Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 15

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

I declare unto you the gospel ; I make once more a statement of the gospel. He says this with especial reference to one of its great foundation doctrines, the resurrection of Christ, and in him, of all his believing people.

Wherein ye stand ; upon which your church is founded, and upon which all your hopes rest.

Verse 3

Received ; by inspiration, and directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ died for our sins ; on account of them; as an atoning sacrifice, the just for the unjust. 1 Peter 3:18 .

The Scriptures ; as foretold of him in the Old Testament. Psalms 22:1-31 ; Isaiah 53:1-9 ; Daniel 9:24-26 ; Zechariah 12:10 ; Zechariah 13:7 .

Verse 4

The Scriptures ; Psalms 16:10-11 ; Isaiah 53:10-12 ; Hosea 6:2 .

Verse 5

Cephas ; Peter.

Twelve ; the apostles.

Verse 6

Brethren ; disciples of Christ.

Remain ; are now alive.

Are fallen asleep ; are dead.

Verse 7

James ; supposed to be the James who wrote the epistle, and who was called James the less.

Verse 8

Out of due time ; as by an untimely birth. A proverbial expression to denote unworthiness.

Verse 9

The least of the apostles ; least worthy, or most unworthy and guilty. Ephesians 3:8 .

Not meet ; not worthy, or fit, Acts 9:1 ; Acts 26:9-11 .

Verse 10

Not in vain ; it was not inoperative; it led me to labor more than they all ; than any of the apostles.

Not I ; not on account of any thing spiritually good naturally in him. Matthew 10:20 .

Verse 11

They ; the other apostles.

We preach ; the same great truths-Christ crucified for the sins of men, and raised for their justification. Romans 4:25 . That Jesus Christ died for the sins of men, and rose again for the justification and salvation of all who believe on him, are fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and are taught as such by all who are prepared and called by Christ to preach it.

Verse 12

Is no resurrection of the dead? no such thing as a resurrection of the dead? The men against whose error the apostle wrote, denied, doubtless on philosophical grounds, the possibility of a resurrection from the dead. He proceeds to show, first, that such a denial involves the denial of Christ’s resurrection, and consequently of the gospel itself with all the hopes that are built on it, 1Co 15:13-19 ; 1 Corinthians 15:29-32 ;

secondly, that the certain fact of Christ’s resurrection is an earnest and pledge of our resurrection also, verse 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 . He then proceeds further to meet objections to the doctrine, and make various explanations and revelations concerning it.

Verse 14

Vain ; useless, because not true.

Verse 17

Your faith is vain ; it cannot save you.

Ye are yet in your sins ; unpardoned, because no one can be pardoned except through the atonement and righteousness of Christ, which, if he has not risen from the dead, never has been accepted; and there is no way of salvation, except by one’s own works, which to sinful man is impossible.

Verse 18

Fallen asleep in Christ ; died believing in Christ’s resurrection, and expecting to be saved through him.

Are perished ; since no salvation has been provided for them, they have died under the curse of God’s law, which is the death of the soul.

Verse 19

Most miserable ; because we have exposed ourselves to all manner of sufferings and hardships to no purpose, and all our hopes are destined to end in disappointment.

Verse 20

Now is Christ risen ; the apostle comes now to the triumphant assertion of the fact, the proof of which he has already stated.

First - fruits ; a pledge that all united by faith to Christ would rise again.

Them that slept ; the pious dead. Elsewhere he affirms the resurrection of both the just and unjust, Acts 24:15 ; but here he dwells more particularly on the resurrection of the dead in Christ. That Christ arose from the dead, God has shown to be certain, and with equal certainty that all his people who die will rise also.

Verse 21

By man ; Adam.

By man ; Jesus Christ.

Verse 22

In Adam all die ; all having become sinners through him, as is stated in Romans 5:12 ; Romans 5:17-19 .

In Christ shall all be made alive ; he shall raise to life the whole human family, John 5:28-29 ; but here the apostle has especially in view the resurrection of the righteous.

Verse 23

Christ the first - fruits ; he is the first who rose from the dead to die no more; and his resurrection was a sure pledge that his people at is coming will likewise rise, to live and reign with him for ever. Matthew 25:34 ; Matthew 25:46 ; John 14:19 .

Verse 24

The end ; of the present state of things-the day of judgment.

Delivered up the kingdom ; that which he received as Mediator, having completed the work for which he received it.

Put down all rule-authority-power ; conquered all enemies.

Verse 25

Must reign ; as Mediator till then, in order to fulfill the predictions of scripture concerning him. Psalms 2:6-12 ; Psalms 46:3-7 ; Psalms 110:1 .

Verse 26

Death ; Christ will abolish or destroy this, when, at the general resurrection, he delivers his people from its power.

Verse 27

He saith ; Psalms 8:6 .

He ; God.

Verse 28

The Son-be subject ; the chief object of his Mediatorship will then have been accomplished.

Verse 29

This verse is connected in argument with verse 1 Corinthians 15:19 .

Else ; if there is no resurrection, what is the advantage of being baptized and exposed to innumerable dangers, and even to death itself, in hope of one? Baptized for the dead ; according to some, the meaning is this: Why, when many for their attachment to Christ are put to death, do multitudes in the face of death openly profess by baptism to be his disciples, and thus take their place?

Verse 30

And why ; do we who have professed this continue, without wavering, to brave cheerfully all its dangers?

Verse 31

I protest ; solemnly affirm.

I die daily ; am daily exposed to death, on account of my attachment to Christ as a crucified and risen Saviour.

Verse 32

Fought with beasts ; exposed myself to instant and violent death.

Let us eat and drink ; if there is no resurrection to eternal life, let us avoid all the pain and enjoy all the pleasures we can now, according to the maximum of those who live only for the present world.

Verse 33

Be not deceived ; by the false opinions and reasoning of wicked men.

Evil communications ; familiar canversation with the wicked in corrupting. This was a sentiment expressed by Menander, a Greek poet, whom Paul quoted.

Verse 34

Awake to righteousness ; the original is very strong: Awake out of your intoxication, namely, with sin and error. Let the certainty of retribution arouse you to duty, and restrain you from sin; for some among you have not that knowledge of God which leads them to believe and obey him.

To your shame ; for they had means and opportunities to know and do better.

Verse 35

Some man ; who, because he cannot understand the manner in which men will be raised, or with what bodies, concludes there will be no resurrection.

Verse 36

Fool ; measuring your faith by your ignorance, and because you cannot understand the manner, rejecting the fact; when there is nothing more unaccountable in the case of the resurrection-body, than there is in the quickening of a seed sown, through its death, into a new body.

Quickened ; made to live and grow into a new plant.

Verse 37

Bare grain ; a naked kernel of grain.

Verse 38

Giveth it ; the seed sown.

To every seed his own body ; so that each grain preserves its identity, wheat producing wheat, and barley, barley. In this illustration three things are to be noticed: first, the seed sown is not quickened into a new plant except it die, that is, be itself dissolved and perish, as it always does in germination; secondly, the new plant with its seed is not the grain itself that was sown; yet, thirdly, it is the same in kind, and thus preserves its identity, each seed reproducing its own body. So the heavenly body that shall spring from the death of this earthly body, though not that body of flesh and blood that was sown in the grave, shall yet be the same body in such a sense that at the resurrection every one shall receive again his own body.

Verses 39-41

All flesh is not the same flesh-celestial bodies , and bodies terrestrial-one glory of the sun , and another glory of the moon ; the apostle introduces another argument, drawn from the variety that exists by the power of God among natural bodies, to show how easily he may cause the bodies raised to differ greatly from those that died. The contrast between terrestrial and celestial bodies seem to hint at that between our present and our future bodies, as given in 1 Corinthians 15:42-54 . Some have thought that in referring to the difference in glory among the heavenly bodies, he has in view different degrees of glory and blessedness among the righteous in heaven. This, however, he does not afterwards insist on, but only the great contrast between the corruptible body and the incorruptible.

Verse 42

Many things take place, the manner of which men cannot understand; and for them to disbelieve what God has declared, because they cannot understand the manner in which it will be accomplished, is great folly.

Verse 43

In power ; strong, and not subject to disease or death.

Verse 44

A natural body-a spiritual body ; in the original Greek the word rendered "natural" is the adjective corresponding to the word rendered "soul" in verse 1 Corinthians 15:45 . In order better to understand the force of the quotation in that verse, we might render the present thus: It is sown a soul-body; it is raised a spirit-body: the word soul being used as it is in Genesis 2:7 , to denote man in his present earthly state as inhabiting an animal body, and subject to animal passions and wants; while the spiritual body will have no animal nature, and be subject to no animal wants.

Verse 45

It is written ; Genesis 2:7 . The quotation extends only to the first clause of the verse.

The first man Adam ; whose nature we all inherit.

Was made a living soul ; see note to verse 1 Corinthians 15:44 .

The last Adam ; Christ; to the nature of whose heavenly body our spiritual bodies will be made like.

A quickening spirit ; a spirit having life in himself, and bestowing spiritual life and a spiritual body upon all who are his.

Verse 47

The Lord from heaven ; Isaiah 9:6-7 ; Malachi 3:1 ; John 17:5 ; 2 Corinthians 8:9 ; Philippians 2:6 . He is therefore not earthly, but heavenly in his nature.

Verse 48

Such are they also that are earthy ; descendants of Adam, and naturally like him in body and soul.

That are heavenly ; friends of Christ, like him in body and spirit. Philippians 3:21 .

Verse 49

The image of the heavenly ; in both soul and body. Rom 8:29 ; 1 John 3:2 ; Philippians 3:21 .

Verse 50

Flesh and blood cannot inherit ; our bodies must undergo a change, such as is effected in the resurrection, in order to fit them to live in heaven.

Verse 51

Not all sleep ; Christians who shall be living at the end of the world will not die, but will experience a change similar to that which those who have died will experience in the resurrection, that they may be spiritual, incorruptible, and immortal.

Verse 54

Then ; when the dead have been raised, and the living so changed as to fit them to live and reign with Christ.

The saying ; shall be fulfilled that is written in Isaiah 25:8 .

Verse 55

Thy sting ; that by which thou didst terrify men. Hosea 13:14 .

Thy victory ; by which thou didst hold men as vanquished.

Verse 56

The sting of death ; that which makes death terrible, is sin. Romans 4:15 ; Romans 6:23 .

Verse 57

The victory ; over sin, death, and every foe. Romans 7:25 ; Romans 8:1 ; Romans 8:37 .

Verse 58

Steadfast ; in the faith and practice of the gospel, in habitual lively confidence of the resurrection, the day of judgment, and the retributions of eternity.

Unmovable ; not discouraged by opposition or difficulties; not led even to doubt about the complete fulfilment of all which God has declared.

In the work of the Lord ; in labors to honor him and do good.

Your labor is not in vain in the Lord ; what you do to honor Christ shall receive a glorious and an eternal reward. The certainty of the resurrection, of the day of judgment, and the retributions of eternity, should lead all to make it their great object to learn and do the will of God; hearkening daily to his voice, believing heartily his declarations, and obeying cheerfully and perseveringly his commands.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.