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15:1 I make known [gnōrizō]. See on 12:3 for this common verb. As if in reproach. The gospel which I preached unto you [to euaggelion ho euēggelisamēn humin]. Cognate accusative, “the gospel which I gospelized unto you.” Note augment [ē] after [eu-] like compound verb with preposition. Note repetition of relative [ho, en hōi, di hou], and [tini] like relative) without [kai] (and), asyndeton.
15:2 In what words I preached it unto you [tini logoi euēggelisamēn humin]. Almost certainly [tis] [tini logoi], locative or instrumental, in or with) here is used like the relative [hos] as is common in papyri (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 93f.; Robertson, Grammar, p. 737f.). Even so it is not clear whether the clause depends on [gnōrizō] like the other relatives, but most likely so. If we hold it fast [ei katechete]. Condition of first class. Paul assumes that they are holding it fast. Except ye believed in vain [ektos ei mē eikēi episteusate]. For [ektos ei mē] see on 14:5. Condition of first class, unless in fact ye did believe to no purpose [eikēi], old adverb, only in Paul in N.T.). Paul holds this peril over them in their temptation to deny the resurrection.
15:3 First of all [en prōtois]. Among first things. In primis. Not to time, but to importance. Which I also received [ho kai parelabon]. Direct revelation claimed as about the institution of the Lord’s Supper (11:23) and same verbs used [paredōka, parelabon]. Four items given by Paul in explaining “the gospel” which Paul preached. Stanley calls it (verses 1-11) the creed of the early disciples, but “rather a sample of the exact form of the apostle’s early teaching, than a profession of faith on the part of converts” (Vincent). The four items are presented by four verbs (died, [apethanen], was buried, [etaphē], hath been raised, [egēgertai], appeared, [ōphthē]. Christ died [Christos apethanen]. Historical fact and crucial event. For our sins [huper tōn hamartiōn hēmōn]. [Huper] means literally over, in behalf, even instead of (Ga 3:13), where used of persons. But here much in the sense of [peri] (Ga 1:14) as is common in Koinē. In 1Pe 3:18 we have [peri hamartiōn, huper adikōn]. According to the Scriptures [kata tas graphas]. As Jesus showed (Lu 22:37; 24:25) and as Peter pointed out (Ac 2:25-27; 3:35) and as Paul had done (Ac 13:24f.; 17:3). Cf. Ro 1:2ff.
15:4 And that he was buried [kai hoti etaphē]. Note [hoti] repeated before each of the four verbs as a separate item. Second aorist passive indicative of [thaptō], old verb, to bury. This item is an important detail as the Gospels show. And that he hath been raised [kai hoti egēgertai]. Perfect passive indicative, not [ēgerthē] like rose of the King James’ Version. There is reason for this sudden change of tense. Paul wishes to emphasize the permanence of the resurrection of Jesus. He is still risen. On the third day [tēi hēmerāi tēi tritēi]. Locative case of time. Whether Paul had seen either of the Gospels we do not know, but this item is closely identified with the fact of Christ’s resurrection. We have it in Peter’s speech (Ac 10:40) and Jesus points it out as part of prophecy (Lu 24:46). The other expression occasionally found “after three days” (Mr 10:34) is merely free vernacular for the same idea and not even Mt 12:40 disturbs it. See on Lu 24:1 for record of the empty tomb on the first day of the week (the third day).
15:5 And that he appeared to Cephas [kai hoti ōphthē Kēphāi]. First aorist passive indicative of the defective verb [horaō], to see. Paul means not a mere “vision,” but actual appearance. John uses [ephanerōthē] (Joh 21:14) from [phaneroō], to make manifest, of Christ’s appearance to the seven by the Sea of Galilee. Peter was listed first [prōtos] among the Apostles (Mt 10:2). Jesus had sent a special message to him (Mr 16:7) after his resurrection. This special appearance to Peter is made the determining factor in the joyful faith of the disciples (Lu 24:34), though mentioned incidentally here. Paul had told all these four facts to the Corinthians in his preaching. He gives further proof of the fact of Christ’s resurrection. There are ten appearances given besides the one to Paul. Nine are in the Gospels (Mary Magdalene in John and Mark, the other women in Matthew, the two going to Emmaus in Luke, Simon Peter in Luke and I Corinthians, the ten apostles and others in Luke and John and Mark, the eleven and others in John, the seven by the sea in John, to over five hundred in Galilee in Matthew and Paul and Mark, to the apostles in Jerusalem in Luke and Mark and Acts and I Corinthians) and one in I Corinthians above (to James). It will be seen that Paul mentions only five of the ten, one, that to James, not given elsewhere. What he gives is conclusive evidence of the fact, particularly when re-enforced by his own experience (the sixth appearance mentioned by Paul). The way to prove this great fact is to start with Paul’s own witness given in this undoubted Epistle. The natural way to understand Paul’s adverbs of time here is chronological: then [eita], then [epeita], then [epeita], then [eita], last of all [eschaton pantōn]. To the twelve [tois dōdeka]. The technical name. Only ten were present, for Judas was dead and Thomas was absent (Joh 20:24).
15:6 To above five hundred brethren at once [epanō pentakosiois adelphois ephapax]. [Epanō] here is just an adverb with no effect on the case. As a preposition with the ablative see Mt 5:14. This incident is the one described in Mt 28:16 the prearranged meeting on the mountain in Galilee. The strength of this witness lies in the fact that the majority [hoi pleious] of them were still living when Paul wrote this Epistle, say spring of A.D. 54 or 55, not over 25 years after Christ’s resurrection.
15:7 To James [Iakōbōi]. The brother of the Lord. This fact explains the presence of the brothers of Jesus in the upper room (Ac 1:14). To all the apostles [tois apostolois pasin]. The Ascension of Christ from Olivet.
15:8 As unto one born out of due time [hōsperei tōi ektrōmati]. Literally, as to the miscarriage (or untimely birth). Word first occurs in Aristotle for abortion or miscarriage and occurs in LXX (Nu 12:12; Job 3:16) and papyri (for miscarriage by accident). The verb [titrōskō] means to wound and [ek] is out. Paul means that the appearance to him came after Jesus had ascended to heaven.
15:9 The least [ho elachistos]. True superlative, not elative. Explanation of the strong word [ektrōma] just used. See Eph 3:8 where he calls himself “less than the least of all saints” and 1Ti 1:15 the “chief” [prōtos] of sinners. Yet under attack from the Judaizers Paul stood up for his rank as equal to any apostle (2Co 11:5f., 23). Because I persecuted the church of God [ediōxa tēn ekklēsian tou theou]. There were times when this terrible fact confronted Paul like a nightmare. Who does not understand this mood of contrition?
15:10 What I am [ho eimi]. Not, who [hos], but what [ho], neuter singular. His actual character and attainments. All “by the grace of God” [chariti theou]. I laboured more abundantly than they all [perissoteron autōn pantōn ekopiasa]. This is sober fact as shown by the Acts and Paul’s Epistles. He had tremendous energy and used it. Genius is work, Carlyle said. Take Paul as a specimen.
15:11 So we preach, and so ye believed [houtōs kērussomen, kai houtōs episteusate]. This is what matters both for preacher and hearers. This is Paul’s gospel. Their conduct in response to his message was on record.
15:12 Is preached [kērussetai]. Personal use of the verb, Christ is preached. How say some among you? [pōs legousin en humin tines?]. The question springs naturally from the proof of the fact of the resurrection of Christ (verses 1-11) and the continual preaching which Paul here assumes by condition of the first class [ei—kērussetai]. There were sceptics in Corinth, possibly in the church, who denied the resurrection of dead people just as some men today deny that miracles happen or ever did happen. Paul’s answer is the resurrection of Christ as a fact. It all turns on this fact.
15:13 Neither hath Christ been raised [oude Christos egēgertai]. He turns the argument round with tremendous force. But it is fair.
15:14 Vain [kenon]. Inanis, Vulgate. Old word, empty. Both Paul’s preaching and their faith are empty if Christ has not been raised. If the sceptics refuse to believe the fact of Christ’s resurrection, they have nothing to stand on.
15:15 False witnesses of God [pseudomartures tou theou]. Late word, but [pseudomartureō], to bear false witness, old and common. The genitive [tou theou] can be either subjective (in God’s service) or objective (concerning God). Either makes good sense. Because we witnessed of God [hoti emarturēsamen kata tou theou]. Vulgate has adversus Deum. This is the more natural way to take [kata] and genitive, against God not as equal to [peri] (concerning). He would indeed make God play false in that case, if so be that the dead are not raised [eiper ara nekroi ouk egeirontai]. Condition of first class, assumed as true. Note both [per] intensive particle indeed and [ara] inferential particle therefore.
15:16 Repeats the position already taken in verse 13.
15:17 Vain [mataia]. Old word from adverb [matēn] (Mt 15:9), devoid of truth, a lie. Stronger word than [kenon] in verse 14. Ye are yet in your sins [eti este en tais hamartiais humōn]. Because the death of Christ has no atoning value if he did not rise from the dead. In that case he was only a man like other men and did not die for our sins (verse 3).
15:18 Then also [ara kai]. Inevitable inference. Have perished [apōlonto]. Did perish. Second aorist middle indicative of [apollumi], to destroy, middle, to perish (delivered up to eternal misery). Cf. 8:11.
15:19 We have hoped [ēlpikotes esmen]. Periphrastic perfect active indicative. Hope limited to this life even if “in Christ.” Only [monon] qualifies the whole clause. Most pitiable [eleeinoteroi]. Comparative form, not superlative, of old adjective [eleeinos], to be pitied, pitiable. If our hope is limited to this life, we have denied ourselves what people call pleasures and have no happiness beyond. The Epicureans have the argument on us. Paul makes morality turn on the hope of immortality. Is he not right? Witness the breaking of moral ties today when people take a merely animal view of life.
15:20 But now [nuni de]. Emphatic form of [nun] with [-i] added (cf. 12:18). It is the logical triumph of Paul after the reductio ad impossibile (Findlay) of the preceding argument. The first-fruits [aparchē]. Old word from [aparchomai], to offer firstlings or first-fruits. In LXX for first-fruits. In papyri for legacy-duty, entrance-fee, and also first-fruits as here. See also verse 23; 16:15; Ro 8:23, etc. Christ is “first-born from the dead” (Col 1:18). Others raised from the dead died again, but not so Jesus. That sleep [tōn kekoimēmenōn]. Perfect middle participle as in Mt 27:52 which see. Beautiful picture of death from which word [koimaomai] comes our [cemetery].
15:21 By man also [dai di’ anthrōpou]. That is Jesus, the God-man, the Second Adam (Ro 5:12). The hope of the resurrection of the dead rests in Christ.
15:22 Shall be made alive [zōopoiēthēsontai]. First future passive indicative of [zōopoieō], late verb (Aristotle) to give life, to restore to life as here. In verse 36 [zōopoieitai] is used in the sense of natural life as in Joh 5:21; 6:63 of spiritual life. It is not easy to catch Paul’s thought here. He means resurrection (restoration) by the verb here, but not necessarily eternal life or salvation. So also [pantes] may not coincide in both clauses. All who die die in Adam, all who will be made alive will be made alive (restored to life) in Christ. The same problem occurs in Ro 5:18 about “all,” and in verse 19 about “the many.”
15:23 Order [tagmati]. Old military term from [tassō], to arrange, here only in N.T. Each in his own division, troop, rank. At his coming [en tēi parousiāi]. The word [parousia] was the technical word “for the arrival or visit of the king or emperor” and can be traced from the Ptolemaic period into the second century A.D. (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 368). “Advent-coins were struck after a parousia of the emperor.” Paul is only discussing “those that are Christ’s” (3:23; Ga 5:24) and so says nothing about judgment (cf. 1Th 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23).
15:24 Then cometh the end [eita to telos]. No verb [ginetai] in the Greek. Supply “at his coming,” the end or consummation of the age or world (Mt 13:39,49; 1Pe 4:7), When he shall deliver up [hotan paradidōi]. Present active subjunctive (not optative) of [paradidōmi] with [hotan], whenever, and so quite indefinite and uncertain as to time. Present subjunctive rather than aorist [paradōi] because it pictures a future proceeding. To God, even the Father [tōi theōi kai patri]. Better, “to the God and Father” or to “His God and Father.” The Kingdom belongs to the Father. When he shall have abolished [hotan katargēsēi]. First aorist active subjunctive with [hotan], indefinite future time. Simply, “whenever he shall abolish,” no use in making it future perfect, merely aorist subjunctive. On [katargeō] see 1Co 6:13; 13:8,10,11. Rule [archēn], authority [exousian], power [dunamin]. All forms of power opposing the will of God. Constative aorist tense covering the whole period of conflict with final victory as climax.
15:25 Till he hath put [achri hou thēi]. Second aorist active subjunctive of [tithēmi], “till he put” (no sense in saying “hath put,” merely effective aorist tense for climax. [Achri (hou), mechri (hou), heōs (hou)] all are used for the same idea of indefinite future time.)
15:26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death [eschatos echthros katargeitai ho thanatos]. A rather free translation. Literally, “death (note article, and so subject) is done away (prophetic or futuristic use of present tense of same verb as in verse 24), the last enemy” (predicate and only one “last” and so no article as in 1Jo 2:18).
15:27 He put [hupetaxen]. First aorist active of [hupotassō], to subject. Supply God [theos] as subject (Ps 8:7). See Heb 2:5-9 for similar use. Cf. Ps 8. But when he saith [hotan de eipēi]. Here Christ must be supplied as the subject if the reference is to his future and final triumph. The syntax more naturally calls for God as the subject as before. Either way makes sense. But there is no need to take [eipēi] (second aorist active subjunctive) as a futurum exactum, merely “whenever he shall say.” Are put in subjection [hupotetaktai]. Perfect passive indicative, state of completion, final triumph. It is evident that [dēlon hoti]. Supply [estin] (is) before [hoti]. He is excepted who did subject [ektos tou hupotaxantos]. “Except the one (God) who did subject (articular aorist active participle) the all things to him (Christ).”
15:28 And when all things have been subjected [hotan de hupotagēi ta panta]. Second aorist passive subjunctive of [hupotassō], not perfect. Merely, “when the all things are subjected unto him.” The aorist subjunctive has given translators a deal of needless trouble in this passage. It is prophecy, of course. That God may be all in all [hina ēi ho theos panta en pasin]. The final goal of all God’s redemptive plans as Paul has so well said in Ro 11:36. Precisely this language Paul will use of Christ (Col 3:11).
15:29 Else [epei]. Otherwise, if not true. On this use of [epei] with ellipsis see on 5:10; 7:14. Which are baptized for the dead [hoi baptizomenoi huper tōn nekrōn]. This passage remains a puzzle. Stanley gives thirteen interpretations, no one of which may be correct. Over thirty have been suggested. The Greek expositors took it to be about the dead [huper] in sense of [peri] as often as in 2Co 1:6) since baptism is a burial and a resurrection (Ro 6:2-6). Tertullian tells of some heretics who took it to mean baptized in the place of dead people (unsaved) in order to save them. Some take it to be baptism over the dead. Others take it to mean that Paul and others were in peril of death as shown by baptism (see verse 30). At all [holōs]. See on 5:1.
15:30 Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? [ti kai hēmeis kinduneuomen pasan hōran?]. We also as well as those who receive baptism which symbolizes death. Old verb from [kindunos] (peril, danger), in N.T. only here and Lu 8:23. Paul’s Epistles and Acts (especially chapter Ac 19) throw light on Paul’s argument. He was never out of danger from Damascus to the last visit to Rome. There are perils in Ephesus of which we do not know (2Co 1:8f.) whatever may be true as to an Ephesian imprisonment. G. S. Duncan (St. Paul’s Ephesian Ministry, 1930) even argues for several imprisonments in Ephesus. The accusative of time [pasan hōran] naturally means all through every hour (extension).
15:31 I protest by that glorying in you [nē tēn humeteran kauchēsin]. No word for “I protest.” Paul takes solemn oath by the use of [nē] (common in Attic) with the accusative. Only here in N.T., but in LXX (Ge 42:15f.). For other solemn oaths by Paul see 2Co 1:18, 23; 11:10f., 31; Ro 9:1. For [kauchēsis] see on 1Th 2:19. The possessive pronoun [humeteran] is objective as [emēn] in 1Co 11:24. I die daily [kath’ hēmeran apothnēskō]. I am in daily peril of death (2Co 4:11; 11:23; Ro 8:36).
15:32 After the manner of men [kata anthrōpon]. Like men, for applause, money, etc. (4:9ff.; Php 3:7). If I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus [ei ethēriomachēsa en Ephesōi]. Late verb from [thēriomachos], a fighter with wild beasts. Found in inscriptions and in Ignatius. Those who argue for an Ephesian imprisonment for Paul and Ephesus as the place where he wrote the imprisonment epistles (see Duncan’s book just mentioned) take the verb literally. There is in the ruins of Ephesus now a place called St. Paul’s Prison. But Paul was a Roman citizen and it was unlawful to make such a one be a [thēriomachos]. If he were cast to the lions unlawfully, he could have prevented it by claiming his citizenship. Besides, shortly after this Paul wrote II Corinthians, but he does not mention so unusual a peril in the list in 2Co 11:23f. The incident, whatever it was, whether literal or figurative language, took place before Paul wrote I Corinthians. What doth it profit me? [ti moi to ophelos?]. What the profit to me? Let us eat and drink [phagōmen kai piōmen]. Volitive second aorist subjunctives of [esthiō] and [pinō]. Cited from Isa 22:13. It is the outcry of the people of Jerusalem during the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. At Anchiale near Tarsus is a statue of Sardanapalus with the inscription: “Eat, drink, enjoy thyself. The rest is nothing.” This was the motto of the Epicureans. Paul is not giving his own view, but that of people who deny the resurrection.
15:33 Be not deceived [mē planāsthe]. Do not be led astray [planaō] by such a false philosophy of life. Evil company [homiliai kakai]. Evil companionships. Old word, [homilia], from [homilos] (a crowd, gang, bunch). Only here in N.T. Good manners [ēthē]. Old word (kin to [ethos] custom, usage, morals. Good morals here. This line of poetry (iambic) occurs in Menander. It may be a current proverb. Paul could have gotten it from either source.
15:34 Awake up righteously [eknēpsate dikaiōs]. Wake up as if from drunkenness. [Eknēphō], only here in N.T. sin not [mē hamartanete]. Stop sinning. No knowledge of God [agnōsian theou]. Old word for ignorance, in N.T. only here and 1Pe 2:15. Ignorance of God, agnosticism. Some today (agnostics) even take pride in it instead of shame [entropēn], turning in on oneself). See on 6:5 for [entropē].
15:35 But some one will say [alla erei tis]. Paul knows what the sceptics were saying. He is a master at putting the standpoint of the imaginary adversary. How [pōs]. This is still the great objection to the resurrection of our bodies. Granted that Jesus rose from the dead, for the sake of argument, these sceptics refuse to believe in the possibility of our resurrection. It is the attitude of Matthew Arnold who said, “Miracles do not happen.” Scientifically we know the “how” of few things. Paul has an astounding answer to this objection. Death itself is the way of resurrection as in the death of the seed for the new plant (verses 36f.). With what manner of body [poiōi sōmati]. This is the second question which makes plainer the difficulty of the first. The first body perishes. Will that body be raised? Paul treats this problem more at length (verses 38-54) and by analogy of nature (Cf. Butler’s famous Analogy). It is a spiritual, not a natural, body that is raised. [Sōma] here is an organism. Flesh [sarx] is the [sōma] for the natural man, but there is spiritual [pneumatikon] [sōma] for the resurrection.
15:36 Thou foolish one [aphrōn]. Old word [a] privative, [phrēn], lack of sense. It is a severe term and justified by the implication “that the objector plumes himself on his acuteness” (Robertson and Plummer). Proleptic position of [su] (thou) sharpens the point. Sceptics (agnostics) pose as unusually intellectual (the intelligentsia), but the pose does not make one intelligent. Except it die [ean mē apothanēi]. Condition of third class, possibility assumed. This is the answer to the “how” question. In plant life death precedes life, death of the seed and then the new plant.
15:37 Not the body which shall be [ou to sōma to genēsomenon]. Articular future participle of [ginomai], literally, “not the body that will become.” The new body [sōma] is not yet in existence, but only the seed [kokkos], grain, old word, as in Mt 13:31). It may chance [ei tuchoi]. Fourth class condition as in 14:10 which see. Paul is rich in metaphors here, though usually not so (Howson, Metaphors of St. Paul). Paul was a city man. We sow seeds, not plants (bodies). The butterfly comes out of the dying worm.
15:38 A body of its own [idion sōma]. Even under the microscope the life cells or germ plasm may seem almost identical, but the plant is quite distinct. On [sperma], seed, old word from [speirō], to sow, see on Mt 13:24f.
15:39 The same flesh [hē autē sarx]. Paul takes up animal life to show the great variety there is as in the plant kingdom. Even if evolution should prove to be true, Paul’s argument remains valid. Variety exists along with kinship. Progress is shown in the different kingdoms, progress that even argues for a spiritual body after the body of flesh is lost. Of beasts [ktēnōn]. Old word, from [ktaomai], to possess, and so property. See Lu 10:34. Of birds [ptēnōn]. Old word from [petomai], to fly, winged, flying. Only here in N.T.
15:40 Celestial [epourania]. Old word, from [epi], upon, [ouranos], heaven, existing in heaven. Paul now rises higher in the range of his argument, above the merely terrestrial [epigeia], upon earth, [epi, ge] bodies. He has shown differences in the bodies here on earth in plants and in the animal kingdom and now he indicates like differences to be seen in the heavens above us. Is one [hetera men] —is another [hetera de]. Antithesis that admits glory for bodies on earth and bodies in the heavens. Experience does not argue against a glory for the spiritual body (Php 3:21).
15:41 For one star differeth from another star in glory [astēr gar asteros diapherei en doxēi]. A beautiful illustration of Paul’s point. [Asteros] is the ablative case after [diapherei] (old verb [diapherō], Latin differo, our differ, bear apart). On [astēr] see Mt 2:7 and [astron] Lu 21:25. Stars differ in magnitude and brilliancy. The telescope has added more force to Paul’s argument. In glory [en doxēi]. Old word from [dokeō], to think, to seem. So opinion, estimate, then the shekinah glory of God in the LXX, glory in general. It is one of the great words of the N.T. Jesus is termed the glory in Jas 2:1.
15:42 So is the resurrection of the dead [houtōs kai hē anastasis tōn nekrōn]. Paul now applies his illustrations to his argument to prove the kind of body we shall have after the resurrection. He does it by a series of marvellous contrasts that gather all his points. The earthly and the risen beings differ in duration, value, power (Wendt). It is sown [speiretai]. In death, like the seed (37). In incorruption [en aphtharsiāi]. Late word from [a] privative and [phtheirō], to corrupt. In LXX, Plutarch, Philo, late papyrus of a Gnostic gospel, and quotation from Epicurus. Vulgate incorruptio. The resurrection body has undergone a complete change as compared with the body of flesh like the plant from the seed. It is related to it, but it is a different body of glory.
15:43 In weakness [en astheneiāi]. Lack of strength as shown in the victory of death. In power [en dunamei]. Death can never conquer this new body, “conformed to the body of His glory” (Php 3:21).
15:44 A natural body [sōma psuchikon]. See on 2:14 for this word, a difficult one to translate since [psuchē] has so many meanings. Natural is probably as good a rendering as can be made, but it is not adequate, for the body here is not all [psuchē] either as soul or life. The same difficulty exists as to a spiritual body [sōma pneumatikon]. The resurrection body is not wholly [pneuma]. Caution is needed here in filling out details concerning the [psuchē] and the [pneuma]. But certainly he means to say that the “spiritual body” has some kind of germinal connection with the “natural body,” though the development is glorious beyond our comprehension though not beyond the power of Christ to perform (Php 3:21). The force of the argument remains unimpaired though we cannot follow fully into the thought beyond us. If there is [ei estin]. “If there exists” [estin] means this with accent on first syllable), a condition of first class assumed as true. There is also [estin kai]. There exists also.
15:45 Became a living soul [egeneto eis psuchēn zōsan]. Hebraistic use of [eis] in predicate from LXX. God breathed a soul [psuchē] into “the first man.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit [ho eschatos Adam eis pneuma zōopoioun]. Supply [egeneto] (became). Christ is the crown of humanity and has power to give us the new body. In Ro 5:12-19 Paul calls Christ the Second Adam.
15:46 Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural [all’ ou prōton to pneumatikon, alla to psuchikon]. Literally, “But not first the spiritual, but the natural.” This is the law of growth always.
15:47 Earthly [cho‹kos]. Late rare word, from [chous], dust. The second man from heaven [ho deuteros anthrōpos ex ouranou]. Christ had a human [psuchikon] body, of course, but Paul makes the contrast between the first man in his natural body and the Second Man in his risen body. Paul saw Jesus after his resurrection and he appeared to him “from heaven.” He will come again from heaven.
15:48 As is the earthly [hoios ho choikos]. Masculine gender because of [anthrōpos] and correlative pronouns [hoios, toioutoi] of character or quality. All men of dust [cho‹koi] correspond to “the man of dust” [ho cho‹kos], the first Adam. As is the heavenly [hoios ho epouranios]. Christ in his ascended state (1Th 4:16; 2Th 1:7; Eph 2:6,20; Php 3:20f.).
15:49 We shall also bear [phoresomen kai]. Old MSS. (so Westcott and Hort) read [phoresōmen kai]. Volitive aorist active subjunctive, Let us also bear. Ellicott strongly opposes the subjunctive. It may be merely the failure of scribes to distinguish between long o and short o. Paul hardly means to say that our attaining the resurrection body depends on our own efforts! A late frequentative form of [pherō].
15:50 Cannot inherit [klēronomēsai ou dunantai]. Hence there must be a change by death from the natural body to the spiritual body. In the case of Christ this change was wrought in less than three days and even then the body of Jesus was in a transition state before the Ascension. He ate and could be handled and yet he passed through closed doors. Paul does not base his argument on the special circumstances connected with the risen body of Jesus.
15:51 A mystery [mustērion]. He does not claim that he has explained everything. He has drawn a broad parallel which opens the door of hope and confidence. We shall not all sleep [pantes ou koimēthēsometha]. Future passive indicative of [koimaomai], to sleep. Not all of us shall die, Paul means. Some people will be alive when he comes. Paul does not affirm that he or any then living will be alive when Jesus comes again. He simply groups all under the phrase “we all.” But we shall all be changed [pantes de allagēsometha]. Second future passive indicative of [allassō]. Both living and dead shall be changed and so receive the resurrection body. See this same idea at more length in 1Th 4:13-18.
15:52 In a moment [en atomōi]. Old word, from [a] privative and [temnō], to cut, indivisible: Scientific word for atom which was considered indivisible, but that was before the day of electrons and protons. Only here in N.T. In the twinkling of an eye [en ripēi ophthalmou]. Old word [ripē] from [riptō], to throw. Only here in N.T. Used by the Greeks for the flapping of a wing, the buzz of a gnat, the quivering of a harp, the twinkling of a star. At the last trump [en tēi eschatēi salpiggi]. Symbolical, of course. See on 1Th 4:16; Mt 24:31.
15:53 Must put on [dei endusasthai]. Aorist (ingressive) middle infinitive, put on as a garment. Immortality [athanasian]. Old word from [athanatos], undying, and that from [a] privative and [thnēskō], to die. In N.T. only here and 1Ti 6:16 where God is described as having immortality.
15:54 Shall have put on [endusētai]. First aorist middle subjunctive with [hotan] whenever, merely indefinite future, no futurum exactum, merely meaning, “whenever shall put on,” not “shall have put on.” Is swallowed up [katepothē]. First aorist passive indicative of [katapinō], old verb to drink down, swallow down. Perfective use of [kata-] where we say “up,” “swallow up.”; Timeless use of the aorist tense. Paul changes the active voice [katepien] in Isa 25:8 to the passive. Death is no longer victory. Theodotion reads the Hebrew verb (bulla, for billa,) as passive like Paul. It is the “final overthrow of the king of Terrors” (Findlay) as shown in Heb 2:15.
15:55 Victory [nikos]. Late form of [nikē]. O death [thanate]. Second instance. Here Paul changes Hades of the LXX for Hebrew Sheol (Hos 13:14) to death. Paul never uses Hades. Thy sting [sou to kentron]. Old word from [kentreō], to prick, as in Ac 26:14. In Re 9:10 of the sting of locusts, scorpions. The serpent death has lost his poison fangs.
15:57 But thanks be to God [tōi de theōi charis]. Exultant triumph through Christ over sin and death as in Ro 7:25.
15:58 Be ye steadfast, unmovable [hedraioi ginesthe, ametakinētoi]. “Keep on becoming steadfast, unshaken.” Let the sceptics howl and rage. Paul has given rational grounds for faith and hope in Christ the Risen Lord and Saviour. Note practical turn to this great doctrinal argument. Work [ergon], labour [kopos], toil). The best answer to doubt is work.
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