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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
1 Corinthians 15

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Corinthians 15:1. γνωρίζω, I make known [I declare]) construed with τίνι, what, 1 Corinthians 15:2 : comp. Galatians 1:11. Paul had formerly made known the gospel to the Corinthians, but he now informs them at greater length, in what way, according to what method, on what foundation, and by what arguments he preached it to them. It had been formerly doctrine, it now becomes reproof, which severely stigmatizes ἀγνωσίαν, their ignorance, at 1 Corinthians 15:34.— τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, the gospel) concerning Christ, chiefly of His resurrection. A pleasing appellation, by which he allures the Corinthians, and a conciliatory preface, by which he holds them as it were in suspense.— παρελάβετε, ye have received) The preterite. [This receiving involves an everlasting obligation.—V. g.]— ἐστήκατε, ye stand) i.e. ye have obtained a standing-place, [you have taken your stand.] It is present, in sense.


Verse 2

1 Corinthians 15:2. σώζεσθε, ye are saved) The future in sense, 1 Corinthians 15:18-19.— εἱ κατέχετε, if ye keep) If here implies a hope, as is evident from what follows, unless, etc.


Verse 3

1 Corinthians 15:3. (132) ἐν πρώτοις, among the primary things) The things, which are of greatest importance, ought to be taught among the first things. בראשונה, the LXX., ἐν πρώτοις, i.e. in old time; 2 Samuel 20:18 : but, first, in Deuteronomy 13:9, and so here.— παρελάβον, I received) from Christ Himself, what I have spoken is no fiction, 2 Peter 1:16.— ὅτι, that) Paul says that he had declared among the first points of faith, not only the resurrection of Christ, but also the resurrection of the dead, which flows from it; and the Corinthians believed in these doctrines, before they were baptised in the name of Christ, who was crucified for them, and so also died and rose again, 1 Corinthians 1:13 : comp. Hebrews 6:2.— ὑπὲρ, for) a very effective expression, which means, for taking away our sins, Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5. So ὑπέρ, Hebrews 5:3; comp. Titus 2:14; Luke 1:71-74; 2 Corinthians 5:15.— ἁμαρτιῶν, sins) on account of which we had deserved death, 1 Corinthians 15:17.— γραφάς, Scriptures) Many things are said in Scripture respecting the death of Christ. Paul puts the testimony of Scripture before the testimony of those, who saw the Lord after His resurrection.


Verse 4

1 Corinthians 15:4. ἐτάφη, He was buried) Matthew 12:40. [Here the burial of Christ is more closely connected with His resurrection, than with His death. Assuredly, about the very moment of His death, the power of His life incapable of dissolution exerted itself, 1 Peter 3:18; Matthew 27:52. The grave was to Christ the Lord not the destined receptacle of corruption, but an apartment fitted for entering into life, Acts 2:26.—V. g.]— ἐγήγερται, was raised again [rose again]) This enlarging on the resurrection of Christ is the more suitable on this account, that the epistle was written about the time of the passover; ch. 1 Corinthians 5:7, note. We must urge the weight of the subject of the resurrection, inasmuch as it is one which is made light of in the present day under various pretexts.— κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς, according to the Scriptures) which could not but be fulfilled.


Verse 5

1 Corinthians 15:5. κηφᾷ, of Cephas) Luke 24:34.— δώδεκα, twelve) Luke 24:36. It is probable that Matthias was then also present. Photius in his Amphilochia and others read ἕνδεκα.(133)


Verse 6

1 Corinthians 15:6. ἔπειτα, after that) advancing to a greater number.— ἐπάνω πεντακοσίοις, more than five hundred) A remarkable appearance. Paul puts himself behind all these.— οἱ πλείους, the greater part) About 300 at least; οἱ πλείους, the majority were providentially preserved in life so long for the very purpose of bearing testimony [as they had obtained an authority akin to that of the apostles.—V. g.]; comp. Joshua 24:31.— μένουσιν, remain) in life. The opportunity of thoroughly sifting these witnesses remained unimpaired [undiminished.] Andronicus and Junius may be presumed to have been of that number, Romans 16:7.— καὶ, also) It was not of less importance to bring forward these as witnesses. They had died in this belief.— ἐκοιμήθησαν, have fallen asleep) as those, who are to rise again.


Verse 7

1 Corinthians 15:7. (135) πᾶσιν, by all) More seem here to be called Apostles than the twelve, 1 Corinthians 15:5; and yet the term is used in a stricter sense than at Romans 16:7.


Verse 8

1 Corinthians 15:8. ἒσχατον δὲ πάντων) and last of all, or rather, after them all, in order to exclude himself. Also after Stephen, Deuteronomy 31:27; Deuteronomy 31:29.— ἔσχατον τοῦ θανάτου μου, κ. τ. λ. after my death. [The appearances, that afterwards followed are not excluded by this expression, Acts 23:11.—V. g.]— ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι, as by the abortion [one born out of due time]) The LXX., ἐκτρώμα, Numbers 12:12. The article is emphatic. Paul applies to himself alone this denomination in reference to the circumstances of the appearance, and in reference to the present time of writing. What ἐκτρώμα, an abortion, is among children, he says, I am among the apostles; and by this one word he sinks himself lower than in any other way. As an abortion is not worthy of the name of man, so the apostle declares that he is not worthy of the name of apostle. The metaphor, is drawn from the same idea from which the term regeneration is used, 1 Peter 1:3 [Begotten again—by the resurrection of Jesus, etc.]; εἰ in ὡσπερεὶ somewhat softens the phrase: as if; he shows that this ought not to be pressed too far.— κᾀμόι, by me also) This word is elegantly placed at the end of the period.


Verse 9

1 Corinthians 15:9. ἐλάχιστος) in Latin Paulus, minimus.— ὅς, who) The language increases in strength.— ἐδίωξα, I persecuted) Believers even after repentance take guilt to themselves for the evil, which they have once perpetrated.


Verse 10

1 Corinthians 15:10. χάριτι, by grace) alone.— εἰμι, what I am) i.e. an apostle, who saw Chrits.— οὐ κενὴ, not vain) Paul proves the authority of the gospel and of his testimony to it by its effects.— ἀυτῶν, than they) They word is referred to 1 Corinthians 15:7.— πάντων, all) individually.— σὺν ἐμοὶ, with me) The particle with is suitable because he says, I laboured: comp. Mark 16:20.


Verse 11

1 Corinthians 15:11. κηρύσσομεν, we preach) all the apostles with one mouth.— ἐπιστεύσατε, ye believed) Faith once received lays the foundation for subsequent faith: and its first firmness not only obliges [binds] those wavering, but also often retains them.


Verse 12

1 Corinthians 15:12. εἰ) if [since], an affirmative particle.— πῶς, how) The connection between the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the resurrection of the dead was extremely manifest to Paul. Those, indeed, who held a resurrection in general as a thing impossible, could not believe even in the resurrection of Christ.— τινὲς) some, no doubt, of the Gentiles, Acts 17:32.


Verse 13

1 Corinthians 15:13. εἰ δὲ, but if) He now begins a retrospect, and enumerates all that he alleged at 3–11.


Verse 14

1 Corinthians 15:14. κενὸνκενὴ, vain—vain) contrary to what you yourselves have acknowledged, 1 Corinthians 15:11.— κενὴ, without reality, differs from ματαία, vain, 1 Corinthians 15:17, without use.


Verse 15

1 Corinthians 15:15. ψευδομάρτυρες, false witnesses) It is not lawful to declare concerning God what is not so; although it may seem to give glory to Him. False witnesses are, for instance, traders, who, for the sake of their gain, give fictitious accounts of earthquakes, inundations, and other great calamities, which have happened in distant countries, and lead souls otherwise not too credulous to thoughts and conversations concerning divine judgments, good in the proposition (thesis), but erroneous in the supposition (hypothesis) on which the proposition rests.


Verse 17

1 Corinthians 15:17. ἁμαρτίαις, in your sins), even those of blind heathenism; 1 Corinthians 15:34, [deprived of the hope of life eternal.—V. g.]


Verse 18

1 Corinthians 15:18. ἀπώλοντο, perished) they were, they are not. Paul speaks conditionally: the heathen denying the resurrection might, if that supposition were true, regard the dead just the same as if they had never been. Nor was there here any necessity for Paul distinctly to express, what it is for a man to be in his sins.


Verse 19

1 Corinthians 15:19. εἰ, if) The statement of those topics which are discussed at 1 Corinthians 15:20, etc., precedes this verse and 1 Corinthians 15:18 : and in this verse, there is a statement of those topics, which are treated of at 1 Corinthians 15:29-34.— ἐν, in) ἐν, as far as concerns, i.e. if our hope in Christ revolves so as to be fixed wholly within the bounds of this present life, only, μόνον.— ζωῇ, life) Scripture does not readily call this life, life; oftener, it call it αἰῶνα, the age: here it is spoken of after the manner of men, as Luke 16:25.— ἠλπικότες ἐσμὲν, we have hoped) we have believed with joyful anticipation of the future.— ἑλεεινότεροι, more miserable) the comparative degree is here in its strict sense: for if it had the force of the superlative, the article would have been put before it: We are more miserable than all men: the rest, viz. all other men, are not buoyed up with false hope, and freely enjoy the present life; we, if the dead rise not, are foolishly buoyed up with false hope, and through denying ourselves and renouncing the world, we lose the certain enjoyment of the present life, and are doubly miserable. Even now Christians are happy, but not in the things, by which the happiness of other men is maintained; and, if we take away the hope of another life, our present spiritual joy is diminished. Believers have immediate joy in God and therefore they are happy; but if there be no resurrection that joy is greatly weakened. This is the second weighty consideration; the first is, that the happiness of Christians is not placed in worldly things. By both of these weighty considerations, happiness from the hope of the resurrection is confirmed.


Verse 20

1 Corinthians 15:20. νυνί, now) Paul declares, that his preaching is not in vain, that their faith is not worthless, that their sins are taken away, that the dead in Christ are not annihilated, that the hope of Christians does not terminate with this life.— ἀπαρχὴ, the first fruit) viz. οὗσα or ὤν being. The mention of the first fruits admirably agrees with the time of the passover, at which, as we have observed above, this epistle was written; nay more, with the very day of Christ’s resurrection, which was likewise the day after the Sabbath, Leviticus 23:10-11.


Verse 21

1 Corinthians 15:21. καὶ) also. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ, for since, has here its apodosis.


Verse 22

1 Corinthians 15:22. πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, all die) he says, die, not in the preterite, as for example, Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21, but in the present, in order that in the antithesis he may the more plainly speak of the resurrection, as even still future. And he says, all. Those who are in the highest degree wicked die in Adam; but Paul is here speaking of the godly, of whom the first fruits, ἀπαρχὴ, is Christ, and as these all die in Adam, so also shall they all be made alive in Christ. Scripture everywhere deals with believers, and treats primarily of their resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 : and only incidentally of the resurrection of the ungodly.— ἐν τῷ χριστῷ, in Christ) These are the emphatic words in this clause. The resurrection of Christ being once established, the quickening of all is also established.— ζωοποιηθήσονται, they shall be made alive) He had said; they die, not, they are put to death; whereas now, not, they shall revive; but they shall be made alive, i.e. implying that it is not by their own power.


Verse 23

1 Corinthians 15:23. ἕκαστοςἀπαρχὴἔπειτα) In this verse we must thrice supply ἐστὶ or εἰσί. In 1 Corinthians 15:24 is must likewise be supplied.— τάγματι) in order divinely constituted. τάξις, however, is the abstract; τάγμα, the concrete. The conjugate, ὑπέταξεν, occurs in 1 Corinthians 15:27.— ἀπαρχὴ, first fruits) The force of this word comprehends the force of the word ἀρχὴ beginning, to which the end corresponds as its opposite.— ἔπειταεἶτα) ἔπειτα is more disjunctive; εἴτα more copulative, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7. ἔπειτα, afterwards, Latin, posterius, the comparative being opposed to primum, ‘first,’ 1 Corinthians 15:46; of which first the force is contained in first fruits, in this passage: εἴτα, afterwards, is used in a more absolute sense. The disjunctive power of the ἔπειτα, and the copulative power of the εἶτα is clear in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7. For the twelve are joined with Cephas by εἴτα; The five hundred are disjoined [from the Twelve and Cephas] and James from these; but the Apostles are coupled to the last named person by εἴτα. Therefore those, who are introduced by ἔπειτα, are put in between, as it were, by parenthesis. But here 1 Corinthians 15:23 the matter seems to be ambiguous. If we make a twofold division, we may either insert Christ and those who are Christ’s into the one member of the division, and τὸ τέλος, the end, into the other; or we may put Christ alone [by Himself] as the principle person, and join to the other side those who are Christ’s, and afterwards τὸ τέλος the end. By the former method, Christians are the appendage of their head; by the latter Christ everywhere retains His prerogative, and all the rest of persons and things are heaped together in one mass. By the former method, a comma is put in the text after χριστὸς,(136) by the latter also a colon; and so εἶτα retains a more absolute sense, and yet its copulative power more than the ἔπειτα. Paul describes the whole process of the resurrection, with those things that shall follow it, and therefore he renders the resurrection itself the more credible. For this resurrection is necessarily required to produce this result, that God may be all in all.— οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ, those who are Christ’s) A pleasant variety of cases, Polyptoton, χριστὸς, χριστοῦ, Christians are, so to speak, an appendage to τῆς ἀπαρχῆς, the first fruits. The ungodly shall rise at the same time; but they are not reckoned in this blessed number.— ἐν τῆ παρουσίᾳ, at His coming) then it shall be the order of Christians [their turn in the successive order of the resurrection]. They shall not rise one after another [but all believers at once] at that time. Paul does not call it the judgment, because he is speaking of and to believers.


Verse 24

1 Corinthians 15:24. εἶτα, afterwards) after the resurrection of those who are Christ’s; for He, as King, will consummate the judgment between the resurrection and the end.— τὸ τέλος) The end, viz., of the whole resurrection. This is the correlative to the first fruits. In this end all orders [referring to “every man in his own order”] will obtain their completion [consummated development]: 1 Peter 4:7; Romans 6:22. This noun contains the force of the verbs, delivered up [1 Corinthians 15:24] and destroyed [1 Corinthians 15:26]. See how great mysteries that apostle draws from the prophetic syllables עד and כל, Psalms 110:1; Psalms 8:6. Gr. ἄχρις, until, and πάντα, all things. Therefore even the words of Scripture are inspired by God, θεόπνευστα. For all Scripture words rest upon the same principles as these [The same reasoning is applicable to all Scripture words].— ὅτανὅταν) when:—namely, when. The former is explained by the latter; and the first part of the following verse is to be referred to the former; the second part, to the latter. So soon as the Son shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father, the Father will destroy all authority; and the deliverance of the kingdom into His hands takes place, that all authority may be swept away.— παραδῷ τὴν βασιλείαν, shall have delivered up the kingdom) The Father will not then begin to reign without the Son; nor will the Son cease then to reign without the Father; for the divine kingdom both of the Father and of the Son is from eternity and will be to eternity. But the apostle is here speaking of the mediatorial kingdom of the Son, which will be delivered up, and of the immediate [i.e., without mediation] kingdom of the Father, to which then it will give place. In the meantime, the Son manages the affairs, which the Father has put into His hands, for and by His own people, for the elect, by the instrumentality of angels also, and in the presence of the Father and against His enemies, so long as even an effort of these last continues. The Son will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, inasmuch as the Father gave it to the Son, John 13:3. The Father does not cease to reign, though He has appointed the Son to be king; nor does the Son cease to reign, when He delivers up the kingdom to the Father; and by the very circumstance, that it is said, not that it is to be abolished, but to be delivered up to the Father, it is signified, that it itself also is of infinite majesty. But the glory before the foundation of the world will remain, after the kingdom has been delivered up: John 17:5; Hebrews 1:8 : and He will not cease to be king according to His human nature, Luke 1:33.(137) If the citizens of the New Jerusalem shall reign for ever and ever, Revelation 22:5; how much more will God and Christ reign?— τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ, to God even the Father) God is here regarded in a twofold point of view. He is considered, both as God and as the Father in respect to Christ, John 20:17; even in His state of exaltation, Revelation 3:12; Revelation 3:21 : and in respect to believers, Colossians 3:17. He is considered as God, towards [in relation to] His enemies. καταργήσῃ [shall have put down] shall have abolished) viz., God even the Father, of whom it is also said (until) He put ( θῇ, 1 Corinthians 15:25) and He has subjected [ ὑπέταξεν, 1 Corinthians 15:27]. In a similar manner, the subject is changed to a different one [from God to Christ] in the third person, 1 Corinthians 15:25; 1 Corinthians 15:29 [the baptized for the dead—the dead—they, i.e., the former].— πᾶσαν ἀρχὴν καὶ πᾶσαν ἐξουσίαν καὶ δύναμιν, all rule and all authority and power) Rule and authority are also said of the powers of men, Titus 3:1 [principalities and powers]: but oftener of those of angels, Colossians 1:16 : and that too in the concrete, to denote their very essence [substances]: here however they are in the abstract, as βασιλείαν, concerning the kingdom of the Son: for the essences of angels will not be destroyed. ἀρχὴ denotes rule; subordinate to this are ἐξουσία, authority, magistracy, and δύναμις, an army, forces.— ἐξουσία and δύνα΄ις are more closely connected as is seen by the fact that they have the one epithet, all, in common [The one πᾶσαν qualifies both ἐξουσίαν and δύνα΄ιν; though ἀρχὴν has a separate πᾶσαν]. Here not only rule, authority, forces of enemies, are signified, 1 Corinthians 15:25, such as is death, 1 Corinthians 15:26; but the all intimates that the rule, authority, etc., even of good angels shall cease. For when the king lays down His arms, after His enemies have been subdued, the soldiers are discharged, and the word καταργεῖν, to put down, is not an inapplicable term even to these latter: 1 Corinthians 13:8; 2 Corinthians 3:7.


Verse 25

1 Corinthians 15:25. δεῖ, He must) for it has been foretold.— αὐτὸν, He) Christ.— βασιλεύειν, reign) ררה, reign Thou in the midst of Thy enemies, Psalms 110:2.— ἄχρις οὗ ἄν, until) There will be no further need of the mediatorial reign.— θῇ, He hath put) viz. the Father.— πάντας, all) Paul brings in this, to prepare for a transition to what follows.— τοὺς ἐχθροὺς, enemies) bodily and spiritual, supply His, from that expression, His feet, to wit, the Son’s: but it is now elegantly elliptical; since Christ has long ago destroyed these enemies, in so far as they were the enemies of Christ; He will destroy them [their destruction is still future], in so far as they are our enemies. The remaining part of His victory bears the same relation to His triumph already achieved, as any frontier or corner does to the whole extent of any human monarchy which has been subdued.


Verse 26

1 Corinthians 15:26. ἔσχατος, the last) A pregnant announcement. Death is an enemy; is an enemy, who is destroyed; is the enemy, who is destroyed last of all; last moreover, that is, after Satan, Hebrews 2:14; and after sin, 1 Corinthians 15:56. For they acquired their strength in the same order; and Satan brought in sin, sin produced death. Those enemies have been destroyed; therefore also death is destroyed. It may be said, Does not the same principle hold good as to all the enemies alike? for in so far as all the others have been destroyed, death has been also destroyed, 2 Timothy 1:10, therefore inasmuch as death remains, the other enemies still remain, and therefore death is not destroyed last. Ans. Christ, in so far as He formerly engaged with His enemies, first overcame Satan by His death; next sin, in His death; lastly death, in His resurrection; and in the same order, in which He destroys His enemies, He delivers believers from their power. Again, it may be said, how is death destroyed last, if the resurrection of the dead precedes the destruction of ALL RULE?” Ans. The resurrection is immediately followed by the judgment, with which the destruction of all rule is connected; and the destruction of death and hell immediately succeeds this. The order of destruction is described, Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14. Moreover the expression ought to be taken in a reduplicative sense. The enemies will be destroyed, as enemies. For even after all this, Satan will still be Satan, hell will still be hell, the goats will still be accursed. They will indeed be first destroyed, before death, the last enemy; not that they may altogether cease to be, as death shall; not that they may cease to be what they are called, namely Satan, hell, accursed; but that they may be no longer enemies, resisting, and able to oppose, for they will be completely subdued, rendered powerless, taken captive, visited with punishment, put under the feet of our Lord. The destruction of ALL RULE ought not to be reckoned as the destruction [i.e. annihilation] of enemies; moreover the destruction of the power of our enemies according to Revelation 19:20 is accomplished even before the destruction of death, which the destruction of ALL authority and of ALL rule straightway follows. The good angels are also then to obtain exemption from service.— ἐχθρὸς, enemy) Death, an enemy; therefore it was not at first natural to man. Those, who denied the resurrection, also denied the immortality of the soul. The defence of the former includes the defence of the latter.— καταργεῖται, is destroyed) The present for the future.— θάνατος, death) Hell is also included in the mention of death, so far as it is to be destroyed, 1 Corinthians 15:55.


Verse 27

1 Corinthians 15:27. πάντα γὰρ, for all things) not even excepting death. The Psalm [8:] might seem by this syllable, כל, all things, merely to indicate animals and stars, which it expressly names; but the apostle teaches us, that it has a much more extended application. Good things are made subject to Him in a most joyous condition; bad things in a most sorrowful one: for these latter are destroyed, and are made His footstool.— ὑπέταξεν, subjected) viz. God even the Father; comp. at ὑποταγῆν, Ephesians 1:22; Philippians 3:21; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Peter 3:22. He will subject all things, in His own time; He has already subjected them, because He hath said it.— ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ) not only enemies, but also all other things are put under His feet, Ephesians 1:22. This phrase is a synecdoche; all things are made subject to Him: and those things, which oppose themselves to Him, and do not wish to be subject, are altogether thrust down under His feet, as a footstool. There is a clear distinction between the expressions being put under His feet and being given into His hands. The former however need not be understood in so harsh a sense as the expression might seem to imply: otherwise, there would be no room for the exception of Him, who subjected them.— εἴπῃ, saith) viz. the prophet, Hebrews 2:6.— δῆλον, manifest) For the Father is not subject to the Son; but ( δὲ, 1 Corinthians 15:28) the Son is subject to the Father. The apostle with great power and wisdom points out the sum [the main issue] of all things, from the Psalm.


Verse 28

1 Corinthians 15:28. ὑποταγῇ, shall be subjected) so that they shall remain for ever in subjection.— τότε) then finally. Previously, it is always necessary to contend with enemies.— καὶ, also)— αὐτὸς, He himself) spontaneously, so that it denotes the infinite excellence of the Son; and besides, as we often find, it signifies something voluntary; for the Son subordinates Himself to the Father; the Father glorifies the Son. The name, “God even the Father,” and “the Son,” is more glorious than the title ‘King.’ This latter name will be absorbed by the former, as it had previously been derived from the former.— ὑιὸς, the Son) Christ, according to both natures, even including the divine; and this we may learn, not so much from the circumstance that He is here called the Son; comp. note on Mark 13:32, as that He is expressly considered in relation to the Father. Nor, however, is the Son here spoken of, in so far as the Father and the Son are one, which unity of essence is here presupposed; but in respect of the dispensation committed to Him, inasmuch as the Father has rendered all things subordinate to Him.— ὑποταγήσεται, shall be made subordinate) for this word is both more proper and more becoming than shall be subjected. The word is one very well adapted for denoting things most widely different. For the subordination of the Son to the Father is manifestly one thing, of the creatures to God is another. The Son shall be made subordinate to the Father in such a way as He had not formerly been; for in the mediatorial kingdom, the birghtness of the Son had been in a manner separated from the Father; but subsequently the Son shall be made quite subordinate to the Father; and that subordination of the Son will be entirely voluntary, an event desired by the Son Himself and glorious to Him; for He will not be subordinate as a servant, Hebrews 1:14; comp. the foregoing verses; but as a Son. [So also in human affairs there is not only the subordination of subjects, but also of sons, Luke 2:51; Hebrews 12:9.—V. g.]— ὑποταγήσεται is therefore in the middle, not in the passive voice. My goodness, says He, Psalms 16:2, is not independent of THEE, O Jehovah [Engl. Vers., extendeth not to Thee.] Hesshusius remarks, The subjection and obedience of the Son towards the Father, do not take away the equality of the power, nor produce diversity in the essence. The Son in all eternity, acknowledges with the deepest reverence that He was begotten from eternity by the Father; He also acknowledges that He has received the spiritual kingdom from the Father, and has been constituted Lord of the whole world by the same. He will show to the whole creation His most holy reverence, subjection, and filial love, so that all honour may be rendered to the eternal Father. But herein there is no derogation to the divine honour of the Son; since the Father Himself wills that all men should honour the Son, as they honour the Father. John 5, Exam. p. 10.— ἵνα θεὸς πάντα ἐν πᾶσι, that God may be all in all) Here something new is signified, but which is at the same time the consummation of all that has gone before, and everlasting. All things (and therefore all men) without any interruption, without any creature to invade His prerogative, or any enemy to disturb, will be made subordinate to the Son, and the Son to the Father. All things will say: God is all to me. This is τέλος, this is the end and consummation. Further than this, not even the apostle can go. As in Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all, Colossians 3:11. So then there will be neither Greek nor Jew, etc., nor principality [rule: 1 Corinthians 15:24], power, etc., but God will be all in all. God is esteemed as nothing in the world by ungodly men, Psalms 10:4; Psalms 14:1 : and with the saints many things prevent Him from being alone all to them; but then He will be all in all.


Verse 29

1 Corinthians 15:29. ἐπεὶ τί ποήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν; τί καὶ ἡμεῖς χινδυνεύομεν τᾶσαν ὥραν;) We shall first say something on the pointing of this verse.(138) Many rightly connect, and have long been in the habit of connecting this clause, εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, with what follows; for the particle ἐπεὶ alone exhausts the force of the same clause in the first part of the verse. εἰ begins the sentence, as in 1 Corinthians 15:32, it does so twice; and often in 1 Corinthians 15:12, and those that follow. Hence the pronoun αὐτῶν is to be referred to νεκροὶ.(139) Furthermore, of the baptism for (over) the dead, the variety of interpretations is so great, that he who would collect, I shall not say, those different opinions, but a catalogue of the different opinions, would have to write a dissertation. At that time, as yet, there were neither martyrdoms nor baptisms over sepulchres, etc., especially at Corinth; but baptism over sepulchres, and baptism for the advantage of the dead came into use from a wrong interpretation of this very passage; as fire was used among the Egyptians and Abyssinians in the case of the baptized, from Matthew 3:11. Often, when the true interpretation is nearer and easier than we think, we fetch it from a distance. We must mark—I. The paraphrase: Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for (super) the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they also baptized for the dead? and why also are we in danger every hour? II. The sense of the phrase, βαπτίζεσθαι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, to be baptized for (over) the dead. For they are baptized for (over) the dead [super mortuis], who receive baptism and profess Christianity at that time, when they have death set before their eyes, who are likely every moment to be added to the general mass of the dead, either on account of the decrepitude of age, or disease, or pestilence, or by martyrdom; in fact, those who, without almost any enjoyment of this life, are going down to the dead, and are constantly, as it were, hanging over the dead; they who might say קברים לי, the graves are ready for me, Job 17:1. III. The first part of the verse is of a milder character; but the last part which begins with if after all, has also an epitasis [an emphatic addition. Append.] expressed in its own protasis by after all, and in the apodosis by the even [ τί καὶ]: and these two particles correspond to each other; and the same apodosis has an anaphora [the repetition of the same words in the beginnings of sections], joining its two parts by why even. IV. We must mark the connection of the subject under discussion. With the argument respecting the resurrection of Christ, from which our resurrection is derived, Paul connects the statement of two absurdities (indeed there are more than two, but the preceding absurdities are repeated, though they have been already sufficiently refuted by former reasonings) which would arise, if there be no resurrection of the dead, if Christ have not risen: and in the meantime, having disentangled the argument concerning Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, he refutes those two absurdities by a discussion of somewhat greater length, which draws the sinews of its strength from the argument concerning Christ. The latter absurdity (for this has its relation to the argument more evident) regarding the misery of Christians in this life, he set forth at 1 Corinthians 15:19, and now discusses at 1 Corinthians 15:29 in the middle, and in the following verses; if after all: and in like manner he stated the former concerning the ‘perishing’ of the Christians that are dead, at 1 Corinthians 15:18, and now discusses, or repeats, or explains it in the first part of 1 Corinthians 15:29. V. The force of the apostle’s argument, which in itself is both most clear and most urgent. I. The propriety of the several words consistent with themselves. α) What shall they do? is future, in respect of eternal salvation, i.e., such persons being baptized, will be disappointed, their efforts will be vain, if the dead sleep the eternal sleep. β) The term baptism continues to be used in its ordinary meaning; and indeed in this epistle Paul has made more mention of baptism than in any other, ch. 1 Corinthians 1:13-17, 1 Corinthians 10:2, 1 Corinthians 12:13. γ) The preposition ὑπὲρ with the genitive might be thus also taken in various senses; of the object simply, as the Latins use super, with respect to, about, so far as it concerns; with this meaning, that they may put the dead before them without consideration of the resurrection; or the words may be used of paying as it were a price, viz., that they should account the dead as nonentities; or of obtaining as the price for their trouble, viz., that they should be gathered to the dead for ever: but we maintain the propriety with which ὑπὲρ denotes nearness, hanging over [such propinquity as that one hangs immediately over] anything, whence Theocritus speaks of ἀσφόδελον τὸν ὑπὲρ γᾶς, the asphodel (king’s spear) that grows on the ground, Idyl. 26. Lexicographers give more examples, especially from Thucydides. So they are baptized over [immediately upon] the dead, who will be gathered to the dead immediately after baptism: and then over the dead is said here, as if it were said over the sepulchre, as Luke 24:5, with [Engl. Vers., among] the dead, i.e., in the sepulchre. Nor is it incredible, that baptism was often administered at funerals. δ) The term dead is used in its ordinary sense of the dead generally, as the article also requires, taken in as wide a sense as the resurrection, ε) The adverb ὅλως, after all, is used by a Corinthian who is supposed to be led on by Paul, and who had rather peevishly opposed the resurrection, not reflecting on the loss of the advantages even in this life, which result in baptism: and εἰ ὅλως is employed in the same way as ἐπειδή ὅλως in Chrysost. homil. 5, c. Anomoeos: Notwithstanding, though man differs little from an angel, since there is nevertheless [after all] some difference ( ἐπειδὴ ὅλως ἐστί τι ΄έσον), we know not accurately what angels are. ζ) καὶ is not redundant, but strengthens the force of the present tense, βαπτίζονται, what do they do who are baptized? in antithesis to the future, τί ποιήσουσι, what shall they do? Comp. καὶ, 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Philippians 3:7-8; Philippians 4:10. Paul in fact places those who are baptized for the dead, as it were at the point of death, and shows that no reward awaits them either for the future, if they denied the resurrection, or for the past. Paul seems to confute those who denied both the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. The vindication of the former is a sufficient and more than sufficient vindication of the latter. This is an example of the συγκατάβασις, condescension of Scripture, which, out of regard to the weak and simple, does not enter into that subtle controversy, but lays hold of the subject at that part of it, which is easier to be proved, and yet also carries along with it the proof of the more difficult part. η) The two clauses beginning with τί admirably cohere: with a gradation from those who could only for a little enjoy this life [i.e., those baptized at the point of death] to (us) those who could enjoy it longer, if they had not had their hope fixed in Christ.— νεκροὶ, dead) Throughout this whole chapter, in the question, whether [dead men rise at all], Paul speaks of dead men, νεκροὺς, without the article; afterwards, when this question has been cleared out of the way, in the question how, 1 Corinthians 15:35, etc., he uses the article; but τῶν in this verse has the meaning of the relative [ τῶν νεκρῶν, those who are dead already spoken of, 1 Corinthians 15:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:16].

αὐτῶν is the reading of ABD corrected later, Gfg Vulg. Memph., later Syr. Origen. τῶν νεκρῶν of Rec. Text is only found in later Uncial MSS. and Syr. Version alone, of the oldest versions.—ED.


Verse 30

1 Corinthians 15:30. ἡμεῖς, we) apostles, 1 Corinthians 4:9.


Verse 31

1 Corinthians 15:31. ἀποθνήσκω, I die) Not only by reason of the danger which was always set before him, 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 11:23, but also by a continual dying itself [mortification.] This agrees with the whole discourse.— νὴ τὴν ὑμετέραν καύχησιν,(140) ἣν ἔχω ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, by your glorying, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord) In swearing or making an asseveration, if a human being is appealed to, then that person is used, which is preferred as more worthy, and therefore sometimes the third, Genesis 42:15-16.— νὴ τὴν ὑγίειαν φαραώ, by the health of Pharaoh; sometimes the first, 2 Samuel 3:35.— τάδε ποιήσαι μοι θεὸς καὶ τάδε προσθείη, God do so to me and more also: comp. ibid. 1 Corinthians 15:9., but generally the second, 1 Samuel 1:26, ζῇ ψυχή σου, may thy soul live: ibid. 1 Corinthians 3:17, τάδε ποιήσαι μοι θεὸς καὶ τάδε προσθέιη, God do so to thee, and more also. So Paul here appeals to the very enjoyable condition of the Corinthians, even as to spiritual life, in opposition to his own death, which he bore for [in order to give them] their glorying [rejoicing, Engl.] comp. 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 4:15; Philippians 1:26; Ephesians 3:13; and therefore he brings it forward to stir up the Corinthians themselves. They did not attend to this, who wrote ἡμετέραν for ὑμετέραν.(141) The first person indeed follows, ἣν ἔχω, but in the singular number; and ἣν is to be referred not to ὑ΄ετέραν καύχησιν, but to καύχησιν; for so relatives are sometimes wont to be used, Galatians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:11; where that which is called circumcision is concrete, and there is added, however, in the flesh made by hands, which can only agree with the abstract, 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul shows that it is not without good cause that he dies daily, but that he is a partaker of the glorying of the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 4:14.

Lachm. reads ἀδελφοὶ, with AB Vulg. But Tisch. omits it with D ( λ) Gfg Origen.—ED.


Verse 32

1 Corinthians 15:32. εἰ κατὰ ἄνθρωπον ἐθηριομάχησα ἐν ἐφέσῳ, τί μοι τὸ ὄφελος; εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, φάγωμεν καὶ πίωμεν, αὔριον γὰρ ἀποθνήσκομεν, if after the manner of men, I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it to me? if the dead rise not, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die) This clause, if the dead rise not, is now for a long time properly connected with the words that follow; for in the foregoing, the formula, after the manner of men, is equivalent to it in force: that is, if, after human fashion, for a human consideration, with the mere hope of the present life, not in the hope of a resurrection to be expected on Divine authority, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, etc.— ἐθηριομάχησα ἐν ἐφέσῳ, I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus) This one contest Paul expressly mentions, not only because it was a very great one, but also, because it was very recent. He was still at Ephesus; 1 Corinthians 16:8 : and there, before this epistle was written, he had been exposed to extraordinary danger, which seems to be the same occasion as that described, Acts 19:29-30; 2 Corinthians 1:8; wherefore he calls it a fight with wild beasts, in which his life was in jeopardy; comp. 1 Corinthians 4:9 : as Heraclitus of Ephesus had been in the habit of applying the term wild beasts, θήρια, to the Ephesians four hundred years before: comp. Titus 1:12 concerning the Cretans and Epimenides.— φάγωμενἀποθνήσκομεν, let us eat—we die) So the LXX., Isaiah 22:13, that is, let us use the good things of the body and of the present life. This is a Mimesis or the imitation of a supposed opponent’s wicked manner of speaking.


Verse 33

1 Corinthians 15:33. ΄ὴ πλανᾶσθε) in the Middle voice.— φθείρουσιν) they corrupt. Its conjugate corruption, is found at 1 Corinthians 15:42. He uses the well-known sentence of Menander in a sublimer sense, and opposes it to the Epicurean creed, 1 Corinthians 15:32; presently after, at 1 Corinthians 15:34, he was about to apply a more weighty stimulant. [The multitude of wicked sayings and vicious proverbs in human life is indeed very great, by which a vast number repel things however sacred and salutary and endeavour to defend their own wantonness and hypocrisy. Scoffs of that kind were also common among the Israelites, Ezekiel 11:3; Ezekiel 11:15; Ezekiel 12:22; Ezekiel 18:2.—V. g.]— ἤθη, manners) Good manners [principles] are those, with which a man passes from things that are fading to things that are eternal.— χρηστὰ) good or even easy, light [pliant dispositions]: see Scap. on this word, col. 1820. Comp. Romans 16:18.— κακαὶ, evil) opposed to faith, hope, love. On the other hand, good communication [conversations] as for instance concerning the resurrection, puts an end to gluttony and depravity of manners.


Verse 34

1 Corinthians 15:34. ἐκνήψατε) An exclamation full of apostolic majesty: shake off lethargy or surfeiting, 1 Corinthians 15:32, so the LXX., ἐκνήψατε οἱ μεθύοντες, Awake, ye drunkards, Joel 1:5. He uses milder language, watch ye, in the conclusion, 1 Corinthians 16:13.— δικάιως, to righteousness) that righteousness, which is derived from the true knowledge of God. The antithesis is, sinning in this ver., and corrupt manners, 1 Corinthians 15:33.— καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε) The Imperative after an imperative has the force of a future (John 7:37, note) and ye shall not sin, either by an error of the understanding, or by evil communications [conversation] or by corrupt manners. Those, who place sin in the will alone, and not in the understanding, are in error, and therefore commit sin. Arguments calculated to rouse are added to those used as proofs, as Galatians 4:12, note: for Scripture instructs the whole man.— ἀγνωσίαν, ignorance) ἀγνωσία is both ignorance, 1 Peter 2:15, and forgetfulness, 3 Maccabees 5:24 : κατὰ πᾶν ἀγνωσίᾳ κεκρατημένος. To have ignorance, [To labour under ignorance] is a more significant phrase than to be ignorant,(142) and includes in it the antithesis to knowledge, which in other respects was so agreeable to the Corinthians.— θεοῦ, of God) and therefore also of the power and works of God, Matthew 22:29.— τινὲς, some) This word softens the reproof.— ἐντροπὴν, shame) The Corinthians claimed for themselves great knowledge. Ignorance and drowsiness are a disgrace, and from these they must awake.— ὑμῖν, to you) who are either ignorant, or have among you those that are ignorant. It is however at the same time the dative of advantage.— λέγω, I speak) boldly. He speaks more severely than at the beginning, when treating of another subject, 1 Corinthians 4:14.


Verse 35

1 Corinthians 15:35. τὶς) some one, who dares deny the fact itself, because he is ignorant of the manner, in which it is accomplished, inasmuch as death has been so great a destruction, and it is asserted that the resurrection will be so glorious.— δὲ, but then) An Epitasis [Emphatic addition.]— ἔρχονται, do they come?) The living are said to remain, 1 Corinthians 15:6. The dead to have gone away, ἀπελθόντες; Chrys. de Sacerd., p. 494: and to return, Psalms 90:3; Ecclesiastes 12:7. But when they revive, they come; and they are said rather to come, than to return, on account of their complete newness [of their resurrection state and body]: see the verses following; comp. Acts 1:11, note. Paul, writing to the Corinthians who had doubts as to the question, whether [there is a future resurrection at all], so treats of the question how [it is to be], as to express the identity of the falling [dying] and the rising body somewhat more faintly, as it were, and more sparingly than he is wont to do on other occasions.


Verse 36

1 Corinthians 15:36. ἄφρον, Thou fool) The apostle wonders, that any one could have any difficulty on this subject, he considered it as a thing so certain. This also appertains to the shame [which their ignorance of God reflected on them], 1 Corinthians 15:34. To that man inquiring about the way [how are the dead raised?] of the resurrection, and the quality of the bodies rising [with what body do they come?] he answers first by a similitude, 36–42, at the middle; then, without a similitude, 1 Corinthians 15:42, etc. In the similitude, the protasis and apodosis admirably correspond to each other: and the question is concerning the way of the resurrection in the protasis, 1 Corinthians 15:36; in the apodosis, 1 Corinthians 15:42, it is sown, etc.: then concerning the quality of the bodies, in the protasis, 1 Corinthians 15:37-41 : in the apodosis, 1 Corinthians 15:43.— σὺ) thou thyself, silly fellow.— σπείρεις, sowest) in the field. A copious allegory follows.— οὐ ζωοποιεῖται, is not quickened) to a new sprout.— εἂν μὴ ἀποθάνῃ, unless it die) Paul completely retorts the objection [converts the very objection into an argument]: death does not prevent quickening, but goes before it, as the prelude and prognostication, as sowing precedes the harvest.


Verse 37

1 Corinthians 15:37. οὐ τὸ σῶμα τὸ γενησόμενον, not the body that shall be) viz., the body that is beautiful, and no longer bare grain.


Verse 38

1 Corinthians 15:38. δὲ θεὸς, but God) Not thou, O man; not the grain itself.— αὐτῷ, to it) to the grain.— ἠθέλησε, He hath willed) The preterite in respect of creation, Genesis 1:11 : or at least because willing is before giving,— ἑκάστῳ, to every one) not only to the seed of fruits, but also to that of animals. A gradation to the following verse.— ἴδιον, its own) suitable to the species, peculiar to the individual, produced from the substance of the seed. This peculiarity is further explained in the following verse.


Verse 39

1 Corinthians 15:39. οὐ πᾶσα, all not) This is a universal negative. Every kind of flesh is different from the others. Paul shows, that terrestrial bodies differ from terrestrial, and celestial from celestial, 1 Corinthians 15:41 : but in such a way as to make each of these refer to the further illustration of the difference of the body from its seed, and of celestial bodies from those that are terrestrial; for in the apodosis he lays down nothing respecting the degrees of glory, but leaves it as it were in an enigma to be considered by wise men, while he accounts it sufficient to have openly asserted the glory of the resurrection bodies.— ἄλλη ἀνθρώπων, one kind of flesh of men) He elegantly omits the word flesh, when he places the flesh of brutes in opposition to that of man. κτήνη here is applied to all quadrupeds; for fishes and birds are opposed to them.— ἰχθύων, of fishes) Therefore those, who eat fishes, eat flesh, and that too the more sumptuously, as it is a delicate variety.


Verse 40

1 Corinthians 15:40. ἐπουράνια, CELESTIAL bodies) The sun, moon, stars.— ἑπίγεια, terrestrial bodies) vegetables, animals.— ἑτέρα δὲ, but is one) Concerning the glory of terrestrial bodies, comp. Matthew 6:28-29; 1 Peter 1:24.


Verse 41

1 Corinthians 15:41. ἀστὴρ γὰρ, for one star) For intensive. Not only have the stars a glory differing from that of the sun and moon, but also, what is more to the point, one star often surpasses another star in brightness. There is no star, no glorious body that has not some decided point of difference from another.


Verse 42

1 Corinthians 15:42. οὕτω, thus) This word relates to the protasis already begun at 1 Corinthians 15:36.— σπείρεται, is sown) a very delightful word instead of burial.— ἐν φθορᾷ, in corruption) The condition not only of the dead body but of the mortal body is denoted.


Verse 43

1 Corinthians 15:43. ἐν ἀτιμίᾳ, in dishonour) in nakedness, 1 Corinthians 15:37, to which is opposed glory, which is as it were a garment put on, 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:49.— σπείρεται ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ, is sown in weakness. The figure is continued; but in the reality itself, a transition is made, that similitude being now finished, to a new part of the answer, of which this is the proposition [the statement to be elucidated]: There is a natural and there is a spiritual body. The expressions, in power, 1 Corinthians 15:43, and a spiritual body, 1 Corinthians 15:44, are akin to one another, Luke 1:17 : just as incorruption and glory, 1 Corinthians 15:42-43.


Verse 44

1 Corinthians 15:44. ψυχικὸν, animal [natural] body) which, consisting of flesh and blood, 1 Corinthians 15:50, is wholly moulded [given form and fashion to] by the animal soul.— πνευματικὸν, spiritual) which is wholly moulded by the spirit.— καὶ) and so consequently.


Verse 45

1 Corinthians 15:45. γέγραπται, it is written) Genesis 2:7, LXX., ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν, man became a living soul. Paul adds other things in accordance with the nature of the contraries [the things antithetical to the former.]— πρῶτος) that is, the FIRST for the last is in antithesis to it; but in 1 Corinthians 15:47, πρῶτος means the former of the two; for it is in antithesis to δεύτερος, the second: and each is there considered, as a model of the rest. ἔσχατος, the last, in like manner as δεύτερος, the second, points to Christ, not to the whole human race in its perfect consummation.— ἀδὰμ) A proper name here; but it is presently after repeated by antonomasia.(143)ψυχὴν, life—soul) Hence ψυχικὸν living, animal, [natural] 1 Corinthians 15:44.— ἔσχατος, the last) Job 19:25. אחרון, the same as he who is called נאל, as is evident there from the parallelism of the double predicate. Christ is last; the day of Christ is the last day, John 6:39. [Christ is a Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:17.—V. g.]— ζωοποιοῦν, quickening) He not only lives, but also makes alive.


Verse 46

1 Corinthians 15:46. οὐ πρῶτον,) not the first.— τὸ πνευματικὸν, the spiritual) body. This verse refers to 1 Corinthians 15:44, 1 Corinthians 15:45, making as it were a parenthesis, to which 1 Corinthians 15:47 afterwards corresponds.— ἔπειτα, afterward) This should be carefully noticed by those, who so dispute about the origin of evil, as if all things should have been not only good at the beginning, as they were, but also such as they will be at their consummation.


Verse 47

1 Corinthians 15:47. πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος, ἐκ γῆς, χοϊκος· δεύτερος, κύριος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, the first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven) We have here an exact antithesis. The first man, ἐκ γῆς, viz. ὢν, since he is of the earth, is χοϊκὸς, earthy, affected in the same way as a heap of earth ( χοῦς) χυτὴ, accumulated, and then scattered: the reason of this is, because he is sprung from the earth. This is the protasis; the apodosis follows, in which it would not have been appropriate to say, the second man, from [of] heaven, heavenly; for man owes to the earth his obligations for this, that he is earthy; but the Lord does not owe His glory to heaven, inasmuch as it was He Himself who made heaven what it is, and by descending from heaven, presented Himself to us as the Lord. Therefore the order of the words is now changed, the Lord, from heaven [Lord coming before from heaven; whereas earthy, the antithesis to Lord, comes after of earth]. The word Lord signifies the same thing in the concrete, as glory does in the abstract (Germ. Herr, Herrlichkeit, Lord, Lordship), whence it is properly opposed to earthy, 1 Corinthians 15:43; Philippians 3:20, etc.: and from this glory is derived the incorruptibility of Christ’s flesh, Acts 2:24; Acts 2:31. In this way the received reading is defended, and the various readings, although ancient, which are mentioned in the Apparatus, are withdrawn.(144)


Verse 49

1 Corinthians 15:49. καὶ καθὼς, and even as) From the former state Paul infers the latter.— ἐφορέσαμεν, we have borne [worn]) as a garment.— τὴν εἰκόνα, the image) This not only denotes the resemblance, but also the dependence.— φορέσωμεν καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ ἐπουρανίου, let us bear [wear] also the image of the heavenly) Tertullian says: Let us bear; not we shall bear, preceptively, not promissively. Nay, φορέσωμεν, let us bear, and yet in the way of promise.(145) The subjunctive renders the expression modal and conciliatory, by which Paul (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:53, must) expresses the divine appointment and faith assenting to it. Comp. the subjunctive James 4:13; James 4:15, πορευσώμεθα, κ. τ. λ. Later copies have made it, φορέσομεν; and there is the same variety in the copies of Orige(146) against Celsus, as Sam. Battier observes in Biblioth. Brem., Class vi., p. 102, etc., who approves of the reading φορέσωμεν out of Maximus, περὶ ἀγάπης.


Verse 50

1 Corinthians 15:50. σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα, flesh and blood) An abstract phrase, [meaning man, as far as the circulation of the blood quickens his flesh.—V. g.] as φθορὰ, corruption. The one is applied to those, who live in the world, the other to the dead. Both of these must become altogether different from what they have been previously. The spirit extracted from the dregs of wine does not so much differ from them, as the glorified man from the mortal man.— βασιλείαν θεοῦ, the kingdom of God) which is altogether spiritual, and in no respect merely animal [natural]. A great change must intervene, until man is made fit for that kingdom.— οὐ δύνανται, cannot) This is a Syllepsis(147) of number, for it denotes the multitude of those, who are flesh and blood.— οὐδὲκληρονομεῖ, nor—obtains by inheritance) It is not said, cannot receive by inheritance. Flesh and blood are farther distant [from the inheritance], than corruption itself; and it is evident from its very nature, that corruption cannot obtain this inheritance, although it is certainly the way to incorruptibility, 1 Corinthians 15:36. The meaning of the present may be gathered from 1 Corinthians 15:52 at the beginning.(148)


Verse 51

1 Corinthians 15:51. ὑμῖν, you) Do not suppose, that you know all things.— λέγω, I say) prophetically: 1 Corinthians 13:2 : 1 Thessalonians 4:15.— πάντες μἐν οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγημσόμεθα, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed) The Latins read with general consent; “Omnes quidem resurgemus, sed non omnes immutabimur,” We shall indeed all rise, but we shall not all be changed, and Tertullian and Rufinus and others besides follow this reading. And yet the Latin translator does not seem to have read the Greek different from our Greek copies, but to have expressed the sense, as he indeed understood it, rather than the words. For this is his common practice in this epistle, as when 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28, he translated γλωσσῶν, words, and on the other hand 1 Corinthians 14:10 φωνῶν, tongues, he seems therefore to have translated οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, as if it had been οὐ μενοῦμεν κοιμηθέντες, that is, we shall rise again. Hence it followed, that he presently after supplied not, for the sake of the antithesis, as he had suppressed not, chap. 1 Corinthians 9:6 : and here also Tertullian follows his footsteps. Moreover from the Latin the word ἀναβιώσομεν has been fabricated in the Veles. and ἀναστησόμεθα (a word which Paul does not use in this whole chapter) is a correction by the first interpolator of the Clar. MS. Some of the Greeks have πάντες μὲν οὖν κοιμηθησόμεθα, ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ἀλλαγησόμεθα; whence from μὲν οὐ, μὲν οὖν was easily produced. Indeed in this verse the apostle wished to deny nothing whatever concerning the change, but to affirm it, and to bring forward the mystery. The reading of the text remains, which is not unknown even to the Latin copies, quoted by Jerome from Didymus.(149) Moreover each of the two clauses is universal. All indeed, namely we, from whom the dead are presently after contradistinguished, shall not sleep; but all, even we the same persons, shall be changed; the subject of each of the two enunciations is the same: comp. πᾶς οὐκ, taken universally, 1 Corinthians 16:12; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:3; Acts 11:8. The expression does not so much refer to the very persons, who were then alive, and were waiting for the consummation of the world, but to those, who are to be then alive in their place, 1 Corinthians 15:52 at the end, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, note.— ἀλλαγησό΄εθα, we shall be changed) While the soul remains in the body, the body from being animal [natural] will become spiritual.


Verse 52

1 Corinthians 15:52. ἐν ἀτόμῳ, in a moment) Lest it should be considered hyperbolical, he adds a more popular phrase, in the twinkling of an eye. An extraordinary work of divine omnipotence! Who then can doubt, but that man even at death may be suddenly freed from sin?— σάλπιγγι, at the trumpet) The full description of the trumpets is reserved for the Apocalypse; yet some things may be gathered from Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, concerning the last trumpet; and this epithet is expressed here, as one that takes for granted the trumpets, that have preceded it; either because the Spirit has inspired Paul with an allusion, which anticipates the Apocalypse, or because Scripture long before teaches, that some trumpets, though not definitely enumerated, are before the last. Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 51:27; Zechariah 9:14; Hebrews 12:19; 2 Esdras 5:4 : or especially in relation to the trumpet at the ascension, Psalms 47:6, comp. Acts 1:11 : for one may be called the last, where two only are referred to, 1 Corinthians 15:45; not to say, where there is only one [sounding of a trumpet], without another following, Revelation 10:7.— σαλπίσει γὰρ) for the Lord [Engl. V. the trumpet] shall sound by His archangel, 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The trumpet was formerly used on feast days for the purpose of assembling the people.— καὶ) and immediately.— ἄφθαρτοι, incorruptible) Strictly speaking, one would think, that they should have been called immortal; for incorruptibility will be put on by means of the change, 1 Corinthians 15:53; but incorruptibility includes immortality.


Verse 53

1 Corinthians 15:53. τοῦτο,) this itself our present corruptible state.— ἀφθαρσίαν, incorruptibility) by that transformation.


Verse 54

1 Corinthians 15:54. ὅταν δὲἀθανασίαν, but when—immortality) The frequent repetition of these words is very delightful.— τότε, then) not before. The Scripture is sure, therefore the resurrection is sure.— κατεπόθη θάνατος εἰς νῖκος, death is swallowed up in victory) Isaiah 25:8, LXX.— κατέπιεν θάνατος ἰσχύσας, it was swallowed up at one instantaneous draught: comp. Revelation 21:4.— εἰς νῖκος, Heb לנצח, which the LXX. not here but elsewhere often translate εἰς νῖκος, unto or in victory.


Verse 55

1 Corinthians 15:55. ποῦ σου, θάνατε, τὸ κέντρον; ποῦ σου, ᾅδη, τὸ νῖκος;) Hosea 13:14, LXX.— ποῦ δίκη ( νίκη) σου, θάνατε; ποῦ τὸ κέντρον σου, ᾅδη; Heb. אהי דבריך מות אהי קטבך שאול, i.e., where are thy plagues, O death? where, O grave, is thy destruction?—See by all means, Olearii diss. inaug. on Redemption from hell. In this hymn of victory, where signifies that death and hell were formerly very formidable: now circumstances are changed. θάνατος, death, and ᾅδης, hell [the unseen world beneath], are frequently used promiscuously; but yet they differ, for the one can never be substituted for the other: Hell is in fact opposed to heaven; death, to life, and death precedes; hell is more profound; death receives the bodies without the souls, hell receives the souls, even without the bodies, not only of the wicked, but also of the godly, and that, before the death of Christ, Genesis 37:35; Luke 16:23. Therefore they are mentioned in connection with each other; and it is said in gradation, death and hell: comp. Revelation 20:13-14; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 1:17 : and in these passages it is evident, that the word grave cannot be substituted for hell. Furthermore, because the discussion here turns upon the resurrection of the body, therefore hell is only once named, death often, even in the following verse.— τὸ κέντρον, the sting) having a [plague-causing or] pestilential [Heb. “Where are thy plagues?”] poison. Paul transposes the victory and the sting; which is more agreeable not only to the gradation of the Hebrew synomyms, but also makes a more convenient transition to the following verse, where sting and strength are kindred terms. A stimulus or goad is a larger κέντρον; comp. Acts 26:14; a sting or prick [aculeus] is a less κέντρον; sometimes they may be used promiscuously, when we overlook the quantity [i.e., a quantity of less aculei is tantamount to a stimulus or stimuli]; we may even kick against the pricks in thorns.— ᾅδη, O hell, [grave, Engl. V.]) It does not here denote the place of eternal punishment, but the receptacle of souls, which are again to be united with their bodies at the resurrection. There is nothing here said now any longer of the devil; comp. Hebrews 2:14 : because the victory is snatched out of his hands, earlier than out of those of death, 1 Corinthians 15:26.— νῖκος) LXX. δίκη or νίκη: Paul sweetly repeats νῖκος; comp. the preceding verse. The rarity of the word is well suited to a song of victory.


Verse 56

1 Corinthians 15:56. ἁμαρτία, sin) If there were no sin, there could be no death; comp. Hosea 13:12. Against this prick no one could have kicked by his own strength; no one could have sung that song of triumph, where, etc. The particle but indicates this fact.— νόμος, the law) threatening death for sin; without the law sin is not perceived; under the law sin has dominion; Romans 6:14.


Verse 57

1 Corinthians 15:57. τῷ δὲ θεῷ χάρις, but thanks be to God) It had not been of our accomplishment [in our power to effect].— δὲ, but) Although both the law and sin, and death and hell, opposed us, yet we have overcome. This is the sentiment; but the mode or ἦθος, [expression of feeling] is added, thanks be to God.— τῷ διδόντι,(150) who gives) the present, to suit the state of believers.(151)τὸ νῖκος, the victory) a repetition, suitable to the triumph: death and hell had aimed at the victory.— χριστο , Christ) in the faith of whom, we [being dead], dying to the law, have obtained life, 1 Corinthians 15:3 and following verses.


Verse 58

1 Corinthians 15:58.(152) ἀγαπητοὶ, beloved) The true consideration of the things, the last of all, kindles his love towards the brethren.— ἑδραῖοι, [steadfast] stable) do not ye yourselves turn aside from the faith of the resurrection.— ἀμετακίνητοι, immoveable) be not led away by others, 1 Corinthians 15:12. So Colossians 1:23.— ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ τοῦ κυρίου, in the work of the Lord) Christ, Philippians 2:30. It is called generally, the work which is carried on for the sake of the Lord. Its more particular definition depends on the circumstances of each particular text.— εἰδότες, knowing) He is now sure of the assent of the Corinthians.— οὐκ ἔστι κενὸς, is not vain) i.e., is most profitable. They were trying to make it in vain, who denied the resurrection. Paul mildly refutes these men even in the conclusion [as well as before].

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-15.html. 1897.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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