View 1st Corinthians 15 in the note window.
2: Ye are saved, if ye hold fast - Your salvation is
begun, and will be perfected, if ye continue in the faith.
Unless ye have believed in vain - Unless indeed your faith
was only a delusion.
3: I received - From Christ himself. It was not a fiction
of my own. (Isa 53:8,9).
4: According to the scriptures - He proves it first from
scripture, then from the testimony of a cloud of witnesses.(Ps 16:10).
5: By the twelve - This was their standing appellation;
but their full number was not then present.
6: Above five hundred - Probably in Galilee. A glorious
and incontestable proof! The greater part remain - Alive.
7: Then by all the apostles - The twelve were mentioned(1Co 15:5). This title here, therefore, seems to include the
seventy; if not all those, likewise, whom God afterwards sent
to plant the gospel in heathen nations.
8: An untimely birth - It was impossible to abase himself
more than he does by this single appellation. As an abortion
is not worthy the name of a man, so he affirms himself to be
not worthy the name of an apostle.
9: I persecuted the church - True believers are humbled
all their lives, even for the sins they committed before they
10: I laboured more than they all - That is, more than any
of them, from a deep sense of the peculiar love God had shown
me. Yet, to speak more properly, it is not I, but the grace
of God that is with me - This it is which at first qualified me
for the work, and still excites me to zeal and diligence in it.
11: Whether I or they, so we preach - All of us speak the
12: How say some - Who probably had been heathen
13: If there be no resurrection - If it be a thing flatly
14: Then is our preaching - From a commission supposed
to be given after the resurrection. Vain - Without any real
15: If the dead rise not - If the very notion of a
resurrection be, as they say, absurd and impossible.
17: Ye are still in your sins - That is, under the guilt
of them. So that there needed something more than reformation,
(which was plainly wrought,) in order to their being delivered
from the guilt of sin even that atonement, the sufficiency of
which God attested by raising our great Surety from the grave.
18: They who sleep in Christ - Who have died for him, or
believing in him. Are perished - Have lost their life and being
19: If in this life only we have hope - If we look for
nothing beyond the grave. But if we have a divine evidence of
things not seen, if we have "a hope full of immortality," if
we now taste of "the powers of the world to come," and see
"the crown that fadeth not away," then, notwithstanding" all
our present trials, we are more happy than all men.
20: But now - St. Paul declares that Christians "have
hope," not "in this life only." His proof of the resurrection
lies in a narrow compass, (1Co 15:12-19). Almost all the rest
of the chapter is taken up in illustrating, vindicating, and
applying it. The proof is short, but solid and convincing,
that which arose from Christ's resurrection. Now this not only
proved a resurrection possible, but, as it proved him to be a
divine teacher, proved the certainty of a general resurrection,
which he so expressly taught. The first fruit of them that
slept - The earnest, pledge, and insurance of their resurrection
who slept in him: even of all the righteous. It is of the
resurrection of these, and these only, that the apostle speaks
throughout the chapter.
22: As through Adam all, even the righteous, die, so
through Christ all these shall be made alive - He does not say,
"shall revive," (as naturally as they die,) but shall be made
alive, by a power not their own.
23: Afterward - The whole harvest. At the same time the
wicked shall rise also. But they are not here taken into the
24: Then - After the resurrection and the general
judgment. Cometh the end - Of the world; the grand period of
all those wonderful scenes that have appeared for so many
succeeding generations. When he shall have delivered up
the kingdom to the Father, and he (the Father) shall have
abolished all adverse rule, authority, and power - Not that the
Father will then begin to reign without the Son, nor will the
Son then cease to reign. For the divine reign both of the
Father and Son is from everlasting to everlasting. But this is
spoken of the Son's mediatorial kingdom, which will then be
delivered up, and of the immediate kingdom or reign of the
Father, which will then commence. Till then the Son transacts
the business which the Father hath given him, for those who
are his, and by them as well as by the angels, with the
Father, and against their enemies. So far as the Father gave
the kingdom to the Son, the Son shall deliver it up to the
Father, (Joh 13:3). Nor does the Father cease to reign,
when he gives it to the Son; neither the Son, when he delivers
it to the Father: but the glory which he had before the world
began, (Joh 17:5,Heb 1:8), will remain even after this
is delivered up. Nor will he cease to be a king even in his
human nature, (Lu 1:33). If the citizens of the new
Jerusalem" shall reign for ever," (Re 22:5), how much
more shall he?
25: He must reign - Because so it is written. Till he
- the Father hath put all his enemies under his feet.(Ps 110:1).
26: The last enemy that is destroyed is death - Namely,
after Satan, (Heb 2:14), and sin, (1Co 15:56), are
destroyed. In the same order they prevailed. Satan brought in
sin, and sin brought forth death. And Christ, when he of old
engaged with these enemies, first conquered Satan, then sin,
in his death; and, lastly, death, in his resurrection. In the
same order he delivers all the faithful from them, yea, and
destroys these enemies themselves. Death he so destroys that
it shall be no more; sin and Satan, so that they shall no more
hurt his people.
27: Under him - Under the Son.(Ps 8:6,7)
28: The Son also shall be subject - Shall deliver up the
mediatorial kingdom. That the three - one God may be all in
all - All things, (consequently all persons,) without any
interruption, without the intervention of any creature,
without the opposition of any enemy, shall be subordinate to
God. All shall say, "My God, and my all." This is the end.
Even an inspired apostle can see nothing beyond this.
29: Who are baptized for the dead - Perhaps baptized in
hope of blessings to be received after they are numbered with
the dead. Or, "baptized in the room of the dead" - Of them that
are just fallen in the cause of Christ: like soldiers who
advance in the room of their companions that fell just before
30: Why are we - The apostles. Also in danger every
hour - It is plain we can expect no amends in this life.
31: I protest by your rejoicing, which I have - Which love
makes my own. I die daily - I am daily in the very jaws of
death. Beside that I live, as it were, in a daily martyrdom.
32: If to speak after the manner of men - That is, to use
a proverbial phrase, expressive of the most imminent danger
I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus - With the savage fury
of a lawless multitude, (Ac 19:29), &c. This seems to have
been but just before. Let as eat, &c. - We might, on that
supposition, as well say, with the Epicureans, Let us make
the best of this short life, seeing we have no other portion.
33: Be not deceived - By such pernicious counsels as this.
Evil communications corrupt good manners - He opposes to the
Epicurean saying, a well - known verse of the poet Menander.
Evil communications - Discourse contrary to faith, hope, or
love, naturally tends to destroy all holiness.
34: Awake - An exclamation full of apostolical majesty.
Shake off your lethargy! To righteousness - Which flows from
the true knowledge of God, and implies that your whole soul
be broad awake. And sin not - That is, and ye will not sin
Sin supposes drowsiness of soul.
There is need to press this. For some among you have not the
knowledge of God - With all their boasted knowledge, they are
totally ignorant of what it most concerns them to know. I
speak this to your shame - For nothing is more shameful, than
sleepy ignorance of God, and of the word and works of God; in
these especially, considering the advantages they had enjoyed.
35: But some one possibly will say, How are the dead
raised up, after their whole frame is dissolved? And with
what kind of bodies do they come again, after these are
mouldered into dust?
36: To the inquiry concerning the manner of rising, and
the quality of the bodies that rise, the Apostle answers first
by a similitude, (1Co 15:36-42), and then plainly and directly,(1Co 15:42,43).
That which thou sowest, is not quickened into new life and
verdure, except it die - Undergo a dissolution of its parts, a
change analogous to death. Thus St. Paul inverts the objection;
as if he had said, Death is so far from hindering life, that it
necessarily goes before it.
37: Thou sowest not the body that shall be - Produced from
the seed committed to the ground, but a bare, naked grain,
widely different from that which will afterward rise out of
38: But God - Not thou, O man, not the grain itself,
giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, from the time he
distinguished the various Species of beings; and to each of
the seeds, not only of the fruits, but animals also, (to which
the Apostle rises in the following verse,) its own body; not
only peculiar to that species, but proper to that individual,
and arising out of the substance of that very grain.
39: All flesh - As if he had said, Even earthy bodies
differ from earthy, and heavenly bodies from heavenly. What
wonder then, if heavenly bodies differ from earthy? or the
bodies which rise from those that lay in the grave?
40: There are also heavenly bodies - As the sun, moon, and
stars; and there are earthy - as vegetables and animals. But the
brightest lustre which the latter can have is widely different
from that of the former.
41: Yea, and the heavenly bodies themselves differ from
42: So also is the resurrection of the dead - So great is
the difference between the body which fell, and that which
rises. It is sown - A beautiful word; committed, as seed, to
the ground. In corruption - Just ready to putrefy, and, by
various degrees of corruption and decay, to return to the dust
from whence it came. It is raised in incorruption - Utterly
incapable of either dissolution or decay.
43: It is sown in dishonour - Shocking to those who
loved it best, human nature in disgrace! It is raised in
glory - Clothed with robes of light, fit for those whom the
King of heaven delights to honour. It is sown in weakness
- Deprived even of that feeble strength which it once enjoyed.
It is raised in power - Endued with vigour, strength, and
activity, such as we cannot now conceive.
44: It is sown in this world a merely animal body
- Maintained by food, sleep, and air, like the bodies of brutes:
but it is raised of a more refined contexture, needing none of
these animal refreshments, and endued with qualities of a
spiritual nature, like the angels of God.
45: The first Adam was made a living soul - God gave
him such life as other animals enjoy: but the last Adam,
Christ, is a quickening spirit - As he hath life in himself,
so he quickeneth whom he will; giving a more refined life
to their very bodies at the resurrection.(Ge 2:7)
47: The first man was from the earth, earthy; the
second man is the Lord from heaven - The first man, being from
the earth, is subject to corruption and dissolution, like the
earth from which he came. The second man - St. Paul could not
so well say, "Is from heaven, heavenly:" because, though man
owes it to the earth that he is earthy, yet the Lord does not
owe his glory to heaven. He himself made the heavens, and
by descending from thence showed himself to us as the Lord.
Christ was not the second man in order of time; but in this
respect, that as Adam was a public person, who acted in the
stead of all mankind, so was Christ. As Adam was the first
general representative of men, Christ was the second and the
last. And what they severally did, terminated not in
themselves, but affected all whom they represented.
48: They that are earthy - Who continue without any
higher principle. They that are heavenly - Who receive a
divine principle from heaven.
49: The image of the heavenly - Holiness and glory.
50: But first we must be entirely changed; for such
flesh and blood as we are clothed with now, cannot enter
into that kingdom which is wholly spiritual: neither doth
this corruptible body inherit that incorruptible kingdom.
51: A mystery - A truth hitherto unknown; and not yet
fully known to any of the sons of men. We - Christians. The
Apostle considers them all as one, in their succeeding
generations. Shall not all die - Suffer a separation of soul
and body. But we shall all - Who do not die, be changed - So
that this animal body shall become spiritual.
52: In a moment - Amazing work of omnipotence! And cannot
the same power now change us into saints in a moment? The
trumpet shall sound - To awaken all that sleep in the dust of
54: Death is swallowed up in victory - That is, totally
conquered, abolished for ever.
55: O death, where is thy sting? - Which once was full of
hellish poison. O hades, the receptacle of separate souls,
where is thy victory - Thou art now robbed of all thy spoils;
all thy captives are set at liberty. Hades literally means
the invisible world, and relates to the soul; death, to the
body. The Greek words are found in the Septuagint translation
of (Ho 13:14,Isa 25:8)
56: The sting of death is sin - Without which it could
have no power. But this sting none can resist by his own
strength. And the strength of sin is the law - As is largely
declared, (Ro 7:7), &c.
57: But thanks be to God, who hath given us the
victory - Over sin, death, and hades.
58: Be ye steadfast - In yourselves. Unmovable - By others;
continually increasing in the work of faith and labour of love.
Knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord - Whatever ye do
for his sake shall have its full reward in that day.
Let us also endeavour, by cultivating holiness in all its
branches, to maintain this hope in its full energy; longing for
that glorious day, when, in the utmost extent of the expression,
death shall be swallowed up for ever, and millions of voices,
after the long silence of the grave, shall burst out at once
into that triumphant song, O death, where is thy sting?
O hades, where is thy victory?