himself in 1 Corinthians 15:9 excludes all the other—some of them very odd—interpretations which have been given,(33) along with that of Hofmann: Paul designates himself so in contrast to those who, when Jesus appeared to them, were brethren (James too?) or apostles, and consequently had been “born as children of God into the life of the faith of Christ;” whereas with him the matter had not yet come to a full formation of Christ (Galatians 4:19), as was the case with the rest. This artificial interpretation is all the more erroneous, seeing that Paul, when Christ appeared to him, had not yet made even the first approach to being a Christian embryo, but was the most determined opponent of the Lord, and was closely engaged in persecuting Him (Acts 9:4); ὡσπ. τ. ἐκτρ. does not describe what Paul was then, when Christ appeared to him, but what he is since that tim.

κἀμοί] at the end, with the unaffected stamp of humility after the expressions of self-abasement put before.

Observe, further, that Paul places the appearance of the Risen One made to himself in the same series with the others, without mentioning the ascension which lay between. Certainly, therefore, he did not regard the latter as the striking, epoch-making event, which it first appears in the narrative of the Book of Acts, forty days after the resurrection. See generally on Luke 24:51, Remark. But observe also what stress Paul lays here and 1 Corinthians 9:1 upon the outwardly manifested bodily appearance of the Lord, with which Galatians 1:15 does not in any way conflict.(34), 2 Corinthians 12:2 ff. is of a different tenor.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 15:9. Justification of the expression ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 are not a grammatical, though they may be a logical parenthesi.

ἐγώ] has emphasis: just I, no other. Comp. on this confession, Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15.

ὃς οὐκ εἰμὶ κ. τ. λ.] argumentative: quippe qui, etc. Comp. Od. ii. 41, al.; Xen. Mem. ii. 7. 13; Matthiae, p. 1067, note 1.

ἱκανός] sufficiently fitted, Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

καλεῖσθαι] to bear the name of apostle, this high, honourable name.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 15:10. The other side of this humility, looking to God. Yet has God’s grace made me what I am. Comp. Galatians 1:15.

χάριτι] has the principal emphasis, hence again χάρις αὐτοῦ

εἰμι] In this is comprehended the whole sum of his present being and character, so different from his pre-Christian conditio.

εἰς ἐμέ] Comp. 1 Peter 1:10 : towards me. Plato, Pol. v. p. 729 D.

οὐ κενή] not void of result. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

ἐγεν.] not: has been, but: has practically become.

ἀλλά] introduces the great contrast to οὐ κενὴ ἐγεν., valued highly by Paul, even in the depth of his humility, as against the impugners of his apostolic position; and introduces it with logical correctness, for περισσότερονἐκοπίασα is the result of the grace.

περισσ.] accusative neuter. It is the plus of the result. Regarding ἐκοπ. of apostolic labour, comp. Philippians 2:16; Galatians 4:11, al.

αὐτῶν πάντων] than they all, which may either mean: than any of them, or: than they all put together. Since the latter corresponds to the τοῖς ἀποστ. πᾶσιν, 1 Corinthians 15:7, and suits best the design of bringing out the fruitful efficacy of the divine grace, and also agrees with history so far as known to us, it is accordingly to be preferred (Osiander and van Hengel) in opposition to the former interpretation, which is the common on.

οὐκ ἐγὼ δὲ, ἀλλʼ κ. τ. λ.] Correction regarding the subject of ἐκοπίασα, not I however, but. Chrysostom says well: τῇ συνήθει κεχρημένος ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ τοῦτο (that he laboured more, etc.) ταχέως παρέδραμε, καὶ τὸ πᾶν ἀνέθηκε τῷ θεῷ. Paul is conscious in himself that the relation of the efficacy of God’s grace to his own personal agency is of such a kind, that what has just been stated belongs not to the latter, but to the former.(35)

χάρις τ. θεοῦ σὺν ἐ΄οί] sc. ἐκοπίασε περισσ. αὐτ. πάντ. Not I have laboured more, but the grace of God has done it with me (in efficient fellowship with me, comp. Mark 16:20). It is to be observed that the article before σὺν ἐμοί is not genuine (see the critical remarks), and so Paul does not disclaim for himself his own self-active share in bringing about the result, but knows that the intervention of the divine grace so outweighs his own activity, that to the alternative, whether he or grace has wrought such great things, he can only answer, as he has done: not I, but the grace of God with me. Were the article before σὺν ἐμοί genuine, the thought would not be: the grace has wrought it with me, but: the grace, which is with me,(36) has wrought it. But Beza’s remark holds true for the case also of the article being omitted: “Paulum ita se ipsum facere gratiae administrum, ut illi omnia tribuat.” There is no ground for thinking even remotely of a “not alone, but also,” or the like (see Grotius, Flatt, and others).


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 15:11. οὖν] takes up again the thread of the discourse which had been interrupted by 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, as in 1 Corinthians 8:4, but yet with reference to 1 Corinthians 15:9 f.

ἐκεῖνοι] i.e. the rest of the apostles, 1 Corinthians 15:7-9 f.

οὕτω] so as was stated above, namely, that Christ is risen, 1 Corinthians 15:4 ff., and see 1 Corinthians 15:12.

καὶ οὕτως] and in this way, in consequence, namely, of this, that the resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed to you, ye have become believers ( ἐπιστ. as in 1 Corinthians 15:2).

Observe, further, in εἴτε οὖν ἐγὼ, εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι, the apologetic glance of apostolic self-assertion, which he turns upon those who questioned his rank as an apostle.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 15:12. In what a contrast, however, with this preaching stands the assertion of certain persons among you that, etc. ! χριστός has the main emphasis in the protasis; hence its positio.

πῶς] expression of astonishment; how is yet possible, that; 1 Corinthians 14:7; 1 Corinthians 14:16; Romans 3:6; Romans 6:2; Romans 8:32; Romans 10:14; Galatians 2:14 The logical justice of the astonishment rests on this, that the assertion, “there is no resurrection of dead persons,” denies also per consequentiam the resurrection of Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:13.

τινές] quidam, quos nominare nolo. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 731, also Schoemann, ad Is. p. 250. See, besides, introduction to the chapter. ἐν ὑμῖν is simply in your church, without any emphasis of contradistinction to non-Christians (Krauss).

οὐκ ἔστιν] does not take place, there is not. Comp. Ephesians 6:9; Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8. Comp. also Plato, Phaed. p. 71 E: εἴπερ ἔστι τὸ ἀναβιώσκεσθαι, Aesch. Eum 639: ἅπαξ θανόντος οὔτις ἐστʼ ἀνάστασις.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 15:13. δέ] carrying onward, in order by a chain of inferences to reduce the τινές with their assertion ad absurdum.

οὐδέ] even not. The inference rests upon the principle: “sublato genere tollitur et species” (Grotius). For Christ had also become a νεκρός, and was, as respects His human nature, not different from other men (1 Corinthians 15:21). Comp. Theodoret: σῶμα γὰρ καὶ δεσπότης εἶχε χριστός. This in opposition to the fault which Rückert finds with the conclusion, that, if Christ be a being of higher nature, the Logos of God, etc., the laws of created men do not hold for Him. It is plain that the resurrection, as well as the death, related only to the human form of existence. The σῶμα of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 7:4), the σῶμα τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ (Colossians 1:22; comp. Ephesians 2:15), was put to death and rose again, which would have been impossible, if ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν (bodily revivification of those bodily dead) in general were a chimera. Comp. Knapp, Scr. var. arg. p. 316; Usteri, p. 364 f.; van Hengel, p. 68 f. Calvin, following Chrysostom and Theodoret, grounds the apostle’s conclusion thus: “quia enim non nisi nostra causa resurgere debuit: nulla ejus resurrectio foret, si nobis nihil prodesset.” Comp. Erasmus, Paraphr. But according to this it would not follow from the ἀνάστασις νεκρ. οὐκ ἔστιν that Christ had not risen, but only that His resurrection had not fulfilled its aim. The idea, that Christ is ἀπαρχή of the resurrection, is not yet taken for granted here (as an axiom), but comes in for the first time at 1 Corinthians 15:20 (in opposition to Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, including de Wette and Osiander), after the argument has already reached the result, that Christ cannot have remained in the grave, as would yet follow with logical certainty from the proposition: ἀνάστασις νεκρ. οὐκ ἔστιν. It is only when it comes to bring forward the ἀπαρχή, that the series of inferences celebrates its victory.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 15:14. δέ] continues the series of inferences. Without the resurrection of Jesus, what are we with our preaching! what you with your faith! The former is then dealt with in 1 Corinthians 15:15 f., the latter in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19.

ἄρα] is the simple therefore, thus (rebus ita comparatis). See against Hartung’s view, that it introduces the unexpected (this may be implied in the connection, but not in the particle), Klotz, ad Devar. p. 160 ff.

κενόν and κενή are put first with lively emphasi.

οὐκ ἐγήγ.] i.e. has remained in the grave.

κενόν] empty, i.e. without reality (Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:8), without really existing contents, inasmuch, namely, as the redemption in Christ and its completion through the Messianic σωτηρία are the contents of the preaching; but this redemption has not taken place and the Messianic salvation is a chimera, if Christ has not risen. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:17; Romans 1:4; Romans 4:25; Romans 8:34.

καί] also. If it holds of Christ that He is not risen, then it holds also of our preaching that it is empt.

πίστις ὑμῶν] your faith in Jesus as the Messiah,(37), 1 Corinthians 15:11. Christ would, in fact, not be the Redeemer and Atoner, as which, however, He is the contents of your faith.(38) Comp. Simonides in Plato, Prot. p. 345 C: κενεὰνἐλπίδα, Soph. Ant 749: κενὰς γνώμας, Eur. Iph. Aul. 987, Hel. 36.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 15:15. We should not, with Lachmann, place only a comma after 1 Corinthians 15:14; for 1 Corinthians 15:15 carries independently its full confirmation with it, and its awful thought comes out all the more impressively, when taken independently of what precedes it. The emphasis of the verse lies in the God-dishonouring ψευδομάρτ. τοῦ θεοῦ. In this phrase τοῦ θεοῦ must, in conformity with what follows, be genitivus objecti (not subjecti, as Billroth would make it: “false witnesses, whom God has,” comp. Osiander, et al.): persons who have testified what is false against God.

κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ] is not to be taken, with Erasmus, Beza, Wolf, Raphel, de Wette, and others, as in respect to God, of God (Schaefer, ad Dem. I. p. 412 f.; Valck. ad Phoen. 821; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 272); for the context requires the reference to be as much in opposition to God as possible, and hence requires the sense: against, adversus (Vulgate). Comp. Matthew 26:59; Matthew 26:62; Matthew 27:13; Mark 14:56; Mark 14:60; Mark 15:4, al.; Xen. Apol. 13 : οὐ ψεύδομαι κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, Plato, Gorg. p. 472 B. Every consciously false giving of testimony that God has done something, is testimony against God, because an abuse of His name and injury to His holines.

ὃν οὐκ ἤγειρεν, εἴπερ ἄρα κ. τ. λ.] whom He has not raised, if really thus (as is asserted) dead persons are not raised. Regarding εἰ ἄρα and εἴπερ ἄρα, see Klotz, l.c. pp. 178, 528. Observe here (1) the identity of the category, in which Paul places the resurrection of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead; (2) the sacredness of the apostolic testimony for the former; (3) the fanatical self-deception, to which he would have been a victim, if the appearances of the Risen One had been psychological hallucinations, so that the whole transformation of Saul into Paul—nay, his whole Gospel—would rest upon this self-deception, and this self-deception upon a mental weakness which would be totally irreconcilable with his otherwise well-known strength and acuteness of intellect.


Verse 16

1 Corinthians 15:16. Proof of the ὃν οὐκ ἤγειρεν, εἴπερ κ. τ. λ. by solemn repetition of 1 Corinthians 15:13 entirely as to purport, and almost entirely as to the words also.


Verse 17-18

1 Corinthians 15:17-18. Solemnly now also the other conclusion from the οὐδὲ χριστὸς ἐγήγ., already expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:14, is once more exhibited, but in such a way that its tragical form stands out still more awfully ( ματαία and ἔτι ἐστὲ ἐν τ. ἁμ. ὑμ.), and has a new startling feature added to it by reference to the lot of the departe.

ματαία] vain, fruitless, put first with emphasis, as ἔτι is afterwards. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:14. The meaning of the word may be the same as κενή in 1 Corinthians 15:14 (comp. μάταιος λόγος, Plato, Legg. ii. p. 654 E Herod. iii. 56; μάταιος δοξοσοφία, Plato, Soph. p. 231 B μάταιος εὐχή, Eur. Iph. T. 628, and the like, Isaiah 59:4; Eccles. 31:5; Acts 14:15; 1 Corinthians 3:20), to which Hofmann, too, ultimately comes in substance, explaining the πίστις ματαία of their having comforted themselves groundlessly with that which has no truth. But what follows shows that resultlessness, the missing of the aim, is denoted here (comp. Titus 3:9; Plato, Tim. p. 40 D, Legg. v. p. 735 B Polyb. vi. 25. 6; 4 Maccabees 6:10). This, namely, has its character brought out in an awful manner by ἔτι ἐστὲ ἐν τ. ἁμ. ὑμ.: then ye are still in your sins—i.e. then ye are not yet set free from your (pre-Christian) sins, not yet delivered from the obligation of their guilt. For if Christ is not risen, then also the reconciliation with God and justification have not taken place; without His resurrection His death would not be a redemptive death.(39), Romans 4:25, and see on 1 Corinthians 15:14. Regarding the expression, comp. 3 Esdr. 8:76; Thuc. i. 78. See also John 8:21; John 8:24; John 9:41.

ἄρα καὶ οἱ κοιμηθ. κ. τ. λ.] a new consequence of εἰ δὲ χ. οὐκ ἐγήγ., but further inferred by ἄρα from the immediately preceding ἔτι ἐστὲ ἐν ταῖς ἁ΄αρτ. ὑ΄.: then those also who have fallen asleep are accordingly (since they, too, can have obtained no propitiation), et.

οἱ κοιμηθ.] Observe the aorist: who fell asleep, which expresses the death of the individuals as it took place at different times. It is otherwise at 1 Corinthians 15:20; comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 f.

ἐν χριστῷ] for they died(40) so, that they during their dying were not out of Christ, but through faith in Him were in living fellowship with Him. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 14:13. We are neither, with Grotius (comp. as early interpreters as Chrysostom and Theodoret), to think simply of the martyrs ( ἐν = propter), nor, with Calovius, widening the historical meaning on dogmatic grounds, to include the believers of the Old Testament (even Adam), for both are without support in the context; but to think of the Christians deceased.

ἀπώλοντο] they are destroyed, because in their death they have become liable to the state of punishment in Hades (see on Luke 16:23), seeing that they have, in fact, died without expiation of their sins. That this does not mean: they have become annihilated (Menochius, Bengel, Heydenreich, and others), is clear from ἔτι ἐστὲ ἐν τ. ἁμ. ὑμ., of which, in respect of the dead, the ἀπώλεια in Hades is the consequence.


Verse 19

1 Corinthians 15:19. Sad lot of the Christians (not simply of the apostles, as Grotius and Rosenmüller would have it), if this οἱ κοιμηθέντες ἐν χ. ἀπώλοντο turn out to be true! “If we are nothing more than such, as in this life have their hope in Christ,—not at the same time such, as even when κοιμηθέντες will hope in Christ,(41)—then are we more wretched,” etc. In other words: “If the hope of the future glory (this object of the Christian hope is obvious of itself, 1 Corinthians 13:13; Romans 5:2), which the Christian during his temporal life places in Christ, comes to nought with this life, inasmuch as death transports him into a condition through which the Christian hope proves itself to be a delusion,—namely, into the condition of ἀπώλεια,—then are we Christians more wretched,” etc.

The correct reading is εἰ ἐν τῇ ζ. ταύτῃ ἐν χ. ἠλπ. ἐσ΄. ΄όνον. See the critical remarks. In ἐν τ. ζωῇ ταύτῃ the main emphasis falls upon τῇ ζωῇ, as the opposite of κοιμηθέντες (comp. Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Philippians 1:20; Luke 16:25), not upon ταύτῃ (so commonly); and ΄όνον belongs to the whole ἐν τ. ζ. τ. ἐν χ. ἠλπικότες ἐσ΄έν, so that the adverb is put last for emphasis (Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. ii. 5. 14, ii. 6. 1), not simply to ἐν τ. ζ. ταύτῃ, as it is usually explained: “If we are such as only for this life (‘dum hic vivimus,’ Piscator) have placed their hope in Christ,” Billroth. This trajection of μόνον would be in the highest degree violent and irrational. The perfect ἠλπικότες indicates the continued subsistence during this life of the hope cherished; 2 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:10, al. See Bernhardy, p. 378; Ast, ad Plat. Legg. p. 408. Comp. the ἔολπα so frequent in Homer; Duncan, Lex., ed. Rost, p. 368. That the hope has an end with the present life, is not implied in the perfect (Hofmann), but in the whole statement from εἰ on to ΄όνον. The participle again with ἐσμέν does not stand for the tempus finitum, but the predicate is brought into peculiar relief (Kühner, II. p. 40), so that it is not said what we do, but what we are (Hoffer). Comp. as early as Erasmus, Annot. As regards ἐν χριστῷ, comp. Ephesians 1:12; 1 Timothy 6:17; the hope is in Christo reposita, rests in Christ. Comp. πιστεύειν ἐν; see on Galatians 3:26. Rückert is wrong in connecting ἐν χ. with ΄όνον (equivalent to ἐν ΄όνῳ τῷ χ.): “If we in the course of this life have placed our whole confidence on Christ alone, have (at the end of our life) disdained every other ground of hope and despised every other source of happiness, and yet Christ is not risen … is able to perform nothing of what was promised; then are we the most unhappy,” etc. Against this may be decisively urged both the position of μόνον and the wholly arbitrary way in which the conditioning main idea is supplied (“and if yet Christ is not risen”). According to Baur, what is meant to be said is: “if the whole contents of our life were the mere hoping,” which, namely, never passes into fulfilment. But in that way a pregnancy of meaning is made to underlie the ἠλπικότες, which must have been at least indicated by the arrangement: εἰ ἠλπικότες ΄όνον ἐσ΄ὲν κ. τ. λ.

ἐλεεινότεροι πάντ.] more worthy of compassion than all men, namely, who are in existence besides us Christians. Comp. the passages in Wetstein. Regarding the form ἐλεεινός, which is current with Plato also (in opposition to Ast) and others, instead of ἐλεινός, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 87; Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 4. 11, Lips. In how far the Christians—supposing them to be nothing more than persons who build their hope upon Christ so long as they live, who therefore after their death will see the hope of their life concerning the future δόξα vanish away—are the most wretched of all men, is clear of itself from their distinctive position, inasmuch, namely, as for the sake of what is hoped for they take upon themselves privation, self-denial, suffering, and distresses (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17 f.; Colossians 3:3), and then in death notwithstanding fall a prey to the ἀπώλεια. In this connection of the condition until death with the disappointment after death would lie the ἐλεεινόν, the tragic nothingness of the Christian moral eudaemonism, which sees in Christ its historical basis and divine warrant. The unbelieving, on the contrary, live on carelessly and in the enjoyment of the moment. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:32, and see Calvin’s exposition.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 15:20. No, we Christians are not in this unhappy condition; Christ is risen, καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἡμετέρου σωτῆρος ἀνάστασιν ἐχέγγυον (guarantee) τῆς ἡμετέρας ἔχομεν ἀναστάσεως, Theodoret. Several interpreters (Flatt, comp. Calvin on 1 Corinthians 15:29) have wrongly regarded 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 as an episode. See on 1 Corinthians 15:29.

νυνὶ δέ] jam vero, but now, as the case really stands. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 Corinthians 14:6, al.

ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμ.] as first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep, predicative more precise definition to χριστός, inasmuch as He is risen from the dead. Comp. as regards ἀπαρχή used of persons, 1 Corinthians 16:15; Romans 16:5; James 1:18; Plutarch, Thes. 16. The meaning is: “Christ is risen, so that thereby He has made the holy beginning of the general resurrection of those who have fallen asleep” (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5; Clement, Cor. 1 Corinthians 1:24). Whether in connection with ἀπαρχή Paul was thinking precisely of a definite offering of first-fruits as the concrete foil to his conception (comp. Romans 11:16), in particular of the sheaves of the Paschal feast, Leviticus 23:10 (Bengel, Osiander, and others), must, since he indicates nothing more minutely, remain undecided. The genitive is partitive. See on Romans 8:23.

That by τῶν κεκοιμ. we are to understand believers, is to be inferred both from the word itself, which in the New Testament is always used only of the death of the saints, and also from the fellowship with Christ denoted by ἀπαρχή. And in truth what is conceived of is the totality of departed believers, including, therefore, those too who shall still fall asleep up to the Parousia, and then belong also to the κεκοιμήμενοι (the sleeping); see 1 Corinthians 15:23. This does not exclude the fact that Christ is the raiser of the dead also for the unbelieving; He is not, however, their ἀπαρχή; but see on 1 Corinthians 15:22. That those, moreover, who were raised before Christ and by Christ Himself (as Lazarus), also those raised by apostles, do not make the ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμ. untrue, is clear from the consideration that no one previously was raised to immortal life (to ἀφθαρσία); while Enoch and Elias (Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11) did not die at all. Christ thus remains πρῶτος ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Acts 26:23. But the ἀπαρχή allows us to look from the dawn of the eschatological order of salvation, as having taken place already, to the certainty of its future completion. Luthardt says well: “The risen Christ is the beginning of the history of the end.”


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 15:21. Assigning the ground for the characteristic ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμ. “For since (seeing that indeed, 1 Corinthians 1:21 f., 1 Corinthians 14:16; Philippians 2:26) through a man death is brought about, so also through a man is resurrection of the dead brought about.” We must supply simply ἐστί; but the conclusion is not (Calvin and many others) e contrariis causis ad contrarios effectus, but, as is shown by the διʼ ἀνθρώπου twice prefixed with emphasis: a causa mali effectus ad similem causam contrarii effectus. The evil which arose through a human author is by divine arrangement removed also through a human author. How these different effects are each brought about by a man, Paul assumes to be known to his readers from the instructions which he must have given them orally, but reminds them thereof by 1 Corinthians 15:22.

θάνατος] of physical death, Romans 5:12.

ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν] resurrection of dead persons, abstractly expressed, designates the matter ideally and in general. So also θάνατος without the article; see the critical remarks.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 15:22. More precise explanation confirmatory of 1 Corinthians 15:21, so that the first διʼ ἀνθρώπου is defined in concreto by ἐν τῷ ἀδάμ, likewise θάνατος by πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν κ. τ. λ.

ἐν τῷ ἀδάμ] In Adam it is causally established that all die, inasmuch as, namely, through Adam’s sin death has penetrated to all, Romans 5:12; to which statement only Christ Himself, who, as the sinless One, submitted Himself to death in free obedience toward the Father (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19), forms a self-evident exceptio.

ἐν τῷ χ.] for in Christ lies the ground and cause, why at the final historical completion of His redemptive work the death which has come through Adam upon all shall be removed again, and all shall be made alive through the resurrection of the dead. In this way, therefore, certainly no one shall be made alive except in Christ,(42) but this will happen to all. Since πάντες, namely, is not to be restricted to the totality of believers, but to be taken quite generally (see below), there thus results more specially as the idea of the apostle: Christ, when He appears in His glory, is not simply the giver of life for His believing people; He makes them (through the resurrection, and relatively through the transformation, 1 Corinthians 15:51) alive unto the eternal Messianic ζωή (Romans 8:11); but His life-giving power extends also to the other side, that is, to the unbelievers who must experience the necessary opposite of the completed redemption; these He awakes to the resurrection of condemnation. Paul thus agrees with John 5:28 f.; Matthew 10:28; and thus his declaration recorded in Acts 24:15 finds its confirmation in our text (comp. on Philippians 3:11).

πάντες ζωοπ.] which is to be understood not of the new principle of life introduced into the consciousness of humanity (Baur, neut. Theol. p. 198), but, according to the context and on account of the future, in the eschatological sense, is by most interpreters (including Flatt, Billroth, Rückert, Osiander, van Hengel, Maier, Ewald, Hofmann, Lechler, apost. Zeit. p. 145; Lutterbeck, II. p. 232 ff.) held to refer only to believers. But ἕκαστος, 1 Corinthians 15:23, requires us to think of the resurrection of all (so also Olshausen, de Wette); for otherwise we should have to seek the πάντες collectively in the second class ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ, so that οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ and the πάντες would cover each other, and there could be no mention at all of an ἕκαστος ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγ΄ατι in reference to the πάντες. Accordingly we must not restrict ζωοπ. to blessed life, and perhaps explain (so de Wette, comp. also Neander in loc.; Messner, Lehre der Apost. p. 291 f.; Stroh, Christus d. Erstl. d. Entschlaf. 1866) its universality ( πάντες) from the (not sanctioned by the N. T.) ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (comp. Weizel in the Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 978; Kern in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1840, 3, p. 24). Neither must we so change the literal meaning, as to understand it only of the destination(43) of all to the blessed resurrection (J. Müller in the Stud. u. Krit. 1835, p. 751), or as even to add mentally the condition which holds universally for the partaking in salvation (Hofmann)—which alteration of what is said categorically into a hypothetical statement is sheer arbitrariness. On the contrary, ζωοποιηθ. (see also 1 Corinthians 15:36), confronted with the quite universal assertion of the opponents that a resurrection of the dead is a non ens (1 Corinthians 15:12-16), is in and by itself indifferent (comp. Romans 4:17; 2 Kings 5:7; Nehemiah 9:6; Theod. Isaiah 26:14; Lucian, V. H. i. 22), the abstract opposite of θάνατος (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:36), in connection with which the concrete difference as regards the different subjects is left for the reader himself to infer. As early interpreters as Chrysostom, Ambrosiaster, and Theodoret have rightly understood πάντες ζωοπ. not simply of the blessed resurrection, but generally of bodily revivification, and without limiting or attaching conditions to the πάντες. It denotes all without exception, as is necessary from 1 Corinthians 15:23, and in keeping with the quite universal πάντες of the first half of the verse. See, too, on 1 Corinthians 15:24. In opposition to the error regarding the Apokatastasis, see generally Philippi, Glaubenslehre, III. p. 372 ff.; Martensen, Dogmat. § 286.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 15:23. Each, however, in his own division, sc. ζωοποιηθήσεται.

τάγμα] does not mean order of succession, but is a military word (division of the army, legion, Xen. Mem. iii. 1. 11, and see the passages in Wetstein and Schweighäuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 610 f.), so that Paul presents the different divisions of those that rise under the image of different troops of an army. In Clement also, Cor. i. 37, 41, this meaning should be retaine.

ἀπαρχὴ χριστός] as first-fruits Christ, namely, vivificatus est. What will ensue in connection with the ἀπαρχή, after the lapse of the period between it and the Parousia, belongs to the future. It would appear, therefore, as though ἀπαρχὴ χ. were not pertinent here, where the design is to exhibit the order of the future resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22). But Paul regards the resurrection of all, including Christ Himself, as one great connected process, only taking place in several acts, so that thus by far the greater part indeed belongs to the future, but, in order not simply to the completeness of the whole, but at the same time for the sure guarantee of what was to come, the ἀπαρχή also may not be left unmentioned. There is no ground for importing any further special design; in particular, Paul cannot have intended to counteract such conceptions, as that the whole τάγμα must forthwith be made alive along with its leader (von Zezschwitz), or to explain why those who have fallen asleep in Christ continue in death and do not arise immediately (Hofmann). For no reader could expect the actual resurrection of the dead before the Parousia; that was the postulate of the Christian hope.(44)

We may note that, in using ἀπαρχή, Paul departs again from his military mode of conception as expressed in τάγμα; otherwise he would have written ἀρχός, ἀρχηγός, ἔπαρχος, κορυφαῖος, or something simila.

οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ] the Christians, Galatians 5:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ] at His coming to set up the Messianic kingdom, Matthew 24:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; James 5:7 f.; 1 John 2:28; 2 Peter 3:4. Paul accordingly describes the τάγμα which rises first after Christ Himself (as the ἀπαρχή) thus: thereafter shall the confessors of Christ be raised up at His Parousia. It is opposed to this—the only correct—meaning of the words to restrict οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ to the true Christians ( οἱ πιστοὶ καὶ οἱ εὐδοκιμηκότες, Chrysostom), and thereby to anticipate the judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10), or to include along with them the godly of the Old Testament, as Theodoret, and of late Maier, have done. Not less contrary to the words is it to explain away the Parousia, as van Hengel does: “qui sectatores Christi fuerunt, quum ille hac in terra erat.” This is grammatically incorrect, for the article would have needed to be repeated;(45) inappropriate as regards expression, for παρουσία τοῦ χ. is in the whole New Testament the habitual technical designation of the last coming of Christ; and lastly, missing the mark as to meaning, since it would yield only a non-essential, accidental difference as to the time of discipleship as the criterion of distinction (Matthew 20:16).

ἔπειτα is simply thereafter, thereupon, looking back to the ἀπαρχή, not following next, as Hofmann would have it. The intervening period is the time running on to the Parousia. Hofmann inappropriately compares the use of the word in Soph. Ant. 611, where τὸ ἔπειτα occurs and denotes what follows immediately next; see Schneidewiin on Soph. l.c.; also Hermann in loc.: “a quo proximum est cum eoque cohaeret.”


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 15:24. εἶτα τὸ τέλος] sc. ἔσται. Then shall the end be, namely, as is clear from the whole context, the end of the resurrection. Bengel puts it aptly: “correlatum primitiarum” (comp. Matthew 24:14, where τὸ τέλος is correlative with ἀρχή in 1 Corinthians 15:8, also Mark 13:7; Mark 13:9); although Christ is only the first-fruits of the believers, He is nevertheless at the same time the beginning of all. According to Paul, therefore, the order of the resurrection is this: (1) it has begun already with Christ Himself; (2) at Christ’s return to establish His kingdom the Christians shall be raised up; (3) thereafter—how soon, however, or how long after the Parousia, is not said(46)—sets in the last act of the resurrection, its close, which, as is now self-evident after what has gone before, applies to the non-Christians(47). These too shall, it is plain, be judged (1 Corinthians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 11:32), of which their resurrection is the necessary premiss (in opposition to Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 430 f.). Paul has thus conjoined the doctrine of Judaism regarding a twofold resurrection (Bertholdt, Christol. pp. 176 ff., 203 ff.) with the Christian faith, in accordance with the example of Christ Himself (see on Luke 14:14; John 5:29). The majority of interpreters after Chrysostom (including Reiche, Ewald, Maier) understand τὸ τέλος of the end of the present age of the world,(48) the final consummation (Weiss), the closing issue of things (Luthardt, v. d. letzten Dingen, p. 127), which includes also the resurrection of all men. In connection with this Rückert thinks (comp. Kling, p. 505) that εἶτα indicates the immediate following, one upon the other, of the ἀνάστασις and the τέλος; Olshausen, again, that Paul conceived the thousand years of the Messianic kingdom to come in between the Parousia and the τέλος, and the resurrection of the non-Christians to be joined together with the τέλος. But against the latter view it may be urged that, according to the constant doctrine of the New Testament (apart from Revelation 20), with the Parousia there sets in the finis hujus saeculi, so that the Parousia itself is the terminal point of the pre-Messianic, and the commencing-point of the future, world-period (Matthew 24:3, al.; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 344). Against the former view it may be decisively urged, that εἶτα τὸ τέλος in the assumed sense would be inappropriate here, where the order of the resurrection is stated and is begun with ἀπαρχή; further, that Paul would not have given, in any proper sense at all, the promised order of succession, whether we take πάντες, 1 Corinthians 15:22, simply of believers or correctly of all in general. For in the former case there could be no mention at all of several τάγματα (see on 1 Corinthians 15:22); and in the latter case Paul would have passed over in silence the very greatest τάγ΄α of all, that of those who died non-Christians. But how complete and self-consistent everything is, if ἀπαρχή is the beginning, ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ the second act, and εἶτα τὸ τέλος the last act of the same transaction! So in substance among the old interpreters, Theodoret and Oecumenius, later Cajetanus, Bengel, Jehne, de resurrect. carn. Alton. 1788, p. 19; Heydenreich, Osiander, Grimm in the Stud. u. Krit. 1850, p. 784. In accordance with what has been said, we must reject also the view of Grotius and Billroth, that τὸ τέλος is the end of the kingdom of Christ (comp. Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 575); in connection with which Billroth leaves it undecided whether Paul conceived that there would be a thousand years’ reign, but finds rightly that his conception is different from that of Revelation 20:1 ff.(49) The same considerations militate against this view as against that of Rückert; moreover, τέλος requires its explanation not from what follows, but from what precedes it, with which it stands in the closest relation. This also in opposition to de Wette (so, too, Lechler, apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalter, p. 140; Neander in loc.), who understands the completion of the eschatological events (comp. Beza), so that the general resurrection would be included in the conception (comp. Theophylact: τὸ τέλος τῶν πάντων καὶ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀναστάσεως); similarly, therefore, as regards the latter point, with Luthardt and Olshausen. Theodoret is right, in accordance with the Pauline type of doctrine (comp. Matthew 13:39 f.), in remarking already at the preceding class ( οἱ τοῖ χ.): κατὰ τὸν τῆς συντελείας καιρόν. For the intervening period between the ἔπειτα and the εἶτα is by no means to be reckoned to the αἰὼν οὔτος, but to the αἰὼν ΄έλλων, of which it is the first stage in time and development; the absolute consummation is then the giving over of the kingdom, which is immediately preceded by the last act of the resurrection ( τὸ τέλος). Hofmann (comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 657) takes τὸ τέλος adverbidlly, and then the two clauses commencing with ὅταν as protases to ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργ. θάνατος, 1 Corinthians 15:26, so that in this way δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸν κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 15:25, falls to the second of those two protases as a reason assigned, inserted between it and the apodosis; consequently: then shall finally, when …, when …, the last enemy be brought to nought. This bringing to nought of death, he holds, includes the raising to life of such as, being ordained to life, did not belong to Christ during their bodily existence, and thus there is formed of these a second τάγμα, for the possibility of which Hofmann adduces Romans 2:15 f. But in what an involved and violent way are the simple, clear, and logically flowing sentences of the apostle thus folded and fenced in, and all for the purpose of getting out of them at last a second τάγ΄α, which, however, does not stand there at all, but is only inserted between the lines; and that, too, such a τάγ΄α as is entirely alien to the New Testament eschatology, and least of all can be established by Romans 2:15 f. (see in loc.) as even barely possible! And how unsuitable it is to treat 1 Corinthians 15:25, although introduced with solemn words of Scripture, as a subordinate sentence of confirmation, making the chain of protases on to the final short principal sentence only the longer and clumsier! In this whole section withal Paul employs only sentences of short and simple construction, without any involved periods. It may be added that, from a linguistic point of view, there would be nothing to object against the adverbial interpretation of τὸ τέλος, considered solely in itself (comp. 1 Peter 3:8); but, after the two elements which have gone before, the substantive explanation is the only one which presents itself as accordant with the context; nay, the adverbial use would have here, as the whole exegetical history of the passage shows, only led the understanding astra.

ὅταν παραδιδῷ κ. τ. λ.] states with what τὸ τέλος will be contemporaneous: when he gives over the (Messianic) kingdom, etc. The church, or the fellowship of believers (van Hengel), is never designated by βασιλ., not even 1 Corinthians 6:9 f.; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 1:13; Colossians 4:11; neither is it so here. The conception, on the contrary, is: the last act of Christ’s Messianic rule consists in the close of the resurrection, namely, the raising up of the non-Christians;(50) this He performs when He is about to hand over the rule to God, after which the last-named wields the government Himself and immediately, and Christ’s Messianic, and in particular His kingly office—the regency which had been entrusted to Him by God (Philippians 2:9 f.)—is accomplished. It was a purely dogmatic (anti-Arian) explaining away of the clear meaning of the word to take παραδιδόναι as equivalent to κατορθοῦν (Chrysostom) or τελειοῦν (Theophylact); such, too, was the interpretation of Theodoret, Ambrosiaster, Cajetanus, Estius, and others, including Storr and Flatt, according to which the giving over of the kingdom to the Father denotes the producing the result, that God shall be universally acknowledged as the supreme Ruler, even by those who did not wish to acknowledge Him as such. Hilary and Augustine (de Trin. i. 8) have another mode of explaining it away: what is meant is the bringing of the elect to the vision of God; similarly van Hengel (comp. Neander): Paul means to say, “Christum sectatores suos facturum peculium Dei, ut ei vivant;” and in like manner Beza, Heydenreich: we are to understand it of the presentation of the citizens of the kingdom, raised from the dead, before God. Another mode is that of Calovius, Bengel, Osiander, Reiche, al. (comp. also Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 280): it is only the form of the rule of Christ (namely, as the reconciler) that ceases then; the regnum gratiae ceases, and the regnum gloriae follows, which is what Luther’s and Melanchthon’s exposition(51) also comes to in substance. No; Christ, although by His exaltation to the right hand of the Father He has become the σύνθρονος of God, is still only He who is invested with the sovereignty by the Father until all hostile powers are overcome (comp. Philippians 2:9 ff.; Ephesians 1:21; Acts 2:33 ff.; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:13),(52) so that the absolute supreme sovereignty, which remains with the Father, is again immediately exercised after that end has been attained; the work of Christ is then completed; He gives up to the Father the Messianic administration of the kingdom, which has continued since His ascension.(53) The thought is similar in Pirke Elies. 11. “Nonus rex est Messias, qui reget ab extremitate una mundi ad alteram. Decimus Deus S. B.; tunc redibit regnum ad auctorem suum.” We must not mix up the spiritual βασιλεία, John 18:37, here, where the subject is the exalted Lor.

τῷ θεῷ κ. πατρί] God, who is at the same time Father, namely, of Jesus Christ. Comp. Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; James 1:27; James 3:9. Estius says rightly: “unus articulus utrumque complectens.” See Matthiae, p. 714 f., and on Romans 15:6. That Paul, however, means by πατὴρ χριστοῦ, not the supernatural bodily generation, but the metaphysical spiritual derivation, according to which Christ is κατὰ πνεῦ΄α ἁγιωσύνης the Son of God, see on Romans 1:4.

But this giving over of the kingdom will not take place sooner than: ὅταν καταργήσῃ κ. τ. λ., when He shall have done away, etc. Observe the difference of meaning between ὅταν with the present ( παραδιδῷ) and with the aorist (futur. exact.). See Matthiae, p. 1195. And this difference of tense shows of itself that of the two clauses introduced with ὅταν, this second one is subordinated to the first, and not co-ordinated with it (Hofmann). Hence, too, we have no καί or τέ with the second ὅταν. It is the familiar phenomenon of the double protasis, the one being dependent on the other (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 35; Anab. iii. 2. 31).

πᾶσαν ἀρχὴνδύναμ.] every dominion and every power and might, is to be understood, as 1 Corinthians 15:25 proves clearly, of all hostile powers, of all influences opposed to God, whose might Christ will bring to nought ( καταργ., comp. 1 Corinthians 2:6); consequently we may not explain it simply of demoniac powers (Chrysostom, Calovius, and others, including Heydenreich, Billroth, Usteri, Neander, Luthardt), nor refer it to worldly political powers as such (Grotius). In opposition to the context on account of τοὺς ἐχθρούς, 1 Corinthians 15:25, Calvin interprets it (comp. Cajetanus): “potestates legitimas a Deo ordinatas;” and Olshausen understands all rule, good as well as bad, and even that of the Son also, to be meant. The subject of καταργ. must, it may be added, be the same with that of παραδιδῷ, consequently not God (Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Heydenreich, van Hengel, and others).


Verses 25-28

1 Corinthians 15:25-28. Establishment of the fact that Christ will not deliver up the kingdom until after the doing away of every dominion, etc. (1 Corinthians 15:25-27, down to πόδας αὐτοῦ), but that then this abdication will assuredly follow (1 Corinthians 15:27-28).

For He must (it is necessary in accordance with the divine counsel) reign (wield the Messianic government) until, etc. The emphasis of the sentence as it advances falls on this until, et.

ἄχρις οὗ κ. τ. λ.] words taken from Psalms 110:1,—a Messianic psalm, according to Christ Himself (Matthew 22:43 f.),—which Paul does not quote, but appropriates for himself. The subject to θῇ is not God (so even Hofmann), but Christ (so Rückert, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald, Maier, comp. already Chrysostom), which is necessarily required by the preceding αὐτόν, and by καταργήσῃ in 1 Corinthians 15:24, to which θῇ κ. τ. λ. corresponds.(54) Not till 1 Corinthians 15:27 does God come in as the subject without violence and in harmony with the contex.

ἄχρις οὗ indicates the terminus ad quem of the dominion of Christ, after which epoch this dominion will have ceased; see on 1 Corinthians 15:24. The strange shifts which have been resorted to in order to maintain here the subsequent continuance of the rule of Christ ( οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος was added to the Nicene Creed in opposition to Marcellus in the second Oecumenical Council), may be seen in Estius and Flatt. His kingdom continues, but not His regency, 1 Corinthians 15:24. The seeming contradiction to Luke 1:33 (Daniel 7:14) is got rid of by the consideration that the government of Christ lasts on into the αἰὼν μέλλων, and that after its being given over to the Father, the kingdom itself will have its highest and eternal completion (1 Corinthians 15:28); thus that prophecy receives its eschatological fulfilment.


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 15:26. More precise definition of the ἄχρις οὖ, by specification of the enemy who is last of all to be brought to nought. As last enemy (whose removal is dealt with after all the others, so that then none is left remaining) is death done away (by Christ), inasmuch, namely, as after completion of the raising of the dead (of the non-Christians also, see on 1 Corinthians 15:22) the might of death shall be taken away, and now there occurs no more any state of death, or any dying. The present sets it before us as realized. Olshausen imports arbitrarily the idea that in ἔσχατος there lies a reference not simply to the time of the victory, but also to the greatness of the resistance. To understand Satan (Hebrews 2:14) to be meant by θάνατος, with Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 373, and others, following Pelagius, is without warrant from linguistic usage, and without ground from the context. As regards the personification of the death, which is done away, comp. Revelation 20:14; Isaiah 25:8.


Verse 27

1 Corinthians 15:27. πάντα γὰραὐτοῦ] Proof that death also must be done away. This enemy cannot remain in subsistence, for otherwise God would not have all things, etc. The point of the proof lies in πάντα, as in Hebrews 2:8.

The words are those of Psalms 8:7, which, as familiar to the reader (comp. on Romans 9:7; Galatians 3:11), Paul makes his own, and in which he, laying out of account their historical sense, which refers to the rule of man over the earth, recognises, as is clear from ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ κ. τ. λ., a typical declaration of God, which has its antitypical fulfilment in the completed rule of the Messiah (the δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος, 1 Corinthians 15:47). Comp. Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 2:8.

The subject of ὑπέταξε (which expresses the subjection ordained by God in the word of God) is God, as was obvious of itself to the reader from the familiar passage of the psalm. If God has in that passage of Psalms 8 subjected all to the might of Christ, then death also must be subdued by Him; otherwise it is plain that one power would be excepted from that divine subjection of all things to Christ, and the πάντα would not be warrante.

ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ κ. τ. λ.] δέ leading on, namely, to the confirmation of the giving over of the kingdom to God, for which proof is still to be adduced: “but, when He shall have said that the whole is subjected, then without doubt He will be excepted from this state of subjection, who has subjected the whole to Him.” The subject of εἴπῃ is not γραφή (de Wette, al.), but neither is it Christ (Hofmann), but the same as with ὑπέταξεν, therefore God, whose word that passage of the psalm adduced is not as regards its historical connection, but is so simply as a word of Scripture. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:16. The aorist εἴπῃ is to be taken regularly, not, with Luther and the majority of interpreters: when He says, but, like 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28, as futurum exactum: dixerit (Irenaeus, Hilary). So, too, Hofmann rightly.(55) Comp. Luke 6:26. Plato, Parm. p. 143 C Ion. p. 535 B also ἐὰν εἴπῃ, 1 Corinthians 10:28, 1 Corinthians 12:15. The point of time of the quando, ὅταν, is that at which the now still unexecuted πάντα ὑπέταξεν shall be executed and completed; hence, also, not again the aorist, but the perfect ὑποτέτακται. The progress of the thought is therefore: “But when God, who in Psalms 8:7 has ordained the ὑπόταξις, shall have once uttered the declaration, that it be accomplished—this ὑπόταξις.” This form of presenting it was laid to the apostle’s hand by the fact that he had just expressed himself in the words of a saying of Scripture (a saying of God). In Hebrews 1:6 also the aorist is not to be understood as a present, but ( πάλιν) as a futurum exactum. See Lünemann in loc.

δῆλον ὅτι] Adverbial, in the sense of manifestly, assuredly; therefore: it (namely, the πάντα ὑποτέτακται) will clearly take place with the exception of Him, who, etc. See regarding this use of δῆλον ὅτι, which has to be analysed by means of supplying the preceding predicate, Matthiae, p. 1494; Sturz, Lex. Xen. I. p. 661 f.; Buttmann, ad Plat. Crit. p. 53 A (p. 106). According to Hofmann, δῆλον ὅτι is meant as, namely, as it is used likewise in Greek writers, and especially often in grammarians (not Galatians 3:11); from δῆλον to πάντα is only an explanation interposed, after which the former ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ κ. τ. λ. is shortly resumed by ὅταν δὲ ὑποταγῇ κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 15:28. See regarding δέ after parentheses or interruptions, Hartung, Partik. I. p. 172 f. But, in the first place, δῆλον ὅτι κ. τ. λ. is a very essential point, no mere parenthetic thought in the course of the argument; and, secondly, the resumption after so short and plain an intercalation would be alike uncalled for, and, through the change in the mode of expression (not again with εἴπῃ), obscur.

ἐκτὸς τοῦ ὑποτάξ.] i.e. with the exception of God; but Paul designates God as the subjecting subject: “quo clarius in oculos incurreret, rem loqui ipsam,” van Hengel.


Verse 28

1 Corinthians 15:28. What Paul had just presented in the, as it were, poetically elevated form ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ κ. τ. λ., he now sums up in the way of simple statement by ὅταν δὲ ὑποταγῇ κ. τ. λ., in order to make the further element in his demonstration follow in accordance with the δῆλον ὅτι κ. τ. λ.

καὶ αὐτός] the Son Himself also shall be subjected,(56) not of course against His will, but as willingly yielding compliance to the expiry of His government. The Son wills what the Father wills; His undertaking is now completed—the becoming subject is His “last duty” (Ewald). Here, too, especially by the older interpreters, a great deal of dogmatic theology has been imported, in order to make the apostle not teach—what, in truth, he does teach with the greatest distinctness—that there is a cessation of the rule of Christ. The commonest expedient (so Augustine, de Trin. i. 8, and Jerome, adv. Pelag. i. 6, and the majority of the older expositors) is that Christ according to His human nature is meant, in connection with which Estius and Flatt take ὑποταγ. as: it will become right manifest that, etc. Ambrosiaster, Athanasius, and Theodoret even explained it, like χριστός in 1 Corinthians 12:12, of the corpus Christi mysticum, the church. Chrysostom also imports the idea (comp. Theophylact and Photius in Oecumenius) that Paul is describing τὴν πολλὴν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ὁμόνοιαν.

ἵνα θεὸς τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν] aim not of ὑποτάξαντι αὐτ. τ. π. (Hofmann), but of αὐτὸς υἱὸς ὑποταγήσ. κ. τ. λ., which is indeed the main point in the progress of the argument, the addition of its final aim now placing the reader at the great copestone of the whole development of the history of salvation. The object aimed at in the Son’s becoming subject under God is the absolute sovereignty of God: “in order that God may be the all in them all,” i.e. in order that God may be the only and the immediate all-determining principle in the inner life of all the members of the kingdom hitherto reigned over by Christ.(57) Not as though the hitherto continued rule of Christ had hindered the attainment of this end (as Hofmann objects), but it has served this end as its final destination, the complete fulfilment of which is the complete “glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11) to eternity. “Significatur hic novum quiddam, sed idem summum ac perenne …; hic finis et apex; ultra ne apostolus quidem quo eat habet,” Bengel. According to Billroth, this expresses the realization of the identity of the finite and the infinite spirit, which, however, is unbiblical.(58) See in opposition to the pantheistic misunderstanding of the passage, J. Müller, v. d. Sünde, I. p. 158 f. Olshausen (following older interpreters in Wolf) and de Wette (comp. Weizel and Kern, also Scholten in the Tüb. Jahrb. 1840, 3, p. 24) find here the doctrine of restoration favoured also by Neander, so that ἐν πᾶσι would apply to all creatures, in whom God shall be the all-determining One. But that would involve the conversion even of the demons and of Satan, as well as the cessation of the pains of hell, which is quite contrary to the doctrine of the New Testament, and in particular to Paul’s doctrine of predestination. The fact was overlooked that ἐν πᾶσι refers to the members of the kingdom hitherto ruled over by Christ, to whom the condemned, who on the contrary are outside of this kingdom, do not belong, and that the continuance of the condemnation is not done away even with the subjugation of Satan, since, on the contrary, the latter himself by his subjugation falls under condemnation. See, moreover, against the interpretation of restoration, on 1 Corinthians 15:22, and Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 431; Georgii in the Tüb. Jahrb. 1845, 1, p. 24; van Hengel in loc.

ἐν πᾶσιν] is just as necessarily masculine as in Colossians 3:11. The context demands this by the correlation with αὐτὸς υἱὸς κ. τ. λ., for up to this last consummation the Son is the regulating governing principle in all, but now gives over His kingdom to the Father, and becomes Himself subject to the Father, so that then the latter is the all-ruling One in all, and no one apart from Him in any. This in opposition to Hofmann, who takes ἐν πᾶσιν as neuter, of the world, namely, with regard to which God will constitute the entire contents of its being in such a way as to make it wholly the created manifestation of His nature; the new heaven and the new earth, 2 Peter 3:13, is only another expression, he holds, for the same thing. This introduction of the palingenesis of the universe, which is quite remote from the point here, is a consequence of the incorrect reference of ἵνα (see above). Moreover, if the meaning was to be: “All in the all,” πᾶσι would require the retrospective article, which πάντα has in 1 Corinthians 15:27 and 1 Corinthians 15:28 a. See a number of examples of πάντα and τὰ πάντα ἔστι in the specified sense in Wetstein, Locella, ad Xen. Eph. p. 209. Comp. on Colossians 3:11, and Hermann, ad Viger. p. 727.


Verse 29

1 Corinthians 15:29.(59) ἐπεί] for, if there is nothing in this eschatological development onward to the end, when God will be all in all, what shall those do, i.e. how absurdly in that case will those act, who have themselves baptized for the dead? Then plainly the result, which they aim at, is a chimera! Usually interpreters have referred ἐπεί back to 1 Corinthians 15:20, and regarded what lies between as a digression; Olshausen is more moderate, considering only 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 in that light, so also de Wette; Rückert, again, holds that Paul had perhaps rested from writing for a little after 1 Corinthians 15:28, and had had the sentence “the dead arise” in his mind, but had not expressed it. Pure and superfluous arbitrariness; as always, so here too, ἐπεί points to what has immediately preceded. But, of course, in this connection the final absolute sovereignty of God is conceived as conditioned by the resurrection of the dead, which, after all that had been previously said from 1 Corinthians 15:20 onwards, presented itself to every reader as a thing self-evident. Hofmann makes ἐπεί refer to the whole paragraph beginning with ἀπαρχὴ χριστός, as that is construed by him, down to 1 Corinthians 15:26, to which 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 have attached themselves as confirming the final abolition of death. But see on 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:27.

Upon the words which follow all possible acuteness has been brought into play, in order just to make the apostle not say that which he says.

τί ποιήσουσιν] makes palpable the senselessness, which would characterize the procedure in the case assumed by ἐπεί. The future is that of the general proposition,(60) and applies to every baptism of this kind which should occur. Every such baptism will be without all meaning, if the deniers of the resurrection are in the right. Grotius: “quid efficient” (comp. Flatt). But that a baptism of such a kind effected anything, was assuredly a thought foreign to the apostle. He wished to point out the subjective absurdity of the procedure in the case assumed. The interpretation: “nescient quid agendum sit” (van Hengel) does not suit the connection, into which Ewald also imports too much: “are they to think, that they have cherished faith and hope in vain?”

ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν] The article is generic. Every baptism which, as the case occurs, is undertaken for a dead person, is a baptism for the dead, namely, as regards the category. It must have been something not wholly unusual in the apostolic church, familiarity with which on the part of the readers is here taken for granted, that persons had themselves baptized once more for the benefit of ( ὑπέρ) people who had died unbaptized but already believing, in the persuasion that this would be counted to them as their own baptism, and thus as the supplement of their conversion to Christ which had already taken place inwardly, and that they would on this account all the more certainly be raised up with the Christians at the Parousia, and made partakers of the eternal Messianic salvation.(61) This custom propagated and maintained itself afterwards only among heretical sects, in particular among the Cerinthians (Epiphanius, Haer. xxviii. 7) and among the Marcionites (Chrysostom; comp., moreover, generally Tertullian, de resurr. 48, adv. Marc. v. 10).(62) Among the great multitude of interpretations (Calovius, even in his time, counts up twenty-three), this is the only one which is presented to us by the words. Ambrosiaster first took them so;(63) among the later interpreters, Anselm, Erasmus, Zeger, Cameron, Calixtus, Grotius, al.; and recently, Augusti, Denkwürdigk. IV. p. 119; Winer, p. 165 [E. T. 219]; Billroth, Rückert, de Wette, Maier, Neander, Grimm, Holtzmann (Judenth. u. Christenth. p. 741), also Kling and Paret (in Ewald’s Jahrb. IX. p. 247 f.), both of which latter writers call to their aid, on the ground, it is true, of 1 Corinthians 11:30, the assumption of a pestilence having then prevailed in Corinth. The usual objection, that Paul would not have employed for his purpose at all, or at least not without adding some censure, such an abuse founded on the belief in a magical power of baptism (see especially, Calvin in loc.), is not conclusive, for Paul may be arguing ex concesso, and hence may allow the relation of the matter to evangelical truth to remain undetermined in the meantime, seeing that it does not belong to the proper subject of his present discourse. The abuse in question must afterwards have been condemned by apostolic teachers (hence it maintained itself only among heretics), and no doubt Paul too aided in the work of its removal. For to assume, with Baumgarten-Crusius (Dogmengesch. II. p. 313), that he himself had never at all disapproved of the βαπτίζεσθαι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, or to place, with Rückert, the vicarious baptism in the same line with the vicarious death of Christ, is to stand in the very teeth of the fundamental doctrine of the Pauline gospel—that of faith as the subjective ethical “causa medians” of salvation. For the rest, Rückert says well: “Usurpari ab eo morem, qui ceteroqui displiceret, ad errorem, in quo impugnando versabatur, radicitus evellendum, ipsius autem reprehendendi aliud tempus expectari.” The silent disapproval of the apostle is brought in by Erasmus in his Paraphrase: “Fidem probo, factum non probo; nam ut ridiculum est, existimare mortuo succurri baptismo alieno, ita recte credunt resurrectionem futuram.” Epiphanius, Haer. 28, explains it of the baptism of the clinici, of the catechumens on their deathbed, who πρὸ τῆς τελευτῆς λουτροῦ καταξιοῦνται. So Calvin, although giving it along with another interpretation equally opposed to the meaning of the words; also Flacius, Estius, al. But how can ὑπὲρ τ. νεκρ. mean jamjam morituri (Estius)! or how can the rendering “ut mortuis, non vivis prosit” (Calvin) lead any one to guess that the “baptismus clinicorum” was intended, even supposing that it had been already customary at that time!(64) Chrysostom, too, runs counter to the words: ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, τουτέστι τῶν σωμάτων, καὶ γὰρ ἐπὶ τοῦτο βαπτίζῃ, τοῦ νεκροῦ σώματος ἀνάστασιν πιστεύων. Paul, he holds, has in view the article in the baptismal creed (which, however, certainly belongs only to a later time): “I believe in a resurrection of the dead.” So, too, on the whole, Pelagius, Oecumenius, Photius, Theophylact, Melanchthon (“profitentes de mortuis”), Cornelius a Lapide, Er. Schmid, and others; and somewhat to the same effect also Wetstein. Comp. yet earlier, Tertullian: “pro mortuis tingi pro corporibus est tingi.” Theodoret gives it a different turn, but likewise imports a meaning, making the reference to be to the dead body: βαπτιζόμενος, φησι, τῷ δεσπότῃ συνθάπτεται, ἵνα τοῦ θανάτου κοινωνήσας καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως γένηται κοινωνός· εἰ δὲ νεκρόν ἐστι τὸ σῶμα, καὶ οὐκ ἀνίσταται, τί δήποτε καὶ βαπτίζεται. Luther’s explanation, adopted again recently by Ewald and others, that “to confirm the resurrection, the Christians had themselves baptized over the graves of the dead” (so Glass and many of the older Lutherans; Calovius leaves us to choose between this view and that of Ambrosiaster), has against it, apart even from the fact that ὑπέρ with the genitive in the local sense of over is foreign to the New Testament, the following considerations: (1) that there is a lack of any historical trace in the apostolic period of the custom of baptizing over graves, such as of martyrs (for Eusebius, H. E. iv. 15, is not speaking of baptism), often as churches were built, as is well known, in later times over the graves of saints; (2) that we can see no reason why just the baptism at such places should be brought forward, and not the regarding of these spots as consecrated generally; (3) that to mark out the burial-places of pious persons who had fallen asleep, would have been in no way anything absurd even without the belief in a resurrection. And lastly, baptism took place at that time not in fonts or vessels of that kind, which could be set over graves, but in rivers and other natural supplies of water. Other interpreters, following Pelagius, refer ὑπὲρ τ. νεκρ. to Christ, taking βαπτ. in some cases of the baptism with water (Olearius, Schrader, Lange, Elwert); in others, of the baptism with blood (Al. Morus, Lightfoot). τῶν νεκρ. would thus be the plural of the category (see on Matthew 2:20). But, putting aside the consideration that Christ cannot be designated as νεκρός (not even according to the view of the opponents), the baptism with water did not take place ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ,(65) but εἰς χριστόν; and the baptism with blood would have required to be forcibly indicated by the preceding context, or by the addition of some defining clause. “For the benefit of the dead” remains the right interpretation. Olshausen holds this also, but expounds it to this effect, that the baptism took place for the good of the dead, inasmuch as a certain number, a πλήρωμα of believers, is requisite, which must first be fully made up before the Parousia and the resurrection can follow. But this idea must be implied in the connection; what reader could divine it? Olshausen himself feels this, and therefore proposes to render, “who have themselves baptized instead of the members removed from the church by death.” So, too, in substance Isenberg (whose idea, however, is that of a militia Christi which has to be recruited), and among the older interpreters Clericus on Hammond, Deyling, Obss. II. p. 519, ed. 3, and Döderlein, Instit. I. p. 409. But in that case ὑπὲρ τ. νεκρ. would be something not at all essential and probative for the connection, since it is plain that every entrance of new believers into the church makes up for the departure of Christians who have died, but in this relation has nothing to do with the resurrection of the latter. This at the same time in opposition to van Hengel’s interpretation, about which he himself, however, has doubts: for the honour of deceased Christians, “quos exteri vituperare vel despicere soleant.” According to Diestelmann, ὑπὲρ τ. ν. is for the sake of the dead, and means: in order hereafter united with them in the resurrection to enter into the kingdom of Christ; while the νεκροί are Christ and those fallen asleep in Him.(66) But it is decisive against this view, first, that there is thus comprised in the simple preposition, an extent of meaning which the reader could not discover in it without more precise indication; secondly, that every baptism whatsoever would be also in this assumed sense a βαπτίζεσθαι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, whereby therefore nothing distinctive would be said here, such as one could not but expect after the quite singular expression; thirdly, that Christ cannot be taken as included among the νεκροῖ, seeing that the resurrection of the Lord which had taken place was not the subject of the denial of resurrection here combated, but its denial is attributed by Paul to his opponents only per consequentiam, 1 Corinthians 15:13. According to Köster, those are meant who have themselves baptized for the sake of their Christian friends who have fallen asleep, i.e. out of yearning after them, in order to remain in connection with them, and to become partakers with them of the resurrection and eternal life. But in this way also a significance is imported into the simple ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, which there is nothing whatever to suggest, and which would have been easily conveyed, at least by some such addition as συγγενῶν καὶ φίλων. According to Linder, the βαπτιζό΄ενοι and the νεκροί are held to be even the same persons, so that the meaning would be: if they do not rise (in gratiam cinerum), which, however, the article of itself forbids; merely ὑπὲρ νεκρῶν ( νεκρ. would be in fact qualitative) must have been made use of, and even in that case it would be a poetical mode of expression, which no reader would have had any clue to help him to unriddle. Similarly, but with a still more arbitrary importing of meaning, Otto holds that οἱ βαπτιζόμ. are the deniers of the resurrection, who had themselves baptized in order (which is said, according to him, ironically) to become dead instead of living men. Most of all does Hofmann twist and misinterpret the whole passage (comp. also his Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 199 f.), punctuating it thus: ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσ. οἱ βαπτ. ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, εἰ ὅλως νεκρ. οὐκ ἐγείρονται; τί καὶ βαπτίζονται; ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν τί καὶ ἡμεῖς κινδυνεύομεν; the thought being: “If those, who by means of sin lie in death, become subject in their sins to an utter death from which there is no rising, then will those, who have themselves baptized, find no reason in their Christian status to do anything for them, that may help them out of the death in which they lie;” nay, why do they then have themselves baptized? and why do we risk our lives for them? ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρ. thus belongs to τί ποιήσ.; the ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν, placed for emphasis at the head of the last question, applies to the βαπτιζό΄ενοι. Every point in this interpretation is incorrect; for (1) to do something for others, i.e. for their good, is an absolute duty, independent of the question whether there be a resurrection or not. (2) But to do something which will help them out of death, is not in the passage at all, but is imported into it. (3) Those who can and should do something for others are the Christians; these, however, cannot have been designated so strangely as by οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι, but must have been called in an intelligible way οἱ πιστεύσαντες perhaps, or at least οἱ βαπτισθέντες. (4) The νεκροί can only, in accordance with the context, be simply the dead, i.e. those who have died, as through the whole chapter from 1 Corinthians 15:12 to 1 Corinthians 15:52. (5) To give to ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν another reference than ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, is just as violent a shift as the severance of either of the two from βαπτίζεσθαι, in connection with which they are symmetrically requisite for more precise definition, and are so placed. And when (6) ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν is actually made to mean “in order to induce them to receive baptism,” this just crowns the arbitrariness of inserting between the lines what the apostle, according to the connection, could neither say nor think. Moreover, ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν could not have the emphasis, but only the ἡ΄εῖς introduced with καί, like the βαπτίζ. previously introduced with καί.

εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρ.] Parallel to the conditional clause to be supplied in connection with ἐπεί. For Paul conceives of the resurrection of the dead as being so necessarily connected with the completion of the Messianic kingdom that the denial of the one is also the denial of the other. If universally (as 1 Corinthians 5:1) dead persons cannot be raised up, why do they have themselves baptized also for them? since plainly, in that case, they would have nothing at all to do for the dead. See, generally, on Romans 8:24; Pflugk, ad Hec. 515; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 152. This “also” betokens the (entirely useless) superinduced character of the proceeding. To refer εἰ ἐγείρ. still to what precedes (Luther and many others, the texts of Elzevir, Griesbach, Scholz; not Beza) mars the parallelism; the addition of the conditional clause to ἐπεί would have nothing objectionable in itself (in opposition to van Hengel), Plato, Prot. p. 318 B Xen. Anab. vi. 1. 30, vii. 6. 22; 4 Maccabees 8:8.


Verse 30

1 Corinthians 15:30. How preposterously we also are acting in that supposed case!

καί] does not, as some fancy, determine the meaning of the preceding βαπτ. to be that of a baptism of suffering, but it adds a new subject, whose conduct would likewise be aimles.

ἡμεῖς] I and my compeers, we apostolic preachers of the gospel, we apostles and our companions. Paul then, in 1 Corinthians 15:31 f., adduces himself, his own fortunes, in an individualizing way as a proof. The argument is, indeed, only for the continuance of the spirit (comp. Cicero, Tusc. i. 15); but this, when hoped for as blessedness, has with Paul the resurrection as its necessary condition.


Verse 31

1 Corinthians 15:31. ἀποθνήσκω] I am occupied with dying, am a moribundus. See Bernhardy, p. 370, and van Hengel. Strong way of denoting the deadly peril with which he sees himself encompassed daily. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Romans 8:36, and the parallel passages in Wetstein. The perfect, as in Eur. Hec. 431, would have been still stronge.

νή] a very frequent term of asseveration in classical writers (in the New Testament only here), always with the accusative of the person or thing by which the asseveration is made (Kühner, II. p. 396). By your boasting, which I have in Christ, i.e. as truly as I boast myself of you in my fellowship with Christ, in the service of Christ. Comp. Romans 15:17. The boasting, which takes place on the part of the apostle, is conceived of by him as a moral activity, which belongs to him. Comp. the opposite μομφὴν ἔχειν, μέμψιν ἔχειν, and the like, Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 732.

ὑμετέραν] is to be understood objectively (Matthiae, p. 1032; Mätzner, ad Antiph. p. 221; Kühner, II. § 627, A. 6). Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 11:31. The expression brings out more strongly the reference to the person (as truly as ye are the subject of my boasting). The Corinthians, whose subsistence as a church is an apostolic boast for Paul, can testify to himself what deadly perils are connected with his apostolic work. He thus guards himself against every suspicion of exaggeration and bragging. The asseveration does not serve to introduce what follows (Hofmann), since that does not come in again as an assertive declaration, but in a conditional form.


Verse 32

1 Corinthians 15:32. Something of a special nature after the general statement in 1 Corinthians 15:31.

If I after the manner of men have fought with beasts in Ephesus, what is the profit (arising therefrom) to me?

κατὰ ἄνθρωπον] has the principal emphasis, so that it contains the element, from which follows the negative involved in the question of the apodosis: “then it is profitless for me.” And the connection yields from this apodosis as the meaning of κατὰ ἄνθρωπον: after the manner of ordinary men, i.e. not in divine striving and hoping, but only in the interest of temporal reward, gain, glory, and the like, whereby the common, unenlightened man is wont to be moved to undertake great risks. If Paul has fought in such a spirit, then he has reaped nothing from it, for he καθʼ ἡμέραν ἀποθνήσκει. The many varying explanations(67) may be seen in Poole’s Synopsis. Against Rückert, who explains it: “according to human ability, with the exertion of the highest power,” it may be decisively urged that κατὰ ἄνθρ. in all passages does not denote what is human per excellentiam. If, therefore, the context here required that κατὰ ἄνθρ. should express the measure of power (which reference, however, lies quite remote), then we must explain it as: with ordinary human power, without divine power. According to Rückert’s view, moreover, κατὰ ἄνθρ. would not be at all the principal element of the protasis, which, however, from its position it must necessarily be. Interpretations such as exempli causa (Semler, Rosenmüller, Heydenreich), or ut hominum more loquar (Estius), are impossible, since λέγω or λαλῶ does not stand along with it. The conjecture was hazarded: κατὰ ἀνθρώπων (Scaliger).

ἐθηριο΄άχησα] θηριο΄αχεῖν, to fight with wild beasts (Diod. iii. 42; Artem. ii. 54, v. 49), is here a significant figurative description of the fight with strong and exasperated enemies. So Tertullian (De resurr 48: “depugnavit ad bestias Ephesi, illas sc. bestias Asiaticae pressurae”), Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Pelagius, Sedulius, Beza, Grotius, Estius, Calovius, Michaelis, Zachariae, Valckenaer, Stolz, Rosenmüller, as well as Schrader, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Neander, Ewald, Maier, Hofmann, Krauss. Comp. Appian. B. C. p. 763 (in Wetstein), where Pompeius says: οἵοις θηρίοις μαχόμεθα. Ignatius, ad Romans 5 : ἀπὸ συρίας μέχρι ῥώμης θηριομαχῶ διὰ γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης, ad Tars. 1, ad Smyrn. 4. Comp. Titus 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:17; Ignatius, ad Eph. 7, as also in classical writers brutal men are called θηρία (Plato, Phaed. p. 240 B Aristophanes, Nub. 184; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XII. p. 114). See also Valckenaer, p. 332. Paul takes for granted that his readers were acquainted with what he describes in such strong language, as he might assume, moreover, that they would of themselves understand his expression figuratively, since they knew, in fact, his privilege of Roman citizenship, which excluded a condemnation ad bestias, ad leonem. His lost letter also may have already given them more detailed information. Notwithstanding, many interpreters, such as Ambrosiaster, Theodoret, Cajetanus, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Lightfoot, Wolf, and others, including Flatt and Billroth, have explained this of an actual fight with beasts, out of which he had been wonderfully delivered.(68) It is objected as regards the privilege of a Roman citizen (see in particular Flatt), that Paul was in point of fact scourged, etc., Acts 16:22 f. But in Acts, l.c., Paul did not appeal to his right of citizenship, but made it known only after he had suffered scourging and imprisonment, whereupon he was forthwith set free, 1 Corinthians 15:37 ff. Before he was thrown to the beasts, however, he would, in accordance with his duty, have appealed to his right of citizenship, and thereby have been protected. And would Luke in the Acts of the Apostles have left unmentioned an incident so entirely unique, which, among all the wonderful deliverances of the apostle, would have been the most wonderful? Would not Paul himself have named it with the rest in 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff., and Clement in 5?

Upon the non-literal interpretation,(69) however, it cannot be proved whether a single event, and if so, which, is meant. Many of the older expositors think, with Pelagius, Oecumenius, and Theophylact, of the uproar of Demetrius in Acts 19. But in connection with that Paul himself was not at all in danger; moreover, we must assume, in accordance with Acts 20:1, that he wrote before the uproar. Perhaps he means no single event at all, but the whole heavy conflict which he had had to wage in Ephesus up to that time with exasperated Jewish antagonists, and of which he speaks in Acts 20:19 : μετὰδακρύων κ. πειρασμῶν κ. τ. λ.

τί μοι τὸ ὄφελος;] what does it profit me? The article denotes the definite profit, conceived as result. The self-evident answer is: nothing! Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:17. As the gain, however, which he gets from his fight waged not κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, he has in view not temporal results, founding of churches and the like, but the future glory, which is conditioned by the resurrection of the dead (comp. Philippians 3:10-11); hence he continues: εἰ νεκροὶ κ. τ. λ.

εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρ.] is referred by the majority of the old interpreters (not Chrysostom and Theophylact, but from Pelagius and Theodoret onwards) to the preceding. It would then be a second conditional clause to τί ΄οι τὸ ὄφελος (see on 1 Corinthians 14:6); but it is far more suitable to the symmetry in the relation of the clauses (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:29) to connect it with what follows (Beza, Bengel, Griesbach, and later expositors). For the rest, it is to be observed that εἰ νεκρ. οὐκ ἐγείρ. corresponds to the thought indicated by κατὰ ἄνθρ. as being in correlative objective relation to it; further, that Paul has not put an οὖν or even a γάρ after εἰ, but has written asyndetically, and so in all the more vivid and telling a manner; likewise, that for the apostle moral life is necessarily based on the belief in eternal redemption, without which belief—and thus as resting simply on the abstract postulate of duty—it cannot in truth subsist at all; lastly, that the form of a challenge is precisely fitted to display the moral absurdity of the premiss in a very glaring light, which is further intensified by the fact that Paul states the dangerous consequence of the earthly eudaemonism, which τῇ γαστρὶ μετρεῖ καὶ τοῖς αἰσχίστοις τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν (Dem. 324, 24) in set words of Scripture (comp. Chrysostom), LXX. Isaiah 22:13. Analogies to this Epicurean maxim from profane writers, such as Euripides, Alcest. 798, may be seen in Wetstein; Jacobs, Del. epigr. vii. 28; Dissen, ad Pindar. p. 500; comp. Nicostr. in Stob. Flor. lxxiv 64: τὸ ζῆν οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἐστὶν ὅστις ἂν φάγῃ. See also Wisdom of Solomon 2:1 ff.

αὔριον] light-minded concrete expression for what is to be very soon. Comp. Theocr. xiii. 4.

It is not implied, however, in αὔριον γὰρ ἀποθνήσκ. that εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγ. includes the denial of life after death absolutely (Flatt, Rückert, al.), but Paul conceives of death as the translation of the soul into Hades (comp., however, on Philippians 1:25 f., Remark), from which the translation of the righteous (to be found in Paradise) into the eternal Messianic life is only possible through the resurrection.


Verse 33

1 Corinthians 15:33 f. The immoral consequence of the denial of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:32) gives occasion to the apostle now in conclusion to place over against that Epicurean maxim yet a word of moral warning, in order thereby to express that the church should not be led astray, i.e. be seduced into immorality ( πλανᾶσθε, passive, see on 1 Corinthians 6:9), by its intercourse with those deniers who were in its bosom ( τινὲς ἐν ὑμῖν, 1 Corinthians 15:12; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:34).

φθείρουσιν κ. τ. λ.] justification of the admonition μὴ πλανᾶσθε. The words (forming an Iambic trimeter acatalectic(70)) are from the Thais of the comic poet Menander (see his Fragmenta, ed. Meineke, p. 75); although it still remains a question whether Paul really recognised them as an utterance of this comic poet (as a ΄ενάνδρειος φωνή, Lucian, Am. 43), or only generally as a common Hellenic saying, which, just as such, may have been taken up by that poet also. The latter is probable from the proverbial character of the words, and in the absence of any indication whatsoever that they are the words of another. Similar classical passages may be seen in Alberti, Obss. p. 356 ff., and Wetstein. Comp. especially, Theognis 35 f.

ἤθη χρηστά] good morals, the opposite being κακά, Soph. O. R. 610, Antig. 516, and πονηρά, Plato, Gorg. p. 499 E, Phil. p. 40 E Plat. Def. p. 412 E: χρηστότης ἤθους ἀπλαστία μετʼ εὐλογιστίας.

ὁμιλίαι κακαί] Vulgate: colloquia mala. So Luther, Erasmus, and many, including van Hengel and Krauss. Comp. Dem. 1468, 27, 1466, 2; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 6. But the context does not justify this restriction of the conception. Comp. Beza. Hence it is rather: good-for-nothing intercourse, bad company. Regarding the plural, comp. Plato, Pol. p. 550 B: ὁμιλίαιςκακαῖς κεχρῆσθαι, Soph. O. R. 1489; Xen. Mem. iii. 7. 5, Hier. iv. 1. In the application the readers were meant to think of intercourse with the deniers of the resurrection, to be on their guard against moral contagion through the.

ἐκνήψατε δικαίως, κ. μὴ ἁμαρτ.] Parallel to μὴ πλανᾶσθε, but representing the readers as already disturbed in the moral clearness and soundness of their judgment, already transferred by the influence of those τινές, 1 Corinthians 15:34, into a certain degree of moral bondage (intoxication); for the idea of being completely sobered from the condition in which they were before their conversion (Hofmann) is remote from the text, as, in particular, the very ground assigned, which immediately follows, points to the hurtful influence of the τινές. He separates the church from these individuals among her members; the former is not to let herself be injured through the latter (1 Corinthians 5:6), but to become sober, in so far as she has already through them experienced loss of moral soberness. Become sober after the right fashion, properly as it behoves. Comp. Livy, i. 41: expergiscere vere; Homer, Od. xiv. 90: οὐκ ἐθέλουσι δικαίως μνᾶσθαι, Dem. 1180, 25. Comp. Lobeck, ad Soph. Aj. 547. As regards ἐκνήφειν, to become sober in a non-literal respect, comp. Plutarch, Dem. 20; Aret. iv. 3; Joel 1:5. Bengel, we may add, says well: “ ἐκνήψατε exclamatio plena majestatis apostolicae.” The aorist imperative denotes the swift, instant realization of the becoming sober; μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε,(71) on the contrary, requires the continuous abstinence from sinnin.

ἀγνωσίαν γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] for some persons have ignorance of God; how carefully should you guard yourselves from being befooled by such! ἀγνωσία (1 Peter 2:15) is the opposite of γνῶσις, see Plato, Pol. v. p. 477 A, Soph. p. 267 B. The τινές are those spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:12, not, as Billroth arbitrarily assumes, only a small portion of them. The nature of their unbelief in the resurrection is apprehended as in Matthew 22:29. The expression ἀγν. ἔχειν, “gravior est phrasis quam ignorare,” Bengel. They are affected with it. Comp. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 574 E.

πρὸς ἐντρ. ὑμ. λέγω] For it disgraced the church, that such τινές were within it; all the more alert should it be. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:5, 1 Corinthians 5:6. ὑμῖν belongs to λέγω.

REMARK on 1 Corinthians 15:32-34.

Billroth, followed by Olshausen, is too hasty in inferring from 1 Corinthians 15:32 that the opponents of a resurrection would themselves have abhorred the maxim φάγωμεν κ. τ. λ. Paul assumes of his readers generally that they abhorred that maxim as anti-Christian; but the τινές among them, who denied the resurrection, must, according to the warning and exhortation 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, have been already carried away in consequence of this denial to a frivolous tendency of life; otherwise Paul could not warn against being led away by their immoral companionship (1 Corinthians 15:33). Nay, several others even must already have become shaken in their moral principles through the evil influence of the τινές; else Paul could not give the exhortations which he does in 1 Corinthians 15:34. For that, in 1 Corinthians 15:33 f., he is not warning against mistaking and neglecting of saving truths, as Hofmann thinks, but against corruption of wholesome habits, consequently against immorality, is certain from ἤθη in the words of Menander, and from μὴ ἁμαρτ.; hence, also, the danger of going astray is not to be conceived of as having arisen through intercourse with heathen fellow-countrymen (Hofmann), but through association with those τινές in the church, who had become morally careless by reason of the denial of the resurrection. This is demanded by the whole connection. The τινές were sick members of the church-body, whom Paul desires to keep from further diffusion of the evil, alike in faith and in life.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 15:35. The discussion on the point, that the dead arise, is now closed. But now begins the discussion regarding the nature of the future bodies. This is the second, the special part of the apology, directed, namely, against the grounds upon which they disputed the resurrectio.

ἀλλʼ ἐρεῖ τις] but, notwithstanding of my arguments hitherto adduced, some one will say. Comp. James 2:18. “Objicit in adversa persona quod doctrinae resurrectionis contrarium prima facie videtur; neque enim interrogatio ista quaerentis est modum cum dubitatione, sed ab impossibili arguentis,” Calvi.

πῶς] This general and not yet concretely defined expression is afterwards fixed more precisely by ποίῳ δὲ σώματι. The δέ places πῶς and ποίῳ δὲ σώματι in such a parallel relation (see Hartung, Partik. I. p. 168 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 362) that it does not, indeed, mean or again (Hofmann), but sets over against the πῶς that which is intended to be properly the scope of the question: but (I mean) with what kind of a body do they come? Then from 1 Corinthians 15:36 onward there follows the answer to the question, which has been thus more precisely formulate.

ἔρχονται] namely, to those still alive at the Parousia, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 f. The presents ἐγείρ. and ἔρχ. bring what is in itself future vividly before us as a present object of contemplation. Comp. Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. iv. 39. So the same tense may bring the past also before us as present (Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 253). Erasmus puts it happily: “actio rei declaratur absque significatione temporis.”


Verses 36-41

1 Corinthians 15:36-41. In the first place, analogies from the experience of nature,(72) by way of preparation for the instruction, which then follows at 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff., regarding the ποιότης of the resurrection-body inquired abou.

ἄφρων] The deniers have thus, on the assumption of the identity of the resurrection-body with the body which is buried, found the ποιότης of the former to be inconceivable; but how foolish is this assumption! The nominative is not address, because without the article, but exclamation; so that to explain it grammatically we must supply εἶ. Comp. Luke 12:20 (Lachmann, Tischendorf), and see, generally, Bernhardy, p. 67; Winer, p. 172 [E. T. 228]; Kühner, II. § 507 c, remar.

σὺ σπείρεις] What thou sowest, is not made alive, etc. The σύ has the emphasis of the subsequent contrast with the divine agency in 1 Corinthians 15:38 : Thou on thy part; hence we must not take ἄφρων σύ togethe.

ζωοποιεῖται] description (suggested by the thing typified) of the springing up of the seed, which must first of all die; inasmuch, namely, as the living principle in it, the germ, grows out thereof, and the grain containing it becomes subject to decomposition. Comp. John 12:24. The ἀποθανεῖν is therefore, in the case of the seed sown, the analogue of the decay of the body buried. As the seed-corn in the earth must die by decomposition, in order to become alive in the springing germ, so must the body decay in the earth in order to become alive in the resurrection-body arising out of it at the resurrection of the dead. That it is not simply the necessity of dying to attain the resurrection-life (van Hengel; comp. Rückert and Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 374) which is depicted, is clear from this, that in the explanation of the resurrection the being sown necessarily represents the burial, and consequently the ἀποθανεῖν of the seed-corn, because it follows after the being sown, must correspond to the decay of the body.


Verse 37

1 Corinthians 15:37. καὶ σπείρεις] And what thou sowest,—not the body, which is to be, sowest thou. σπείρεις makes the attention rest upon itself first in general, independently of what follows, which forms a complete sentence by itself. See on Matthew 7:24; Matthew 10:14; Luke 21:6. What shall spring out of the grain, the plant, Paul calls τὸ σῶμα τὸ γενησόμ., because he has it before his mind as the analogue of the resurrection-body. The emphasis, however, lies upon τὸ γενησ.

γυμνὸν κόκκον] a naked grain, which is not yet clothed, as it were, with a plant-body (see what follows). Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:3. To this future plant-body corresponds the future resurrection-body with which that, which is buried and decays, is clothed. That it is not the soul or the πνεῦμα of the departed which corresponds to the γυμνὸς κόκκος (Holsten), is shown by σπείρεις; comp. with 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff.

εἰ τύχοι σίτου] it may be of wheat. Here, too, εἰ τύχοι does not mean, for example, but, if it so happens (that thou art just sowing wheat). See on 1 Corinthians 14:10.

τινος τῶν λοιπῶν] neuter. We are to supply from the connection σπερμάτων. Comp. Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 304, ed. 3.


Verse 38

1 Corinthians 15:38. δὲ θεός] setting over against the σὺ σπείρεις, 1 Corinthians 15:36, what is done on God’s part with the seed which on man’s part is sowe.

ἠθέλ.] has willed. It denotes the (already at the creation) completed act of the divine volition as embodied in the laws of natur.

καί] and indeed, as 1 Corinthians 3:5.

The diversity of the (peculiar, ἴδιον) organisms, which God bestows upon—i.e. causes to spring forth out of—the different seeds sown, while preserving the identity of the kinds, exposes all the more the folly of the question: ποίῳ δὲ σώματι ἔρχονται, in so far as it was meant to support the denial of the resurrection. As if God, who gives such varied plant-bodies to the sown grains, each according to its kind, could not also give new resurrection-bodies to the buried dead! How foolish to think that the same body which is buried (as e.g. the Pharisees conceived of the matter) must come forth again, if there is a resurrection! Every stalk of wheat, etc., refutes thee!


Verses 39-41

1 Corinthians 15:39-41. In order to make it conceivable that the same body need not come forth again, further reference is now made to the manifold diversity of organic forms in nature; so also faith in the resurrection cannot be bound up with the assumption of the sameness of the present and the future bodily organism. Very diverse are, namely: (1) the kinds of animal flesh (1 Corinthians 15:39); (2) the heavenly and earthly bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40); and (3) the lustre of the sun, of the moon, and of the stars (1 Corinthians 15:41).

σὰρξ κτηνῶν] flesh of cattle, i.e. not quadrupedum generally (so de Wette and Osiander, following older interpreters), but also not simply jumentorum (van Hengel), but pecorum (Vulgate), which are kept for household use and for burden-bearing; Plato, Crit. p. 109 B Herod. ii. 41; Xen. Anab. iii. 1. 19, 1 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24.

σώματα ἐπουράνια] heavenly bodies, i.e. bodies to be found in heaven. Comp. on John 3:12; Philippians 2:10. The bodies of the angels are meant by this (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:36; Phil. l.c.). So, too, de Wette.(73) Were we to understand by these words, as is usually done (so, among others, Hofmann; Hahn, Theol. d. N. Test. I. p. 265; Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 66; Philippi, Glaubensl. II. p. 292 f.), the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, and stars), we should be attributing to the apostle either our modern use of language, or the non-biblical mode of regarding the stars as living beings (see Galen, de usu part. 17 in Wetstein(74)), which is not to be proved even from Job 38:7. The same holds in opposition to Billroth, who understands the words as meaning heavenly organisms generally and indefinitely, from which sun, moon, and stars are then named by way of example. Sun, moon, and stars are not comprehended at all under σώματα ἐπουρ., and are first adduced in 1 Corinthians 15:41 as a third analogue, and that simply in reference to their manifold δόξα. The whole connection requires that σώ΄ατα should be bodies as actual organs of life, not inorganic things and materials; as, for instance, stones (Lucian, vitt. auct. 25), water (Stob. fl. app. ii. 3), and material things generally (Plato, Polit. p. 288 D) are designated in Greek writers—not, however, in the New Testament—by σῶμα. Had Paul meant heavenly bodies in the modern sense, he would in that case, by describing them as bodies, have committed a μετάβασις εἰς ἄλλο γένος; whereas, on the contrary, the bodies of the angels, especially when we consider the similarity of those who are raised up to the angels, which was taught by Jesus Himself, were essentially included as relevant to the subject in the list of the diversities of bodily organization here enumerated (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection). He then, 1 Corinthians 15:41, brings forward in addition the heavenly bodies only in respect of the diversity—not of their bodies, but—of the lustre of their light.

σώματα ἐπίγεια] bodies to be found on earth, that is, the bodies of men and beasts.

Both kinds of bodies, the heavenly and earthly, are of different sorts of peculiar glory,—the former encompassed with a heavenly radiancy (Matthew 28:3; Acts 12:7, al.), the latter manifesting strength, grace, beauty, skilful construction, and the like in their outward appearance. Notice that in 1 Corinthians 15:40 ἑτέρα is used, because the subjects are of specifically different kinds and qualities. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 15:41, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:39.—1 Corinthians 15:41. Sun-lustre is one thing, and moon-lustre another, and lustre of stars another (i.e. another than solar and lunar lustre). Paul uses, however, ἀστέρων, not ἀστέρος, because the stars too among themselves have not one and the same lustre; hence he adds by way of explanation: for star differs from star in lustre. διαφέρει is thus simply differt (Vulgate), not excellit (Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:31; Matthew 12:12), which the context does not suggest. Regarding ἐν with διαφέρει, comp. Plato, Pol. viii. p. 568 A Dem. 291, 17; Bremi, ad Isocr. I. p. 169. The accusative or dative of more precise definition is more usual (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 394). The design of 1 Corinthians 15:4 is not to allude to the different degrees of glory of the bodies of the saints (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theodoret, Calovius, Estius, al.), which is neither indicated in what precedes nor adverted to in the application 1 Corinthians 15:42 ff., and hence has no foundation in the context; but Calvin rightly remarks: “Non disputat, qualis futura sit conditionis differentia inter sanctos post resurrectionem, sed quid nunc different corpora nostra ab iis, quae olim recipiemus … ac si diceret: nihil in resurrectione futurum doceo, quod non subjectum sit jam omnium oculis.” Comp. also Krauss.

Generally, let us beware of forcing upon the individual points in 1 Corinthians 15:39-41 different individual references also,(75) contrary to the application which the apostle himself makes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.


Verses 42-44

1 Corinthians 15:42-44. Application of the passage from 1 Corinthians 15:36 ( σπείρεται) on to 1 Corinthians 15:41.

οὕτω καὶ ἀνάστασις τ. νεκρ.] sc. ἐστι. So does it hold also with the resurrection of the dead, in so far, namely, as the resurrection-body will be quite otherwise constituted than the present body.(76)

It is sown in corruption, etc. What is sown and raised up, is self-evident, and is also distinctly said in 1 Corinthians 15:44, on occasion being given by the adjectival form of expression, into which the discourse there passes.

On σπείρεται, the remark of Grotius is sufficient: “cum posset dicere sepelitur, maluit dicere seritur, ut magis insisteret similitudini supra sumtae de grano.” The apostle falls back on the image of the matter already familiar to the readers, because it must have by this time become clear to them in general from this image, that a reproduction of the present body at the resurrection was not to be thought of. The fact, again, that the image of sowing had already gone before in this sense,—in the sense of interment,—excludes as contrary to the text, not only van Hengel’s interpretation, according to which σπείρεται is held to apply to generation and man is to be conceived as the subject, but also Hofmann’s view, that the sowing is the giving up of the body to death, without reference to the point whether it be laid in the earth or not. The sowing is man’s act, but the ἐγείρεται God’s act, quite corresponding to the antithesis cf σύ, 1 Corinthians 15:36, and δὲ θεός, 1 Corinthians 15:38.

ἐν φθορᾷ] in corruption, i.e. in the condition of decay, is the body when it is buried.(77) Of a wholly different nature, however, will be the new body which raises itself at the resurrection-summons (1 Corinthians 15:52 f.) out of the buried one (as the plant out of the seed-corn); it is raised in the condition of incorruptibility. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:50; 1 Corinthians 15:52.

ἐν ἀτιμίᾳ] in the condition of dishonour. Chrysostom ( τί γὰρ εἰδεχθέστερον νεκροῦ διαῤῥυέντος;), Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Beza, Grotius, al., including Billroth, have rightly understood this of the foeditas cadaveris; for σπείρεται represents the act of burial. Erasmus, Calvin, Vorstius, Estius, Rosenmüller, al., including Flatt (comp. Rückert), hold that it refers to the “ante mortem miseriis et foeditatibus obnoxium esse,” Estius. So also de Wette (comp. Osiander and Hofmann) in reference to all the three points, which, according to these expositors, are meant to designate the nature of the living body as regards its organization, or at least to include it (comp. Maier) in their scope. But this mode of conception, according to which the definition of state characterizes the earthly body generally according to its nature, not specially according to the condition in which it is at its interment, comes in only at the fourth point with σῶμα ψυχικόν in virtue of the change in the form of expression which is adopted on that very account. From the way in which Paul has expressed the first three points, he desires to state in what condition that which is being sown is at its sowing; in what condition, therefore, the body to be buried is, when it is being buried. This, too, in opposition to Ewald’s view: “even the best Christians move now in corruption, in outward dishonour before the world,” et.

ἐν δόξῃ] refers to the state of outward glory, which will be peculiar to the resurrection-bodies; 1 Corinthians 15:40. It is the σύμμορφον εἶναι τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης χριστοῦ, Philippians 3:21.

ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ] not: “variis morbis et periculis obnoxium,” Rosenmüller and others, comp. Rückert (weakliness); for it refers to the already dead body ( σπείρεται), but: in the condition of powerlessness, inasmuch as all ability, all ἰσχύς (Soph. Oed. Col. 616), all σθένος of the limbs (Pindar, Nem. v. 72, x. 90) has vanished from the dead body. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theodoret, Theophylact, al., narrow the reference too much in an arbitrary way, applying it simply to the inability to withstand corruption. ἐν ἀσθ. is not a superfluous (de Wette), but a characteristic mark which specifically distinguishes the dead from the living bod.

ἐν δυνάμει] in the condition, of strength: the resurrection body will be endowed with fulness of strength for life and activity. What Grotius adds: “cum sensibus multis, quos nunc non intelligimus,” is perhaps true in itself, but is not conveyed in ἐν δυνάμει.

Instead of adducing one by one further qualities of the body as buried, with their opposites in the resurrection-body, Paul sums up by naming in addition that which conditions those other qualities, the specific fundamental nature of the present body which is buried, and of the future one which is raised: σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικὸν, ἐγείρ. σ. πνευματικόν, i.e. there is sown a psychical body, etc. This is not opposed to the identity of the body, but the one which rises is quite differently qualified; there is buried a ψυχικόν, there rises a πνευ΄ατικόν. That is the new ποιότης τοῦ σώματος in which the risen man comes (1 Corinthians 15:35); but the expression, which sets forth the difference as two subjects, is stronger and more significant than if we should take it with Hofmann: it is sown as a psychical body, etc.

The body which is buried is ψυχικόν, inasmuch as the ψυχή, this power of the sensuous and perishable life (comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:14), was its life-principle and the determining element of its whole nature (consisting of flesh and blood, 1 Corinthians 15:50). The ψυχή had in it, as Oecumenius and Theophylact say, τὸ κῦρος κ. τὴν ἡγε΄ονίαν. The resurrection-body, however, will be πνευ΄ατικόν, i.e. not an ethereal body (Origen, comp. Chrysostom),(78) which the antithesis of ψυχικόν forbids; but a spiritual body, inasmuch as the πνεῦμα, the power of the supersensuous, eternal life (the true, imperishable ζωή), in which the Holy Spirit carries on the work of regeneration and sanctification (Romans 8:16-17), will be its life-principle and the determining element of its whole nature. In the earthly body the ψυχή, not the πνεῦμα, is that which conditions its constitution and its qualities, so that it is framed as the organ of the ψυχή;(79) in the resurrection-body the reverse is the case; the πνεῦμα, for whose life-activity it is the adequate organ, conditions its nature, and the ψυχή has ceased to be, as formerly, the ruling and determining element. We are not, however, on this account to assume, with Rückert, that Paul conceived the soul as not continuing to subsist for ever,—a conception which would do away with the essential completeness and thereby with the identity of the human being. On the contrary, he has conceived of the πνεῦμα in the risen bodies as the absolutely dominant element, to which the psychical powers and activities shall be completely subordinated. The whole predicates of the resurrection-body, contrasted with the properties of the present body, are united in the likeness to the angels, which Jesus affirms of the risen, Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:36, and in their being fashioned like unto the glorified body of Christ, as is promised by Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:48-49; Philippians 3:21. How far the doctrine of Paul is exalted above the assertion by the Rabbins of the (quite crass) identity of the resurrection-body with the present one, may be seen from the citations in Wetstein on 1 Corinthians 15:36, and in Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 938 f.

εἰ ἔστι σῶμα ψυχ., ἔστι καὶ κ. τ. λ.] logical confirmation of the σῶμα πνευματ. just mentioned. It is to be shown, namely, that it is not an air-drawn fancy to speak of the future existence of a σῶμα πνευματικόν: If it is true that there is a psychical body, then there is also a spiritual body, then such a body cannot be a non-ens—according to the mutually conditioning relations of the antitheses. The emphasis lies on the twice-prefixed ἔστι, existit (comp. the Rabbinical אית in Schoettgen, Hor. p. 670). The logical correctness of the sentence, again, depends upon the presupposition (1 Corinthians 15:42 f.) that the present and the future body stand in the relation of counterparts to each other. If, therefore, there exists a psychical body (and that is the present one), then a pneumatic body also must be no mere idea, but really existent (and that is the resurrection-body).


Verse 45

1 Corinthians 15:45. Scriptural confirmation for the εἰ ἔστι σῶμα ψ. κ. τ. λ.

οὕτω] so, i.e. in this sense, corresponding to what has been said above, it stands written also, etc. The passage is from Genesis 2:7 according to the LXX. ( κ. ἐγένετο ἄνθρ. εἰς ψ. ζ.), but with the addition of the more precisely explanatory words πρῶτος and ἀδάμ. The citation extends only to ζῶσαν; the ἔσχατος κ. τ. λ. that follow are words of the apostle, in which he gives an explanation of his οὕτω by calling attention, namely, to the opposite nature of the last Adam, as that to which the Scripture likewise pointed by its description of the first Adam, in virtue of the typical relation of Adam to Christ. He joins on these words of his own, however, immediately to the passage of Scripture, in order to indicate that the ἔσχατοςζωοποιοῦν follows as necessarily from it according to its typical reference, as if the words had been expressed along with it.(80) He thus gives expression to the inference which is tacitly contained in the statement, by adding forthwith this self-evident conclusion as if belonging also to the passage of Scripture, because posited for it by the inner necessity of the antithesis. When others, such as Billroth and Rückert, assume that ἔσχατος κ. τ. λ. is meant really to be a part of the Scripture-quotation, they in that case charge the apostle with having made the half of the citation himself and given it out as being Bible words; but assuredly no instance is to be found of such an arbitrary procedure, however freely he handles passages from the Old Testament elsewhere. And would the readers, seeing that ἐγένετοζῶσαν is such a universally known statement, have been able to recognise in ἔσχατος κ. τ. λ. Bible words? According to Hofmann, οὕτω καὶ γέγρ. is a completed sentence, which only states that the distinction between two kinds of human body is scriptural. In order to demonstrate this scripturalness the apostle then applies the passage Genesis 2:7. But against this it may be urged, first, that Paul is wont in general to use the γέγραπται for citing passages of Scripture; secondly, that the reader could all the less think here of another use of the word, since in reality at the moment a passage of Scripture, and that a universally familiar one, is joined on directly and without a particle (such as γάρ) to lead the thoughts aright in another directio.

ἐγένετο] by his creation, by means of the animation through God’s breat.

εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν] לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָה comp. Genesis 1:30, unto a living soul-nature, so that thus the body of Adam must be formed as the receptacle and organ of the ψυχή, must be a σῶμα ψυχικόν.(81) Therewith sin itself is not assumed as yet, nor even the necessity of its future entrance (comp. Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 133), but the susceptibility for it, which, however, did not fall within the scope of the apostle her.

ἔσχατος ἀδάμ is Christ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:14; Neve Schalom, 1 Corinthians 9:9 : “Adamus postremus ( האחרון) est Messias.” He is called, however, and is the last Adam in reference to the first Adam, whose antitype He is as the head and the beginner of the new humanity justified and redeemed through Him; but at the same time in reference also to the fact, that after Him no other is to follow with an Adamite vocation. Apart from this latter reference, He may be called also the second Adam. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:47.

εἰς πνεῦ΄α ζωοποι.] unto a life-giving spirit-being, sc. ἐγένετο. It is thereby expressed that the body of Christ became a σῶμα πνευματικόν. But what is the point of time, at which Christ εἰς πνεῦ΄α ζωοπ. ἐγένετο? Not as a created being, as one of the heavenly forms in the divine retinue before His mission (Holsten), nor yet in His incarnation,(82) whether we may supply mentally a Deitate (Beza, comp. too Räbiger, Christol. Paul. p. 35; Baur, Delitzsch, al.), or take refuge in the communicatio hypostatica (Calovius and others); for during his earthly life Christ had a ψυχικὸν σῶμα (only without sin, Romans 8:3), which ate, drank, slept, consisted of flesh and blood, suffered, died, etc. The one correct answer in accordance with the context, since the point in hand has regard to the resurrection (and see especially 1 Corinthians 15:44), can only be: after His death (comp. Hellwag in the Tübing. theol. Jahrb. 1848, 2, p. 240; Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, II. p. 122 ff.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 314), and indeed through His resurrection, Christ became εἰς πνεῦμα ζωοπ. The body, doubtless, of the Risen One before His ascension (hence the Socinians think here of the latter event; so, too, J. Müller and Maier) consisted still of flesh and blood, still ate, drank, etc.; but it was immortal, and so changed (see Remark appended to Luke 24:51) that it already appears as πνευ΄ατικόν, although it was only at the ascension that it entered upon its completion in that respect, and consequently into its δόξα as the σῶ΄α τῆς δόξης (Philippians 3:21). The event producing the change, therefore, is the resurrection; in virtue of this, the last Adam, who shall appear only at the Parousia in the whole efficiency of His life-power (1 Corinthians 15:47), became ( ἐγένετο) εἰς πνεῦ΄α ζωοποιοῦν,(83) and that through God, who raised Him u.

ζωοποιοῦν] οὐκ εἶπεν· εἰς πνεῦμα ζῶν, ἀλλὰ ζωοποιοῦν τὸ μεῖζον εἰπών, Theophylact. The connection shows what ζωή is meant in ζωοποιοῦν, namely, the resurrection-life, which Christ, who has become πνεῦμα ζωοπ., works at His Parousia. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:22; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; John 5:21 ff. This limitation of the reference of ζωοποιοῦν, made in accordance with the context, shows that we have not here an argument proving too much (in opposition to Baur, neut. Theol. p. 197).


Verse 46

1 Corinthians 15:46. After it has been stated and confirmed from Scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:44-45 that there exists not simply a psychical, but also a spiritual body, it is now further shown that the latter cannot precede the former, but that the reverse must be the case. “Nevertheless the pneumatic is not first, but the psychical; afterwards the pneumatic.” We are not, with the majority of the older commentators (also Flatt, Osiander, Hofmann), to supply σῶμα (which the context does not even suggest); but Paul states quite generally the law of development,(84) that the pneumatic appears later than the psychical, a gradation from lower to higher forms, which goes through the whole creation. This general statement he then proves:


Verse 47

1 Corinthians 15:47, by the concrete phenomena of the two heads of the race of mankind, Adam and Christ.

The principal emphasis is upon πρῶτος and δεύτερος, so that the former corresponds to the πρῶτον, and the latter to the ἔπειτα of 1 Corinthians 15:46; hence, too, ἔσχατος is not used here again. “The first man (not the second) is of earthly origin, earthy (consisting of earth-material); the second man (not the first) is of heavenly origin.”

ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός] Origin and material nature. Comp. Genesis 2:7, χοῦνλαβὼν ἀπὸ τῆς λῆς; Ecclesiastes 3:20; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 1 Maccabees 2:63. That the article (John 3:31) was not required with γῆς (in opposition to van Hengel, who, on account of the lacking article, explains it, terrenus sc. terram sapiens; and then χοϊκός; humilia spirans) is clear not only in general (see Winer, p. 114 [E. T. 149]), but also from passages such as Wisdom of Solomon 15:8; Wisdom of Solomon 17:1; Sirach 36:10; Sirach 40:11. It may be added, that since, by the words ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, Adam’s body is characterized as ψυχικὸν σῶμα, as in 1 Corinthians 15:45, and the psychical corporeity, again, taken purely in itself (without the intervention of a modifying relation), includes mortality (1 Corinthians 15:44), it is clear that Paul regards Adam as created mortal, but so that he would have become immortal, and would have continued free from death, if he had not sinned. The protoplasts are accordingly in his eyes such as under an assumed condition potuerunt non mori, which, however, through the non-fulfilment of this condition, i.e. through the Fall, came to nothing; so that now death, and that as a penalty, came to be a reality,—a view which agrees alike with his own doctrinal statement, Romans 5:12,(85) and also with Genesis. For had the protoplasts not sinned, they would, according to Genesis, have remained in Paradise, and would have become immortal (Genesis 3:22) through the enjoyment of the tree of life (Genesis 2:9), which God had not forbidden to them (Genesis 2:16-17). But they were driven out of Paradise, before they had yet eaten of this tree (Genesis 3:22); and so, certainly, according to Genesis also, through sin came death into the world as the penalty appointed for them by God (Genesis 2:17). Comp. Augustin, De pecc. meritis et remiss. i. 5 : “ipsum mortale non est factum mortuum nisi propter peccatum;” see, too, Ernesti, l.c. p. 248 f.; Ewald, Jahrb. II. p. 153 f.

ἐξ οὐρανοῦ] of heavenly derivation. This applies to the glorification of the body of Christ,(86) originating from heaven, i.e. wrought by God (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:2), in which glorified body He is in heaven, and will appear at His Parousia (comp. Philippians 3:20). Comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:45. According to de Wette (comp. also Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 437 f., and Christol. pp. 228, 242), it applies to the whole personality of Jesus, “which, through its preponderating spirituality, has also a spiritual body,” or to the heavenly origin characterizing the nature of the whole person (Beyschlag). But the above-given definite reference is the only one which corresponds, in accordance with the text, to the contrast of ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, which applies to the formation of Adam’s body, as well as to the whole point of the development ( σῶμα πνευματικόν). Van Hengel is wrong in seeking to conclude from the absence of the article here also, that the heavenly dignity of Jesus is meant. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:2; Galatians 1:8. Paul has the article before οὐρανός or οὐρανοί, after ἐκ or ἀπό, only in 1 Thessalonians 1:10.

No predicate in the second clause corresponds to the χοϊκός of the first half of the verse,(87) because the material of the glorified body of Christ transcends alike conception and expression.


Verse 48

1 Corinthians 15:48. Application to our present and future bodily nature. We are to supply simply ἐστί and εἰσί.

χοϊκός] Adam.

οἱ χοϊκοί] all Adam’s posterity, as such, in so far as they have the same material nature with their first father. This common nature is the psychical corporeity.

ἐπουράνιος] He who is in heaven (comp. the frequent ἐπουράνιοι θεοί in Homer; Matthew 18:35; Philippians 2:10; 2 Maccabees 3:39; see also on 1 Corinthians 15:40), i.e. Christ; not, however, as the heavenly archetype of humanity, as which He was pre-existent in God (Beyschlag), but as the exalted to heaven, Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 4:8 ff.

οἱ ἐπουράνιοι] These are the risen Christians, inasmuch as they shall be citizens of the heavenly commonwealth, Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 12:22; 2 Timothy 4:18. The common nature of the ἐπουράνιος and the ἐπουράνιοι is the pneumatic body. Comp. Philippians 3:21. Instead of referring the twofold resemblance in kind to the nature of the body, Hofmann makes it refer to the nature of the life,—on the one side, sinfulness and nothingness; on the other side, holiness and glory. But the matter is thus turned to its ethical side, which Paul cannot have in view here in accordance with the whole connection, which has to do only with the twofold bodily condition—that belonging to the first, and that to the last Adam. This also in opposition to van Hengel.


Verse 49

1 Corinthians 15:49. The Recepta φορέσομεν is to be retained (see the critical remarks), for which van Hengel. too, decides, although taking τ. εἰκόνα in the moral sense An exhortation ( φορέσωμεν, defended by Hofmann) lies all the more remote from the connection, seeing that Paul proceeds in his development of the subject with καί, and it is certainly not the ethical, but the physical conception of εἰκών which is prepared for by what precedes (see still τοιοῦτοι, 1 Corinthians 15:48); also in what follows, 1 Corinthians 15:50, it is not an ethical, but a physiological relation which is expressed. Beza says well, in opposition to the reading φορέσωμεν and its interpretation: “Hoc plane est detortum, quum res ipsa clamet, Paulum in proposito argumento pergere.” What, namely, was already contained in 1 Corinthians 15:48, he now expresses in a yet more definite and concrete way (hence, too, passing over into the first person), bringing out with much emphasis the full meaning of the weighty statement, thus: And as we have borne (before the Parousia) the image of the earthly (of Adam),—i.e. the psychical body which makes us appear as like in kind to Adam,—so shall we (after the Parousia) bear also the image of the heavenly (of Christ), i.e. the pneumatic body. Paul transfers himself and his readers to the turning-point of the Parousia, from which the aorist dates backward in the αἰὼν οὗτος, and the future forward in the αἰὼν μέλλων.

To extend the “we” to all men (Krauss) is forbidden by the whole context, and would presuppose the idea of the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων.

Regarding φορεῖν, the continuous φέρειν, see on Romans 13:4.

REMARK.

Adopting the reading φορέσωμεν, we should not, with Bengel, import the idea of a promise, but take it as hortative, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, al., including Hofmann, so that εἰκών would fall to be understood ethically. εἰκόνα δὲ χοϊκοῦ τὰς φαύλας πράξεις λέγει· εἰκόνα δὲ τοῦ ἐπουρανίου τὰς ἀγαθάς, Theophylact. In connection with this Hofmann takes καθώς argumentatively (comp. on Philippians 1:7; Philippians 2:12): “seeing that we have borne … so must we now also be willing to bear …” But that καθώς is the ordinary as of comparison, is shown by the two comparative clauses in 1 Corinthians 15:48, and by the annexing of the καθώς to them by the simple καί, which continues the comparison in the way of assertion. Moreover, φορέσωμεν would, in fact, not mean, “we must be willing to bear,” but, “let us bear.”


Verse 50

1 Corinthians 15:50. The discussion regarding the nature of the resurrection body is now closed with a negative axiom, which serves to confirm the φορέσομεν τ. εἰκ. τ. ἐπουρ.(88) But this (in order to add yet this general statement in confirmation of what has just been said) I assure you of. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:29. The sense of a concession (for the spiritualistic opponents, so Usteri, Billroth, Olshausen) is imported into the context and the simple φημί. According to van Hengel, Paul writes to obviate a misapprehension; his readers were not to think that the φορέσομεν κ. τ. εἰκόνα τοῦ ἐπουρανίου consisted in the fellowship of the flesh and blood, which Christ had before and after His resurrection. But there was no occasion presented for such an opinion, since the Christian belief was assured that the heavenly Christ has a glorified body (Philippians 3:21). Hofmann (following Beza) refers τοῦτο to what precedes, and takes ὅτι as introducing the ground, why the apostle has uttered 1 Corinthians 15:46-49. But this ground is of a positive nature, and does not lie in the merely negative thought 1 Corinthians 15:50, but much deeper, namely, in the Scriptural (1 Corinthians 15:45) relation of the bodily condition of the earthly and of the heavenly Ada.

σὰρξ κ. αἷμα] i.e. the bodily nature which we have in this temporal life, the chief constituents of which are flesh and blood,(89) the latter as the seat of life. τὴν θνητὴν φύσιν καλεῖ· ἀδύνατον δὲ ταύτην ἐτι θνητὴν οὖσαν τῆς ἐπτουρανίου βασιλείας τυχεῖν, Theodoret. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:13. σ. κ. αἷμα is just as little to be taken in the ethical sense, which σάρξ by itself elsewhere has, as is φθορά afterwards (in opposition to Chrysostom, Theophylact, al.).

οὐδέ] and not, still dependent upon ὅτι. This second half of the verse forms with the first a parallelism, in which the first clause names the concrete matters, and the second one the general class (the categories in question), to which the former belong. The φθορά, i.e. according to the context (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:42), the corruption (and to this category flesh and blood belong, which fall a prey to corruption), inherits not the incorruptibility, to the realm of which belong the relations of the Messianic kingdom, and in particular the glorified body of the sharers in the kingdom. The abstract nouns instead of τὸ φθαρτόν and τὸ ἄφθαρτον have a certain solemnity. Comp. Dissen, ad Pind. p. 476: “Sublimitatem et πάθος adjuvant abstracta sic posita pro concretis.” Regarding κληρονομ. of the entrance upon the Messianic possession, comp. 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 3:29. The present sets what is sure and certain before us as present.


Verse 51

1 Corinthians 15:51. After Paul has with the weighty axiom in 1 Corinthians 15:50 disposed of the question ποίῳ δὲ σώματι ἔρχονται, which he has been discussing since 1 Corinthians 15:35, a new point, which has likewise a right withal not to be left untouched in this connection, however mysterious it is, now presents itself for elucidation, namely, what shall happen in the case of those who shall be yet alive at the Parousia. This last, as it were, appended part of his discussion begins without transition in a direct and lively way ( ἰδού), designated too as μυστήριον, as dogma reconditum, the knowledge of which Paul is conscious that he possesses by ἀποκάλυψις.(90) See on Romans 11:25.

πάντες ΄ὲν οὐ κοι΄. κ. τ. λ.] is held by the commentators to mean: we shall indeed not all die, but all shall be changed. They either assume a transposition of the negation (so the majority of the older expositors, following Chrysostom, also Heydenreich, Flatt, Osiander, Reiche, and van Hengel); or they hold that Paul had ἀλλαγ., upon which all the emphasis lies, already in his mind in connection with the first πάντες: “We all—shall not indeed die until then, but notwithstanding—all shall be changed,” Billroth, whom Olshausen, de Wette, Maier, follow; or (so Rückert) the meaning is: die indeed we shall not all, etc., so that, according to this view, in pure Greek it would be said: κοιμηθησόμεθα πάντες μὲν οὐ.(91) Three makeshifts, contrary to the construction, and without proof or precedent, in order to bring out a meaning assumed beforehand to be necessary, but which is incorrect, for Paul after 1 Corinthians 15:52 can only have applied ἀλλαγησόμεθα to those still living at the Parousia, and not, as according to that assumed meaning must be the case, to those already dead. The result of this is, at the same time, that the subject of οὐ κοιμ. and ἀλλαγ. must be Paul himself, and the whole of those who, like him, shall yet witness the Parousia (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 : ἡμεῖς οἱ ξῶντες), as could not but be clear to the reader from ἀλλαγ. Hence we must interpret strictly according to the order of the words: we shall indeed all not sleep (i.e. shall not have to go through the experience of dying at the Parousia, in order to become sharers in the resurrection body, but shall remain alive then), but shall, doubtless, all be changed.(92) Regarding the subject-matter, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This interpretation alone, according to which οὐ, in conformity with the quite ordinary use of it (comp. immediately οὐ δύναται, 1 Corinthians 15:50), changes the conception of the word before which it stands into its opposite (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 278), is not merely verbally correct, but also in keeping with the character of a μυστήριον; while, according to the usual way of taking it, the first half at least contains nothing at all mysterious, but something superfluous and self-evident. Our interpretation is adopted and defended by Winer since his fifth edition (p. 517, ed. 7 [E. T. 695]), comp. Ewald and Kling;(93) but it is contested by Fritzsche, de conform. Lachm. p. 38; Reiche, Commentar. crit.; de Wette, van Hengel, Hofmann, Hoelemann, neue Bibelstud. p. 276 ff., who, it may be added, looks upon the passage as regards text and interpretation as a “still uncertain” one, but decidedly denies that there is here or in 1 Thessalonians 4 an expectation of the Parousia as nigh at hand. The objections raised against our view are insufficient; for (a) something absurd would result from it only on the supposition of the subject being all Christians or Paul and all his readers; (b) to make πάντες refer to the whole category of those among whom Paul reckoned himself, that is, to all who should still live to see the Parousia, of whom the apostle says that they shall not attain to the new body by the path of death, is not only not inadmissible, but is established in accordance with the context by the predicate ἀλλαγησ., which does not include the process of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52); (c) the LXX. Numbers 23:13 cannot be used to support the reference of οὐ to πάντες, for in the words of that passage: πάντας δὲ οὐ ΄ὴ ἴδῃς, the wellknown use of οὐ ΄ή testifies irrefragably in favour of the connection of the negation, not with πάντας, but directly with the verb. Equally unavailable is the LXX. Joshua 11:13, where by πάσας τὰς πόλεις τὰς κεχω΄ατισ΄ένας οὐκ ἐνέπρησεν it is declared of the whole of the hill-cities that Israel left them unburnt, so that the negation thus belongs to the verb alongside of which it stands. In Sirach 17:30 also the words οὐ δύναται (it is impossible) belong to each other; in John 3:16; John 6:29, again, the mode of expression is quite of another kind (in opposition to Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 106 [E. T. 121]). In our text the repetition of πάντες ought to have sufficed of itself to prevent misapprehension of the plain meaning: all we shall at the return of the Lord, in order to our entering glorified into His kingdom, not need first to fall asleep, but shall all be changed living (1 Corinthians 15:52), so that our ψυχικὸν σῶ΄α shall become a πνευ΄ατικόν.


Verse 52

1 Corinthians 15:52. ἐν ἀτόμῳ, ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθ.] A double, because a thoroughly designed and extremely exact description of the suddenness of the ἀλλαγησ., which is meant wholly to exclude even the possibility of those still alive having first, perhaps, to die at the Parousia, in order to come into the resurrection-lif.

ἄτομον, what is indivisible, an atom (Plato, Soph. p. 229 D), is here a little indivisible point of time. ἐν ἀτόμῳ· ἐν ῥιπήματι, Hesychius. Comp. the phrase, current in Greek writers, ἐν ἀκαρεῖ (Lucian, As. 37; Alciphron. iii. 25).

ἐν τῇ ἐσχ. σάλπιγγι] at the last trumpet, while it is sounded (by an archangel). See Winer, p. 361 [E. T. 482]. Comp. ἐν αὐλοῖς, Pindar, Ol. v. 45. Paul might also have written: ἀπὸσάλπιγγος, Polyb. iv. 13. 1. Regarding the subject-matter, comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and Lünemann and Ewald on that passage. The last trumpet is that sounding at the final moment of this age of the world. It does not conflict with this statement, if we suppose that Paul conceived the second resurrection also (1 Corinthians 15:24) to take place with trumpet-sound, for ἐσχ. has its temporal reference in αἰὼν οὗτος. De Wette (so, too, in the form of a suggestion, Vatablus; and comp. previously, Theodoret of Mopsuestia) thinks of the last among several trumpet-signals, against which, however, is the simple, not more precisely defined σαλπίσει γάρ which follows. This, too, in opposition to Osiander, van Hengel, Maier, and Hofmann. To understand, with Olshausen, who follows older expositors ( τινές even already in Theophylact), the seventh trumpet, Revelation 8:9, with which, along with the trumpets of Jericho, Hofmann also compares it, is to place it on the same level with the visions of the Revelation, for doing which we have no ground, since in 1 Thess. too, l.c., only one trumpet is mentioned, and that one taken for granted as well known. It is true that the Rabbins also taught that God will sound the trumpet seven times, and that in such a way that the resurrection will develope itself in seven acts;(94) but this conception, too, was foreign to the apostle, seeing that he represents the rising as an instantaneous event without breaks of development. It may be added, that the trumpet of the Parousia (see, already, Matthew 24:31) is not to be explained away, either with Wolf and others: “cum signa apparebunt judicii jam celebrandi,” or, with Olshausen (comp. Maier), of a startling work of the Spirit, arousing mankind for a great end. Comp., too, Theophylact, who understands by the σάλπιγξ the κέλευσ΄α and νεῦ΄α of God τὸ διὰ πάντων φθάνον; as in substance also Usteri, p. 356, Billroth, Neander, Hofmann.(95) As regards the phrase in itself, we might compare the Homeric ἀμφὶ δὲ σάλπιγξεν μέγας οὐρανός, Il. xxi. 388, where the thunder (as signal for the onset) is meant. But the connection gives us no right whatever to assume a non-literal, imaginative representation. On the contrary, Paul has in fact carried with him the conception of the resurrection-trumpet (resting upon Exodus 19:16) from the popular sphere of conception, attested also in Matt. l.c. (comp. 4 Esdr. 6:24), into his Christian sphere,(96) as he then himself adds forthwith by way of confirmation and with solemn emphasis: σαλπίσει γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead (the Christians who have already died up to that time) shall be raised incorruptible, and we (who are still alive then) shall be changed. The paratactic expression (instead of ὅτε γάρ, or some other such form of subordination) should of itself have been sufficient to prevent the divesting the σαλπ. γάρ. of its emphasis by regarding it simply as an introduction to what follows in connection with ἐν τ. ἐσχ. σάλπ. (Hofmann); comp. Kühner, § 720, 4; Winer, p. 585 [E. T. 785]. A special attention is to be given to the σαλπίσ. Instead of ἡ΄εῖς ἀλλαγ., Paul might have written οἱ ζῶντες ἀλλαγήσονται; but from his persuasion that he should live to see the Parousia, he includes himself with the rest.(97) Comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:51. Van Hengel is wrong in referring οἱ νεκροί to those now (when Paul wrote) already dead, and ἡμεῖς to those now still alive, of whom a part will then be also dead; ἀλλαγ. can apply only to the change of the living.

σαλπίσει (sc. σαλπιγκτής) has become in its use just as impersonal as ὓει, νίφει, al. See Elmsl. ad Heracl. 830; Kühner, II. p. 36, and ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 17. The form σαλπίσω instead of σαλπίγξω is later Greek. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 191.


Verse 53

1 Corinthians 15:53. Confirmation of what has last been said, κ. ἡμεῖς ἀλλαγ., by the necessity of this chang.

δεῖ] denotes, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 15:50, the absolute necessit.

τὸ φθαρτὸν τοῦτο] pointing to it; Paul looks, as he writes, at his own bod.

ἐνδύσασθαι ἀφθαρσ.] figurative description (2 Corinthians 5:4) of the process of change to an incorruptible condition of existence; ἀθανασίας καὶ ἀφθαρσίας ἐπιούσης αὐτῷ, Chrysostom. The infinitives aorist are purposely chosen to denote the instantaneous completion.


Verse 54

1 Corinthians 15:54. Then, however, when this our change has taken place, shall the dominion of death cease; no one shall die any mor.

ὅταν δὲἀθανασ.] an, as it were, triumphant repetition of the same weighty words. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxxix. Theodoret calls the passage a song of victory. All the less is the first clause to be rejected, with Hofmann, on critical grounds. The first corrector of א has rightly restored i.

γενήσεται] shall come to pass (in respect of its contents) the word, i.e. it shall become actual,—the written word shall become fact. Hofmann wrongly takes it: Men shall then say so, as it stands written. Where a λόγος or ῥῆμα goes forth, i.e. is spoken, there stands along with it the preposition of direction (as John 10:35, Luke 3:2, and frequently; comp. Genesis 15:1, al.), or whence the word comes (as Jeremiah 26:1), or through whom it goes forth (from God; as Haggai 1:3). It may be added, that they are not things simultaneous which are announced in the protasis and apodosis (as Hofmann objects); but when that which is spoken of in the protasis shall have taken place, then, because from this time forward no one shall fall any more under the power of death, shall that be realized, etc. This is the happy consequence of that,—the complete victory of the life, which will link itself to that change which shall thus take place in the twinkling of an eye, as to its signal and prelud.

λόγος] effatum, oraculum, 1 Maccabees 7:16; Plato, Phaedr. p. 275 B Pindar, Pyth. iv. 105. Comp. Romans 9:9; John 12:38; John 15:25.

κατεπόθη κ. τ. λ.] Isaiah 25:8, not according to the LXX.,(98) but according to the original text; in quoting which, however, בִּלַּע is rendered as passive, and לנצח is expressed in the way in which it is often rendered in other passages, e.g. 2 Samuel 2:26, Job 36:7, Jeremiah 3:5 (but not here), by the LXX.: εἰς νῖκος. The meaning is: Death has been completely done away. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:4. This being brought to nought is represented under the image of being swallowed up (namely, by God; see the original text). As regards the event itself, comp. Revelation 21:4.

εἰς νῖκος] unto victory, i.e. so that thereby victory—namely, of the opposing power of eternal life in the future Aeon—is established; εἰς, in the sense of the result.(99) Comp. Matthew 12:20. νῖκος is a later form, in place of the old νίκη. See Hermann, Diss. de Orph. p. 821.

Since the personified θάνατος is, according to the context, bodily death and nothing more, this passage also (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:26) is of no avail for the establishment of the doctrine of restoration (in opposition to Olshausen). Comp. on 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Corinthians 15:28. The passages from the Rabbins, who likewise, upon the ground of Isa. l.c., teach: “in diebus ejus (Messiae) Deus S. B. deglutiet mortem,” may be seen in Wetstein.


Verse 55

1 Corinthians 15:55. Exulting exclamation of joy from the apostle (comp. as to ποῦ, Romans 3:27; 1 Corinthians 1:20), who transfers himself into that blessed future of the γενήσεται κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 15:54,(100) and breaks out, as it were, into an ἐπινίκιον. In doing so, he makes words from the LXX. Hosea 13:14 his own, with free alteration. This great freedom in availing himself of the passage almost solely in respect of the assonance of the words, and the whole lyrical cast of the outburst, make it less likely that 1 Corinthians 15:55 is still part of the quotation (the common view; but see, in opposition to it, van Hengel).

τὸ κέντρον] Paul images to himself death as a beast with a deadly sting (a scorpion, or the like). Billroth, following Schoettgen, thinks of a goad, which death uses in order to cultivate its field. But this conception is not in the least recalled by the context. Olshausen, too, is wrong in holding that τὸ κέντρον denotes that which elicits the forthputting of strength: “sin awakens the sleeping strength of death, and the law, again, that of sin.” Then, plainly, τὸ κέντρον τοῦ θανάτου, 1 Corinthians 15:56, would be that which stings death, which is impossible according to 1 Corinthians 15:55!

In the second question, according to the Recepta ποῦ σου, ᾅδη κ. τ. λ., the (personified) Hades is looked upon as having lost the victory; for it has not only had, in virtue of the resurrection of the bodies, to render up the souls of the departed which lay under its power, but it receives no other souls into its power any more. According to the reading: ποῦ σου, θάνατε κ. τ. λ. (see the critical remarks), the new element, which comes as a climax, is brought forward in τὸ νῖκος by way of addition, after a bold repetition of the same address; so that, putting aside the interrogative form, the meaning of the triumphant outburst is: Thou death stingest no more, for no one dies henceforth; thou death hast lost the victory, for the power of eternal life has won it over thee.


Verse 56

1 Corinthians 15:56 f., still retaining the conception of the κέντρον and the νῖκος, points, by way of happy conclusion (not as introduction to the admonition which follows, as Hofmann would have it), to the firm dogmatic ground upon which this certainty of future victory rests in a connected view of the gospel. “Seeing that death slays through sin (Romans 5:12), and sin, again, is powerful through the law (Romans 7:7 ff.), it is thus certain that God gives us the victory over death through Jesus Christ.” Christ, that is to say, has indeed blotted out sin through His ἱλαστήριον, has risen for our righteousness’ sake; and has thus withdrawn us from the curse of the law, and withdrawn us by His Spirit from its power to stir up and promote sin (Romans 8:1 ff.). In this proof set forth by the apostle, the summary of his whole gospel is contained. The form, however, is not argumentative, but, in correspondence with the elevated and emotional tone of the passage, such that shadow and light are placed beside each other, but with the light breaking forth after the darkness, as in Romans 7:25, in the shape of a cry of thanksgiving.

τῷ διδόντι] present; for this future victory of life over death is for us sure and certain.


Verse 58

1 Corinthians 15:58. Closing admonition, drawn in the way of inference by ὥστε from τῷ διδόντι ἡμῖν τὸ νῖκος διὰ κ. τ. λ. “Therefore—because you are sure of the victory—be stedfast,” etc. The εἰδότες κ. τ. λ., which glances back upon that sure νῖκος, testifies in favour of this reference of ὥστε; hence we have no adequate ground for referring ὥστε to the whole section (de Wette, van Hengel, al.), nay, even for making it extend to the whole Epistle (Hofmann).

ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακίν.] Comp. Colossians 1:23. To conceive of the readers as ethical athletes (Beza), is not suggested by the context. What is expressed is Christian perseverance in general, under the figure of standing firm, comp. 1 Corinthians 7:37 (opposite: σαλεύεσθαι, comp. Theodoret), in connection with which, again, ἀμετακίν. presents the perseverance more precisely as unseduceableness, both being in opposition to the possible seductions through the deniers of the resurrection. Comp. on ἀμετακίν., Plato, Ep. vii. p. 343 A Dion. Hal. i. p. 520; and on both words, Arist. Eth. ii. 4. 3.

περισσεύοντες ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ τ. κ. πάντ.] abounding in the work of the Lord, i.e. exceedingly active and energetic therein, always. This more precise definition of περισσ. is confirmed by the correlative κόπος ὑμῶν (your pains and labour); ἐν, again, denotes the definite sphere, wherein, etc. Comp. 2 Corinthians 8:7; Philippians 1:26; Colossians 2:7; Romans 15:13. The ἔργον τοῦ κυρίου is the work which is carried on in the service of Christ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 16:10. His is the work, in which His people labour. And they labour therein, each according to his different calling, by the active fulfilment of His will as servants of the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:5). The three points, ἑδραῖοι, ἀμετακ., περισσ. κ. τ. λ., form a climax.

εἰδότες] since ye know (comp. Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 4:14); it introduces the motive, so significant in this connection, to follow the περισσ. ἐν τ. . τ. κ.; κόπος ὑμῶν, your painstaking labour, which is devoted to the ἔργον τ. κυρίου.

κενός] in vain, i.e. without result. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. So would the labour be, if there were no resurrection and no victorious consummation of eternal life, because then the blessed reward of the labour would remain unattained, namely, the salvation of the Messianic kingdom which is destined for the labourer. Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:12; James 1:12, al.

ἐν κυρίῳ] is not to be connected with κόπος ὑμ., but with οὐκ ἔστι κενός. It depends upon Christ, that your labour is not fruitless; for in Him the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22) and the Messianic σωτηρία have their causal basis, 1 Corinthians 15:17-19; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:9 f., Romans 6:22-23, Romans 10:9, al.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-15.html. 1832.

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