| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 4 & 5 - Page 35 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
The Epistle to the Corinthians was written before Acts 28:, and consequently
before the dispensation of the mystery was a subject of revelation. If there is one epistle
from which the mystery is excluded, that epistle is I Corinthians (see 2: 2 and 3: 1-3).
Among the "perfect," the full-grown, the initiated, Paul spoke of deeper things, but when
writing to the Corinthians he definitely says that they were not able to bear them. This
epistle is not meat, but milk, yet I Cor. 15: is made to yield teaching which must be
considered as the strongest of meat. The apostle deals with a series of difficulties and
errors which had arisen in the church, chapter 15: being devoted to two of them, the
gospel in verses 1-11, and the resurrection in verses 12-58. This second subject is further
divided by the consideration of the two questions:--
(a) The fact of resurrection.
How? (verse 12), and
(b) The manner of resurrection
How? (verse 35).
The consideration of these questions occupies the remainder of the chapter.
Verses 12-58 may be considered broadly together as follows:--
A | 12. The question of the fact of resurrection. "How?"
B | 13-32. The answer. Adam brings in death. Death destroyed by Christ.
C | 33, 34. The exhortation. "Awake to righteousness."
A | 35. The question of the manner of resurrection. "How?"
B | 36-57. The answer. The first man and the second. Death swallowed up in victory.
C | 58. The exhortation. "Be stedfast."
It will be found in the answers B, B, that there are things introduced which are
common to both. In both we read of Adam in contrast with Christ. In both we read of
death being either destroyed or swallowed up. In both we read of the kingdom, and we
should be careful to see that our interpretation of the one section does not go beyond the
scope indicated by the structure and by the reference to Adam. Turning to the passage
immediately under notice, let us examine its wording:--
"But each in his own order (or rank): Christ (the) firstfruits, afterward they who are
Christ's at His coming. Then the end, whensoever He may deliver up the kingdom unto
Him (who is) God and Father; when He shall bring to naught all rule and all authority and
power. For He must reign until He shall put all His enemies under His feet. (The) last
enemy that is to be destroyed is death."
That system of interpretation which takes into consideration the usage of individual
words, and which does not dispense with a Concordance, is that which appeals most
strongly to all true Bereans.
FIRSTFRUITS.--Where, how, and with what connection is this word used? The N.T.
occurrences are eight in number, suggestive of resurrection:--
"Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption. . . ."
"But ourselves also which have the firstfruits of the Spirits" (Rom. 8: 20, 23).
"What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy,
the lump is also holy" (Rom. 11: 15, 16).
"Salute my beloved Epænetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ" (Rom. 16: 5).