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- Now brothers, I make known to you the gospel that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you did – and do – stand.
- Through which you’re also saved by the word that I preached to you – if you hold fast to it – otherwise(1)“otherwise you believed in vain” There are two ways to take this clause, centering on how to translate the phrase “ἐκτός εἰ μή” (here translated “otherwise”). The word “ἐκτός” means “outside” or “without” or “except”, while “εἰ μή” when used together this way means “unless” or “except”. The first way to take this clause – used in the BOS Bible – is to translate it “without unless”, (shortened to “otherwise” for readability”) and the meaning is clear: unless they hold fast to the Gospel their faith is in vain. The second way to take this clause is to translate it “unless except”, which is typically taken to mean that if the Gospel Paul preached isn’t true, then their faith is in vain. The first view has a much stronger contextual argument in this passage (and is also supported by Romans 11:17-24, especially verse 22) and thus was chosen here. you believed in vain.
- For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received; that the Anointed died for our sins according to the scriptures,
- and that He was buried, and that He was – and is – raised on the third day according to the scriptures,
- and that He was seen by Cephas,(4)“Cephas” is Aramaic for “a rock”, and is another name for the disciple/apostle Peter. and then the twelve.
- Afterwards, He was seen by more than five hundred brothers at once; of whom many remain, but some were put to sleep.
- Afterwards, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
- And last of all – as if to one born at the wrong time – He was also seen by me.
- For I’m the least of the apostles, who isn’t worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.
- But by God’s grace,(2)“Grace” The Greek word here is “χάρις” (charis), most often translated “grace” or “gift”. It was a technical term in the 1st century, referring to the Patronage system in place. The Patron (from “pater” = “father”) would give gifts or do favors (both called a charis). A charis was always given/done freely to anyone who would be grateful for it, and this person then became a “client” of the patron. The clients were expected to reciprocate by telling everyone what the patron had done, and offering their services to the patron whenever the patron needed them. This reciprocal act was also called “charis”, and the ones who reciprocated were “being faithful”. Both were done out of gratitude, not legal obligation. A client who wasn’t faithful and grateful probably wouldn’t receive any more charis from his patron, or any other patrons. The patron was responsible for taking care of all his clients, and making sure their needs were met. Christian Grace and Faith is well picture by this system. The Heavenly Patron (God the Father) freely gave a gift (Jesus’ blood), and the clients who accept it (Christians) are expected to “be faithful” out of gratitude. I am what I am; and His grace to me hasn’t become void. But I toiled far more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
- Therefore we preach like this – whether I or they – and you believed like this.
The Necessity of Resurrection
- Now, if it’s preached that the Anointed was – and is – raised from the dead, how can some among you say that there’s no resurrection of the dead?
- But if there’s no resurrection of the dead, not even the Anointed was – or is – raised.
- And if the Anointed wasn’t – and isn’t – raised, then our preaching is worthless and your faith is worthless.
- Then we’re even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that He raised the Anointed, who wasn’t raised if the dead aren’t raised.
- For if the dead aren’t raised, not even the Anointed was – or is – raised.
- And if the Anointed wasn’t – and isn’t – raised, your faith is useless; you’re still in your sins.
- Then also, the men who were put to sleep in the Anointed have perished.
- If we were – and are – hoping in the Anointed in this life only, we’re more pitiable than all men.
- Now then, the Anointed was – and is – raised from the dead; the firstfruit of the men who were – and are – put to sleep.
- For since death came through a man, resurrection of the dead also came through a man.
- For just as in Adam all die, thus also in the Anointed, all will be made alive,
- but each in their own order: the Anointed as the firstfruit, then the Anointed’s men at His coming.
- Then comes the end, when He hands the kingdom over to the God and Father, when He’s abolished every ruler and every authority and power.
- For He must reign until He has put all the enemies under His feet.
- The last enemy to be abolished is death.
- For He put all things in subjection under His feet.(3)quotation/allusion to Psalm 8:6 But when He said “He did – and does – put all things in subjection”, it’s obvious that the One who put all things in subjection to Him is the exception.
- And when all things have been made subject to Him, then even the Son Himself will be made subject to the One who made all things subject to Him, so that God might all in all.
- So then, what will the men who are baptized for the dead do? If the dead really aren’t raised, why are they even baptized for them? (5)Verse Note: Just north of Corinth, there was a town called “Eleusis”. The Eleusian mystery religion practiced a rite in the sea that was similar to baptism. They did this for the dead in order to “guarantee” a good afterlife. Notice, Paul uses the word “them” and the first sentence does create a sense of distance as if he was talking about those outside the church. Paul virtually never uses “them” to refer to Christians, only those outside the church. It’s like Paul was referring to the Eleusian’s practice, saying in effect “even the pagans believe in the resurrection of the dead.”
- Also, why are we in peril every hour?
- As sure as my boast in you brothers – which I have in our Anointed Lord Jesus – I die every day,
- If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for(6)“for” this Greek preposition – “κατά” (kata) – has a very large range of meanings. It could also be translated “according to”, “in the manner of”, “as a”, and a few others. man, what does it gain me? If the dead aren’t raised, we could eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
- Don’t be misled; bad company ruinously corrupts(7)“ruinously corrupts” is one word in Greek. It literally means to corrupt, rot, or spoil something so that it wastes away to ruin. It’s typically associated with moral corruption/decay leading to ruin. good moral habits.(8)“moral habits” The Greek word here refers to the habits, customs, and behavior patterns that a person exercises on a daily basis. It especially refers to ones that are good, moral, and ethical. The Greek word here is “ἦθος” (éthos), which is the root of our word “ethics”.
- Sober up righteously and don’t sin, for some have willful ignorance of God. I say this to your shame.
The Manner of Resurrection
- But some will say, “How are the dead raised?” And, “What kind of body do they come with?”
- You fool! What you sow doesn’t come to life unless it dies.
- And what you sow isn’t the body it will become after you sow, but a bare seed. (Perhaps of wheat or one of the others.)
- But God gives it a body just as He willed, and He gives each of the seeds its own body.
- Not all flesh is the same flesh, but indeed there’s one of men, but another flesh of cattle, yet another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
- And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But indeed, the glory of the heavenly is one kind, but the earthly another.
- The sun’s glory is one kind, and the moon’s glory another, and the stars’ glory another. (For star differs from star in glory.)
- The resurrection of the dead is also like this. It’s sown in decay, it’s raised incorruptible.
- It’s sown in shame, it’s raised in glory. It’s sown in weakness, it’s raised in power.
- It’s sown a natural body, it’s raised a spiritual body. If there’s a natural body, there’s also a spiritual one.
- And as it was – and is – written, “the first man – Adam – became a living being;“(9)Quotation/allusion to Genesis 2:7. The Greek word translated “being” here is “ψυχή” (psuché), which sometimes translated “soul”. It doesn’t mean the part of us which survives death and goes to reward or punishment (Biblically that’s our spirit. In Revelation 8:9, animals are said to have “psuché”.) Psuché literally means “breath” and is often translated “life”. It refers to the life; the vital force which – together with the body – enables a person to live. It can also refer to mind, will, emotions, and desires, which together make up a person’s identity. the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
- But the spiritual wasn’t first, but the natural; afterwards came the spiritual.
- The first man was made from the dust of the earth; the second man came from heaven.
- Just as the man made of dust was, so also the men made of dust are; and just as the man of heaven is, so also the men of heaven are.
- And just as we bear the image of the man made of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
- Now I declare this brothers: flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of God, nor can the incorruptible inherit decay.
- Behold, I tell you a mystery. We won’t all be put to sleep, but we’ll all be changed
- in an instant – in the blink of an eye – at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
- For the corruptible must clothe itself in incorruptibility, and the mortal clothe itself in immortality.
- And when the corruptible has clothed itself in incorruptibility, and the mortal has clothed itself in immortality; then it will happen, the word which was – and is – written, “Death was swallowed in victory.“(10)quotation/allusion to Isaiah 25:8
- “O Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?“(11)quotation/allusion to Hosea 13:14
- Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
- But grace(12)“grace” The Greek word here is “χάρις” (charis), most often translated “grace” or “gift”. It was a technical term in the 1st century, referring to the Patronage system in place. The Patron (from “pater” = “father”) would give gifts or do favors (both called a charis). A charis was always given/done freely to anyone who would be grateful for it, and this person then became a “client” of the patron. The clients were expected to reciprocate by telling everyone what the patron had done, and offering their services to the patron whenever the patron needed them. This reciprocal act was also called “charis”, and the ones who reciprocated were “being faithful”. Both were done out of gratitude, not legal obligation. A client who wasn’t faithful and grateful probably wouldn’t receive any more charis from his patron, or any other patrons. The patron was responsible for taking care of all his clients, and making sure their needs were met. Christian Grace and Faith is well picture by this system. The Heavenly Patron (God the Father) freely gave a gift (Jesus’ blood), and the clients who accept it (Christians) are expected to “be faithful” out of gratitude. Paul is not only talking about being grateful to God, but also “being faithful”; i.e. to reciprocate charis to God in return for His charis to us. be to God; the One who gives us the victory through our Anointed Lord Jesus.
- Therefore my beloved brothers, become steadfast; immovable, always overflowing in the Lord’s work, knowing(13)“knowing” is literally “did – and do – knowing”, as the Greek verb is in the perfect tense, which is (sort of) a combination of our past and present tenses. that your exhausting labor isn’t in worthless in the Lord.
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