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V£BSES 1-11 • 14

VEKSE3*i2-ie" ". J : '^*.'\ 38

Verses 20-22. ', . ; ; 59

Verses 2^-5^8 .,,. , , , ^ '* 82

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Verses 29-S4.' \''l''i '% ' 103

Verses 35-43 123

Verses 44-49 143

Verses 44-50 164

Verses 50-52 185

Vebses 51-57 206


1 Corinthians xv.

" Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you
"the gospel which I preached unto you,
" which also ye have received, and wherein
" ye stand ; by which also ye are saved, if ye
" keep in memory what I preached unto you,
" unless ye have believed in vain: for I deliv-
" ered unto you first of all that which I also
" received, how that Christ died for our sins
"according to the scriptures; and that he
"was buried, and that he rose again the
" third day according to the scriptures ; and
"that he was seen of Cephas, then of the
" twelve ; after that he was seen of above
"five hundred brethren at once; of whom
" the greater part remain unto this present,
" but some are fallen asleep. After that he


"was seen of James; then of all the apos-
" ties. And last of all he was seen of me
" also, as of one born out of due time. For
" I am the least of the apostles, that am not
" meet to be called an apostle, because I per-
'^^secuted the church of God. But by the
" grace of God I am what I am : and his
"grace which was bestowed upon me was
" not in vain ; but I laboured more abun-
" dantly than they all : yet not I, but the
" grace of God which was with me. There-
" fore, whether it were I or they, so we preach,
" and so ye believed.

" Now, if Christ be preached that he rose
" from the dead, how say some among you
"that there is no resurrection of the dead?
" But if there be no resurrection of the dead,
"then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be
" not risen, then is our preaching vain, and
"your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are
" found false witnesses of God : because we
"have testified of God that he raised up
"Christ; whom he raised not up, if so be
"that the dead rise not. For if the dead


'^ rise not, then is not Christ raised : and if
^^ Christ be not raised, your faith is vain;
"ye are yet in your sins. Then they also
" which are fallen asleep in Christ are per-
" ished. If in this life only we have hope in
" Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

" But now is Christ risen from the dead,
"and become the first-fruits of them that
" slept. For since by man came death, by
" man came also the resurrection of the dead.
" For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
" shall all be made alive. But every man in
" his own order : Christ the first-fruits ;
"afterward they that are Christ's at his
"coming. Then cometh the end, when he
"shall have delivered up the kingdom to
" God, even the Father ; when he shall have
"put down all rule, and all authority and
" power. For he must reign, till he hath put
" all enemies under his feet. The last enemy
"that shall be destroyed is death. For he
"hath put all things under his feet. But
"when he saith, All things are put under
"him, it is manifest that he is excepted


" which did put all things under him. And
" when all things shall be subdued unto him,
"then shall the Son also himself be subject
"unto him that put all things under him,
" that God may be all in all.

" Else what shall they do which are bap-
" tized for the dead, if the dead rise not at
" all ? why are they then baptized for the
" dead? and why stand we in jeopardy every
"hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I
" have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
" If after the manner of men I have fought
" with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth
"it me if the dead rise not? let us eat and
"drink; for to-morrow we die. Be not de-
" ceived : evil communications corrupt good
" manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin
" not ; for some have not the knowledge of
" God: I speak this to your shame.

"But some man will say. How are the
"dead raised up? and with what body do
"they come? Thou fool, that which thou
"sowest is not quickened, except it die.
" And that which thou sowest, thou sowest


" not that body that shall be, but bare grain,
" it may chance of wheat, or of some other
"grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath
"pleased him, and to every seed his own
" body.

" All flesh is not the same flesh : but there
" is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh
"of beasts, another of fishes, and another
"of birds. There are also celestial bodies,
" and bodies terrestrial : but the glory of the
" celestial is one, and the glory of the terres-
" trial is another. There is one glory of the
" sun, and another glory of the moon, and
" another glory of the stars ; for one star
"diflereth from another star in glory.

"So also is the resurrection of the dead;
"it is sown in corruption, it is raised in
"incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is
"raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it
"is raised in power: it is sown a natural
" body, it is raised a spiritual body.

" There is a natural body, and there is a
" spiritual body. And so it is WTitten, The
" first man Adam was made a living soul, th§


^Hast Aclam was made a quickening spirit.
^^ Howbeit that was not first which is spir-
^^ itual, but that which is natural ; and after-
"ward that which is spiritual. The first
"man is of the earth, earthy; the second
" man is the Lord from heaven. As is the
"earthy, such are they also that are earthy;
" and as is the heavenly, such are they also
" that are heavenly. And as we have borne
" the image of the earthy, we shall also bear
" the image of the heavenly.

"N'ow this I say, brethren, that flesh and
" blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ;
"neither doth corruption inherit incorrup-

" Behold, I shew you a mystery ; We shall
" not all sleej), but we shall all be changed,
"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
"at the last trump, (for the trumpet shall
" sound;) and the dead shall be raised incor-
"ruptible, and we shall be changed. For
"this corruptible must put on incorruption,
"and this mortal must put on immortality.

" So when this corruptible shall have put


^^ on incorruption, and this mortal shall have
" put on immortality, then shall be brought
" to pass the saying that is written, Death is
" swallowed up in victory. O death, where
"is thy sting? O grave, where is thy vic-
"tory? The sting of death is sin; and the
"strength of sin is the law. But thanks
"be to God, which giveth us the victory,
^^ through our Lord Jesus Christ. There-
" fore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast,
" unmoveable, always abounding in the work
" of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that
"yom* labour is not in vain in the Lord.


1 Cor. XV. 1-11.

1 Moreover, brethren, I de-
clare unto you the gospel which
I preached unto you, which also
ye have received, and wherein
ye stand ;

2 By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I
preached unto you, unless ye
have believed in vain :

3 For I delivered unto you
first of all that which I also re-
ceived, how that Christ died for
our sins according to the scrip-
tures ;

4 And that he was buried,
and that he rose again the third
day according to the scrip-
tures ;

5 And that he was seen of
Cephas, then of the twelve :

6 After tliat he was seen of
above five hundred brethren at

once ; of whom the greater part
remain unto this present, but
some are fallen asleep.

7 After that he was seen of
James ; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen
of me also, as of one born out
of due time.

9 For I am the least of the
apostles, that am not meet to
be called an apostle, because I
persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God
I am what I am : and his grace
which ivas bestowed upori me was
not in vain ; but I laboured more
abundantly than they all : yet
not I, but the grace of God which
was with me.

11 Therefore, whether it ivere
I or they, so we preach, and so
ye believed.

When- we read through this Epistle in the
form in which it was fii-st written, without
any divisions into chapters and verses, we
cannot fail to be struck with the change of
tone and style that marks the introduction


of that great theme with which this fifteenth
chapter is throughout occupied. It is not
merely that a new and quite different topic
comes to be handled by the writer, but the
formality, the solemnity, the emphasis with
which the transition is made, all show us
how strongly the writer felt that he was
passing on to the consideration of a far
more sacred subject, one touching far more
deeply the vital truths of Christianity than
any Avhich he had previously been discuss-

And even so it was. The Apostle had
learned that there were some among the
Corinthian converts to Christianity who
affirmed that there was to be no resurrec-
tion of the dead. A belief in that resur-
rection has so long, so universally, and so
strongly been established in the breasts of
all calling themselves b}^ the Christian name,
it is so thoroughly recognised as an integral
part of the Christian /aith, that we find some
difficulty in conceiving that at any time any
who professed themselves to be believers


in Christ should have doubted or denied it.
Let us remember, however, that even among
the Jews, up to the time of the resurrection
of our Lord himself, the doctrine of the future
and general resurrection of the dead had not
been revealed with such plainness as to pre-
vent the whole sect of Sadducees from openly
denying it. They accepted the Mosaic reve-
lation; their title to be regarded as holders
of the Jewish faith was questioned; and yet
they repudiated the belief that the dead were
to rise again. Outside Judea the notion of
a future resurrection of all the dead was so
novel and so startling, that we are not to
wonder that a difficulty should have been
felt in admitting, or a disposition displayed,
even by those who otherwise lent a favor-
able ear to the first teachers of Christianity,
to reject it. In that broad Gentile world
which those first evangelists of the cross
invaded and sought to win over to Chris-
tianity, there were two elements that rose
up in strong antagonism to the idea of the
resurrection of the dead. There was the


materialistic Epicurean form of infidelity,
twin-sister of the Sadducean spirit among
the Jews, which refused to believe in any-
thing beyond what sense or consciousness
made known. That spirit was rife at Athens.
Paul had already found it there. The men
of Athens listened to him patiently enough
for a time, till he spake of the resurrection
of the dead, when they tm-ned mockingly
and impatiently away: the very notion of a
future embodiment of the spirit, which at
death passed they knew not whither or into
what, being far too gross and too tangible
for them to receive. Then there was another
and very opposite spirit, begotten in the
school of oriental speculation, with which
the doctrine of the resurrection came into
the sharpest and most direct collision, — the
spirit of those teachers of the Gnostic phil-
osophy, who asserted that the source of all
evil lay in matter; the source of all sin in
the soul's connection with the body. Liber-
ation from the body with them was emanci-
pation from all evil; reunion with the body



would be a reduction of the soul once more
into the bondage of corruption. Many who
cherished this deep abhorrence of matter
joined the Christian ranks, and struggled
hard to retain as much as they could of their
old impressions and beliefs, in conjunction
with their new faith in Jesus Christ. Of
such, in all likelihood, were Hymenseus and
Philetus, referred to by Paul some years
afterwards in his second Epistle to Timothy
as having erred concerning the faith, saying
that the resurrection was past already. Seek-
ing to spiritualize everything, they said that
the only resurrection was the regeneration
of the soul, the moral renewal of the inner
man of the heart, which was already over
with all who were made new men in Jesus

It is impossible now to tell which of the
three leavens — the Jewish Sadducean, the
Greek Epicurean, or the oriental Gnostic —
first infected at so early a period the church
of Corinth. "We only have the fact before
us, that there were some within that church


who said that there was to be no resurrection
of the dead ; otherwise they had received, in
all its simplicity and in all its fulness, the
Gospel that Paul taught. He had not to
complain of them as having ever felt or
expressed any doubt as to that eternal life
held out to them in Christ, neither had they
questioned the fact of Christ's own resurrec-
tion as an incident in his history that had
often been recounted to them. But animated
by one or other of the tendencies that already
have been alluded to, they had put away from
them a belief in the general resurrection of
the dead. They saw and felt no inconsist-
ency in doing so. They thought that they
could be as good Christians as ever, and yet
give up that one belief. They did not see
how unbelief on that one topic would, if ad-
mitted and cherished, spread itself around
— how it went to sap and undermine the
entire fabric of Christianity, to overturn the
very trust and hope that they themselves
were clinging to. To convince them of all
this, and by working such conviction to erad-


icate the rising error, is the main object of
the Apostle in the fifteenth chapter of this

And first, as laying the firmest foundation
for that close dealing which he purposes
having with them, Paul reminds them of
what that Gospel was which he had preached
and which they had received. In doing so,
he presents us, in the third and fourth verses,
with the creed of the Early Church reduced
to something like a formula — the first speci-
men of a confession of faith — short, simple,
succinct, compendious. First of all, most
prominent of all, as containing within itself
the sum and substance of that Gospel which
he was commissioned to announce, he had
taught them how that Christ died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, and that he
was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the Scriptures. One is
struck, in reading this statement, how much
it deals in facts, how little comparatively with
doctrines. It is not, indeed, a mere dry
recital of the death and burial and resurrec-


tion of Jesus Christ. Of itself such recital
might form an interesting enough narrative,
but could form no Gospel by which men
might be saved. A motive, meaning, object,
end, must be assigned to the death and resur-
rection before they can be regarded as con-
stituting such a Gospel. But how simply
yet eiFectively is that done by the declara-
tion, Christ died for our sins ! To explain
all that lies comprehended in that saying, to
exhaust all that the Scriptures have taught,
or great thinkers have conceived, of the rela-
tions between our sins and the sufferings,
death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
would take us hours, and land us here and
there in many an obscure and difficult inquiry.
Instead of attempting any such laborious
task, or offering any dogmatic deliverances
on all the various questions that might be
raised, let me ask you rather to put yourself
in the position of an intelligent, honest,
earnest man, deeply convinced of his guilt
before God, and as deeply sensible of his
manifold moral and spiritual infirmities, when


told for the first time that Christ, the Son of
God, came down from heaven and died for
his sins. What meaning could such a man
attach to such an expression before he began
to speculate upon it, or deal with it as any-
thing else than a declaration intended to
relieve the felt wants and the awakened anxi-
eties of his soul ? Should he not at once
conclude that whatever obstacle his guilt
had raised in the way of his being forgiven
and accepted of the Most High had been
done away by the death of Jesus Christ —
that somehow through that death there was
for him the free remission of his sins ?
"Would he not think of the death of Jesus
thus set forth to him as a death endured by
him, not for his own sins, but for the sins of
others, that the sinful tendencies out of which
they sprang might finally be subdued, but in
the first instance, and as a means thereto, in
order that they might be forgiven ? And if
his own faith in that death as so endured
were instant, cordial, and entire, would he
not rest upon it complacently and confidingly


as the good and sufficient, because heaven-
appointed and heaven-accepted, ground of
his pardon and acceptance with God ? Such,
I take it, was the faith with which the first
Christians met the first teachings of the
Apostles as to the death of Christ. They
rested on that death as having removed all
difficulties, met all requirements, making it
as honorable and glorious to God as it was
needful and blessed for them, — the blotting
out of all their transgressions. How exactly,
in what way, and to what extent the death
of Christ did this — how it vindicated the
character of God as a God of holiness and
justice — how it sustained the honor of a
law whose precepts had been broken, and
whose righteous penalty had been incurred
— how it protected all the interests of that
great spiritual dominion of the Most High
which had been so seriously invaded, — they
may not have very clearly seen, or very care-
fully investigated. Enough for them that
they had the assurance of the great Law-
giver Himself that an all-sufficient atone-


ment had been made. Let that assurai ^^e
be enough still for each of us. It may con-
duce to our growing comfort, our growing
stability in the faith, that we reach to clearer
and fuller notions of the manner in which
the death of our Redeemer effected its great
ends ; but first and above all things let us
try to have a simple-minded, simple-hearted
trust in the entire sufficiency of that death
as the ground of forgiveness implanted in
our breast.

" Christ died for our sins, according to the
Scriptures, He was buried, and he rose again
the third day, according to the Scriptures."
In such a comj^endious account of the facts
of the Gospel history, it is remarkable that
twice over it should have been repeated —
that all that took place, and all that was
taught about it, took place and was taught
in strict accordance with the prophecies of
the Old Testament Scriptures. It shows
how anxious Paul was that this accordance
should steadily and continually be kept in
view. Nor is this a solitary instance in


which such anxiety on his part was mani-
fested. It had characterized the whole cur-
rency of his apostolic ministry. "Having
therefore obtained help of God" — such was
the language he employed before Agrippa
— "I continue unto this day, witnessing to
both small and great, saying none other
things than those which the prophets and
Moses did say should come : That Christ
should suffer, and that he should be the first
that should rise from the dead, and should
show light unto the people, and to the Gen-
tiles." In acting so — in keeping so con-
tinually before the mind of those addressed
the concurrence between the facts he had to
tell and the predictions that had long before
been uttered — Paul was but copying the
great example of our Lord himself, who, on
that first day after his own resurrection,
began, as it were, in his own person to exe-
cute the same office, when, in the journey
out to Emmaus, beginning at Moses and all
the prophets, he expounded to the two dis-
ciples " in all the Scriptures the things con-


cerning himself." What a voucher for the
Messianic references of so many of those
ancient types and ancient prophecies ! ISTot
in vain do we go back to these old Testament
Scriptures to find, in the offerings and sacri-
fices of the Levitical economy, the shadows
of that oifering up of himself as the one
great sacrifice for sin which Jesus made
upon the cross. JSTot in vain do we go back
to the pages of Moses and all the prophets,
to read there of one who was to be cut off,
but not for himself — who was to finish trans-
gression, make an end of sin, bring in an
everlasting righteousness ; who was to be
wounded for our transgressions, and bruised
for our iniquities ; upon whom the iniquities
of all were to be laid ; who was to bear the
sin of many, and make intercession for the
transgressors ; and see in him of whom all
this had been said, none other than that
Saviour of mankind whom God hath set
forth to be a propitiation through faith in
his blood — to declare his righteousness for
the remission of sins that are past — that he


might be just and the justifier of him that
believeth in Jesus. In the Corinthian Church
there were both Jewish and Gentile converts.
Let not those Jews, then, who had taken on
this new faith in Jesus, think that they were
casting aside their ancient Scriptures, or
asked to beUeve anything that was not in
strict accordance with that earher revelation
of the Divine will. And let not those Gen-
tiles think that this religion of Jesus Christ
was a wholly new religion, as different from
Judaism as was their first pagan faith. No;
let Jew and Gentile alike take up into their
hands these venerable records, in which are
preserved the manner of God's dealings with
that once favored people whom He selected
as the medium of his direct intercourse with
mankind, and through whom the world was
to be prepared for the advent of the Son of

"And that he rose again the third day,
and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the
twelve. After that he was seen of above
five hundred brethren at once, of whom the


greater part remain unto this present, but
some are fallen asleep. After that he was
seen of James, then of all the apostles. And
last of all he was seen of me also."

This statement is interesting as containing
the earliest account extant of the resurrec-
tion of Christ, given between twenty and
thirty years after that event. At the time
when this Epistle to the Corinthians was
written none of the four Gospels was yet in
existence. An interesting inquiry is thus
opened as to the evidence, direct and indi-
rect, furnished by St. Paul to the facts of the
Gospel history. The inquiry has an addi-
tional interest thrown around it from the
separate and independent attitude that St.
Paul assumed as compared with the other
apostles, as well as from the fact that he
declared that he had himself seen the Lord,
and derived his knowledge of his history by
direct revelation from himself. In the nar-
rative of the institution of the Lord's Supper
contained in the eleventh chapter of this
Epistle, we have the earliest written account

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Online LibraryWilliam HannaThe resurrection of the dead → online text (page 1 of 10)