1 Corinthians 15Of Cephas; Peter. (Luke 24:12, 34.) Jesus appeared to other individuals at this time; but, being probably not known to the Corinthians, they are not referred to.
Of—five hundred brethren at once. This was most probably in Galilee, where Jesus repeatedly met his disciples after his resurrection. This particular interview however, is not recorded by the evangelists.—Remain unto this present; are still living.
Of me also. This was when Paul was on his journey to, Damascus. (Acts 9:3-6.)—Born out of due time. Paul thus represents his late call to be a disciple of the Savior, and his being the last one to whom Jesus appeared, as a mark of unworthiness.
But I labored, &c.; that is, this grace was effectual in leading me to labor.
So we preach; so we testify, namely, that Jesus did actually arise from the dead.
Vain; not to be believed or depended upon; for they had unequivocally declared that they had been witnesses of his resurrection.—And your faith, &c.; that is, all ground of your confidence in the gospel is taken away.
Ye are yet in your sins; for all your hopes of pardon rest on the truth of the gospel; and of the evidence of this truth, the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ is the foundation.
In Christ; in spiritual union with him, trusting to his salvation.
Most miserable; being exposed to the severest trials and persecutions in this life, and, if hope in Christ is to be abandoned, without any prospect of happiness in another.
The first-fruits. Jesus Christ was the first who arose to immortality. Others, as Lazarus, (John 11:) the son of the woman of Shunem, (2 Kings 4:32-37,) and of the widow of Nain, (Luke 7:12-15,) were only restored to this mortal life, and therefore were not cases of resurrection in the sense of this chapter.
By man; by Adam, through his first transgression.
In Adam; through Adam.—In Christ; through Christ.—Shall all be made alive; shall be raised from the dead.
Shall the Son—be subject unto him; that is, he shall deliver up the kingdom unto him, as stated in v. 24, meaning the mediatorial kingdom established for the accomplishment of human redemption. When the object is effected, the special commission intrusted to the Son will expire.
Baptized for the dead. This expression has been a source of great perplexity, and has given rise to a great many conjectural explanations, from which it is difficult to select one less unsatisfactory than the rest. Some suppose the meaning to be, baptized in hope of resurrection from the dead.
Jeopardy every hour; in such constant exposure to suffering.
Your rejoicing; rejoicing on account of you.—I die daily; I am daily environed by extreme sufferings and alarms.
Fought with beasts. In ancient times, men were often required to fight with ferocious beasts, in a large theatre, partly, as a punishment for crimes, and partly for the amusement of the populace. The form of expression does not render it certain that Paul had literally been put to this trial. The word beasts may refer to violent human enemies.—Let us eat and drink; that is, if there be no future state, we may as well enjoy life as it passes.
Evil communications, &c. This passage is a quotation from a Greek poet.
Is not quickened; does not grow.—Except it die. The main body of the seed decays, and becomes food for the small germ which shoots from it.
That body that shall be; that is, the plant itself, with its foliage and fructification.—But bare grain,—mere grain; that is, the seed only. The meaning is, that, in the same manner, the body which rises will be of a very different nature from that which is committed to the ground.
To every seed his own body. Each seed gives origin to its own proper plant.
The meaning is, that this great and obvious variety among the works of God should enlarge our conceptions of the greatness of the change to be expected in the resurrection.
These statements of the apostle coincide fully with obvious philosophical considerations to forbid our harboring narrow views in our conceptions of the resurrection, in respect to the physical resemblance and identity of the body that shall rise, compared with that which is deposited in the ground. That stratum of animal and vegetable mould which covers the earth, and out of which all generations of men, of animals, and of plants, are successively formed, has an average of only a few inches in depth, and it remains from age to age the same. The animal and vegetable bodies which come from it, after their brief period of organized existence, return to it a gain, and are resolved once more to the original elements out of which they were formed,—elements which are soon reconstructed into new combinations. Hence there is no accumulation of the deposits of death and decay. In the oldest countries on the globe, where two hundred generations of men, and five hundred of domestic animals, have lived, died, and been dissolved, there is no accumulation. Even the materials of those bodies of the dead which are deposited, by mourning survivors, deep below the surface, or in tombs, are not preserved. They are gradually resolved into gaseous constituents, which rise through the intervening obstructions, and regain the soil and the atmosphere, thus entering again into that vast storehouse of materials, from which the whole face of nature receives its perpetual renovation. Thus the bodies of men and of animals, the trees and the fruits, the flowers and the foliage, now enjoying life upon the earth's surface, are composed of the same materials with those of the generation contemporary with Abraham. All this teaches us not to form gross and carnal ideas of the resurrection; and it gives great force and emphasis to the apostle's declarations, "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body;" and in v. 50, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
The original of that part of the verse which is quoted, is found Gen. 2:7. The antithesis consists in the distinction intended between the words living and quickening; the former meaning here life-receiving, the latter life-giving.
As is the earthy; that is, as is Adam, the source and origin of the earthly, physical nature of man.—The heavenly; Christ, as designated in the preceding verse.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit, &c. See v. 42-44.
We; we, who shall then be alive.
That is written. Expressions similar to those here used occur in Hos. 13:14.
Is the law. It is the law, which, by its denunciations and penalties, makes the consequences of sin so terrible.
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