1 Corinthians 15


The Gospel which the apostle preached to the Corinthians; viz.

that Christ died for our sins, and rose again the third day,


The witnesses of his resurrection, Peter, James, and more than

five hundred brethren, 5-7.

Lastly, Paul himself saw him, and was called by him to the

apostleship, 8-11.

Objections against the resurrection of the dead answered, 12-34.

The manner in which this great work shall be performed, 35-49.

The astonishing events that shall take place in the last day,


The use we should make of this doctrine, 58.


It appears from this chapter that there were some false

apostles at Corinth, who denied the resurrection, see 1Co 15:12;

in consequence of which St. Paul discusses three questions in this


1. Whether there be a resurrection of the dead? 1Co 15:1-35.

2. What will be the nature of the resurrection bodies?

1Co 15:35-51.

3. What should become of those who should be found alive in

the day of judgment? 1Co 15:51-57.

I. The resurrection he proves,

1. From Scripture, 1Co 15:1-4.

2. From eye witnesses, 1Co 15:5-12.

II. He proves the resurrection by showing the absurdity of the

contrary doctrine:-

1. If the dead rise not, Christ is not risen, 1Co 15:13.

2. It would be absurd to have faith in Him, according to the

preaching of the Gospel, if he be not risen, 1Co 15:14.

3. The apostles must be false witnesses who attest this

resurrection, 1Co 15:15.

4. The faith of the Corinthians must be vain who believe it,

1Co 15:16, 17.

5. All the believers who have died in the faith of Christ have

perished, if Christ be not risen, 1Co 15:18.

6. Believers in Christ are in a more miserable state than any

others, if there be no resurrection, 1Co 15:19.

7. Those who were baptized in the faith that Christ died for

them and rose again, are deceived, 1Co 15:29.

8. The apostles, and Christians in general, who suffer

persecution on the ground that, after suffering awhile here

they shall have a glorious resurrection, are acting a foolish

and unprofitable part, 1Co 15:30-32.

Verse 1. The Gospel which I preached unto you] This Gospel is

contained in Christ dying for our sins, being buried, and rising

again the third day. See the following verses.

Verse 2. By which also ye are saved] That is, ye are now in a

salvable state; and are saved from your Gentilism, and from your

former sins.

If ye keep in memory] Your future salvation, or being brought

finally to glory, will now depend on your faithfulness to the

grace that ye have received.

Verse 3. For I delivered unto you first of all] ενπροτοις.

As the chief things, or matters of the greatest importance;

fundamental truths.

That which I-received] By revelations from God himself, and

not from man.

That Christ died for our sins] The death of Jesus Christ, as a

vicarious sacrifice for sin, is ενπρωτοις; among the things that

are of chief importance, and is essential to the Gospel scheme of


According to the Scriptures] It is not said any where in the

Scriptures, in express terms, that Christ should rise on the third

day; but it is fully implied in his types, as in the case of

Jonah, who came out of the belly of the fish on the third day; but

particularly in the case of Isaac, who was a very expressive type

of Christ; for, as his being brought to the Mount Moriah, bound

and laid on the wood, in order to be sacrificed, pointed out the

death of Christ; so his being brought alive on the third day from

the mount was a figure of Christ's resurrection. Bishop Pearce

and others refer to Mt 12:40; 16:21; and Lu 9:22; "which two

Gospels, having been written at the time when Paul wrote this

epistle, were properly called by the name of the Sacred

Scriptures." It might be so; but I do not know of one proof in

the New Testament where its writings, or any part of them, are

called the Scriptures.

Verse 5. That he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve] This

refers to the journey to Emmaus, Lu 24:13, 34; and to what is

related Mr 16:14.

Then of the twelve] Instead of δωδεκα, twelve, ενδεκα,

eleven, is the reading of D*EFG, Syriac in the margin, some of the

Slavonic, Armenian, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the fathers;

and this reading is supported by Mr 16:14. Perhaps the term

twelve is used here merely to point out the society of the

apostles, who, though at this time they were only eleven, were

still called the twelve, because this was their original number,

and a number which was afterward filled up. See Joh 20:24.

Verse 6. Above five hundred brethren at once] This was

probably in Galilee, where our Lord had many disciples. See

Mt 28:16. What a remarkable testimony is this to the truth of

our Lord's resurrection! Five hundred persons saw him at one

time; the greater part of whom were alive when the apostle wrote,

and he might have been confronted by many if he had dared to

assert a falsity.

Verse 7. After that, he was seen of James] But where, and on

what occasion, we are not told; nor indeed do we know which James

is intended; James the son of Zebedee, or James the son of

Alpheus. But one thing is sufficiently evident, from what is here

said, that this James, of whom the apostle speaks, was still

alive; for the apostle's manner of speaking justifies this


Then of all the apostles.] Including, not only the eleven,

but, as some suppose, the seventy-two disciples.

Verse 8. And last of all-of me also] It seems that it was

essential to the character of a primitive apostle that he had seen

and conversed with Christ; and it is evident, from the history of

Saul's conversion, Ac 9:4-7, where see the notes, that Jesus

Christ did appear to him; and he pleaded this ever after as a

proof of his call to the apostleship. And it does not appear

that, after this time, Jesus ever did make any personal discovery

of himself to any one.

As of one born out of due time.] The apostle considers himself

as coming after the time in which Jesus Christ personally

conversed with his disciples; and that, therefore, to see him at

all, he must see him in this extraordinary way. Some have entered

into a very disgusting detail on the figure used here by the

apostle. The words, ωσπερειτωεκτρωματι, signify not merely one

born out of due time, but one born before his time; and

consequently, not bidding fair for vigour, usefulness, or long

life. But it is likely that the apostle had a different meaning;

and that he refers to the original institution of the twelve

apostles, in the rank of whom he never stood, being appointed not

to fill up a place among the twelve, but as an extra and

additional apostle. Rosenmuller says that those who were beyond

the number of twelve senators were termed abortivi, abortives; and

refers to Suetonius in Octavio, cap. 35. I have examined the

place, but find no such epithet. According to Suetonius, in that

place, they were called orcini-persons who had assumed the

senatorial dignity after the death of Julius Caesar, pretending

that they had derived that honour from him.

Verse 9. I am the least of the apostles] This was literally

true in reference to his being chosen last, and chosen not in the

number of the twelve, but as an extra apostle. How much pains do

some men take to make the apostle contradict himself, by

attempting to show that he was the very greatest of the apostles,

though he calls himself the least! Taken as a man and a minister

of Christ, he was greater than any of the twelve; taken as an

apostle he was less than any of the twelve, because not originally

in that body.

Am not meet to be called an apostle] None of the twelve had

ever persecuted Christ, nor withstood his doctrine: Saul of Tarsus

had been, before his conversion, a grievous persecutor; and

therefore he says, ουκειμιικανος, I am not proper to be called

an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God, i.e. of

Christ, which none of the apostles ever did.

Verse 10. But, by the grace of God I am what I am] God, by

his mere grace and good will, has called me to be an apostle, and

has denominated me such.

And his grace, &c.] Nor have I been unfaithful to the Divine

call; I used the grace which he gave me; and when my labours,

travels, and sufferings are considered, it will be evident that

I have laboured more abundantly than the whole twelve. This was

most literally true.

Yet not I, but the grace of God] It was not through my own

power or wisdom that I performed these things, but through the

Divine influence which accompanied me.

Verse 11. Whether it were I or they] All the apostles of

Christ agree in the same doctrines; we all preach one and the same

thing; and, as we preached, so ye believed; having received from

us the true apostolical faith, that Jesus died for our sins, and

rose again for our justification; and that his resurrection is the

pledge and proof of ours. Whoever teaches contrary to this does

not preach the true apostolic doctrine.

Paul was the last of the primitive apostles. The primitive

apostles were those who had seen Christ, and got their call to the

apostolate immediately from himself. There were many apostles

after this time, but they were all secondary; they had a Divine

call, but it was internal, and never accompanied by any vision or

external demonstration of that Christ who had been manifested in

the flesh.

Verse 12. Now if Christ be preached, &c.] Seeing it is true

that we have thus preached Christ, and ye have credited this

preaching, how say some among you, who have professed to receive

this doctrine from us; that there is no resurrection of the dead,

though we have shown that his resurrection is the proof and pledge

of ours? That there was some false teacher, or teachers, among

them, who was endeavouring to incorporate Mosaic rites and

ceremonies with the Christian doctrines, and even to blend

Sadduceeism with the whole, appears pretty evident. To confute

this mongrel Christian, and overturn his bad doctrine, the apostle

writes this chapter.

Verse 13. If there be no resurrection of the dead] As Christ

was partaker of the same flesh and blood with us, and he promised

to raise mankind from the dead through his resurrection, if the

dead rise not then Christ has had no resurrection. There seem to

have been some at Corinth who, though they denied the resurrection

of the dead, admitted that Christ had risen again: the apostle's

argument goes therefore to state that, if Christ was raised from

the dead, mankind may be raised; if mankind cannot be raised from

the dead, then the body of Christ was never raised.

Verse 14. Then is our preaching vain] Our whole doctrine is

useless, nugatory and false.

And your faith is also vain.] Your belief of a false doctrine

must necessarily be to you unprofitable.

Verse 16. False witnesses] As having testified the fact of

Christ's resurrection, as a matter which ourselves had witnessed,

when we knew that we bore testimony to a falsehood. But could

five hundred persons agree in this imposition? And if they did,

is it possible that some one would not discover the cheat, when he

could have no interest in keeping the secret, and might greatly

promote his secular interest by making the discovery? Such a case

never occurred, and never can occur. The testimony, therefore,

concerning the resurrection of Christ, is incontrovertibly true.

If so be that the dead rise not.] This clause is wanting in

DE, Syriac, some of the Slavonian, and Itala; several also of the

primitive fathers omit it. Its great similarity to the following

words might be the cause of its omission by some copyists.

Verse 17. Ye are yet in your sins.] If Christ has not risen

from the dead, there is no proof that he has not been justly put

to death. If he were a malefactor, God would not work a miracle

to raise him from the dead. If he has not been raised from the

dead, there is a presumption that he has been put to death justly;

and, if so, consequently he has made no atonement; and ye are yet

in your sins-under the power, guilt, and condemnation of them.

All this reasoning of the apostle goes to prove that at Corinth,

even among those false teachers, the innocency of our Lord was

allowed, and the reality of his resurrection not questioned.

Verse 18. They also which are fallen asleep] All those who,

either by martyrdom or natural death, have departed in the faith

of our Lord Jesus Christ, are perished; their hope was without

foundation, and their faith had not reason and truth for its

object. Their bodies are dissolved in the earth, finally

decomposed and destroyed, notwithstanding the promise of Christ to

such, that he would raise them up at the last day.

See Joh 5:25, 28, 29; 11:25, 26, &c.

Verse 19. If in this life only we have hope] It would be

better to translate and point this verse as follows:-

And, if in this life we have hoped in Christ only, we are more

to be pitied than all men. If, in this life, we have no other

hope and confidence but in Christ, (and if he be still dead, and

not yet risen,) we are more to be pitied than any other men; we

are sadly deceived; we have denied ourselves, and been denied by

others; have mortified ourselves, and been persecuted by our

fellow creatures on account of our belief and hope in One who is

not existing, and therefore can neither succour us here, nor

reward us hereafter. Bishop Pearce.

Verse 20. But now is Christ risen] On the contrary, Christ is

raised from the dead, and is become the first fruits of them that

slept. His resurrection has been demonstrated, and our

resurrection necessarily follows; as sure as the first fruits are

the proof that there is a harvest, so surely the resurrection of

Christ is a proof of ours. The Judaizing teacher at Corinth

would feel the force of this observation much sooner than we can,

who are not much acquainted with Jewish customs. "Although," says

Dr. Lightfoot, "the resurrection of Christ, compared with some

first fruits, has very good harmony with them; yet especially it

agrees with the offering of the sheaf, commonly called omer,

not only as the thing itself, but also as to the circumstances of

the time. For first there was the passover, and the day following

was a Sabbatic day, and on the day following that the first fruits

were offered. So Christ, our passover, was crucified: the day

following his crucifixion was the Sabbath, and the day following

that, He, the first fruits of them that slept, rose again. All

who died before Christ, and were raised again to life, died

afterwards; but Christ is the first fruits of all who shall be

raised from the dead to die no more."

Verse 21. For since by man came death] Mortality came by

Adam, immortality by Christ; so sure as all have been subjected to

natural death by Adam, so sure shall all be raised again by Christ

Jesus. Mortality and immortality, on a general ground, are the

subject of the apostle's reasoning here; and for the explanation

of the transgression of Adam, and the redemption by Christ,

See Clarke on Ro 5:10, &c.

Verse 23. But every man in his own order] The apostle

mentions three orders here: 1. Christ, who rose from the dead by

his own power. 2. Them that are Christ's; all his apostles,

martyrs, confessors, and faithful followers. 3. Then cometh the

end, when the whole mass shall be raised. Whether this order be

exactly what the apostle intends, I shall not assert. Of the

first, Christ's own resurrection, there can be no question. The

second, the resurrection of his followers, before that of the

common dead, is thought by some very reasonable. "They had here a

resurrection from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, which

the others had not, because they would not be saved in Christ's

way. That they should have the privilege of being raised first,

to behold the astonishing changes and revolutions which shall then

take place, has nothing in it contrary to propriety and fitness;"

but it seems contrary to 1Co 15:52,

in which all the dead are said to rise in a moment, in the

twinkling of an eye. "And, thirdly, that all the other mass of

mankind should be raised last, just to come forward and receive

their doom, is equally reasonable:" but it is apparently

inconsistent with the manner in which God chooses to act; see

1Co 15:53.

Some think that by them that are Christ's at his coming, "we are

to understand Christ's coming to reign on earth a thousand years

with his saints, previously to the general judgment;" but I must

confess I find nothing in the sacred writings distinctly enough

marked to support this opinion of the millennium, or thousand

years' reign; nor can I conceive any important end that can be

answered by this procedure.

We should be very cautious how we make a figurative expression,

used in the most figurative book in the Bible, the foundation of a

very important literal system that is to occupy a measure of the

faith, and no small portion of the hope, of Christians. The

strange conjectures formed on this very uncertain basis have not

been very creditable either to reason or religion.

Verse 24. When he shall have delivered up the kingdom] The

mediatorial kingdom, which comprehends all the displays of his

grace in saving sinners, and all his spiritual influence in

governing the Church.

All rule, and all authority and power.] αρχηνεξουσιανκαι

δυναμιν. As the apostle is here speaking of the end of the

present system of the world, the rule, authority, and power, may

refer to all earthly governments, emperors, kings, princes, &c.;

though angels, principalities, and powers, and the rulers of the

darkness of this world, and all spiritual wickedness in high

places, may be also intended. Our Lord Jesus is represented here

as administering the concerns of the kingdom of grace in this

lower world during the time that this Divine economy lasts; and

when the end-the time determined by the wisdom of God, comes,

then, as there is no longer any need of this administration, the

kingdom is delivered up unto the Father: an allusion to the case

of Roman viceroys or governors of provinces, who, when their

administration was ended, delivered up their kingdom or government

into the hands of the emperor.

The apostle may refer, also, to an opinion of the ancient Jews,

that there should be ten kings who should have the supreme

government of the whole world: the first and last of which should

be GOD himself; but the ninth should be the Messiah; after whose

empire the kingdom should be delivered up into the hands of God

for ever. See the place in Schoettgen on this verse, and on

Lu 1:33.

Verse 25. For he must reign, &c.] This is according to the

promise, Ps 110:1: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my

right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Therefore

the kingdom cannot be given up till all rule and government be

cast down. So that while the world lasts, Jesus, as the Messiah

and Mediator, must reign; and all human beings are properly his

subjects, are under his government, and are accountable to him.

Verse 26. The last enemy] Death, shall be destroyed;

καταργειται, shall be counter-worked, subverted, and finally

overturned. But death cannot be destroyed by there being simply

no farther death; death can only be destroyed and annihilated by a

general resurrection; if there be no general resurrection, it is

most evident that death will still retain his empire. Therefore,

the fact that death shall be destroyed assures the fact that there

shall be a general resurrection; and this is a proof, also, that

after the resurrection there shall be no more death.

Verse 27. For he hath put all things under his feet] The

Father hath put all things under the feet of Christ according to

the prophecy, Ps 110:1-7.

He is excepted] i.e. The Father, who hath put all things

under him, the Son. This observation seems to be introduced by

the apostle to show that he does not mean that the Divine nature

shall be subjected to the human nature. Christ, as Messiah, and

Mediator between God and man, must ever be considered inferior to

the Father: and his human nature, however dignified in consequence

of its union with the Divine nature, must ever be inferior to God.

The whole of this verse should be read in a parenthesis.

Verse 28. The Son also himself be subject] When the

administration of the kingdom of grace is finally closed; when

there shall be no longer any state of probation, and consequently

no longer need of a distinction between the kingdom of grace and

the kingdom of glory; then the Son, as being man and Messiah,

shall cease to exercise any distinct dominion and God be all in

all: there remaining no longer any distinction in the persons of

the glorious Trinity, as acting any distinct or separate parts in

either the kingdom of grace, or the kingdom of glory, and so the

one infinite essence shall appear undivided and eternal. And yet,

as there appears to be a personality essentially in the infinite

Godhead, that personality must exist eternally; but how this shall

be we can neither tell nor know till that time comes in which we

shall SEE HIM AS HE IS. 1Jo 3:2.

Verse 29. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the

dead] This is certainly the most difficult verse in the New

Testament; for, notwithstanding the greatest and wisest men have

laboured to explain it, there are to this day nearly as many

different interpretations of it as there are interpreters.

I shall not employ my time, nor that of my reader, with a vast

number of discordant and conflicting opinions; I shall make a few

remarks: 1. The doctrine of the resurrection of our Lord was a

grand doctrine among the apostles; they considered and preached

this as the demonstration of the truth of the Gospel. 2. The

multitudes who embraced Christianity became converts on the

evidence of this resurrection. 3. This resurrection was

considered the pledge and proof of the resurrection of all

believers in Christ to the possession of the same glory into which

he had entered. 4. The baptism which they received they

considered as an emblem of their natural death and resurrection.

This doctrine St. Paul most pointedly preaches, Ro 6:3-5:

Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ,

were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him

by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the

dead, even so we also should walk in newness of life: for, if we

have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall

be also in his resurrection. 5. It is evident from this that all

who died in the faith of Christ died in the faith of the

resurrection; and therefore cheerfully gave up their lives to

death, as they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing

in themselves that they had in heaven a better and an enduring

substance, Heb 10:34.

6. As is the body, so are the members; those who were properly

instructed, and embraced Christianity, believed that as all who

had died in the faith of Christ should rise again, so they were

baptized in the same faith. 7. As so many of the primitive

followers of Christ sealed the truth with their blood, and Satan

and his followers continued unchanged, every man who took on him

the profession of Christianity, which was done by receiving

baptism, considered himself as exposing his life to the most

imminent hazard, and offering his life with those who had already

offered and laid down theirs. 8. He was therefore baptized in

reference to this martyrdom; and, having a regard to those dead,

he cheerfully received baptism, that, whether he were taken off by

a natural or violent death, he might be raised in the likeness of

Jesus Christ's resurrection, and that of his illustrious martyrs.

9. As martyrdom and baptism were thus so closely and intimately

connected, βαπτιζεσθαι, to be baptized, was used to express being

put to a violent death by the hands of persecutors.

So Mt 20:22, 23: "But Jesus answered and said, Are ye able to

drink of the cup that I shall drink of? &c." (Can ye go through my

sufferings?) "They say unto him, We are able. He saith unto them,

Ye shall indeed drink of my cup," (ye shall bear your part of the

afflictions of the Gospel,) "and be baptized with the baptism

that I am baptized with (that is, ye shall suffer martyrdom.) See

also Mr 10:38. So Lu 12:50;

"I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened

till it be accomplished!" That is, I must die a violent death for

the salvation of men. 10. The sum of the apostle's meaning

appears to be this: If there be no resurrection of the dead, those

who, in becoming Christians, expose themselves to all manner of

privations, crosses, severe sufferings, and a violent death, can

have no compensation, nor any motive sufficient to induce them to

expose themselves to such miseries. But as they receive baptism

as an emblem of death in voluntarily going under the water, so

they receive it as an emblem of the resurrection unto eternal

life, in coming up out of the water; thus they are baptized for

the dead, in perfect faith of the resurrection. The three

following verses seem to confirm this sense.

Verse 30. And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?] Is there

any reason why we should voluntarily submit to so many sufferings,

and every hour be in danger of losing our lives, if the dead rise

not? On the conviction of the possibility and certainty of the

resurrection, we are thus baptized for the dead. We have counted

the cost, despise sufferings, and exult at the prospect of death,

because we know we shall have a resurrection unto eternal life.

Verse 31. I protest by your rejoicing] νητηνυμετεραν

καυχησιν. By your exaltation or boasting. Dr. Lightfoot

understands this of "the boasting of the Corinthians against the

apostle; that he considered himself continually trampled on by

them; rejected and exposed to infamy and contempt; but that he

took this as a part of the reproach of Christ; and was happy in

the prospect of death and a glorious resurrection, when all those

troubles and wrongs would terminate for ever." Instead of

υμετεραν, YOUR exultation or boasting, ημετεραν, OUR

exultation, is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus, and several

others, with the AEthiopic, Origen, and Theophylact. This will

lead to an easier sense: I declare by the exultation which I have

in Christ Jesus, as having died for my offences, and risen again

for my justification, that I neither fear sufferings nor death;

and am daily ready to be offered up, and feel myself continually

exposed to death. But the common reading is probably to be

preferred; for your glorying is the same as glorying on your

account: I profess by the glorying or exultation which I have on

account of your salvation, that I anticipate with pleasure the end

of my earthly race.

I die daily.] A form of speech for, I am continually exposed

to death. The following passages will illustrate this. So Philo,

p. 990. Flaccus, who was in continual fear of death, says: καθ


υπομενωνανθενοςτουτελευταιου. "Every day, rather every hour,

I anticipate death; enduring many deaths before that last one

comes." So Libanius, speaking of his own miseries and those of

the people of Antioch, epist. 1320, page 615, says: ετιζωντες

τεθνηκαμεν. "Though living, we are dead." Livy has a similar

form of expression to signify continual danger, xxix. 17: Quotidie

capitur urbs nostra, quotidie diripitur. "Daily is our city

taken, daily is it pillaged."

Verse 32. If, after the manner of men, &c.] Much learned

criticism has been employed on this verse, to ascertain whether it

is to be understood literally or metaphorically. Does the apostle

mean to say that he had literally fought with wild beasts at

Ephesus? or, that he had met with brutish, savage men, from whom

he was in danger of his life? That St. Paul did not fight with

wild beasts at Ephesus, may be argued, 1. From his own silence on

this subject, when enumerating his various sufferings, 2Co 11:23,

&c. 2. From the silence of his historian, Luke, who, in the acts

of this apostle, gives no intimation of this kind; and it

certainly was too remarkable a circumstance to be passed over,

either by Paul in the catalogue of his own sufferings, or by Luke

in his history. 3. From similar modes of speech, which are

employed metaphorically, and are so understood. 4. From the

improbability that a Roman citizen, as Paul was, should be

condemned to such a punishment, when in other cases, by pleading

his privilege, he was exempted from being scourged, &c. And, 5.

From the positive testimony of Tertullian and Chrysostom, who deny

the literal interpretation.

On the other hand, it is strongly argued that the apostle is to

be literally understood; and that he did, at some particular time,

contend with wild beasts at Ephesus, from which he was

miraculously delivered. 1. That the phrase καταανθρωπον

signifies as men used to do, and never means according to the

manner of men, as implying their purpose, or, to use their forms

of speech, &c. 2. From the circumstances of the case in Ephesus

usually referred to, viz. the insurrection by Demetrius and his

fellow craftsmen; where, though Paul would have been in danger had

he gone into the theatre, he was in little or none, as he did not

adventure himself. 3. From his having endured much greater

conflicts at Lystra and at Philippi than at Ephesus, at the former

of which he was stoned to death, and again miraculously raised to

life: See Clarke on Ac 14:19, &c. And yet he calls not

those greater dangers by this name. 4. That it cannot refer to the

insurrection of Demetrius and his fellows, for St. Paul had no

contention with them, and was scarcely in any danger, though Gaius

and Aristarchus were: see the whole of Acts 19. And, 5. As we do

not read of any other imminent danger to which he was exposed at

Ephesus, and that already mentioned is not sufficient to justify

the expression, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, therefore we

must conclude that he was at some time, not directly mentioned by

his historian or himself, actually exposed to wild beasts at

Ephesus. 6. That this is the case he refers to, 2Co 1:8-10:

For we would not, brethren, have you if ignorant of our trouble

which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure,

above strength, καθυπερβοληνεβαρηθημενυπερδυναμις, insomuch

that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death

in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God

which raiseth the dead; who delivered us from so great a death:

for these expressions refer to some excessive and unprecedented

danger, from which nothing less than a miraculous interference

could have saved him; and that it might have been an actual

exposure to wild beasts, or any other danger equally great, or

even greater.

What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?] I believe the

common method of pointing this verse is erroneous; I propose to

read it thus: If, after the manner of men, I have fought with

beasts at Ephesus, what doth it advantage me? If the dead rise

not, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.

What the apostle says here is a regular and legitimate

conclusion from the doctrine, that there is no resurrection: For

if there be no resurrection, then there can be no judgment-no

future state of rewards and punishments; why, therefore, should

we bear crosses, and keep ourselves under continual discipline? Let

us eat and drink, take all the pleasure we can, for tomorrow we

die; and there is an end of us for ever. The words, Let us eat

and drink, for to-morrow we die, are taken from Isa 22:13, as

they stand now in the Septuagint; and are a pretty smooth

proverbial saying, which might be paralleled from the writings of

several epicurean heathens, φαγωμενκαιπιωμεν. αυριονγαρ

αποθνησκομεν. The words of Isaiah are akol

reshatho, ki machar namuth: "In eating and drinking, for to-morrow

we die ;" i.e. Let us spend our time in eating and drinking, &c.

See a similar speech by Trimalchio in Petronius Arbiter, Satiric.

cap. xxxvii:-

Heu, heu nos miseros! quam totus homuncio nil est!

Sic erimus cuncti, postquam nos auferet orcus.

Ergo vivamus, dum licet esse bene.

Alas! alas! what wretches we are! all mankind are a worthless

pack: thus shall we all be, after death hath taken us away.

Therefore, while we may, let us enjoy life.

Verse 33. Be not deceived] Do not impose on yourselves, and

permit not others to do it.

Evil communications corrupt good manners.] There are many

sayings like this among the Greek poets; but this of the apostle,

and which according to the best MSS. makes an Iambic verse, is

generally supposed to have been taken from Menander's lost comedy

of Thais.


Bad company good morals doth corrupt.

There is a proverb much like this among the rabbins:

"There were two dry logs of wood, and one green log; but the

dry logs burnt up the green log."

There is no difficulty in this saying; he who frequents the

company of bad or corrupt men will soon be as they are. He may be

sound in the faith, and have the life and power of godliness, and

at first frequent their company only for the sake of their

pleasing conversation, or their literary accomplishments: and he

may think his faith proof against their infidelity; but he will

soon find, by means of their glozing speeches, his faith weakened;

and when once he gets under the empire of doubt, unbelief will

soon prevail; his bad company will corrupt his morals; and the two

dry logs will soon burn up the green one.

The same sentiment in nearly the same words is found in several

of the Greek writers; AEschylus, Sept. Theb. ver. 605: ενπαντι

πραγειδεσθομιλιαςκακηςκακιοςουδεν. "In every matter there

is nothing more deleterious than evil communication."---Diodorus

Siculus, lib. xvi. cap. 54: ταιςπονηραιςομιλιαιςδιεφθειρετα

ηθητωνανθρωπων. "With these evil communications he corrupted

the morals of men."

ταυταμενουτωςισθι. κακοισιδεμηπροσομιλο




εσθλωνμενγαραπεσθλαμαθησεαι. ηνδεκακοισι


Theogn. Sent., ver. 31-36.

Know this: Thou must not keep company with the wicked, but

converse always with good men. With such eat, drink, and

associate. Please those who have the greatest virtue. From good

men thou mayest learn good things; but if thou keep company with

the wicked, thou wilt lose even the intelligence which thou now


Verse 34. Awake to righteousness] Shake off your slumber;

awake fully, thoroughly, δικαιως, as ye ought to do: so the word

should be rendered; not awake to righteousness. Be in earnest; do

not trifle with God, your souls, and eternity.

Sin not] For this will lead to the destruction both of body

and soul. Life is but a moment; improve it. Heaven has blessings

without end.

Some have not the knowledge of God] The original is very

emphatic: αγνωσιανγαρθεουτινεςεχουσι, some have an ignorance

of God; they do not acknowledge God. They have what is their

bane; and they have not what would be their happiness and glory.

To have an ignorance of God-a sort of substantial darkness, that

prevents the light of God from penetrating the soul, is a worse

state than to be simply in the dark, or without the Divine

knowledge. The apostle probably speaks of those who were once

enlightened, had once good morals, but were corrupted by bad

company. It was to their shame or reproach that they had left the

good way, and were now posting down to the chambers of death.

Verse 35. But some man will say] αλλαερειτις. It is very

likely that the apostle, by τις some, some one, some man, means

particularly the false apostle, or teacher at Corinth, who was

chief in the opposition to the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and to

whom, in this covert way, he often refers.

The second part of the apostle's discourse begins at this

verse. What shall be the nature of the resurrection body?

1. The question is stated, 1Co 15:35.

2. It is answered: first, by a similitude, 1Co 15:36-38;

secondly, by an application, 1Co 15:33-41;

and thirdly, by explication, 1Co 15:42-50.

Verse 36. Thou fool] αφρον. If this be addressed, as it

probably is, to the false apostle, there is a peculiar propriety

in it; as this man seems to have magnified his own wisdom, and set

it up against both God and man; and none but a fool could act so.

At the same time, it is folly in any to assert the impossibility

of a thing because he cannot comprehend it.

That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die] I have

shown the propriety of this simile of the apostle in the note on

Joh 12:24, to which I must refer the reader. A grain of wheat,

&c., is composed of the body or lobes, and the germ. The latter

forms an inconsiderable part of the mass of the grain; the body,

lobes, or farinaceous part, forms nearly the whole. This body

dies-becomes decomposed, and forms a fine earth, from which the

germ derives its first nourishment; by the nourishment thus

derived the germ is quickened, receives its first vegetable life,

and through this means is rendered capable of deriving the rest of

its nourishment and support from the grosser earth in which the

grain was deposited. Whether the apostle would intimate here that

there is a certain germ in the present body, which shall become

the seed of the resurrection body, this is not the place to

inquire; and on this point I can with pleasure refer to Mr. Drew's

work on the "Resurrection of the Human Body;" where this subject,

as well as every other subject connected with this momentous

question, is considered in a very luminous and cogently

argumentative point of view.

Verse 37. Thou sowest not that body that shall be] This is

decomposed, and becomes the means of nourishing the whole plant,

roots, stalk, leaves, ear, and full corn in the ear.

Verse 38. But God giveth it a body] And is there any other

way of accounting for it but by the miraculous working of God's

power? For out of that one bare grain is produced a system of

roots, a tall and vigorous stalk, with all its appendages of

leaves, &c., besides the full corn in the ear; the whole making

several hundred times the quantum of what was originally

deposited. There are no proofs that what some call nature can

effect this: it will ever be a philosophical as well as a

Scriptural truth, that God giveth it a body as it pleaseth him;

and so doth he manage the whole of the work, that every seed shall

have its own body: that the wheat germ shall never produce barley;

nor the rye, oats. See Clarke on Ge 1:12.

Verse 39. All flesh is not the same flesh] Though the

organization of all animals is, in its general principles, the

same, yet there are no two different kinds of animals that have

flesh of the same flavour, whether the animal be beast, fowl, or

fish. And this is precisely the same with vegetables.

In opposition to this general assertion of St. Paul, there are

certain people who tell us that fish is not flesh; and while their

religion prohibits, at one time of the year, the flesh of

quadrupeds and fowls, it allows them to eat fish, fondly

supposing that fish is not flesh: they might as well tell us that

a lily is not a vegetable, because it is not a cabbage. There

is a Jewish canon pronounced by Schoettgen which my readers may

not be displeased to find inserted here: Nedarim, fol. 40:

He who is bound by a vow

to abstain from flesh, is bound to abstain from the flesh of fish

and of locusts. From this it appears that they acknowledged that

there was one flesh of beasts and another of fishes, and that he

was religiously bound to abstain from the one, who was bound to

abstain from the other.

Verse 40. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies

terrestrial] The apostle certainly does not speak of celestial

and terrestrial bodies in the sense in which we use those terms:

we invariably mean by the former the sun, moon, planets, and

stars; by the latter, masses of inanimate matter. But the apostle

speaks of human beings, some of which were clothed with celestial,

others with terrestrial bodies. It is very likely, therefore,

that he means by the celestial bodies such as those refined human

bodies with which Enoch, Elijah, and Christ himself, appear in the

realms of glory: to which we may add the bodies of those saints

which arose after our Lord's resurrection; and, after having

appeared to many, doubtless were taken up to paradise. By

terrestrial bodies we may understand those in which the saints now


But the glory of the celestial is one] The glory-the

excellence, beauty, and perfection. Even the present frail human

body possesses an indescribable degree of contrivance, art,

economy, order, beauty, and excellence; but the celestial body,

that in which Christ now appears, and according to which ours

shall be raised, (Php 3:21,) will exceed the excellence of this

beyond all comparison. A glory or splendour will belong to that

which does not belong to this: here there is a glory of

excellence; there, there will be a glory of light and effulgence;

for the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun in the

kingdom of their Father. See Mt 13:43.

Verse 41. There is one glory of the sun] As if he had said:

This may be illustrated by the present appearance of the celestial

bodies which belong to our system. The sun has a greater degree

of splendour than the moon; the moon than the planets; and the

planets than the stars. And even in the fixed stars, one has a

greater degree of splendour than another, which may proceed either

from their different magnitudes, or from the comparative proximity

of some of them to our earth; but from which of these causes, or

from what other cause unknown, we cannot tell, as it is impossible

to ascertain the distance of any of the fixed stars; even the

nearest of them being too remote to afford any sensible parallax,

without which their distances cannot be measured. See the

concluding observations.

Verse 42. So also is the resurrection of the dead.] That is,

the bodies of the dead, though all immortal, shall possess

different degrees of splendour and glory, according to the state

of holiness in which their respective souls were found. The

rabbins have some crude notions concerning different degrees of

glory, which the righteous shall possess in the kingdom of heaven.

They make out seven degrees:-

"The first of which is possessed by tsaddi kim, the

just, who observe the covenant of the holy, blessed God, and

subjugate all evil affections."

"The second is possessed by those who are yesharim, the

upright; whose delight it is to walk in the ways of God and please


"The third is for temimim, the perfect: those who, with

integrity, walk in the ways of God, and do not curiously pry into

his dispensations."

"The fourth is for kedoshim, the holy ones; those who

are the excellent of the earth, in whom is all God's delight."

Ps 16:3.

"The fifth is for baaley teshubah, the chief of the

penitents; who have broken through the brazen doors, and returned

to the Lord."

"The sixth is for tinukoth shel beith raban,

the scholars and tender ones; who have not transgressed."

"The seventh is for chasidim, the godly: and this is the

innermost of all the departments."

These seven degrees require a comment by themselves.

There is a saying among the rabbins very like that of the

apostle in this and the preceding verse Siphri, in Yalcut Simeoni,

page 2, fol. 10: "The faces of the righteous shall be, in the

world to come, like suns, moons, the heaven, stars, lightnings:

and like the lilies and candlesticks of the temple."

It is sown in corruption] The body is buried in a state of

degradation, decay, and corruption. The apostle uses the word

sown to intimate that the body shall rise again, as a seed springs

up that has been sown in the earth.

It is raised in incorruption] Being no more subject to

corruption, dissolution, and death.

Verse 43. It is sown in dishonour] Being now stripped of all

the glory it had as a machine, fearfully and wonderfully made by

the hands of God; and also consigned to death and destruction

because of sin. This is the most dishonourable circumstance.

It is raised in glory] It is raised a glorious body, because

immortal, and for ever redeemed from the empire of death.

It is sown in weakness] The principles of dissolution,

corruption, and decay, have prevailed over it; disease undermined

it; and death made it his prey.

It is raised in power] To be no more liable to weakness,

through labour; decay, by age; wasting, by disease; and

dissolution, by death.

Verse 44. It is sown a natural body] σωμαψυχικον. An animal

body, having a multiplicity of solids and fluids of different

kinds, with different functions; composed of muscles, fibres,

tendons, cartilages, bones, arteries, veins, nerves, blood, and

various juices, requiring continual support from aliment; and

hence the necessity of labour to provide food, and skill to

prepare it; which food must be masticated, digested, and refined;

what is proper for nourishment secreted, brought into the

circulation, farther elaborated, and prepared to enter into the

composition of every part; hence growth and nutrition; without

which no organized body can possibly exist.

It is raised a spiritual body.] One perfect in all its parts;

no longer dependent on natural productions for its support; being

built up on indestructible principles, and existing in a region

where there shall be no more death; no more causes of decay

leading to dissolution; and consequently, no more necessity for

food, nutrition, &c. The body is spiritual, and has a spiritual

existence and spiritual support.

What the apostle says here is quite consistent with the views

his countrymen had on this subject.

In Sohar Chadash, fol. 43, it is said: "So shall it be in the

resurrection of the dead; only, the old uncleanness shall not be


R. Bechai, on the law, fol. 14, says: "When the godly shall

arise, their bodies shall be pure and innocent; obedient to the

instinct of the soul: there shall be no adversary, nor any evil


Rab. Pinchas says: "The holy blessed God shall make the bodies

of the righteous as beautiful as the body of Adam was when he

entered into paradise."

Rab. Levi says: "When the soul is in heaven, it is clothed with

celestial light; when it returns to the body, it shall have the

same light; and then the body shall shine like the splendour of

the firmament of heaven. Then shall men gain the knowledge of

what is perfect." Sohar. Gen., fol. 69.

The Jews have an opinion that the os coxendicis, the lower

joint of the backbone, survives the corruption of the body; and

that it is out of this bone that the resurrection body is formed.

In the place last quoted, fol. 70, we have the following teachings

on this subject: "Let us borrow an example from what relates to

the purifying of silver. First, the ore is cast into the burning

furnace, that it may be separated from its earthly impurities; it

is then silver, but not perfect silver. They put it into the

furnace a second time, and then all its scoriae are separated from

it, and it becomes perfect silver, without any adulteration. Thus

does the holy blessed God: he first buries our bodies under the

earth, where they putrefy and corrupt, that nothing remains but

that one bone: from this a new body is produced, which is indeed a

body, but not a perfect body. But in that great day, when all

bodies are hidden in the earth, and the soul departs, then even

that bone decays, and the body which was formed out of it remains,

and is as the light of the sun, and the splendour of heaven.

Thus, as the silver was purified, so is the body: and no imperfect

mixture remains." See Schoettgen.

These things must not be treated as rabbinical dotages; the

different similes used for the apostle have the same spirit and

design: as the seed which is sown in the earth rots, and out of

the germ contained in it God in his providence produces a root,

stalk, leaves, ear, and a great numerical increase of grains; is

it not likely that God, out of some essential parts of the body

that now is, will produce the resurrection body; and will then

give the soul a body as it pleaseth him; and so completely

preserve the individuality of every human being, as he does of

every grain; giving to each its own body? 1Co 15:38. So that as

surely as the grain of wheat shall produce wheat after it is cast

in the earth, corrupts, and dies; so surely shall our bodies

produce the same bodies as to their essential individuality. As

the germination of seeds is produced by his wisdom and power, so

shall the pure and perfect human body be in the resurrection.

Hence he does not say the body is buried, but the body is sown; it

is sown in weakness, it is sown in dishonour, &c., &c.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.] This

very saying is found in so many words, in Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 126:

"There are different kinds of men."

"There is a spiritual Adam, and there is also a corporeal Adam."

Verse 45. The first man Adam was made a living soul] These

forms of expression are also common among the Jews: hence we find

Adam harishon, "Adam the first;" and Adam

kadmai, " Adam the last." They assert that there are two Adams:

1. The mystical heavenly Adam; and 2. The mystical earthly Adam.

See Sohar Exod., fol. 29; and the several examples in Schoettgen.

The apostle says this is written: The first man Adam was made a

living soul: this is found Ge 2:7, in the words

nishmath chaiyim, the breath of lives; which the apostle

translates ψυχηνζωσαν, a living soul.

The last Adam-a quickening spirit.] This is also said to be

written; but where, says Dr. Lightfoot, is this written in the

whole sacred book? Schoettgen replies, In the very same verse,

and in these words: vayehi ha-Adam le-nephesh

chaiyah, and Adam became a living soul; which the apostle

translates πνευμαζωοποιουν, a quickening, or life-giving spirit.

Among the cabalistic Jews nephesh is considered as implying

greater dignity than nishma. The former may be considered

as pointing out the rational, the latter the sensitive soul. All

these references to Jewish opinions and forms of speech the

apostle uses to convince them that the thing was possible; and

that the resurrection of the body was generally credited by all

their wise and learned men. The Jews, as Dr. Lightfoot observes,

speak frequently of the Spirit of the Messiah; and they allow that

it was this Spirit that moved on the face of the waters, Ge 1:2.

And they assert that the Messiah shall quicken those who dwell in

the dust.

"It ought not to be passed by," says the same author, "that

Adam, receiving from God the promise of Christ-The seed of the

woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and believing it,

named his wife Chauvah, that is, life; so the Septuagint,

καιεκαλεσεναδαμτοονονατηςγυναικοςαυτουζωη. And Adam

called the name of his wife, Life. What! Is she called Life that

brought death into the world? But Adam perceived τονεσχατον

αδαμ, the last Adam exhibited to him in the promise, to be

πνευμαζωοποιουν, a quickening or life-giving spirit; and had

brought in a better life of the soul; and should at last bring in

a better life of the body. Hence is that saying, Joh 1:4:

εναυτωζωηην, In HIM was LIFE."

Some contend that the first Adam and the last Adam mean the

same person in two different states: the first man with the body

of his creation; the same person with the body of his

resurrection. See Clarke on 1Co 15:49.

Verse 46. That was not first which is spiritual] The natural

or animal body, described 1Co 15:44,

was the first; it was the body with which Adam was created. The

spiritual body is the last, and is that with which the soul is to

be clothed in the resurrection.

Verse 47. The first man is of the earth] That is: Adam's body

was made out of the dust of the earth; and hence the apostle says

he was χοικος, of the dust; for the body was made

aphar min ha-adamah, dust from the ground; Ge 2:7.

The second man is-from heaven.] Heavenly, ουρανιος, as

several good MSS. and versions read. The resurrection body shall

be of a heavenly nature, and not subject to decay or death. What

is formed of earth must live after an earthly manner; must be

nourished and supported by the earth: what is from heaven is of a

spiritual nature; and shall have no farther connection with, nor

dependence upon, earth. I conceive both these clauses to relate

to man; and to point out the difference between the animal body

and the spiritual body, or between the bodies which we now have

and the bodies which we shall have in the resurrection. But can

this be the meaning of the clause, the second man is the Lord from

heaven? In the quotation I have omitted οκυριος, the Lord, on the

following authorities: MANUSCRIPTS-BCD*EFG, and two others.

VERSIONS-Coptic, AEthiopic, Armenian in the margin, Vulgate, and

Itala. FATHERS-Origen, who quotes it once and omits it once;

Athanasius, Basil, the two Gregories, Nyssen and Nazianzen;

Isidore, Cyril, Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary, Zeno, Ambrose,

Augustine, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Philaster, Leo, Pacianus,

Primasius, Sedulius, Bede, and others. See these authorities more

at large in Wetstein. Some of the most eminent of modern critics

leave out the word, and Tertullian says that it was put in by the

heretic Marcion. I do think that the word is not legitimate in

this place. The verse is read by the MSS., versions, and fathers

referred to, thus: The first man is of the earth, earthy; the

second man is of heaven, heavenly; κυριος being omitted and

ουρανιος added. The first man and the second man of this

verse are the same as the first Adam and the second Adam of

1Co 15:45,

and it is not clear that Christ is meant in either place. Some

suppose that there is a reference here to what Eve said when she

brought forth Cain: I have gotten a man from the Lord,

kanithi ish eth Yehovah, I have possessed or

obtained a man, the Lord; that is, as Dr. Lightfoot explains it,

that the Lord himself should become man: and he thinks that Eve

had respect to the promise of Christ when she named her son; as

Adam had when he named his wife. If Eve had this in view, we can

only say she was sadly mistaken: indeed the conjecture is too


The terms first man of the earth, and second man from heaven,

are frequent among the Jews: the superior Adam; and

Adam the inferior; that is, the earthly and the

heavenly Adam: Adam before the resurrection, and Adam after it.

Verse 48. As is the earthy, &c.] As Adam was, who was formed

from the earth, so are all his descendants; frail, decaying, and

subject to death.

As is the heavenly] As is the heavenly state of Adam and all

glorified beings, so shall be the state of all those who, at the

resurrection, are found fit for glory.

Verse 49. And as we have borne the image of the earthy] As

being descendants from Adam we have all been born in his likeness,

and subject to the same kind of corruption, disgrace, and death;

we shall also be raised to a life immortal, such as he now enjoys

in the kingdom of God. This interpretation proceeds on the ground

that what is here spoken belongs to Adam in his twofold state:

viz. of mortality and immortality; of disgrace and honour; of

earth and heaven.

But by many commentators the words are understood to refer to

Adam and Christ, in 1Co 15:46-49.

By these, Christ is called the second Adam, the quickening Spirit,

the second man, and the heavenly; whose image of righteousness

and true holiness we are to bear.

But when I consider, 1st. How all these terms are used and

applied in the Jewish writings, it appears to me that as this was

not their import among them, so it was not the design of Paul; and

it would be very difficult to find any place where Jesus Christ is

called the second Adam in either Old or New Testament. The

discourse of the apostle, Ro 5:14-19, will not prove it, though

in those verses there is a comparison drawn between Adam and

Christ; but that comparison refers to the extent of the sin and

condemnation brought upon all men by the transgression of the

first; and the redemption purchased for all men by the sacrifice

of the last; and the superabundant grace procured by that

sacrifice. But here, the comparison most evidently is between the

state of man in this mortal life, and his state after the

resurrection. Here, all men are corrupt and mortal, and here, all

men die. There, all men shall be incorrupt and immortal, and,

whether holy or unholy, shall be eternally immortal.

Of the image of Adam, in his heavenly or paradisaical state,

the rabbins talk largely: they say that "God created Adam with a

double image, earthly and heavenly; that he was the most perfect

of all beings; that his splendour shone from one extremity of the

earth to the other; that all feared before him; that he knew all

wisdom, both earthly and heavenly; but when he sinned, his glory

was diminished, and his wisdom departed from him." Yalcut Rubeni,

fol. 10.

They add farther, that "in the time in which Adam received

the heavenly image, all creatures came to him,

and acknowledged him king of the earth." Ibid., fol. 21.

2. From all this, and much more might be produced on the

subject, (see Schoettgen,) it appears that the apostle follows, as

far as it could comport with his design, the sentiments of his

countrymen, and that he adopts their very phraseology; and that it

is through the medium of these sentiments and this phraseology

that he is to be understood and interpreted. Others may

understand all these passages differently; and still consider them

as a parallel between Adam and Christ, which is the general view

of interpreters. The view which I have taken of them appears to

me to be much more consistent with the nature of the discourse,

and the scope and design of the apostle. The common opinion is

orthodox: what I here propose is no heresy. There are many

difficulties in the chapter, and not a few in the verses

immediately under consideration.

Verse 50. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom] This is

a Hebrew periphrasis for man, and man in his present state of

infirmity and decay. Man, in his present state, cannot inherit

the kingdom of God; his nature is not suited to that place; he

could not, in his present weak state, endure an exceeding great

and eternal weight of glory. Therefore, it is necessary that he

should die, or be changed; that he should have a celestial body

suited to the celestial state. The apostle is certainly not

speaking of flesh and blood in a moral sense, to signify

corruption of mind and heart; but in a natural sense; as such,

flesh and blood cannot inherit glory, for the reasons already


Verse 51. I show you a mystery] That is, a thing which you

have never known before. But what is this mystery? Why, that we

shall not all sleep; we shall not all die; but we shall all be

changed: of this the Jews had not distinct notions. For, as flesh

and blood cannot inherit glory, and all shall not be found dead at

the day of judgment, then all must be changed-undergo such a

change that their bodies may become spiritual, like the bodies of

those who shall be raised from the dead.

Verse 52. In a moment] ενατομω. In an atom; that is, an

indivisible point of time. In the twinkling of an eye; as soon as

a man can wink; which expressions show that this mighty work is to

be done by the almighty power of God, as he does all his works, He

calls, and it is done. The resurrection of all the dead,

from the foundation of the world to that time, and the change of

all the living then upon earth, shall be the work of a single


At the last trump] This, as well as all the rest of the

peculiar phraseology of this chapter, is merely Jewish, and we

must go to the Jewish writers to know what is intended. On this

subject, the rabbins use the very same expression. Thus Rabbi

Akiba: "How shall the holy blessed God raise the dead? We are

taught that God has a trumpet a thousand ells long, according to

the ell of God: this trumpet he shall blow, so that the sound of

it shall extend from one extremity of the earth to the other. At

the first blast the earth shall be shaken; at the second, the

dust shall be separated; at the third, the bones shall be

gathered together; at the fourth, the members shall wax warm; at

the fifth, the heads shall be covered with skin; at the sixth,

the souls shall be rejoined to their bodies; at the seventh,

all shall revive and stand clothed." See Wetstein. This

tradition shows us what we are to understand by the last trump of

the apostle; it is the seventh of Rab. Akiba, when the dead shall

be all raised, and, being clothed upon with their eternal vehicles,

they shall be ready to appear before the judgment seat of God.

For the trumpet shall sound] By this the apostle confirms the

substance of the tradition, there shall be the sound of a trumpet

on this great day; and this other scriptures teach: see Zec 9:14;

Mt 24:31; Joh 5:25; 1Th 4:16, in which latter place, the

apostle treats this subject among the Thessalonians, as he does

here among the Corinthians. See the notes there.

Shall be raised incorruptible] Fully clothed with a new body,

to die no more.

We shall be changed.] That is, those who shall then be found


Verse 53. For this corruptible, &c.] Because flesh and blood

cannot inherit glory; therefore, there must be a refinement by

death, or a change without it.

Verse 54. Death is swallowed up in victory.] κατεποθηο

θανατοςειςνικος. These words are a quotation from Isa 25:8,

where the Hebrew is billa hammaveth lanetsach: He

(God) hath swallowed up death in victory; or, for ever. These

words in the Septuagint are thus translated: κατεπιενοθανατος

ισχυσας. Death having prevailed, or conquered, hath swallowed up.

But in the version of Theodotion, the words are the same with

those of the apostle. The Hebrew lanetsach the Septuagint

sometimes translate ειςνικος, in victory, but most commonly εις

τελος, for ever; both, as Bishop Pearce observes, in such kind of

phrases, signifying the same thing, because eternity conquers all

things; and accordingly, in 2Sa 2:26, where the Septuagint have

μηειςνικοςκαταφαγεταιηρομφαια, our English version has,

Shall the sword devour FOR EVER? And the same may be seen in

Job 36:7; La 5:20; Am 1:11; 8:7; from which authority the

bishop translates the clause here, Death is swallowed up FOR EVER.

Death is here personified and represented as a devouring being,

swallowing up all the generations of men; and by the resurrection

of the body and the destruction of the empire of death, God is

represented as swallowing him up; or that eternity gulps him down;

so that he is endlessly lost and absorbed in its illimitable

waste. How glorious a time to the righteous, when the inhabitant

shall no more say, I am sick; when God shall have wiped away all

tears from off all faces, and when there shall be no more death.

This time must come. Hallelujah! The Lord God Omnipotent


Verse 55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy

victory?] πουσουθανατετοκεντρον. πουσουαδητονικος.

These words are generally supposed to be taken from Ho 13:14,

where the Hebrew text stands thus:

ehi debareyca maueth; ehikatabca sheol: which we translate, O

death! I will be thy plagues; O grave! I will be thy destruction;

and which the Septuagint translate very nearly as the apostle,

πουηδικησουθαντεπουτοκεντρονσοναδη; O death, where is

thy revenge, or judicial process? O grave, where is thy sting?

And it may be remarked that almost all the MSS., versions, and

many of the fathers, interchange the two members of this sentence

as they appear in the Septuagint, attributing victory to death;

and the sting, to hades or the grave; only the Septuagint,

probably by mistake or corruption of copyists, have δικη, dike,

revenge or a judicial process, for νικος, nikos, victory: a

mistake which the similarity of the words, both in letters and

sound, might readily produce. We may observe, also, that the

ehi (I will be) of the Hebrew text the Septuagint, and the apostle

following them, have translated που, where, as if the word had been

written where, the two last letters interchanged; but

ehi, is rendered where in other places; and our translators, in

the 10th verse of this same chapter (Ho 13:10) render

ehi malca, "I will be thy king," but have this note in the margin,

"Rather, where is thy king? King Hoshea being then in prison."

The apostle, therefore, and the Septuagint, are sufficiently

vindicated by the use of the word elsewhere: and the best Jewish

commentators allow this use of the word. The Targum, Syriac,

Arabic, Vulgate, and some MSS. of Kennicott and De Rossi, confirm

this reading.

Having vindicated the translation, it is necessary to inquire

into the meaning of the apostle's expressions. Both Death and

Hades are here personified: Death is represented as having a

sting, dagger, or goad, by which, like the driver of oxen, he is

continually irritating and urging on; (these irritations are the

diseases by which men are urged on till they fall into Hades, the

empire of Death;) to Hades, victory is attributed, having overcome

and conquered all human life, and subdued all to its own empire.

By the transposition of these two members of the sentence, the

victory is given to Death, who has extinguished all human life;

and the sting is given to Hades, as in his empire the evil of

death is fully displayed by the extinction of all animal life, and

the destruction of all human bodies. We have often seen a

personification of death in ancient paintings-a skeleton crowned,

with a dart in his hand; probably taken from the apostle's

description. The Jews represent the angel of death as having a

sword, from which deadly drops of gall fall into the mouths of all


Hades, which we here translate grave, is generally understood

to be the place of separate spirits.

See Clarke on Mt 11:23.

Verse 56. The sting of death is sin] The apostle explains

himself particularly here: death could not have entered into the

world if sin had not entered first; it was sin that not only

introduced death, but has armed him with all his destroying force;

the goad or dagger of death is sin; by this both body and soul

are slain.

The strength of sin is the law.] The law of God forbids all

transgression, and sentences those who commit it to temporal and

eternal death. Sin has its controlling and binding power from the

law. The law curses the transgressor, and provides no help for

him; and if nothing else intervene, he must, through it, continue

ever under the empire of death.

Verse 57. But thanks be to God] What the law could not do,

because it is law, (and law cannot provide pardon,) is done by the

Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: he has died to slay death; he has

risen again to bring mankind from under the empire of hades. All

this he has done through his mere unmerited mercy; and eternal

thanks are due to God for this unspeakable gift. He has given us

the victory over sin, Satan, death, the grave, and hell.

Verse 58. Be ye steadfast] εδραιοι, from εδρα, a seat;

be settled; confide in the truth of this doctrine of the

resurrection, and every thing that pertains to it, as confidently

as a man sits down on a SEAT, which he knows to be solid, firm,

and safe; and on which he has often sat.

Unmovable] αμετακινητοι, from α, negative, and μετακινεω,

to move away; let nothing shake your faith; let nothing move you

away from this hope of the Gospel which is given unto you. What I

tell you I receive from God; your false teachers cannot say so: in

a declaration of God you may unshakingly confide.

Always abounding in the work of the Lord] The work of the Lord

is obedience to his holy word; every believer in Christ is a

workman of God. He that works not, to bring glory to God and good

to man, is not acknowledged as a servant of Christ; and if he be

not a servant, he is not a son; and if not a son, then not an

heir. And he must not only work, but abound in that work; ever

exceeding his former self; and this, not for a time, but always;

beginning, continuing, and ending every act of life to God's glory

and the good of his fellows.

Your labour is not in vain] Your labour in the Lord is not in

vain; you must not only work, but you must labour-put forth all

your strength; and you must work and labour in the Lord-under his

direction, and by his influence; for without him ye can do

nothing. And this labour cannot be in vain; you shall have a

resurrection unto eternal life: not because you have laboured, but

because Christ died and gave you grace to be faithful.

1. THE chapter through which the reader has passed is a chapter

of great importance and difficulty; and on its difficulties much

has been written in the preceding notes. Though I have used all

the helps in my power to guide me in explaining it, I have, upon

the whole, been obliged to think for myself, and claim only the

praise of severe labour, ever directed by honest intention and an

earnest desire to find out the truth.

2. There are many questions connected with the doctrine of the

resurrection which I could not introduce here without writing a

book instead of short notes on a very long chapter. On such

subjects, I again beg leave to direct the reader to Mr. Samuel

Drew's Essay on that subject.

3. One remark I cannot help making; the doctrine of the

resurrection appears to have been thought of much more consequence

among the primitive Christians than it is now! How is this? The

apostles were continually insisting on it, and exciting the

followers of God to diligence, obedience, and cheerfulness through

it. And their successors in the present day seldom mention it!

So apostles preached, and so primitive Christians believed; so we

preach, and so our hearers believe. There is not a doctrine in

the Gospel on which more stress is laid; and there is not a

doctrine in the present system of preaching which is treated with

more neglect!

4. Though all men shall rise again, yet it will be in widely

different circumstances: some will rise to glory and honour;

others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those alone who here

received the salvation of God, and continued faithful unto death,

shall have a resurrection to everlasting glory; not every

believer, but every loving obedient believer, shall enter into the

paradise of God, and have a body fashioned like unto his Lord's

glorious body.

5. All glorified spirits will not have the same degree of

glory. Two things will necessarily cause great difference: 1. The

quantum of mind; and 2. The quantum of grace.

(1.) It is idle to suppose that God has made all human souls

with the same capacities: he has not. There is an infinite

diversity; he who has the greatest mind can know most, do most,

suffer most, and enjoy most.

(2.) The quantum of grace will be another great cause of

diversity and glory. He who received most of Christ here, and was

most devoted to his service, shall have the nearest approach to

him in his own kingdom. But all equally holy and equally faithful

souls shall not have equal degrees of glory; for the glory will be

according to the capacity of the mind, as well as the degree of

grace and improvement. The greater the capacity, provided it be

properly influenced by the grace of Christ, the greater will be

the enjoyment.

6. That there will be great diversity in the states of

glorified saints is the apostle's doctrine; and he illustrates it

by the different degrees of splendour between the sun, moon,

planets, and stars. This needs little application. There are

some of the heavenly bodies that give heat, light, and splendour,

as the SUN; and are of the utmost service to the world: some that

give light, and comparative splendour, without heat, as the MOON;

and yet are of very great use to mankind: others, again, which

give a steady but not a splendid light, at the PLANETS; and are

serviceable in their particular spheres: and lastly, others which

twinkle in their respective systems, as the stars of different


7. One star, says the apostle, differs from another in glory,

i.e. in splendour, according to what is called their different

magnitudes. I will state a remarkable fact: The northern and

southern hemispheres of the heavens have been divided into 102

constellations, and in these constellations Professor Bode has set

down the places of 17,240 stars; simple, nebulous, conglobate, and

double. The stars have been distinguished by their apparent

magnitudes or rather splendour, into stars of the first, second,

third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, &c., magnitudes: of

these 17,240, only sixteen are, by astronomers in general, agreed

to be of the first magnitude, all of which are set down in the

following catalogue, with some of those that are remarkable in the

second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth magnitudes. The reader

will observe that the name of the constellation or star is first

mentioned; the Greek letters, &c., are those by which they are

distinguished on maps and globes; and they are, by astronomers,

referred to by these letters and numbers. My inferences follow

the table.

A TABLE of the most remarkable FIXED STARS, from the FIRST to



First Magnitude.Second Magnitude.


� In the mouth of Canis � In the wing of Pegasus, �

� Major, or the Greater � (Algenib). . . . . . . γ �

� Dog, (Sirius, or the � In the head of the �

� Dog-star. . . . . . . α � Phoenix, . . . . . . . α �

� Bright star in Lyra, � In the tail of Cetus, . β �

� or the Harp, (Wega � In the girdle of �

� or Vega). . . . . . . α � Andromeda, . . . . . . β �

� Bright Star in Bootes, � In the Ram's following �

� (Arcturus). . . . . . α � horn,. . . . . . . . . α �

� In the heart of Leo � In the neck of Cetus, . ο �

� Major, or the Great � In the jaw of Cetus,. . α �

� Lion, (Regulus) . . . α � In the head of Medusa, �

� In the left shoulder � (Algol). . . . . . . . β �

� of Auriga, or the � In Perseus' girdle, . . α �

� Charioteer, (Capella) α � In the northern horn of �

� In the right foot of � the Bull,. . . . . . . β �

� Orion, (Rigel). . . . β � In Gemini, (Castor) . . *α �

� In the southern, or � In Gemini, (Pollux) . . *β �

� left eye of the Bull, � In Orion's shoulder,. . γ �

� (Aldebaran) . . . . . α � In the belt of Orion, . δ �

� In Eridanus, (Alnahar � In the Dove,. . . . . . α �

� or Acharnar). . . . . α � In the female Hydra,. . α �

� In the shoulder of � In Ursa Major, (Upper �

� Orion, (Betelgeuse) . α � Pointer) . . . . . . . *α �

� In the poop of the ship � In Ursa Major, (Lower �

� Argo, (Canopus) . . . α � Pointer) . . . . . . . β �

� In the loins of Canis � The Lion's tail, �

� Minor, or the little � (Denob). . . . . . . . β �

� Dog, (Procyon). . . . α � In the Cross, . . . . . β �

� Bright star in the foot � In the Dragon's tail. . α �

� of the Cross, . . . . α � In the Balance, . . . . α �

� In the spike of the � In the Balance, . . . . β �

� Virgin, . . . . . . . α � In the Swan's tail. . . α �

� In the foot of the � In Pegasus, (Markab). . α �

� Centaur . . . . . . . α � In Andromeda's head,. . α �

� In the Scorpion's � In the shoulder of �

� heart, (Antares). . . α � Pegasus, . . . . . . . β �

� In the mouth of the � In the Crane's wing,. . α �

� south Fish, � In the Eagle, (Atteer). *α �

� (Fomalhaut) . . . . . α � In the ship Argo, . . . *β �



Third Magnitude. � Fourth Magnitude. �


� Brightest of the � In Libra, . . . . . . . η �

� Pleiades, . . . . . . h � ------ . . . . . . . y �

� In Taurus, . . . . . . γ � ------ . . . . . . . κ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ε � ------ . . . . . . . λ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ζ � In Scorpio, . . . . . . σ �

� In Gemini, . . . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . τ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ε � In Ophiuchus, . . . . . φ �

� ------ . . . . . . . μ � ------ . . . . . . . ρ �

� In Virgo,. . . . . . . β � In Sagittarius, . . . . λ �

� ------ . . . . . . . γ � ------ . . . . . . . 1μ �

� ------ . . . . . . . η � ------ . . . . . . . 1μ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ο � ------ . . . . . . . π �

� In Libra,. . . . . . . *γ � ------ . . . . . . . 1ν �

� ------ . . . . . . . 1ι � ------ . . . . . . . 2ν �

� In Scorpio,. . . . . . δ � In Capricorn, . . . . . γ �

� In Ophiuchus,. . . . . θ � ------ . . . . . . . ε �

� In Sagittarius . . . . *γ � In Aquarius,. . . . . . θ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ο � ------ . . . . . . . λ �

� ------ . . . . . . . σ � ------ . . . . . . . 2τ �

� ------ . . . . . . . τ � ------ . . . . . . . φ �

� ------ . . . . . . . φ � In Pisces,. . . . . . . δ �

� In Capricorn,. . . . . β � ------ . . . . . . . ε �

� ------ . . . . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . ζ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 2α � In Aries, . . . . . . . δ �

� In Ursa Major, . . . . α � In Taurus,. . . . . . . 1δ �

� In Cassiopeia. . . . . γ � ------ . . . . . . . 2δ �

� ------ . . . . . . . δ � In Gemini,. . . . . . . η �

� ------ . . . . . . . ι � ------ . . . . . . . ν �

� ------ . . . . . . . β � In Cancer,. . . . . . . γ �

� ------ . . . . . . . ε � ------ . . . . . . . δ �

� In Perscus,. . . . . . γ � In Leo, . . . . . . . . η �

� ------ . . . . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . ξ �

� In Ursa Major, . . . . μ � ------ . . . . . . . ο �

� ------ . . . . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . ρ �

� ------ . . . . . . . θ � ------ . . . . . . . τ �

� ------ . . . . . . . λ � ------ . . . . . . . υ �

� In the Dragon, . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . π �

� ------ . . . . . . . β � In Virgo, . . . . . . . θ �

� ------ . . . . . . . κ � ------ . . . . . . . ι �

� In the Swan, . . . . . δ � ------ . . . . . . . κ �



Fifth Magnitude. � Sixth Magnitude. �


� In Pisces, . . . . . . d � In Cancer,. . . . . . . ξ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 19 � In the Sextant, . . . . 37 �

� ------ . . . . . . . 29 � ------ . . . . . . . 38 �

� ------ . . . . . . . 30 � In Leo, . . . . . . . . 56 �

� ------ . . . . . . . 33 � ------ . . . . . . . *79 �

� ------ . . . . . . . e � In Sagittarius, . . . . δ �

� ------ . . . . . . . μ � ------ . . . . . . . 1ξ �

� ------ . . . . . . . π � In Aquarius,. . . . . . *ξ �

� In Cetus,. . . . . . . 20 � ------ . . . . . . . 1h �

� In Aries,. . . . . . . ι � ------ . . . . . . . χ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 1θ � In Orion, . . . . . . . 4χ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 3ρ � In Ursa Minor,. . . . . σ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 2τ � ------ . . . . . . . υ �

� In Taurus, . . . . . . φ � ------ . . . . . . . ν �

� ------ . . . . . . . χ � ------ . . . . . . . φ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 105 � ------ . . . . . . . 1π �

� In Orion,. . . . . . . 1χ � ------ . . . . . . . 2π �

� ------ . . . . . . . 2χ � In Cepheus, . . . . . . μ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 3χ � ------ . . . . . . . ρ �

� In Auriga, . . . . . . κ � In the Dragon,. . . . . Y �

� In Gemini, . . . . . . λ � ------ . . . . . . . X �

� ------ . . . . . . . φ � ------ . . . . . . . W �

� In Cancer, . . . . . . η � ------ . . . . . . . B �

� ------ . . . . . . . θ � ------ . . . . . . . 1V �

� In Leo,. . . . . . . . ω � ------ . . . . . . . 2V �

� In Virgo,. . . . . . . ν � In Cassiopeia,. . . . . ρ �

� ------ . . . . . . . π � ------ . . . . . . . ξ �

� In Libra,. . . . . . . μ � ------ . . . . . . . π �

� In Scorpio,. . . . . . 1ω � ------ . . . . . . . 2υ �

� ------ . . . . . . . 2ω � ------ . . . . . . . χ �

� In Ophiuchus,. . . . . ψ � ------ . . . . . . . ω �

� ------ . . . . . . . ω � ------ . . . . . . . d �

� In Sagittarius,. . . . ω � In Perseus, . . . . . . g �

� In Capricorn,. . . . . ρ � ------ . . . . . . . h �

� In Aquarius, . . . . . ι � ------ . . . . . . . i �

� ------ . . . . . . . σ � ------ . . . . . . . s �

� ------ . . . . . . . 1τ � ------ . . . . . . . n �

� ------ . . . . . . . 1ψ � ------ . . . . . . . d �

� ------ . . . . . . . 2ψ � ------ . . . . . . . h �

� ------ . . . . . . . 3ψ � In Auriga,. . . . . . . 1e �


Observations on the preceding Table.

The five stars of the second magnitude in the above list,

marked with an asterisk, are by some writers denominated of the

first magnitude; and those named of the third, fourth, fifth, and

sixth magnitudes, (the stars of the last-mentioned order being

barely visible to the naked eye,) are such as the moon can occult,

or make a near appulse to; except the last sixteen, in the column

of stars of the third magnitude, and the last twenty-nine in that

of the sixth magnitude, which never set in the latitude of London.

The stars Algol and ο Ceti are set down according to their

brightest appearance; the former varying from the second to the

fourth magnitude every two days, 20 hours, 48 minutes, 58 seconds,

18 thirds, and 25 fourths; and the latter, from the second to the

seventh, and sometimes to the tenth, every 331 days, 10 hours, and

19 minutes. The stars of the first magnitude, Capella and Lyra,

never set in the latitude of London; Acharnar, Canopus, β in Argo,

and α in the Cross and Centaur, never rise. Of the stars of the

second magnitude in the preceding list, β in Medusa's head, or

Algol, α in Perseus, the two Pointers, the Dragon's tail, and the

Swan's tail, never set; the head of the Phoenix and the bright

star in the Crane never rise. The stars marked with an asterisk

in the third column are between the third and fourth magnitudes;

and those in the last column with the same mark are between the

fifth and sixth magnitudes. Stars fainter than those of the sixth

magnitude cannot be discerned without the help of a glass, and are

therefore called telescopic. The 2h, and 3h, in Aquarius, are of

this last description, both of the seventh magnitude, and such as

the moon can occult.

8. This subject, as far as it concerns the present place,

admits of few remarks or reflections. It has already been

observed, that, of all the stars which our best astronomers have

been able to describe and lay down in tables and maps, only

sixteen are of the first magnitude; i.e. appear more luminous

than any other stars in the firmament: some, indeed, increase the

number to twenty-one, by taking in Castor and Pollux, the upper

Pointer, Atteer, or Atair, in the Eagle, and β in the ship

Argo, which I have placed among those of the second magnitude,

because astronomers are not agreed on the subject, some ranking

them with stars of the first magnitude, others, with stars of the


The reader is probably amazed at the paucity of large stars in

the whole firmament of heaven! Will he permit me to carry his

mind a little farther, and either stand astonished at or deplore

with me the fact, that, out of the millions of Christians in the

vicinity and splendour of the eternal Sun of righteousness, how

very few are found of the first order! How very few can stand

examination by the test laid down in the 13th chapter of this

epistle! How very few love God with all their heart, soul, mind,

and strength; and their neighbour as themselves! How few mature

Christians are found in the Church! How few are, in all things,

living for eternity! How little light, how little heat, and how

little influence and activity are to be found among them that bear

the name of Christ! How few stars of the FIRST magnitude will the

Son of God have to deck the crown of his glory! Few are striving

to excel in righteousness; and it seems to be a principal concern

with many to find out how little grace they may have, and yet

escape hell; how little conformity to the will of God they may

have, and yet get to heaven! In the fear of God I register this

testimony, that I have perceived it to be the labour of many to

lower the standard of Christianity, and to soften down, or explain

away, those promises of God that himself has linked with duties;

and because they know that they cannot be saved by their good

works, they are contented to have no good works at all: and thus

the necessity of Christian obedience, and Christian holiness,

makes no prominent part of some modern creeds. Let all those who

retain the apostolic doctrine, that the blood of Christ cleanseth

from all sin in this life, press every believer to go on to

perfection, and expect to be saved, while here below, into the

fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus. To all such my

soul says, Labour to show yourselves approved unto God; workmen

that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth; and

may the pleasure of the Lord prosper in your hands!-Amen.

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