15:1 Moreover, 1 brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye a stand;
(1) The sixth treatise of this epistle, concerning the resurrection: and he uses a transition, or passing over from one matter to another, showing first that he brings no new thing, to the end that the Corinthians might understand that they had begun to swerve from the right course. And next that he does not go about to entreat of a trifling matter, but of another chief point of the Gospel, which if it is taken away, their faith will necessarily come to nothing. And so at the length he begins this treatise at Christs resurrection, which is the ground and foundation of ours, and confirms it first by the testimony of the scriptures and by the witness of the apostles, and of more than five hundred brethren, and last of all by his own. 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, b unless ye have believed in vain.
(a) In the profession of which you still continue.
(b) Which is very absurd, and cannot be, for they that believe must reap the fruit of faith. 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the c twelve:
(c) Of those twelve picked and chosen apostles, who were commonly called twelve, though Judas was put out of the number. 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at d once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
(d) Not at several different times, but together and at one instant. 15:8 2 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
(2) He maintains along the way the authority of his apostleship, which was required to be in good credit among the Corinthians, that this epistle might be of force and weight among them. In the mean time he compares himself, under divine inspiration, in such a way with certain others, that he makes himself inferior to them all. 15:12 3 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(3) The first argument to prove that there is a resurrection from the dead: Christ is risen again, therefore the dead will rise again. 15:13 4 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
(4) The second by an absurdity: if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. 15:14 5 And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.
(5) The proof of that absurdity, by other absurdities: if Christ is not risen again, the preaching of the Gospel is in vain, and the credit that you gave to it is vain, and we are liars. 15:16 6 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
(6) He repeats the same argument taken from an absurdity, purposing to show how faith is in vain if the resurrection of Christ is taken away. 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; 7 ye are e yet in your sins.
(7) First, seeing death is the punishment of sin, in vain should we believe that our sins were forgiven us, if they remain: but they do remain, if Christ did not rise from death. 15:18 8 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(e) They are yet in their sins who are not sanctified, nor have obtained remission of their sins.
(8) Secondly, unless it is certain that Christ rose again, all those who died in Christ have perished. So then, what profit comes of faith? 15:19 9 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
(9) The third argument which is also taken from an absurdity: for unless there is another life, in which those who trust and believe in Christ will be blessed, they are the most miserable of all creatures, because in this life they would be the most miserable. 15:20 10 But now is Christ risen from the dead, 11 [and] become the f firstfruits of them that slept.
15:21 12 For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.
(10) A conclusion of the former argument: therefore Christ is risen again.
(11) He puts the last conclusion for the first proposition of the argument that follows. Christ is risen again: therefore will we the faithful (for of them he speaks) rise again. Then follows the first reason of this conclusion: for Christ is set forth to us to be considered of, not as a private man apart and by himself, but as the firstfruits: and he takes that which was known to all men, that is, that the whole heap is sanctified in the firstfruits.
(f) He alludes to the firstfruits of grain, the offering of which sanctified the rest of the fruits.
15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be g made alive.
(12) Another confirmation of the same conclusion: for Christ is to be considered as opposite to Adam, that as from one man Adam, sin came over all, so from one man Christ, life comes to all. That is to say, that all the faithful, who die because by nature they were born of Adam, so because in Christ they are made the children of God by grace, they are made alive and restored to life by him.
(g) Will rise by the power of Christ. 15:23 13 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christs at his coming.
15:24 14 Then [cometh] the h end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down i all rule and all authority and power.
(13) He does two things together: for he shows that the resurrection is in such sort common to Christ with all his members, that nonetheless he far surpasses them, both in time (for he was the first that rose again from the dead) and also in honour, because from him and in him is all our life and glory. Then by this occasion he passes to the next argument.
15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies k under his feet.
(14) The fourth argument with which also he confirms the other, has a most sure ground, that is, because God must reign. And this is the manner of his reign, that the Father will be shown to be King in his Son who was made man, to whom all things are made subject (the promiser being the only exception) to the end that the Father may afterward triumph in his Son the conqueror. And he makes two parts of this reign and dominion of the Son in which the Fathers glory consists: that is first, the overcoming of his enemies, in which some must be deprived of all power, as Satan and all the wicked, be they ever so proud and mighty, and others must be utterly abolished, as death. And second, a plain and full delivery of the godly from all enemies, that by this means God may fully set forth the body of the Church cleaving fast to their head Christ, his kingdom and glory, as a King among his subjects. Moreover he puts the first degree of his kingdom in the resurrection of the Son, who is the head: and the perfection, in the full conjunction of the members with the head, which will be in the latter day. Now all these tend to this purpose, to show that unless the dead do rise again, neither the Father can be King above all, neither Christ the Lord of all. For neither should the power of Satan and death be overcome, nor the glory of God be full in his Son, nor his Son in his members.
(h) The conclusion and finishing of all things.
(i) All his enemies who will be robbed of all the power that they have.
(k) Christ is considered here as he appeared in the form of a servant, in which respect he rules the Church as head, and that because this power was given to him from his Father. 15:26 The l last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.
(l) The conclusion of the argument, which is taken from the whole to the part: for if all his enemies will be put under his feet, then it will necessarily be that death also will be subdued under him. 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, m then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that n God may be all in all.
(m) Not because the Son was not subject to his Father before, but because his body, that is to say, the Church which is here in distress, and not yet wholly partaker of his glory, is not yet fully perfect: and also because the bodies of the saints which are in the graves, will not be glorified until the resurrection. But Christ as he is God, has us subject to him as his Father has, but as he is Priest, he is subject to his Father together with us. Augustine, book 1, chap. 8, of the trinity. 15:29 15 Else what shall they do which are baptized o for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
(n) By this high type of speech is set forth an incomprehensible glory which flows from God, and will fill all of us, as we are joined together with our head, but yet in such a way that our head will always preserve his preeminence.
15:30 16 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
(15) The fifth argument taken of the end of baptism, that is, because those who are baptized, are baptized for dead: that is to say, that they may have a remedy against death, because baptism is a token of regeneration.
(o) They that are baptized to this end and purpose, that death may be put out in them, or to rise again from the dead, of which baptism is a seal.
15:31 I protest by your p rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
(16) The sixth argument: unless there is a resurrection of the dead, why should the apostles so daily cast themselves into danger of so many deaths?
(p) As though he said, "I die daily, as all the miseries I suffer can well witness, which I may truly boast of, that I have suffered among you." 15:32 17 If q after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? 18 let us r eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
15:33 19 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
(17) The taking away of an objection: but you, Paul, were ambitious, as men commonly and are accustomed to be, when you fought with beasts at Ephesus. That is very likely, says Paul: for what could that profit me, were it not for the glory of eternal life which I hope for?
(q) Not upon any godly motion, nor casting my eyes upon God, but carried away with vain glory, or a certain headiness.
(18) The seventh argument which depends upon the last: if there is no resurrection of the dead, why do we give ourselves to anything else, except for eating and drinking?
(r) These are sayings of the Epicureans.
15:35 20 But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
(19) The conclusion with a sharp exhortation, that they take heed of the wicked company of certain ones. And from this he shows where this evil sprang from: warning them to be wise with sobriety to righteousness.
15:36 21 [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
(20) Now that he has proved the resurrection, he demonstrates their doltishness, in that they scoffingly demanded how it could be that the dead could rise again: and if they did rise again, they asked mockingly, what manner of bodies they should have. Therefore he sends these fellows, who seemed to themselves to be marvellously wise and intelligent, to be instructed of poor rude farmers.
15:38 22 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
(21) You might have learned either of these, Paul says, by daily experience: for seeds are sown, and rot, and yet nonetheless they are far from perishing, but rather they grow up far more beautiful. And whereas they are sown naked and dry, they spring up green from death by the power of God: and does it seem incredible to you that our bodies should rise from corruption, and that endued with a far more excellent quality?
15:42 23 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is s sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
(22) We see a diversity both in one and the self same thing which has now one form and then another, and yet keeps its own type: as it is evident in a grain which is sown bare, but springs up far after another sort: and also in different types of one self same sort, as among beasts: and also among things of different sorts, as the heavenly bodies and the earthly bodies; which also differ very much one from another. Therefore there is no reason why we should reject either the resurrection of the bodies, or the changing of them into a better state, as a thing impossible, or strange.
15:43 It is sown in t dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in u power:
(23) He makes three manner of qualities of the bodies being raised: first, incorruption, that is, because they will be sound and altogether of a nature that can not be corrupt. Second, glory, because they will be adorned with beauty and honour. Third, power, because they will continue everlasting, without food, drink, and all other helps, without which this frail life cannot keep itself from corruption.
(s) Is buried, and man is hid as seed in the ground.
(t) Void of honour, void of glory and beauty. 15:44 24 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
(u) Freed from the former weakness, in which it is subject to such alteration and change, that it cannot maintain itself without food and drink and such other like helps.
15:45 25 And so it is written, The x first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a y quickening spirit.
(24) He shows perfectly in one word this change of the quality of the body by the resurrection, when he says that a natural body will become a spiritual body: which two qualities being completely different the one from the other he straightway expounds, and sets forth diligently.
15:46 26 Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
(25) That is called a natural body which is made alive and maintained by a living soul only in the manner that Adam was, of whom we are all born naturally. And that is said to be a spiritual body, which together with the soul is made alive with a far more excellent power, that is, with the Spirit of God, who descends from Christ the second Adam to us.
(x) Adam is called the first man, because he is the root as it were from which we spring. And Christ is the latter man, because he is the beginning of all those that are spiritual, and in him we are all included.
(y) Christ is called a Spirit, by reason of that most excellent nature, that is to say, God who dwells in him bodily, as Adam is called a living soul, by reason of the soul which is the best part in him.
15:47 The first man [is] of the earth, z earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from a heaven.
(26) Secondly, he wills the order of this twofold state or quality to be observed, that the natural was first, Adam being created of the clay of the earth. And the spiritual follows and came upon it, that is, when the Lord being sent from heaven, endued our flesh, which was prepared and made fit for him, with the fulness of the Godhead.
(z) Wallowing in dirt, and wholly given to an earthly nature. 15:48 27 As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.
(a) As Adam was the first man, Christ is the second man; and these two are spoken of, as if they were the only two men in the world; because as the former was the head and representative of all his natural posterity, so the latter is the head and representative of all the spiritual offspring: and that he is "the Lord from heaven"; in distinction from the first man. (Ed.)
15:49 And as we have borne the b image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
(27) He applies both the earthly naturalness of Adam (if I may so say) to our bodies, so long as they are naturally conversant upon earth, that is, in this life, and in the grave. And also the spirituality of Christ to our same bodies, after they are risen again: and he says that the former goes before, and that this latter will follow.
(b) Not a vain and false image, but such a one as indeed had the truth with it. 15:50 28 Now this I say, brethren, that c flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
15:51 29 Behold, I shew you a d mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(28) The conclusion: we cannot be partakers of the glory of God unless we put off all that gross and filthy nature of our bodies subject to corruption, that the same body may be adorned with incorruptible glory.
(c) Flesh and blood are taken here for a living body, which cannot attain to incorruption, unless it puts off corruption.
15:52 In e a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
(29) He goes further, declaring that it will come to pass that those who will be found alive in the latter day will not descend into that corruption of the grave, but will be renewed with a sudden change, which change is very necessary. And he further states that the certain enjoying of the benefit and victory of Christ, is deferred to that latter time.
(d) A thing that has been hid, and never known before now, and therefore worthy that you give good care to it.
(e) He shows that the time will be very short. 15:58 30 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the f Lord.
(30) An exhortation taken from the profit that ensues, that seeing they understand that the glory of the other life is laid up for faithful workmen, they continue and stand fast in the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.
(f) Through the Lords help and goodness working in us.