Nazarene Commentary 2000©

21st Century Paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures©
21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures© [NCMM]

Locate verse: how?
reveal all notes
Locate verse: Type a verse reference like 'Romans 10:9' or abbreviated 'Rm 10:9'. By just typing the verse one can jump to the corresponding verse on the active page (only works if the current page displays a chapter). If a chapter and a verse is entered without a book, the current selected book is assumed. Providing only the name of a book will bring one to the chapter index of that book. Examples (without the quotes): '1 Tim 3:16', 'Rv 1:8', 'Matthew 5', '3:16', '8', 'Phm'.

THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
DOCTRINAL UNITY: RESURRECTION

Theme Verse: 51
[“Instantaneous Immortality”]
Key Word: Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – Saved in Good News

1CO15:1 Now, brothers, I am making known to all of you the Good News 825 which I declared to you as Good News – which you also received – in which you continue to stand –
825 The Good News: Or, Gospel, Evangel. Paul is now going to introduce a new subject which involves the Gospel – the resurrection hope. He here reminds them through the repetition of the word “Gospel” three times. It is likely there was some division on this subject and so what Paul is to state works toward unity.
1CO15:2 by means of which all of you are being saved 826 according to the Word I declared as Good News – if you are holding fast 827 – unless your conviction was worthless. 828
826 You are being saved: Salvation is a process based on faith in Christ and that fruitage produced by such faith. There are three parts to this process: a] the initial saving from that wicked generation; b] the saving process of faith and love; and, b] the final salvation at the Parousia of the Master. See notes elsewhere on salvation and saved in Nazarene Commentary 2000©.
827 If you are holding fast: Being saved depends on “holding fast.” It is not an absolutely assured matter.
828 Unless your conviction was worthless: Or, believed in vain. Faith can be in vain or worthless if it is not accompanied by endurance. [Matthew 15:6-9; James 1:27]

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 – Who Saw Christ Raised?

1CO15:3 For I delivered to you the first principles 829 which also l had received – that Christ died regarding our sins according to the Scriptures; 830
829 For I delivered to you the first principles: Or, RSV: first importance; NEB: the facts; WMS: primary principles. Compare the notes on Hebrews 6:1 in Nazarene Commentary 2000©.
830 Christ died regarding our sins according to the Scriptures: Paul states one of the first principles of the Gospel – Christ’s sin-bearing death. When he says “according to the Scriptures,” it is most likely he has in mind Isaiah chapter 53. He may also echo Psalm 22:15 and Daniel 9:26. [1 Peter 2:24]
1CO15:4 and that he was buried, 831 and that he has been raised up on the third day according to the Scriptures; 832
831 He was buried: A second principle based on Psalm 16:10 and Isaiah 53:9. [Matthew 27:60]
832 Raised up on the third day according to the Scriptures: The third principle. This prophetic truth is based on Jonah 2:10 and Christ’s own interpretation regarding the length of time in Hades. [Matthew 28:7; Luke 24:46; Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10] Compare notes on Matthew 12:39-41. Some have also used Hosea 6:2 in this matter though nowhere do the Scriptures.
1CO15:5 and that he was seen by 833 Cephas, and thereafter to the Twelve. 834
833 He was seen by: Paul reports some information regarding a few – but not all – of the post-resurrection manifestations. [John 21:1]
834 The Twelve: Since this did not include Judas, Paul means the official group of “the Twelve” though only eleven were present.
1CO15:6 Next, he was seen by over five hundred brothers on one occasion, 835 most still remaining to the present, though some fell asleep. 836
835 Five hundred brothers on one occasion: This particular manifestation was not recorded by the Gospels. It is likely Paul learns of this through his traveling companion Luke.
836 Fell asleep: This is the first of several occurrences of the word sleep for death. [1 Corinthians 15:18, 20, 51] Compare also John 11:11-14.
1CO15:7 Then next he was seen by James, 837 and again to all the apostles.
837 He was seen by James: Most think this was the half-brother of Jesus. He is even mentioned by Josephus as “James the Righteous” who, though not of a priestly tribe, was consider so religious that he was permitted to wear priestly garments. It is possible this appearance of his brother was after the ascension and resulted in James conversion to Christianity. This is the James who wrote the epistle after his name. He later becomes something of the presiding elder of the apostolic body in Jerusalem. [Acts 12:17; 15:13] He is described as having knees like those of a camel because he spent so much time in prayer on behalf of Israel. [Compare the following verses on James – Matthew 12:46-50; John 7:5; Acts 1:13, 14; 21:15-26; Galatians 1:18, 19; 2:1-9, 11-14; 1 Corinthians 9:5] Josephus writes about the circumstances of his death at the hand of the Jewish priests: “[They] convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.” [Jewish Antiquities, XX, 200 (ix, 1)]
1CO15:8 But, last of all persons, as though one traumatically born, 838 he was seen also by me. 839
838 As though one traumatically born: Or, JV: born out of due time; MOF: abortion. The Greek is EKTROMAN from which the English “trauma” is derived. It may mean one born dead as it is in Job 3:3-5, 10, 11 in the LXX where a related word is used.
839 He was seen also by me: The Greek here for “seen” is OPSTHE as it is in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7. [1 Corinthians 9:1, 2] Compare Acts 9:4 and the two other reports by Paul of his experience on the Damascus Road. [Acts 22:1ff; 26:1ff]

1 Corinthians 15:9-11 – An Apostle by God’s Grace

1CO15:9 For I am the least of the apostles 840 – unfit to even been called an apostle – because I persecuted the congregation of The God. 841
840 I am the least of the apostles: Some view this as a statement that Paul was one of the Twelve. Others view the use of the word “apostles” in the wider general sense. See notes on the word apostle in Nazarene Commentary 2000© regarding 1 Corinthians 1:11; 4:9; 9:1-4; 12:28, 29. Paul was a special representative [apostle] handpicked by Jesus the Nazarene. If we remove all of the reports about Paul and all of his letters, the Christian Bible would be considerably reduced. Compare 1 Timothy 1:15, 16. [Ephesians 3:8]
841 I persecuted the congregation of The God: Compare Acts 8:3; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13.
1CO15:10 But by God’s unmerited favor I am what I am, 842 and His unmerited favor did not become empty, 843 but I labored more abundantly than all of them –  844 yet, not I, but the unmerited favor of The God [working] together with me. 845
842 By God’s unmerited favor I am what I am: Or, grace. [Ephesians 4:7]
843 Did not become empty: Or, not in vain, not ineffective, not without results, for nothing. The Greek is KENE [KENO]. He uses a form of the word several times. [1 Corinthians 15:14, 58]
844 I labored more abundantly than all of them: Or, WMS: toiled more extensively; GDS: worked harder; BAS: did more work; NEB: outdone them all. Paul states a clear truth judging from the Christian Bible. [2 Corinthians 11:23] Why did the glorified Christ decide to choose such a special man outside of his own handpicked apostles? Perhaps it is because he needed a man with a certain natural intellect, a Jew with a dual citizenship, the background of a Jewish lawyer, the genetic makeup to endure extreme hardships, the bull-dogged personality to persist no matter the obstacle, and the ability to compose extremely unique epistles which would become the most famous of all time. Paul describes himself at Galatians 1:15, “God separated me from my mother’s womb.” So, he may share a similar experience with Jeremiah and John the Baptist. [Jeremiah 1:5] There is a powerful lesson here regarding politics: the apostles of the Nazarene often argued among themselves regarding who was the greatest. In a man-made organization those who control the hierarchy determine who will be used and how. The Master demonstrates that he may by-pass even his own chosen men to use another for a special purpose. Political ambition is useless within a genuine body of Christian believers. Another point must be noted: if one were critical of Paul, as many were, they would find his statement here arrogant. Paul’s life proves this is not the case for no arrogant man will endure the humiliations as Paul experienced. It does show that a man may make a statement about himself without it being given a negative judgment.
845 Yet, not I, but the unmerited favor of The God [working] together with me: Paul humbly qualifies his previous statement, knowing the reaction of some. [Philippians 2:13]
1CO15:11 Therefore, whether I or those [apostles], we are preaching 846 and thus you have believed.
846 We are preaching: All of the apostles fulfilled the King’s commission of Matthew 28:19. An “apostle” must be a preacher. It is not enough to be a mere representative of the Church.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 –Why the Need of Resurrection?

1CO15:12 Now, if Christ is being preached that he has been raised from among those dead, 847 why are some among you saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? 848
847 If Christ is being preached that he has been raised from among those dead: This is a premier principle of the Christian Gospel and is the basis for Paul’s following argument. Here Paul uses a synonym for resurrection “raised.” [1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:12-17, 20, 29, 32, 35, 42-44, 52] The Greek here is EGEGERTAI. [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #1453] It is similar to “resurrection” which means to “stand up again.”
848 Why are some among you saying that there is no resurrection of the dead: Thus, the doctrinal disunity in the Corinthian church. The most obvious reason for this is the Greek notion of soul-immortality, a non-Biblical teaching. The Greeks did not believe in the “resurrection” since the soul to them was immortal and continued living after death. [Note Acts 17:32] For details see the work Where Are the Dead? in Nazarene Commentary 2000©. Note the Biblical Article The Resurrection – According to Paul. Research the details on soul, death, and resurrection in Dictionary of New Testament Theology.
1CO15:13 For, if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up. 849
849 If there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up: See Romans 10:7.
1CO15:14 And, if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is worthless. Also our faith is worthless. 850
850 Our faith is worthless: Without the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith is useless. This point may be applied to those who teach either the immortality of the human soul, or that Christ was God, and never died.
1CO15:15 Also, we are exposed as false witnesses of The God, 851 because we have testified against The God that He did raise up the Christ – whom He did not raise up, if indeed, the dead are not being raised up.
851 False witnesses of The God: Teaching a doctrinal untruth makes one a false witness, a pseudo witness, of God. [Acts 3:15]
1CO15:16 For if those dead are not being raised up, neither has Christ been raised up. 1CO15:17 However, if Christ has not been raised up, your faith is worthless, and you remain in your sins. 852
852 If Christ has not been raised up, your faith is worthless, and you remain in your sins: Paul’s sequential logic leads to a frightening conclusion. It is important to notice that it is not just the death alone of Christ that removes sin, but also the resurrection. Only by such a resurrection could Christ present the value of his blood in the Presence of The God. [Hebrews 9:11, 12; Daniel 7:13]
1CO15:18 Also, really those who have fallen asleep in Christ have destroyed themselves. 853
853 Really those who have fallen asleep in Christ have destroyed themselves: Or, perished, utterly dead and gone. Clearly Paul did not believe in the immortality of the human soul which survived the death of the body – as taught by the Egyptians, Hindus, and Greeks – other wise these mistaken Christians would not really be dead.
1CO15:19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are alone among all humans the most pitiable. 854
854 The most pitiable: Or, pathetic, miserable, unhappy beyond all others.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 – When All Will Be Raised?

1CO15:20 However, now, Christ has been raised up from those dead, 855 a firstfruits of those who have lain themselves to sleep. 856
855 Christ has been raised up from those dead: A truth confirmed by numerous eyewitnesses who were willing to die for their testimony. Compare 1 John 1:1-4. [Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39, 41; 13:31]
856 A firstfruits of those who have lain themselves to sleep: Though other men and women were temporarily resurrected by the prophets and Jesus, it is Christ who is the first to triumph absolutely over death. Paul may echo Leviticus 23:10. [Colossians 1:18] Compare notes on Revelation 1:5 where Jesus himself declares he is, “The Firstborn of the Dead.” All others have died and remain in death’s slumber awaiting the resurrection. [Job 14:11-15 LXX; Psalm 146:3, 4; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; 9:5, 10]
1CO15:21 For, since death is by means of a human, 857 so also by means of a human those dead will be resurrected. 858
857 For, since death is by means of a human: Or, a man. Compare notes on Romans 5:12-14 in Nazarene Commentary 2000©. [Genesis 3:19]
858 So also by means of a human those dead will be resurrected: Jesus Christ was an ANTHROPOD, a true human. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate uses HOMINID in Daniel 7:13. [John 11:25]
1CO15:22 For just as in the Adam all are dying, 859 so also in the Christ all will be made alive. 860
859 For just as in the Adam all are dying: Compare notes on Romans 5:12 in Nazarene Commentary 2000©.
860 So also in the Christ all will be made alive: Or, GDS: brought to life again; WMS: made alive again. Paul introduces another synonym for resurrection – made alive. The Greek is related to the same word found in Revelation 20:4, 5 – ZOOPOIETHESONTAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2227, vitalize, quicken, make alive]. Compare EZESAN at Romans 14:9 and Revelation 2:8; 20:4. [Romans 5:17; 6:23]
1CO15:23 However, each person in their own order: 861 Christ a firstfruits, 862 and thereafter those of the Christ at his Arrival. 863
861 Each person in their own order: Or, rank, division. It is a Greek word used of military order or rank.
862 Christ a firstfruits: Or, the firstfruits. The first to be truly made alive or resurrected. See notes above on the same word. His resurrection occurred on a Sunday dawn in the year 33 AD. The word “firstfruits” suggest another harvest of the same kind – heavenly and immortal.
863 Thereafter those of the Christ at his Arrival: Or, afterward, then; presence, coming, return. The next “order” of resurrection however long a time between the two. The Greek is EN TE PAROUSIA AUTOU and literally means “in his presence.” Or, KJV: at his coming; BEC: when he comes back. A very similar phrase occurs at 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and 1 Thessalonians 3:13. The exact phrase occurs at 1 John 2:28. Christ promised to Return to receive home to himself his disciples. [John 14:1-3; compare the parables at Matthew 25:14,15 and Luke 19:12] His Return is called his PAROUSIA or Presence [Arrival; Return]. It is a visible event that occurs following the Great Tribulation. [Matthew 24:29-31] For details on the Parousia see Nazarene Commentary 2000© on Matthew 24:3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16. The designation “those of Christ” means “those who belong to Christ” or “Christians.” It includes ALL [everyone] who professed to be a Christian and acknowledged Jesus Christ as Master.
Paul, for his own reasons, does not here go into the parousia-judgment, but a large number of the Nazarene’s parables deal with his judgment of his own household. [Matthew 13:36-43; 24:45-25:46; Luke 12:35-48] Compare 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. [1 John 2:28; 4:17] For details see the Biblical Article God and Judgment in Nazarene Commentary 2000©.
1CO15:24 Then, finally, the End, 864 whenever he delivers up the Realm to The God and Father 865 – whenever he has rendered ineffectual all government and all authority and power. 866
864 Then, finally, the End: The Greek is TO TELOS and is related to the word TELESTHE at Revelation 20:3, 5, 7. How much time elapses between the Parousia and “the End” Paul does not explain. It is left to Jesus in his Revelation to declare that ‘the rest of the dead come to life at the end of the thousand years.’ [Revelation 20:5] This second or last resurrection will include all humanity, all those who have ever lived – Jews and non-Jews. See notes on Romans 2:12-16. [Acts 24:15] All of the resurrected will be judged according to their works in their previous lives. [Matthew 12:35, 36; Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:13]
865 Whenever he delivers up the Realm to The God and Father: Or, Kingdom. This realm or domain would be the same as that “kingdom of the heavens” [the realm of profession] mentioned in several of Jesus’ parables. Compare notes on Matthew 13:40-43.
866 Whenever he has rendered ineffectual all government and all authority and power: Or, destroyed, abolished, done away with, stopped. This is a process which primarily occurs from Christ’s parousia through the Thousand Years. There are two parts to these “governments, authorities, and powers” – the celestial demonic powers of Satan and his demons [Ephesians 6:12]; and, human governments and powers. [Ephesians 1:19-21; compare Revelation 17:14]
1CO15:25 For it is a necessity that [Christ] reign until that time [The God] should put all of [Christ’s] enemies under his feet. 867 [Psalm 110:1]
867 [Christ] reign until that time [The God] should put all of [Christ’s] enemies under his feet: Paul paraphrases Psalm 110:1, one of his favorite texts quoted several times in his letters. [Ephesians 1:19; Hebrews 1:5; 10:12, 13] This is a process of subjugation which covers the time Christ first began to rule upon his ascension to heaven [Daniel 7:13; Ephesians 1:19-21] and throughout the Thousand Years until “the End.” It should be noted that Christ does not “wait to rule,” he “rules waiting” for all his enemies to be subjected to him. He thus reigns from 33 AD until the very last enemy is destroyed.
1CO15:26 Death is the last enemy to be rendered completely ineffectual. 868
868 Death is the last enemy to be rendered completely ineffectual: Or, destroyed, abolished, stopped, done away with. Note the “last enemy” is not Satan the Devil, but death. This is in harmony with the scenario presented by Jesus in Revelation 20:7-13: Satan is first destroyed before Death and Hades are emptied of their dead. In the Greek it is HO THANATOS, or literally, “the Death,” referring to that caused by Adam. [1 Corinthians 15:20, 21; Romans 5:12-17] That called Second Death will always be available to exercise authority over any rebels throughout “the day of eternity.” [Revelation 20:4, 6, 14; 2 Peter 3:18] Second Death will be operative during the Thousand Years. [Isaiah 65:17-22]
1CO15:27 For [The God] subjected everything under [Christ’s] feet. 869 [Psalm 8:6] However, whenever he says, “everything,” [Psalm 8:6] it is self-evident this does not include the One who subjected everything to [Christ]. 870
869 For [The God] subjected everything under [Christ’s] feet: Paul here alludes to Psalm 8:6. For details on his inspired application of this verse see details in Nazarene Commentary 2000© on Hebrews 2:5-9 where Paul quotes the same verse.
870 It is self-evident this does not include the One who subjected everything to [Christ]: It is obvious to Paul that “everything” does not include the Father. However, Paul uses “everything” elsewhere, where Christ is included. [1 Corinthians 8:6; 11:12; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 3:9] Christ is always subordinate to the Father. [John 14:28]
1CO15:28 But, whenever everything will also be subjected to the Son, he himself will subject himself to the One 871 who subjected everything to him, so that The God may be everything to everyone. 872
871 He himself will subject himself to the One: Christ is never not subjected to the Father. He “learned obedience” during the “days of his flesh.” [Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 5:8] This moment is a particular milestone in his own subjection to the Father. Temporarily “all the judgment has been given to the Son” [John 5:22, 23] and his Church [Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4] and now he hands everything back to his Father having accomplished His will. [Ephesians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:19, 20]
872 So that The God may be everything to everyone: Or, KJV: all in all; TAY: utterly supreme. It is worthy to note that it is not Christ the Son who becomes “everything to everyone” but HO THEOS, The God, the Father. Compare notes on 1 Corinthians 3:23.

1 Corinthians 15:29-34 – Why Baptized into Death?

1CO15:29 Otherwise, what will those do who are being baptized over those dead? 873 If those dead are not being raised up, why are they also being baptized over them?
873 What will those do who are being baptized over those dead: This is considered by some among the most difficult verses in the Christian Bible to translate or render. This rendering is as close to literal as possible and it will be left to readers to determine the precise meaning. The key word rendered “over” here is the Greek HYPER and is variously rendered: for, on behalf of. Some believe the phrase is taken from either a hymn or a well-known expression. Judging from Paul’s words in Romans 6:3-5 the likely meaning involves that baptism into a life like Christ’s, resulting in a life-course of self-sacrifice, and ending in a “death like that of Christ.” In other words, “If there is no resurrection from the dead, why are Christians being immersed into a death like Christ’s?” Some have taken this single difficult verse as authorization to be baptized on behalf of unbaptized dead relatives.
1CO15:30 Also, why are we in danger every hour? 874
874 Why are we in danger every hour: Likely explaining the previous phrase.
1CO15:31 Everyday I am dying! 875 Yes, by your own boasting, brothers, which I have in Christ Jesus our Master. 876
875 Everyday I am dying: Or, I die daily, risk of dying. One only has to compare 1 Corinthians 4:11-13 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 to see what he means. If the dead are not raised, why is he risking his life everyday? This is part of the “baptism in Christ.”
876 Yes, by your own boasting, brothers, which I have in Christ Jesus our Master: Or, KJV: I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord; TCN: I swear it, Brothers, by the pride in you that I feel through my union with Christ Jesus, our Lord; GDS: by the very pride I take in you, brothers, through our union with Christ Jesus. It is possible Paul means something of an oath regarding his daily risks.
1CO15:32 If, just as [other] humans, I fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, 877 how does this benefit me? If those dead are not being raised up, “we should eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die.” 878 [Isaiah 22:13]
877 I fought with wild beasts in Ephesus: Compare 2 Corinthians 1:8. This is nowhere reported.
878 We should eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die: Paul quotes Isaiah 22:13. It is possible this was an attitude among some of the Corinthians. It is the disposition of many who do not believe in the resurrection.
1CO15:33 May you not be misled – bad associations corrupt useful habits. 879
879 Bad associations corrupt useful habits: Or, BEC: bad company ruins god habits; GDS: bad company ruins character; RSV: good morals; NEB: is the ruin of a good character. Likely Paul says this because of the previous attitude expressed. Paul cautions that those who insist there is no resurrection and thus live for the day should be avoided. [Proverbs 13:20]
1CO15:34 All of you sober up righteously 880 and do not continue to sin, 881 for some are ignorant of God. 882 I am speaking toward all of you to embarrass you. 883
880 All of you sober up righteously: Or, KJV: awake to righteousness; WMS: sober up, as is right; NOR: come to your senses. The word “sober” parallels the early word about drinking. [Romans 13:11]
881 Do not continue to sin: Is this the earlier eating and drinking? Or, the doctrinal error of refusing to believe in the resurrection?
882 For some are ignorant of God: Compare 1 Corinthians 14:38. Paul’s words would have exposed those in Corinth who were involved with this problem. Greeks who believed in the immortality of the soul and rejected the resurrection were ignorant.
883 To embarrass you: Or, shame. Paul has said this before. [1 Corinthians 6:5] There are times when an elder is correct in openly shaming or embarrassing those who have deviated.

1 Corinthians 15:35-41 – How Are Dead Raised?

1CO15:35 Despite this, someone will ask, 884 “How are those dead being raised up? 885 With what kind of body are they coming?” 886
884 Someone will ask: Paul now beings to use the singular “you” so what he now says relate primarily to a single individual in Corinth, perhaps representing a general attitude and thought.
885 How are those dead being raised up: That is, how are they resurrected?
886 With what kind of body are they coming: Likely, “In what type of body are they coming back from the dead?” Paul here uses the Greek for “body” SOMA which will now occur several times. These two questions would be those asked by Greek philosophers.
1CO15:36 Unthinking man, 887 what you are sowing is not made alive unless it should die. 888
887 Unthinking man: Or, fool, simpleton, unreasonable, senseless.
888 What you are sowing is not made alive unless it should die: The Greek is the singular “you.” Paul uses “sowing” as a metaphor for “bury in the ground.” Only a dead person is buried, or planted in the ground.
1CO15:37 And what you are sowing is not the body that will come to exist, 889 but rather a naked grain. 890 It may be wheat or another kind. 891
889 What you are sowing is not the body that will come to exist: Or, KJV: thou sowest not that body that shall be. That is, the body buried in the ground is not the future body. Paul will use several words to describe this buried body: dishonorable, decayable, weak, mortal, soul-like, dirty, and after the image of Adam.
890 A naked grain: Paul compares this buried body to a seed or grain planted in the ground.
891 It may be wheat or another kind: There is a strong temptation here to see that “wheat” of Jesus’ parable, opposed to the “zizania” [or, darnel, weed] of Satan.
1CO15:38 However, The God gives it a body in accordance with His will. 892 And, to each of the seeds [its] own body. 893
892 The God gives it a body in accordance with His will: God does not resurrect the dead, buried body of the Saint. He gives that “grain” a new and different body. This SOMA will be described as glorious, non-decayable, powerful, immortal, spirit-like, heavenly, and after the image of Christ.
893 To each of the seeds [its] own body: It is possible that not all raised to heaven will share identical bodies. Certainly those ZIZANIA buried in the ground, will not need a superior body upon their resurrection for they will be judged into non-existence. [Matthew 25:45, 46]
1CO15:39 Not all flesh is the same kind of flesh. 894 Indeed, one kind is human, another flesh of domestic animals, another of things that fly, another of fish.
894 Not all flesh is the same kind of flesh: Paul begins an analogy to contrast the physical [soul-like] body with the heavenly [spirit-like] body. Just as there is variety in these bodies, there is likely to be such variety in the heavenly kind.
1CO15:40 Also [there are] heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, 895 but the glory of the heavenly is different from the earthly.
895 Also [there are] heavenly bodies and earthly bodies: There are only two kinds of bodies – heavenly, spiritual, immortal and incorruptible; and, earthly ones who lack these attributes.
1CO15:41 Another glory is sun’s, and another of the moon’s glory, 896 and yet another stellar glory, for star is differing from star in glory. 897
896 Another glory is sun’s, and another of the moon’s glory: Another analogy using the cosmic heavens. The sun generations its own energy and may be compared to the Father. While the Son is only a reflection of the Father, and thus is more like the Moon.
897 For star is differing from star in glory: Though this is obvious to the naked eye, the truth of this statement has been confirmed even more by modern astrophysics and astronomy. Paul may mean the heavenly, spirit-like bodies differ, just as earthly flesh does.

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 – Soul-like and Spirit-like Bodies

1CO15:42 Just so is the resurrection of those dead. 898 [The body] is sown [in the ground] in corruption 899 – it is being raised up in incorruption. 900
898 Just so is the resurrection of those dead: It is possible Paul make include two resurrections with this statement as he has just mentioned the earthly and the heavenly. For “those of Christ at his Parousia” will attain to heavenly bodies, while those dead made alive at the end of the Thousand Years will enjoy earthly bodies.
899 [The body] is sown [in the ground] in corruption: When the human body is buried it is already starting to decay or corrupt. Note John 11:39. Paul has in mind primarily the death of a Saint and not mankind in general.
900 It is being raised up in incorruption: That is, the new body God wills is one that will not decay, but is incorruptible.
1CO15:43 [The body] is being sown [in the ground] without honor 901 – it is being raised up in glory. 902 [The body] is being sown [in the ground] without any strength 903 – it is being raised up in power. 904
901 [The body] is being sown [in the ground] without honor: Despite all attempts to the contrary, a dead body does not possess that glory of the living. The body is buried in the ground pale, lifeless, and with a disagreeable odor unless prepared with perfumed oils.
902 It is being raised up in glory: Glory is the opposite of dishonor. The Greek DOXA also carries the idea of light, brilliance, honorable.
903 Without any strength: Or, weak. It is obvious the buried body possesses no strength or power. It tumbles into the grave grotesquely, its muscles and sinew unable to provide any honorable posture or position.
904 Raised up in power: The Greek is DYNAMEI and truly the risen Saint becomes celestially dynamic through the “power of the resurrection.” [Ephesians 1:18, 19] Also upon their heavenly appointment they receive “power” to judge humankind. [Revelation 20:4]
1CO15:44 It is being sown [in the ground] as a soul-like body 905 – it is being raised up a spirit-like [body]. 906 If [there] is a soul-like body, [there is] a spirit-like body. 907
905 A soul-like body: The Greek is SOMA PSYCHICON and has a wide number of renderings: natural, physical, animal, human – all hiding the real definition of “soul.” [KIT: soulical] For details on “soul” see the work Where Are the Dead? in Nazarene Commentary 2000©. We do not possess a soul. We are a soul, just as Adam. [Genesis 2:7] The word PSYCHE occurs nearly 1000 times in the Greek Bible and not once is it associated with immortality. Over 150 times it is associated with mortality. That is, the soul can die, as it is mortal, corruptible. Note the first occurrence of “soul” in the Bible is that of animals in Genesis chapter 1. Indeed, in Latin, the word for “soul” is ANIMAS, from which comes “animal” – something animated.
906 Raised up a spirit-like [body]: Or, spiritual. The Greek is SOMA PNEUMATICON. Both the Hebrew and Greek roots for these words are from breath [breathing] or wind. The body buried in the ground was soul-like – animal, physical, decayable, weak, dishonorable, mortal, dirty. The body God wills for the risen Saint is not the soul-like, but spirit-like. Paul will define this type of body as heavenly, incorruptible, immortal, powerful, glorious, and patterned on the image of the Master. Nowhere in this explanation does Paul state the fleshly body of the Saint will rise in the resurrection.
907 If [there] is a soul-like body, [there is] a spirit-like body: There are two body types, both virtual opposites. Compare Paul’s adjectives in describing these two – the earthly and heavenly.
1CO15:45 Just so it has been written, “The first human Adam became a living soul.” 908 [Genesis 2:7] The last Adam became a life-giving Pneuma. 909
908 The first human Adam became a living soul: Paul paraphrases Genesis 2:7 which describes the first human soul Adam as a composition of two things: Eden’s soil, and God’s Breath. [Compare Ecclesiastes 3:19-21.]
909 The last Adam became a life-giving Pneuma: Or, KJV: was made a quickening spirit; ASV: a life-giving spirit. Jesus Christ was an equal of Adam – a perfect human being, an anthropoid or hominid. Nowhere is Jesus ever describes as a THEOS-ANTHROPOS [god-man], a term Paul could have easily created. Jesus showed his humanity in his thirst, hunger, tiredness, and in the end, sickness. As a “life-giving Spirit” the Nazarene explains this was given him by his Father. [John 5:26; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18] Compare Paul’s drawing a correspondence with Adam at Romans 5:14 and 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
1CO15:46 However, the original is not spirit-like, but rather the soul-like, 910 thereafter the spirit-like. 911
910 The original is not spirit-like, but rather the soul-like: Or, KJV: that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; NEB: observe the spiritual does not come first; KNX: natural life comes first. No human, but Christ, had a pre-existence. Though some believe all humans existed first as a spiritual being, this is not what Paul teaches. He makes it clear the first is not the spiritual, but the physical, or soul-like – the animal. This belief is in opposition to the cyclic view of the cosmos – the Hindu-Egyptian philosophy adopted by the Greeks.
911 Thereafter the spirit-like: Or, spiritual. The Saint is first a living human being – animal, physical, soul-like – and upon resurrection [raised up, made alive] at the Parousia, becomes spirit-like: heavenly, immortal and incorruptible, non-flesh and blood. [1 Corinthians 15:50-52] Jesus taught the same: those raised in the resurrection would be “like the angels” which are elsewhere described “spirits.” [Luke 20:36; Hebrews 1:14]
1CO15:47 The original human was from the earthy ground, 912 the Second Man originated from heaven. 913
912 The original human was from the earthy ground: Adam was created from the soil of Eden. [Genesis 2:7] After his sin Adam did not go to either a heaven or a hell, but back to the very dirt where he originated. [Genesis 3:19]
913 The Second Man originated from heaven: Or, KJV: the second man is the Master from heaven; MOF: man the second is from heaven. Paul believed and taught the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as a heavenly being. Compare Philippians 2:5-7. [See a Biblical Article on the subject of Christ’s pre-existence in Nazarene Commentary 2000©.]
1CO15:48 From the clay-person [originated] also those persons who are clay; 914 and, of the heavenly person – of the same kind are those heavenly persons. 915
914 From the clay-person [originated] also those persons who are clay: Or, dusty, dirty, earthy, earth-born. The Hebrew of Genesis 2:7 is literally “clay” from A-PHAR’. From this one man came all humanity. Compare Acts 17:26. More and more DNA studies narrow all humanity to a few descendents.
915 Of the heavenly person – of the same kind are those heavenly persons: Or, KJV: and is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly; NEB: the heavenly man is the pattern of all the heavenly. Christ becomes the pattern for the Saints in heaven. Never could the Saints become God, but they can be patterned after the Son. Compare Romans 8:29 and Philippians 3:21.
1CO15:49 And just as we bore the image of the clay-person, 916 we should also bear the image of the heavenly Person. 917
916 And just as we bore the image of the clay-person: That is, “Just as we look like Adam.” Or, earthly, material, dust. Note Genesis 5:3.
917 We should also bear the image of the heavenly Person: That is, “We shall all resemble the glorified Christ.” Compare notes on Roman 8:29 and Hebrews 2:10, 11.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 – The Atomic Mystery

1CO15:50 Now this I tell you, brothers, that flesh and blood are unable to inherit God’s Kingdom. 918 Nor can that which is corruptible inherit incorruption. 919
918 Flesh and blood are unable to inherit God’s Kingdom: Or, cannot, impossible; WMS: our physical bodies cannot take part in the kingdom of God. It is clear that those who originated from Adam are “flesh and blood.” Paul thus adds another description of the heavenly, spirit-like body – it is not flesh and blood. Jesus said that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones.” [Luke 24:39] Here the “Kingdom” is that of the Father. Compare Matthew 13:40-32.
919 Nor can that which is corruptible inherit incorruption: Or, using the parallel word: “the mortal cannot inherit immorality.” That is, both incorruption and immortality must be “put on” the spirit-like body which is resurrected. This could only occur after the parousia-judgment. [2 Corinthians 5:1, 10]
1CO15:51 Behold! I tell you a divine mystery 920 – we shall not all lay down in sleep, 921 but we all shall be changed 922
920 I tell you a divine mystery: Or, sacred secret, secret truth. Compare Paul’s introduction to 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Jesus uses the word MYSTERION. Paul has already used it 1 Corinthians 2:1, 7. Compare also Romans 11:25; 16:25; Ephesians 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Colossians 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:9, 16.
921 We shall not all lay down in sleep: Or, die. [GDS, MOF] Some of “those of Christ” [1 Corinthians 15:23] will not die as the vast majority of the Church. [Revelation 6:9-11] “Sleep” is the state of the dead – unconscious. [Psalm 146:3, 4; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; 9:5, 10; John 11:11-14]
922 But we all shall be changed: Or, transformed. Compare Philippians 3:21. There are two views here: a] the “we” includes all those who are raised spirit-like to heaven; and, b] the “we” is similar to that of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and includes only those “who do not die.” These will experience some instantaneous change. The latter seems very harmonious with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
1CO15:52 in an atomic moment, 923 in a blink of an eye 924 at the last trumpet. For, the trumpet will sound and those dead will be raised up incorruptible 925 – and we shall be changed. 926
923 In an atomic moment: Or, a moment, suddenly. The Greek is ATOMOS [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #823, cannot be divided in two, moment of time] and originally meant the thinnest possible slice of bread and then came to mean the briefest period of time.
924 In a blink of an eye: Or, twinkling of an eye. The eye blinks between 1/250th and 1/500th of a second.
925 The trumpet will sound and those dead will be raised up incorruptible: Or, imperishable, immortal. Paul mentions such a trumpet in his earlier epistle. [1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17] In Revelation it is during the 7th Trumpet that the Saints receive their judgment and reward. [Revelation 11:15-18]
926 We shall be changed: Or, transformed, utterly changed. It is possible the editorial “we” here is the same as the “we the living” at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 – those who experience the Rapture. Compare notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000© on 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Revelation 11:12, 13. At Philippians 3:21 Paul uses the Greek SCHEMATIC. On the “we” Paul does not mean necessarily himself, as though he expected the resurrection immediately or within his life. He explains this mistaken notion in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
1CO15:53 For it is a necessity for the corruptible to put on itself incorruption, 927 and this mortal [person] to put on itself immortality. 928
927 Corruptible to put on itself incorruption: Paul has already said that “corruption cannot inherit incorruption” as if it was the natural thing for an immaterial human soul. Rather, those persons formerly corruptible [decayable, capable of rotting] must “put on” incorruption.
928 This mortal [person] to put on itself immortality: Incorruption describes the body, while immortality describes
1CO15:54 However, whenever this mortal [person] should put on immortality, then will occur the Word that has been written, 929 “The death was swallowed down unto victory!” 930 [Isaiah 25:8]
929 Then will occur the Word that has been written: Or, KJV: then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written; MON: then will the words of Scripture come to pass. Paul is going to make an inspired interpretation of Isaiah 25:8 and apply it to the heavenly resurrection.
930 The death was swallowed down unto victory: Or, GDS: triumphantly destroyed. The context of Isaiah 25:8 is also alluded to at Revelation 7:17 and Revelation 21:4. 2 Corinthians 5:4 may also be an allusion to Isaiah 25:8. Again, the word “death” has the article indicating a specific death – that traceable to Adam.
1CO15:55 “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your sting?” 931 [Hosea 13:14]
931 Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your sting: Paul quotes Hosea 13:14. He will not give an inspired interpretation of the verse.
1CO15:56 Now, the sting of death is the Sin, 932 but the power of the Sin [is] the Law. 933
932 The sting of death is the Sin: The Greek for “sin” has the article indicating a specific sin – that traceable to Adam. [Romans 5:12; 6:23] That is the sting or venom producing death.
933 But the power of the Sin [is] the Law: Sin is the transgression of law. [1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20; 7:13] Since the previous phrases indicated this “sting” is no more, it infers the Law of Moses is no more.
1CO15:57 But thanks to The God, the One giving us “the victory” 934 [Isaiah 25:8] by means of our Master Jesus Christ.
934 The One giving us “the victory”: Ultimate victory is attributed to The God.

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Stay Busy!

1CO15:58 And so, my beloved brothers, all of you continue steadfast! 935 Unmovable! 936 Abounding in the work of the Master. 937 Always knowing that your labor is never in vain in connection with the Master. 938
935 All of you continue steadfast: Or, be firm, strong in purpose, hold your ground, stand firm. [Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:14; 2 Peter 3:17]
936 Unmovable: Or, incapable of being moved, let nothing move you.
937 Abounding in the work of the Master: Or, busy yourselves, devote yourselves, work without limit, aboundingly active in the Master’s service, always having plenty to do. [Romans 12:11; Hebrews 6:11] Paul has laid down three terms to assure the hope he has discussed: steadfastness, immovable, and plenty of the Master’s work.
938 Your labor is never in vain in connection with the Master: Or, TCN: your toil is not in vain. Compare Revelation 14:13. There is a strong echo here of 2 Chronicles 15:7 and likely Paul had it in mind.

Review Questions on Chapter Fifteen

  • What is necessary to benefit from the Good News?
  • Can faith be in vain?
  • What is this Good News Paul preached?
  • Who are some to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection?
  • How does Paul describe those disciples who have died?
  • To whom did Christ appear last?
  • How does Paul view himself? Why?
  • How did Paul labor?
  • What was his strength?
  • What belief existed in Corinth?
  • What questions and arguments does Paul use?
  • What is the case if Christ was not resurrected?
  • How would Christians be the most to be pitied?
  • What is the truth?
  • How does Paul contrast Adam and Christ?
  • Who will be resurrected?
  • In what order?
  • How does Paul apply Psalm 110:1?
  • How does he apply Psalm 8:6?
  • What will be the final outcome?
  • What question does Paul ask?
  • What baptism does he mention?
  • How does Paul describe his dangers?
  • If the dead are not raised how should we behave?
  • What principle does Paul state?
  • What does Paul say to shame them?
  • What question is posed from a man in Corinth?
  • What does Paul call him?
  • What analogy of the future resurrection body does Paul give?
  • How will resurrection bodies differ?
  • What two main types are there?
  • What other analogy does Paul give?
  • How does Paul describe the heavenly resurrection?
  • What verse does Paul quote?
  • How is the soul-like body characterized?
  • How is the spirit-like body characterized?
  • How does Paul contrast Adam and Christ?
  • Whose image will those raised heavenly ones bear?
  • What cannot inherit the Kingdom?
  • What mystery does Paul reveal?
  • How quickly will this change occur?
  • What does this change involve?
  • What text will be fulfilled when this occurs?
  • What other verse does Paul quote and how does he apply it?
  • For what do we thank God?
  • What final exhortation does Paul give?

Nazarene Commentary 2000©

Mark Heber Miller

©2000 All Rights Reserved