VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
1 CORINTHIANS 15
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
I declare (gnwrizw). Reproachfully, as having to declare the Gospel anew.
If ye keep in memory what, etc. I see no good reason for departing from the arrangement of the A.V., which states that the salvation of the readers depends on their holding fast the word preached. 125 Rev. reads: through which ye are saved; I make known, I say, in what words I preached it unto you, if ye hold it fast, etc. This is certainly very awkward, making Paul say that their holding it fast was the condition on which he preached it. American Rev. as A.V.
That Christ, etc. Stanley remarks that vers. 1-11 contain the earliest known specimen of what may be called the creed of the early Church, differing, indeed, from what is properly called a creed, in being rather a sample of the exact form of the apostle's early teaching, than a profession of faith on the part of converts. See his dissertation in the commentary on Corinthians.
Rose (eghgertai). Rev., correctly, hath been raised. Died and was buried are in the aorist tense. The change to the perfect marks the abiding state which began with the resurrection. He hath been raised and still lives.
Was seen (wfqh). Rev., appeared. The word most commonly used in the New Testament for seeing visions. See on Luke xxii. 43. Compare the kindred ojptasia vision, Luke i. 22; Acts xxvi. 19; 2 Cor. xii. 1.
One born out of due time (tw ektrwmati). Only here in the New Testament. It occurs, Num. xii. 12; Job iii. 16; Eccl. vi. 3. The Hebrew nephel, which it is used to translate, occurs in the same sense in Psalm lviii. 8, where the Septuagint follows another reading of the Hebrew text. In every case the word means an abortion, a still-born embryo. In the same sense it is found frequently in Greek medical writers, as Galen and Hippocrates, and in the writings of Aristotle on physical science. This is the rendering of the Rheims Version: an abortive. Wyc., a dead-born child. The rendering of the A.V. and Rev. is unsatisfactory, since it introduces the notion of time which is not in the original word, and fails to express the abortive character of the product; leaving it to be inferred that it is merely premature, but living and not dead. The word does not mean an untimely living birth, but a dead abortion, and suggests no notion of lateness of birth, but rather of being born before the time. The words as unto the abortion are not to be connected with last of all - last of all as to the abortion - because there is no congruity nor analogy between the figure of an abortion and the fact that Christ appeared to him last. Connect rather with He appeared: last of all He appeared unto me as unto the abortion. Paul means that when Christ appeared to him and called him, he was - as compared with the disciples who had known and followed Him from the first, and whom he had been persecuting - no better than an unperfected foetus among living men. The comparison emphasizes his condition at the time of his call. The attempt to explain by a reference to Paul's insignificant appearance, from which he was nicknamed "The Abortion" by his enemies, requires no refutation.126
Was not (ou egenhqh). Rev., better, was not found: did not turn out to be.
Ye believed (episteusate). When the Gospel was first preached: with a suggestion of a subsequent wavering from the faith.
There is no resurrection. Compare Aeschylus: "But who can recall by charms a man's dark blood shed in death, when once it has fallen to the ground at his feet? Had this been lawful, Zeus would not have stopped him who knew the right way to restore men from the dead" 127 ("Agamemnon," 987-992).
Vain (kenon). Empty, a mere chimaera
Vain (mataia). A different word, signifying fruitless. The difference is between reality and result.
Only. To be taken with the whole clause, at the end of which it stands emphatically. If in this life we are hopers in Christ, and if that is all. If we are not such as shall have hope in Christ after we shall have fallen asleep.
The first-fruits (aparch). See on Jas. i. 18. Omit become.
Compare Col. i. 18, and see on Apoc. i. 5.
All - all. What the all means in the one case it means in the other.
Order (tagmati). Only here in the New Testament. In Sept., a band, troop, or cohort; also a standard; Num. x. 14; xviii. 22, 25. How the one idea ran into the other may be perceived from the analogy of the Latin manipulus, a handful of hay twisted round a pole and used by the Romans as the standard of a company of soldiers, from which the company itself was called manipulus. In classical Greek, besides the meaning of company, it means an ordinance and a fixed assessment. Here in the sense of band, or company, in pursuance of the principle of a descending series of ranks, and of consequent subordinations which is assumed by Paul. The series runs, God, Christ, man. See ch. iii. 21-23; xi. 3. The reference is not to time or merit, but simply to the fact that each occupies his own place in the economy of resurrection, which is one great process in several acts. Band after band rises. First Christ, then Christians. The same idea appears in the first-fruits and the harvest.
Rule - authority - power (ajrchn, ejxousian, dunamin). Abstract terms for different orders of spiritual and angelic powers; as Ephesians i. 21; iii. 10; vi. 12; Col. i. 16.
When He saith (otan eiph). God, speaking through the Psalmist (Psalm viii. 6). Some, however, give a future force to the verb, and render but when He shall have said; i.e., when, at the end, God shall have said, "All things are put under Him. The subjection is accomplished." See Rev., margin.
What shall they do (ti poihsousin). What will they effect or accomplish. Not, What will they have recourse to? nor, How will it profit them? The reference is to the living who are baptized for the dead.
Baptized for the dead (baptizomenoi uper twn nekrwn). Concerning this expression, of which some thirty different explanations are given, it is best to admit frankly that we lack the facts for a decisive interpretation. None of the explanations proposed are free from objection. Paul is evidently alluding to a usage familiar to his readers; and the term employed was, as Godet remarks, in their vocabulary, a sort of technical phrase. A large number of both ancient and modern commentators 128 adopt the view that a living Christian was baptized for an unbaptized dead Christian. The Greek expositors regarded the words the dead as equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, and the baptism as a manifestation of belief in the doctrine of the resurrection. Godet adopts the explanation which refers baptism to martyrdom - the baptism of blood - and cites Luke xii. 50, and Mark x. 38. In the absence of anything more satisfactory I adopt the explanation given above.
I protest, etc. I protest is not expressed, but merely implied, in the particle of adjuration, nh by. The order of the Greek is noteworthy. I die daily, by your rejoicing, etc.
Your rejoicing (thn umeteran kauchsin). Rev., better, that glorying in you which I have. Paul would say: "You Corinthian Christians are the fruit of my apostolic labor which has been at a daily risk to life; and as truly as I can point to you as such fruit, so truly can I say, 'I die daily."' I die daily. I am in constant peril of my life. Compare 2 Cor. iv. 11; xi. 23; Rom. viii. 36. So Clytaemnestra: "I have no rest by night, nor can I snatch from the day a sweet moment of repose to enfold me; but Time, ever standing over me, was as a jailer who conducted me to death" (Sophocles, "Electra," 780, 781). And Philo: "And each day, nay, each hour, I die beforehand, enduring many deaths instead of one, the last."
After the manner of men (kata anqrwpon). As men ordinarily do, for temporal reward; and not under the influence of any higher principle or hope.
I have fought with beasts (eqhriomachsa). Only here in the New Testament. Figuratively. Paul, as a Roman citizen, would not have been set to fight with beasts in the arena; and such an incident would not have been likely to be passed over by Luke in the Acts. Compare similar metaphors in ch. iv. 9, 2 Tim. iv. 17; Tit. i. 12; Psalm xxii. 12, 13, 20, 21. Some, however, think it is to be taken literally. 129 They refer to the presence at Ephesus of the Asiarchs (Acts xix. 31), who had charge of the public games, as indicating that the tumult took place at the season of the celebration of the games in honor of Diana; to the fact that the young men at Ephesus were famous for their bull-fights; and to the words at Ephesus as indicating a particular incident. On the assumption that he speaks figuratively, the natural reference is to his experience with the ferocious mob at Ephesus. There was a legend that Paul was thrown, first of all, to a lion; then to other beasts, but was left untouched by them all. In the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans occur these words: "From Syria even unto Rome, I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both night and day, being bound to ten leopards. I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse" (v.). Compare Epistle to Tralles, 10.: "Why do I pray that I may fight with wild beasts?" So in the Epistle to Smyrna he says: "I would put you on your guard against these monsters in human shape" (qhriwn twn anqrwpomorfwn); and in the Antiochene "Acts of Martyrdom" it is said: "He (Ignatius) was seized by a beastly soldiery, to be led away to Rome as a prey for carnivorous beasts" (ii.).
Let us eat and drink, etc. Cited, after the Septuagint, from Isa. xxii. 13. It is the exclamation of the people of Jerusalem during the siege by the Assyrians. The traditional founder of Tarsus was Sardanapalus, who was worshipped, along with Semiramis, with licentious rites which resembled those of the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul had probably witnessed this festival, and had seen, at the neighboring town of Anchiale, the statue of Sardanapalus, represented as snapping his fingers, and with the inscription upon the pedestal, "Eat, drink, enjoy thyself. The rest is nothing." Farrar cites the fable of the Epicurean fly, dying in the honey-pot with the words, "I have eaten and drunk and bathed, and I care nothing if I die." Among the inscriptions from the catacombs, preserved in the Vatican are these: "To the divine shade of Titus, who lived fifty-seven years. Here he enjoys everything. Baths and wine ruin our constitutions, but they make life what it is. Farewell, farewell." "While I lived I lived well. My play is now ended - soon yours will be. Farewell and applaud me." Compare Wisdom of Solomon, ii. 1-9.
Communications (omiliai). Wrong. Lit., companionships. Rev., company.
Manners (hqh). Only here in the New Testament. Originally hqov means an accustomed seat or haunt; thence custom, usage; plural, manners, morals, character. The passage, "Evil company doth corrupt good manners," is an iambic line; either the repetition of a current proverb, or a citation of the same proverb from the poet Menander. Compare Aeschylus: "Alas for the ill-luck in mortals that brings this honest man into company with those who have less regard for religion. In every matter, indeed, nothing is worse than evil-fellowship" (omiliav) ("Seven against Thebes," 593-595).
Awake (eknhyate). Only here in the New Testament. It means to awake from a drunken stupor. Compare Joel i. 5, Sept. The kindred verb ajnanhfw return to soberness (A.V. and Rev., recover), occurs at 2 Timothy ii. 26.
Have not the knowledge (ajgnwsian ecousin). Lit., have an ignorance. Stronger than ajgnoein to be ignorant. They have and hold it. For the form of expression, see on have sorrow, John xvi. 29. The word for ignorance is found only here and 1 Pet. ii. 15 (see note).
How - with what (pwv - poiw). Rev., correctly, with what manner of. There are two questions: the first as to the manner, the second as to the form in which resurrection is to take place. The answer to the first, How, etc., is, the body is raised through death (ver. 36); to the second, with what kind of a body, the answer, expanded throughout nearly the whole chapter, is, a spiritual body.
Body (swmati). Organism. The objection assumes that the risen man must exist in some kind of an organism; and as this cannot be the fleshly body which is corrupted and dissolved, resurrection is impossible. Swma body is related to sarx flesh, as general to special; swma denoting the material organism, not apart from any matter, but apart from any definite matter; and sarx the definite earthly, animal organism. See on Rom. vi. 6. The question is not, what will be the substance of the risen body, but what will be its organization (Wendt)?
Thou sowest (su opeireiv). Thou is emphatic. Every time thou sowest, thou sowest something which is quickened only through dying. Paul is not partial to metaphors from nature, and his references of this character are mostly to nature in connection with human labor. Dean Howson says: "We find more of this kind of illustration in the one short epistle of St. James than in all the writings of St. Paul" ("Metaphors of St. Paul." Compare Farrar's "Paul," i., 20, 21).
Die. Become corrupted. Applied to the seed in order to keep up the analogy with the body.
Not that body that shall be. Or, more literally, that shall come to pass. Meeting the objector's assumption that either the raised body must be the same body, or that there could be no resurrection. Paul says: "What you sow is one body, and a different body arises;" yet the identity is preserved. Dissolution is not loss of identity. The full heads of wheat are different from the wheat-grain, yet both are wheat. Clement of Rome, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, arguing for the resurrection of the body, cites in illustration the fable of the phoenix, the Arabian bird, the only one of its kind, and which lives for a hundred years. When the time of its death draws near it builds itself a nest of frankincense, myrrh, and other spices, and entering it, dies. In the decay of its flesh a worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up the nest with the bones of its parent and bears them to Heliopolis in Egypt.
Bare (gumnon). Naked. The mere seed, without the later investiture of stalk and head.
It may chance (ei tucoi). Lit., if it happen to be: i.e., whatever grain you may chance to sow.
As it hath pleased (kaqwv hqelhsen). Lit., even as He willed; at the creation, when He fixed the different types of grain, so that each should permanently assume a form according to its distinctive type - a body of its own: that wheat should always be wheat, barley barley, etc. Compare Gen. i. 11, 12.
All flesh is not the same flesh. Still arguing that it is conceivable that the resurrection-body should be organized differently from the earthly body, and in a way which cannot be inferred from the shape of the earthly body. There is a great variety of organization among bodies which we know: it may fairly be inferred that there may be a new and different organization in those which we do not know. Flesh is the body of the earthly, living being, including the bodily form. See on Rom. vii. 5, sec. 3.
Celestial bodies (swmata epourania). Not angels. For the meaning of swmata bodies is not limited to animate beings (see vers. 37, 38), and "the scoffers who refused to believe in the existence of the future body would hardly have admitted the existence of angelic bodies. To convince them on their own ground, the apostle appeals exclusively to what is seen" (Godet). The sense is, the heavenly bodies, described more specifically in ver. 41.
Bodies terrestrial (swmata epigeia). Looking back to ver. 39, and grouping men, beasts, birds, fishes under this term. It is to be observed that the apostle makes two general categories - terrestrial and celestial bodies, and shows the distinctions of organization subsisting between the members of each - men, beasts, fishes, birds, and the sun, moon, stars; and that he also shows the distinction between the two categories regarded as wholes. "The glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is different."
Glory (doxa). Lustre; beauty of form and color.
"As heaven's high twins, whereof in Tyrian blue The one revolveth, through his course immense Might love his fellow of the damask hue, For like and difference." " - the triple whirl Of blue and red and argent worlds that mount Or float across the tube that Herschel sways, Like pale-rose chaplets, or like sapp'hire mist, Or hang or droop along the heavenly ways, Like scarves of amethyst." Jean Ingelow, "Honors."
Herodotus, describing the Median city of Agbatana, says that it is surrounded by seven walls rising in circles, one within the other, and having their battlements of different colors - white, black, scarlet, blue, orange, silver, and gold. These seven colors were those employed by the Orientals to denote the seven great heavenly bodies: Saturn black, Jupiter orange, Mars scarlet, the sun gold, Mercury blue, the Moon green or silver, and Venus white. The great temple of Nebuchadnezzar at Borsippa was built in seven platforms colored in a similar way. See the beautiful description of the Astrologer's Chamber in Schiller's "Wallenstein," Part I., act ii., sc. 4. There is no allusion to the different degrees of glory among the risen saints.
So also. Having argued that newness of organization is no argument against its possibility, Paul now shows that the substantial diversity of organism between the earthly and the new man is founded in a diversity of the whole nature in the state before and in the state after the resurrection. Earthly beings are distinguished from the risen as to duration, value, power, and a natural as distinguished from a spiritual body. 130 It is sown. Referring to the interment of the body, as is clear from vers. 36, 37. 131
Weakness. Compare Homer: "The feeble hands of the dead" ("Odyssey," v., 21); and the shade of Agamemnon stretching out his hands to Ulysses, "for no firm force or vigor was in him" (Id., xi., 393). See Isa. xiv. 10.
A natural body (swma yucikon). See on ch. ii. 14. The word yucikon natural occurs only twice outside this epistle; Jas. iii. 15; Jude
The expression natural body signifies an organism animated by a yuch soul (see on Rom. xi. 4); that phase of the immaterial principle in man which is more nearly allied to the sarx flesh, and which characterizes the man as a mortal creature; while pneuma spirit is that phase which looks Godward, and characterizes him as related to God. "It is a brief designation for the whole compass of the non-corporeal side of the earthly man" (Wendt). "In the earthly body the yuch soul, not the pneuma spirit is that which conditions its constitution and its qualities, so that it is framed as the organ of the yuch. In the resurrection-body the pneuma spirit, for whose life-activity it is the adequate organ, conditions its nature" (Meyer). Compare Plato: "The soul has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing; when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and is the ruler of the universe; while the imperfect soul loses her feathers, and drooping in her flight, at last settles on the solid ground - there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having a body, and having also a soul which are united throughout all time" ("Phaedrus," 246).
Spiritual body (swma pneumatikon). A body in which a divine pneuma spirit supersedes the yuch soul, so that the resurrection-body is the fitting organ for its indwelling and work, and so is properly characterized as a spiritual body.
"When, glorious and sanctified, our flesh Is reassumed, 132 then shall our persons be More pleasing by their being all complete; For will increase whate'er bestows on us Of light gratuitous the Good Supreme, Light which enables us to look on Him; Therefore the vision must perforce increase, Increase the ardor which from that is kindled, Increase the radiance from which this proceeds. But even as a coal that sends forth flame, And by its vivid whiteness overpowers it So that its own appearance it maintains, Thus the effulgence that surrounds us now Shall be o'erpowered in aspect by the flesh, Which still to-day the earth doth cover up; Nor can so great a splendor weary us, For strong will be the organs of the body To everything which hath the power to please us." "Paradiso," xiv., 43-60.
There is. The best texts insert if. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. The existence of the one forms a logical presumption for the existence of the other.
A living soul (yuchn zwsan). See Gen. ii. 7. Here yuch passes into its personal sense - an individual personality (see Rom. xi. 4), yet retaining the emphatic reference to the yuch as the distinctive principle of that individuality in contrast with the pneuma spirit following. Hence this fact illustrates the general statement there is a natural body: such was Adam's, the receptacle and organ of the yuch soul.
Last Adam. Christ. Put over against Adam because of the peculiar relation in which both stand to the race: Adam as the physical, Christ as the spiritual head. Adam the head of the race in its sin, Christ in its redemption. Compare Rom. v. 14.
Quickening spirit (pneuma zwopoioun). Rev., life-giving. Not merely living, but imparting life. Compare John i. 4; iii. 36; v. 26, 40; vi. 33 35; x. 10; xi. 25; xiv. 6. The period at which Christ became a quickening Spirit is the resurrection, after which His body began to take on the characteristics of a spiritual body. 133 See Rom. vi. 4; 1 Pet. i. 21.
Not first - spiritual - natural. A general principle, illustrated everywhere in human history, that the lower life precedes the higher.
Earthy (coikov). Only in this chapter. The kindred noun couv dust appears Mark vi. 11; Apoc. xviii. 19. From cew to pour; hence of earth thrown down or heaped up: loose earth. Compare Gen. ii. 7, Sept., where the word is used.
From heaven (ez ouranou). Ex out of, marking the origin, as ejk ghv out of the earth. Meyer acutely remarks that "no predicate in this second clause corresponds to the earthy of the first half of the verse, because the material of the glorified body of Christ transcends alike conception and expression." The phrase includes both the divine origin and the heavenly nature; and its reference, determined by the line of the whole argument, is to the glorified body of Christ - the Lord who shall descend from heaven in His glorified body. See Philip. iii. 20, 21. 134
We shall bear (faoresomen). The great weight of authority is in favor of foreswmen let us bear. This reading presents a similar difficulty to that of let us have in Rom. v. 1 (see note). The context and the general drift of the argument are certainly against it. The perceptive or hortative subjunctive is, as Ellicott remarks, singularly out of place and unlooked for. It may possibly be a case of itacism, i.e., the confusing of one vowel with another in pronunciation leading to a loose mode of orthography.
We shall not all sleep (pantev ou koimhqhsomeqa). Not, there is not one of us now living who shall die before the Lord's coming, but, we shall not all die. There will be some of us Christians living when the Lord comes, but we shall be changed. The other rendering would commit the apostle to the extent of believing that not one Christian would die before the coming of Christ.
Moment (atomw). Only here in the New Testament. Atomos, from aj not and temnw to cut, whence our atom. An undivided point of time. The same idea of indivisibility appears in ajkarhv (not in the New Testament), from aj not and keirw to shear; primarily of hair too short to be cut, and often used in classical Greek of time, as in the phrase ejn ajkarei cronou in a moment of time.
Twinkling (riph). Only here in the New Testament. Originally the swing or force with which a thing is thrown; a stroke or beat. Used in the classics of the rush of a storm, the flapping of wings; the buzz of a gnat; the quivering of a harpstring; the twinkling of the stars. Generally of any rapid movement, as of the feet in running, or the quick darting of a fish.
This corruptible. As if pointing to his own body. Compare these hands, Acts xx. 34; this tabernacle, 2 Cor. v. 1.
Put on (endusasqai) The metaphor of clothing. Compare 2 Corinthians v. 2-4. Incorruption and immortality are to invest the spiritually-embodied personality like a garment.
Is swallowed up (katepoqh). From Isa. xxv. 8. The quotation agrees with the Hebrew: He shall swallow up death forever, rather than with the Septuagint, Death has prevailed and swallowed men up, which reverses the meaning of the Hebrew. Compare 2 Cor. v. 4.
In victory (eiv nikov). Lit., unto victory, so that victory is to be established.
O death, where, etc. From Hos. xiii. 14, a free version of the Sept.: "Where is thy penalty, O Death? Where thy sting, O Hades? Heb.: Where are thy plagues, O Death? Where thy pestilence, O Sheol?
O grave (adh). Which is the reading of the Septuagint. The correct reading is qanate O death. So Rev. Hades does not occur in Paul's writings. In Rom. x. 7 he uses abyss. Edwards thinks that this is intentional, and suggests that Paul, writing to Greeks, may have shunned the ill-omened name which people dreaded to utter. So Plato: "People in general use the word (Pluto) as a euphemism for Hades, which their fears lead them to derive erroneously from ajeidhv the invisible" ("Cratylus," 403).
Sting (kentron). In the Septuagint for the Hebrew pestilence. See on Apoc. ix. 9. The image is that of a beast with a sting; not death with a goad, driving men.
Giveth. The present participle marking the certainty of the future victory.135 Contrast Sir Walter Raleigh's words in concluding his "History of the World." "It is therefore Death alone that can make any man suddenly know himself. He tells the proud and insolent that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant; makes them cry, complain, and repent; yea, even to hate their forepassed happiness. He takes the account of the rich, and proves him a beggar - a naked beggar - which hath interest in nothing, but in the gravel that fills his mouth. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see therein their deformity and rottenness; and they acknowledge it.
"O eloquent, just and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised. Thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man; and covered it all over with these two narrow words: HIC JACET."
Steadfast, unmovable. The former refers to their firm establishment in the faith; the latter to that establishment as related to assault from temptation or persecution. Fixedness is a condition of abounding in work. All activity has its center in rest. 136
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