1 Corinthians 15:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

King James Bible
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Darby Bible Translation
(But now Christ is raised from among the dead, first-fruits of those fallen asleep.

World English Bible
But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep.

Young's Literal Translation
And now, Christ hath risen out of the dead -- the first-fruits of those sleeping he became,

1 Corinthians 15:20 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But now is Christ risen ... - This language is the bursting forth of a full heart and of overpowering conviction. It would seem as if Paul were impatient of the slow process of argument; weary of meeting objections, and of stating the consequences of a denial of the doctrine; and longing to give utterance to "what he knew," that Christ was risen from the dead. That was a point on which he was certain. He had seen him after he was risen; and he could no more doubt this "fact" than he could any other which he had witnessed with his own eyes. He makes, therefore, this strong affirmation; and in doing it, he at the same time affirms that the dead will also rise, since he had shown 1 Corinthians 15:12-18 that all the objection to the doctrine of the resurrection was removed by the fact that Christ had risen, and had shown that his resurrection involved the certainty that his people also would rise. There is special force in the word "now" in this verse. The meaning may be thus expressed: "I have showed the consequences which would follow from the supposition that Christ was not raised up. I have shown how it would destroy all our hopes, plunge us into grief, annihilate our faith, make our preaching vain, and involve us in the belief that our pious friends have perished, and that we are yet in our sins. I have shown how it would produce the deepest disappointment and misery. But all this was mere supposition. There is no reason to apprehend any such consequences, or to be thus alarmed. "Christ" is "risen." Of that there is no doubt. That is not to be called in question. It is established by irrefragable testimony; and consequently our hopes are not vain, our faith is not useless, our pious friends have not perished, and we shall not be disappointed."

And become the first-fruits - The word rendered "first-fruits" (ἀπαρχὴ aparchē) occurs in the New Testament in the following places; Romans 8:23 (see the note on this place); Romans 11:16; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Corinthians 16:15; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4. It occurs often in the Septuagint as the translations of חלב cheleb, "fat," or "fatness" Numbers 18:12, Numbers 18:29-30, Numbers 18:32; as the translation of מצשׂרה ma‛asrah, "the tenth" or "the tithe" Deuteronomy 12:6; of צוון ‛awon, "iniquity" Numbers 18:1; of ראשׁית rē'shiyt, "the beginning, the commencement, the first" (Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23:1; Numbers 15:18-19, etc.): of תּרמה teruwmah, "oblation, offering; lifting up; of that which is lifted up or waved as the first sheaf of the harvest," etc. Exodus 25:2-3; Exodus 35:5; Numbers 5:9; Numbers 18:8, etc. The first-fruits, or the first sheaf of ripe grain was required to be offered to the Lord, and was waved before him by the priest, as expressing the sense of gratitude by the husbandman, and his recognition of the fact that God had a right to all that he had; Leviticus 23:10-14. The word, therefore, comes to have two:

(1) That which is "first," the beginning, or that which has the priority of time; and,

(2) That which is apart and portion of the whole which is to follow, and which is the earnest or pledge of that; as the "first" sheaf of ripe grain was not only the first in order of time, but was the earnest or pledge of the entire harvest which was soon to succeed.

In allusion to this, Paul uses the word here. It was not merely or mainly that Christ was the first in order of time that rose from the dead, for Lazarus and the widow's son had been raised before him; but it was that he was chief in regard to the dignity, value, and importance of his rising; he was connected with all that should rise, as the first sheaf of the harvest was with the crop; he was a "part" of the mighty harvest of the resurrection, and his rising was a "portion" of that great rising, as the sheaf was a portion of the harvest itself; and he was so connected with them all, and their rising so depended on his, that his resurrection was a demonstration that they would rise. It may also be implied here, as Grotius and Schoettgen have remarked, that he is the first of those who were raised so as not to die again; and that, therefore, those raised by Elisha and by the Saviour himself do not come into the account. They all died again; but the Saviour will not die, nor will those whom he will raise up in the resurrection die any more. He is, therefore, the first of those that thus rise, and a portion of that great host which shall be raised to die no more. May there not be another idea? The first sheaf of the harvest was consecrated to God, and then all the harvest was regarded as consecrated to him. May it not be implied that, by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, all those of whom he speaks are regarded as sacred to God, and as consecrated and accepted by the resurrection and acceptance of him who was the first-fruits?

Of them that slept - Of the pious dead; see the note on 1 Corinthians 15:6.

1 Corinthians 15:20 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Fourth Sunday after Easter
Text: First Corinthians 15, 35-50. 35 But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come? 36 Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die: 37 and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind; 38 but God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one flesh of men,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Small Duties and the Great Hope
'But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11. And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12. That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. 13. But I would not have
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Death of Death
'But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. 21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.... 50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, (for the trumpet shall sound;) and the dead shall
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Power of the Resurrection
'I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4. And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.'--1 COR. xv. 3, 4. Christmas day is probably not the true anniversary of the Nativity, but Easter is certainly that of the Resurrection. The season is appropriate. In the climate of Palestine the first fruits of the harvest were ready at the Passover for presentation in the Temple.
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Cross References
Acts 2:24
"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Acts 26:23
that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."

1 Corinthians 15:6
After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

1 Corinthians 15:23
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,

1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Revelation 1:5
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--

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