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1Co 15:1-58. THE RESURRECTION PROVED AGAINST THE DENIERS OF IT AT CORINTH.
Christ's resurrection rests on the evidence of many eye-witnesses, including Paul himself, and is the great fact preached as the groundwork of the Gospel: they who deny the resurrection in general, must deny that of Christ, and the consequence of the latter will be, that Christian preaching and faith are vain.
1. Moreover--"Now" [ALFORD and
2. ye are saved--rather, "ye are being saved."
3. I delivered unto you--A short creed, or summary of articles of
faith, was probably even then existing; and a profession in accordance
with it was required of candidates for baptism
4. buried . . . rose again--His burial is more closely
connected with His resurrection than His death. At the moment of His
death, the power of His inextinguishable life exerted itself
The grave was to Him not the destined receptacle of corruption, but an
apartment fitted for entering into life
5. seen of Cephas--Peter
6. five hundred--This appearance was probably on the mountain (Tabor,
according to tradition), in Galilee, when His most solemn and public
appearance, according to His special promise, was vouchsafed
(Mt 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16).
He "appointed" this place, as one remote from Jerusalem, so that
believers might assemble there more freely and securely. ALFORD'S theory of Jerusalem being the scene, is
improbable; as such a multitude of believers could not, with any
safety, have met in one place in the metropolis, after His crucifixion
there. The number of disciples
at Jerusalem shortly after, was one hundred and twenty, those in
Galilee and elsewhere not being reckoned. Andronicus and JUNIUS were, perhaps, of the number
they are said to be "among the apostles" (who all were witnesses of the
7. seen of James--the Less, the brother of our Lord
The Gospel according to the Hebrews, quoted by JEROME
[On Illustrious Men, p. 170 D.], records that "James swore he would
not eat bread from the hour that he drank the cup of the Lord, till he
should see Him rising again from the dead."
8. One born out of due time--Greek, "the one abortively born": the abortion in the family of the apostles. As a child born before the due time is puny, and though born alive, yet not of the proper size, and scarcely worthy of the name of man, so "I am the least of the apostles," scarcely "meet to be called an apostle"; a supernumerary taken into the college of apostles out of regular course, not led to Christ by long instruction, like a natural birth, but by a sudden power, as those prematurely born [GROTIUS]. Compare the similar image from childbirth, and by the same spiritual power, the resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3). "Begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus." Jesus' appearance to Paul, on the way to Damascus, is the one here referred to.
10. by . . . grace . . . and his grace--The repetition implies the
prominence which God's grace had in his mind, as the sole cause of
his marvellous conversion and subsequent labors. Though "not meet to be
called an apostle," grace has given him, in Christ, the meetness needed
for the office. Translate as the Greek, "His grace which was
(showed) towards me."
12. if--Seeing that it is an admitted fact that Christ is announced
by us eye-witnesses as having risen from the dead, how is it that some
of you deny that which is a necessary consequence of Christ's
resurrection, namely, the general resurrection?
13. If there be no general resurrection, which is the consequent, then there can have been no resurrection of Christ, which is the antecedent. The head and the members of the body stand on the same footing: what does not hold good of them, does not hold good of Him either: His resurrection and theirs are inseparably joined (compare 1Co 15:20-22; Joh 14:19).
14. your faith . . . vain-- (1Co 15:11). The Greek for "vain" here is, empty, unreal: in 1Co 15:17, on the other hand, it is, without use, frustrated. The principal argument of the first preachers in support of Christianity was that God had raised Christ from the dead (Ac 1:22; 2:32; 4:10, 33; 13:37; Ro 1:4). If this fact were false, the faith built on it must be false too.
15. testified of God--that is, concerning God. The rendering of others
is, "against God" [Vulgate, ESTIUS,
GROTIUS]: the Greek preposition
with the genitive implies, not direct antagonism (as the accusative
would mean), but indirect to the dishonor of God.
English Version is probably better.
16. The repetition implies the unanswerable force of the argument.
17. vain--Ye are, by the very fact (supposing the case to be as the skeptics maintained), frustrated of all which "your faith" appropriates: Ye are still under the everlasting condemnation of your sins (even in the disembodied state which is here referred to), from which Christ's resurrection is our justification (Ro 4:25): "saved by his life" (Ro 5:10).
18. fallen asleep in Christ--in communion with Christ as His members.
"In Christ's case the term used is death, to assure us of the
reality of His suffering; in our case, sleep, to give us consolation:
In His case, His resurrection having actually taken place, Paul shrinks
not from the term death; in ours, the resurrection being still only a
matter of hope, he uses the term falling asleep" [PHOTIUS,
Quæstiones Amphilochiæ, 197].
19. If our hopes in Christ were limited to this life only, we should be, of all men, most to be pitied; namely, because, while others live unmolested, we are exposed to every trial and persecution, and, after all, are doomed to bitter disappointment in our most cherished hope; for all our hope of salvation, even of the soul (not merely of the body), hangs on the resurrection of Christ, without which His death would be of no avail to us (Eph 1:19, 20; 1Pe 1:3). The heathen are "without hope" (Eph 2:12; 1Th 4:13). We should be even worse, for we should be also without present enjoyment (1Co 4:9).
20. now--as the case really is.
21. by man . . . by man--The first-fruits are of the same nature as the rest of the harvest; so Christ, the bringer of life, is of the same nature as the race of men to whom He brings it; just as Adam, the bringer of death, was of the same nature as the men on whom he brought it.
22. in Adam all--in union of nature with Adam, as representative head
of mankind in their fall.
23. But every man in his own order--rather, "rank": the Greek is not in the abstract, but concrete: image from troops, "each in his own regiment." Though all shall rise again, let not any think all shall be saved; nay, each shall have his proper place, Christ first (Col 1:18), and after Him the godly who die in Christ (1Th 4:16), in a separate band from the ungodly, and then "t