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15. Resurrection of Christ and the Dead

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 12Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? 30And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

35But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

10. And his grace was not vain. Those that set free-will in opposition to the grace of God, that whatever good we do may not be ascribed wholly to Him, wrest these words to suit their own interpretation — as if Paul boasted, that he had by his own industry taken care that God’s grace toward him had not been misdirected. Hence they infer, that God, indeed, offers his grace, but that the right use of it is in man’s own power, and that it is in his own power to prevent its being ineffectual. I maintain, however, that these words of Paul give no support to their error, for he does not here claim anything as his own, as if he had himself, independently of God, done anything praiseworthy. What then? That he might not seem to glory to no purpose in mere words, while devoid of reality, he says, that he affirms nothing that is not openly apparent. Farther, even admitting that these words intimate, that Paul did not abuse the grace of God, and did not render it ineffectual by his negligence, I maintain, nevertheless, that there is no reason on that account, why we should divide between him and God the praise, that ought to be ascribed wholly to God, inasmuch as he confers upon us not merely the power of doing well, but also the inclination and the accomplishment.

But more abundantly Some refer this to vain-glorious boasters, 2626     “Thrasones.” See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 98, n. 1. who, by detracting from Paul, endeavored to set off themselves and their goods to advantage, as, in their opinion at least, it is not likely that he wished to enter upon a contest with the Apostles. When he compares himself, however, with the Apostles, he does so merely for the sake of those wicked persons, who were accustomed to bring them forward for the purpose of detracting from his reputation, as we see in the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 1:11.) Hence the probability is, that it is of the Apostles that he speaks, when he represents his own labors as superior to theirs, and it is quite true, that he was superior to others, not merely in respect of his enduring many hardships, encountering many dangers, abstaining from things lawful, and perseveringly despising all perils; (2 Corinthians 11:26;) but also because the Lord gave to his labors a much larger measure of success. 2727     “Dieu donnoit plus heureuse issue a ses labeurs, et les faisoit prou-fiter plus amplement;” — “God gave to his labors a more prosperous issue, and made them much more successful.” For I take labor here to mean the fruit of his labor that appeared.

Not I, but the grace The old translator, by leaving out the article, has given occasion of mistake to those that are not acquainted with the Greek language, for in consequence of his having rendered the words thus — not I, but the grace of God with me, 2828     In the Alexandrine MS. the reading is: But not I, but the grace of God with me.Corresponding to this is the rendering of Wiclif, (1380,)But not I, but the grace of God with me.Ed. they thought that only the half of the praise is ascribed to God, and that the other half is reserved for man. They, accordingly, understand the meaning to be that Paul labored not alone, inasmuch as he could do nothing without co-operating grace, 2929     See Institutes, volume 1. but at the same time it was under the influence of his own free-will, and by means of his own strength. His words, however, have quite a different meaning, for what he had said was his own, he afterwards, correcting himself, ascribes wholly to the grace of God — wholly, I say, not in part, for whatever he might have seemed to do, was wholly, he declares, the work of grace. A remarkable passage certainly, both for laying low the pride of man, and for magnifying the operation of Divine grace in us. For Paul, as though he had improperly made himself the author of anything good, corrects what he had said, and declares the grace of God to have been the efficient cause of the whole. Let us not think that there is here a mere pretense of humility 3030     Heideggerus seems to have had Calvin’s exposition here in his view in the following observations on the expression made use of by the Apostle: “Non Gratia Dei meoum, uti vetus Itala vertit, quasi effectus inter Gra-tiam Dei, et Pauli arbitrium distribueretur; nihil enim habuit ipse, quod non acceperit; sed Οὐκ ἐγὼ δε, ἀλλἀ ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ σὺν ἐμοί mecum, ut totum et in solidum omne gratiae soli acceptum feratur. Neque ita loquitur solius humilitatis et modestiae explieandae ergo, quanquam et hanc testari voluit; sed quia po-tens illa gratia demonstratio et testimonium irrefragabile erat resurrectionis Domini.” — “Not the grace of God with me, as the old Italic version renders it, as though the effect were divided between God’s grace and Paul’s free-will; for he has nothing that he has not received, but ἡ σὺν ἐμοί, which with me, that every thing may be wholly and entirely ascribed to grace alone. Nor does he speak thus, merely for the purpose of showing humility and modesty, though he had it also in view to testify this, but because that grace was a powerful demonstration and irrefragable testimony of our Lord’s resurrection.” — Heideggeri Labores Exegetici in Cor. (Tiguri. 1700). — Ed. It is in good earnest that he speaks thus, and from knowing that it is so in truth. Let us learn, therefore, that we have nothing that is good, but what the Lord has graciously given us, that we do nothing good but what he worketh in us, (Philippians 2:13) — not that we do nothing ourselves, but that we do nothing without being influenced — that is, under the guidance and impulse of the Holy Spirit.


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