1 Corinthians 15:13
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
15:12-19 Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind, especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in the times of the sharpest persecution.But if there be no resurrection of the dead - If the whole subject is held to be impossible and absurd, then it must follow that Christ is not "risen," since there were the same difficulties in the way of raising him up which will exist in any case. He was dead and was buried. He had lain in the grave three days. His human soul had left the body. His frame had become cold and stiff. The blood had ceased to circulate, and the lungs to heave. In his case there was the same difficulty in raising him up to life that there is in any other; and if it is held to be impossible and absurd that the dead should rise, then it must follow that Christ has not been raised. This is the first consequence which Paul states as resulting from the denial of this doctrine, and this is inevitable. Paul thus shows them that the denial of the doctrine, or the maintaining the general proposition "that the dead would not rise," led also to the denial of the fact that the Lord Jesus had risen, and consequently to the denial of Christianity altogether, and the annihilation of all their hopes. There was, moreover, such a close connection between Christ and his people, that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus made their resurrection certain. See 1 Thessalonians 4:14; see the note on John 14:19. 13. If there be no general resurrection, which is the consequent, then there can have been no resurrection of Christ, which is the antecedent. The head and the members of the body stand on the same footing: what does not hold good of them, does not hold good of Him either: His resurrection and theirs are inseparably joined (compare 1Co 15:20-22; Joh 14:19). If (saith the apostle) there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. But some will possibly say: How doth this follow? Suppose it true, that Christ be risen, how doth it follow, that the dead shall rise? The force of it lieth in several things:

1. Christ, as he saith, 1 Corinthians 15:20, is the first-fruits of them that slept, the exemplary cause of our resurrection.

2. If we consider Christ as the Head, it is unreasonable, that the Head should be risen from the dead, and the members yet held of death, when it is the office of the Head to communicate sense, life, and motion to the members.

Again, the argument is strong from the consideration of the end of Christ’s resurrection, which was to show his victory over death, that the dead might hear his voice and live, and that he might be the Judge of the quick and the dead (which he could not have been, if the dead did not rise). Now though it be true, that Christ’s headship to his church, and the apostle’s argument from thence, will not prove the resurrection of the wicked, yet, (besides that the resurrection of believers is the main thing the apostle here proveth, having elsewhere abundantly proved the general resurrection), the consideration here of Christ’s being raised, that he might be the Judge both of the quick and of the dead, will prove the resurrection of the wicked, as well as of believers.

But if there be no resurrection of the dead,.... If there is no such thing as a resurrection of any, if the thing is not possible, if it never has been, is, or will be true in fact:

then is Christ not risen. The apostle argues from a general, to a particular; from the general resurrection of the dead, to the particular resurrection of Christ; and from a negation of the one, to a negation of the other; for what does not agree with the whole, does not agree with the part; and what is true of the whole, is true of the part; but if the resurrection of Christ is not true, many are the absurdities that must follow upon it, and which the apostle next enumerates.

{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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:13. Δέ] carrying onward, in order by a chain of inferences to reduce the τινές with their assertion ad absurdum.

οὐδέ] even not. The inference rests upon the principle: “sublato genere tollitur et species” (Grotius). For Christ had also become a νεκρός, and was, as respects His human nature, not different from other men (1 Corinthians 15:21). Comp. Theodoret: σῶμα γὰρ καὶ ὁ δεσπότης εἶχε Χριστός. This in opposition to the fault which Rückert finds with the conclusion, that, if Christ be a being of higher nature, the Logos of God, etc., the laws of created men do not hold for Him. It is plain that the resurrection, as well as the death, related only to the human form of existence. The σῶμα of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 7:4), the σῶμα τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ (Colossians 1:22; comp. Ephesians 2:15), was put to death and rose again, which would have been impossible, if ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν (bodily revivification of those bodily dead) in general were a chimera. Comp. Knapp, Scr. var. arg. p. 316; Usteri, p. 364 f.; van Hengel, p. 68 f. Calvin, following Chrysostom and Theodoret, grounds the apostle’s conclusion thus: “quia enim non nisi nostra causa resurgere debuit: nulla ejus resurrectio foret, si nobis nihil prodesset.” Comp. Erasmus, Paraphr. But according to this it would not follow from the ἀνάστασις νεκρ. οὐκ ἔστιν that Christ had not risen, but only that His resurrection had not fulfilled its aim. The idea, that Christ is ἀπαρχή of the resurrection, is not yet taken for granted here (as an axiom), but comes in for the first time at 1 Corinthians 15:20 (in opposition to Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, including de Wette and Osiander), after the argument has already reached the result, that Christ cannot have remained in the grave, as would yet follow with logical certainty from the proposition: ἀνάστασις νεκρ. οὐκ ἔστιν. It is only when it comes to bring forward the ἀπαρχή, that the series of inferences celebrates its victory.

1 Corinthians 15:13 opposes (δὲ) the thesis of the τινὲς by a syllogism in the modus tollens—“sublato genere, tollitur et species” (Gr[2299]): if bodily resurrection is per se impossible, then there is no risen Christ (so Bg[2300], Mr[2301], Al[2302], Bt[2303], Ed[2304], El[2305], etc.); the abstract universal negative of the deniers 1 Corinthians 15:16 will restate in the concrete. Hn[2306] and Gd[2307] (somewhat similarly Cm[2308], Cv[2309]) hold, on the other hand, that P. is making out the essential connexion between Christ’s rising and that of the Christian dead—in which case he should have written ἡ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν; he speaks of “the dead in Christ” first in 1 Corinthians 15:18. Hn[2310] and Gd[2311] justly observe that the τινὲς might have allowed Christ’s resurrection as an exception; but the point of Paul’s argument is that this is logically impossible, that the absolute philosophical denial of bodily resurrection precludes the raising up of Jesus Christ; on the other hand, if He is risen, the axiom Ἀνάστασις οὐκ ἔστιν is disproved, the spell of death is broken, and Christ’s rising carries with it that of those who are “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 1 Thessalonians 4:14; cf. John 11:25, Hebrews 2:15).

[2299] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[2300]
Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[2301]
Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[2302] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[2303] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[2304] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2305] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[2306] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[2307] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2308] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[2309] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[2310] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[2311] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

13. But if there be no resurrection of the dead] The question has here been raised, against whom was St Paul contending? against those who maintained the immortality of the soul, but denied the resurrection of the body, or those who maintained that man altogether ceased to exist after death? 1 Corinthians 15:19; 1 Corinthians 15:32 would appear to point to the latter class, but this (see note on 1 Corinthians 15:17) cannot be affirmed with certainty. There were some, moreover (see 2 Timothy 2:17-18), who perverted St Paul’s teaching (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:1) into the doctrine that the resurrection taught by the Apostles of Jesus was the spiritual awakening from sin to righteousness, the quickening of moral and spiritual energies into activity and predominance. The fact would seem to be that St Paul so contrived his argument as to deal with all antagonists at once. The whole question whether there were a future life or not, according to him, depended on the fact of Christ’s Resurrection. If He were risen, then a resurrection of all mankind was not probable, but certain. If He were not risen, then there was not only no resurrection, but no immortality, no future life at all (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14, as well as 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 of this chapter).

then is Christ not risen] If a resurrection from the dead be impossible, the principle embraces the Resurrection of Christ Himself, which, if this postulate be granted, becomes at once either a mistake or an imposture. And since, on the Apostle’s principles, there is no hope of a future life but through Him, we are driven to the conclusion—a reductio ad absurdum—that “the answer to His prayer ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,’ was Annihilation! that He Who had made His life one perpetual act of consecration to His Father’s service received for His reward the same fate as attended the blaspheming malefactor.” Robertson. And we must infer also, he continues, that as the true disciples of Christ in all ages have led purer, humbler, more self-sacrificing lives than other men, they have attained to this higher excellence by “believing what was false,” and that therefore men become more “pure and noble” by believing what is false than by believing what is true.

1 Corinthians 15:13. Εἰ δὲ, but if) He now begins a retrospect, and enumerates all that he alleged at 3–11.

Verse 13. - Then is Christ not risen. If the possibility of a resurrection be generically denied, it cannot in any instance be true. Yet you admit as Christians that Christ rose! and his resurrection "has begotten us again to a lively hope" (1 Peter 1:3; see 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; John 14:19). 1 Corinthians 15:13
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