|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-11 The word resurrection, usually points out our existence beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died.
Verse 3. - First of all; literally, among the first things; but this idiom means "first of all." It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but is found in Genesis 33:2; 2 Samuel 5:8 (LXX.). This testimony to the Resurrection is very remarkable, because:
1. It is the completest summary.
2. It refers to some incidents which are not mentioned in the Gospels.
3. It declares that the death and resurrection of Christ were a subject of ancient prophecy.
4. It shows the force of the evidence on which the apostles relied and the number of living eye witnesses to whom they could appeal.
5. It is the earliest written testimony to the Resurrection; for it was penned within twenty-five years of the event itself.
6. It shows that the evidence for the Resurrection as a literal, historical, objective fact, was sufficient to convince the powerful intellect of a hostile contemporary observer.
7. It probably embodies, and became the model for, a part of the earliest Creed of the Church. For our sins; literally, on behalf of. The passage is remarkable as the only one in which "on behalf of" is used with "sins" in St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians 1:13 we are told that he died" on behalf of us" (Romans 5:8; see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). The expressions involve the image of Christ as a Sin Offering for the forgiveness of sins. According to the Scriptures. The chief passages alluded to are doubtless Isaiah 53:5, 8; Daniel 9:26; Psalm 22; Zechariah 12:10; together with such types as the offering of Isaac (Genesis 22.) and the Paschal lamb, etc. Our Lord had taught the apostles confidently to refer to the Messianic interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies (Luke 24:25, 46: Acts 8:35; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22, 23; John 2:22; John 20:9; 1 Peter 1:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I delivered unto you first of all,.... Not only in the first place as to order; but among the chief and principal things, as the words will bear to be rendered, this was insisted on in his ministry; this was one he after relates, even a crucified Christ, or the doctrine of his dying for the sins of his people; and which he mentions to lead on to his resurrection; which he meant to improve, and does improve, in a very strong manner, in favour of the resurrection of the saints. This doctrine of a crucified Saviour, which he at first determined only to make known among them, and did make known, was what he fully and faithfully delivered to them, as he had received it:
that which also I received; not from men, but from Christ; for from him he had the doctrines of the Gospel, as well as the ordinances of it; and he delivered nothing to be believed and practised, but what he had received, and which ought to be the practice and conduct of every Gospel minister; whatever they have received they should deliver, and nothing else: and especially the following important doctrine,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that is, of the Old Testament, the writings of Moses, and the prophets, according to Scripture promises, Scripture types, and Scripture prophecies; particularly Genesis 3:15 Daniel 9:24 which declare that his heel was to be bruised, that he should be brought to the dust of death, should pour out his soul unto death, and be stricken and cut off in a judicial way, and that for sins; not his own, but for the sins of his people, in order to atone for them, procure the pardon of them, take them away, make an end of them, and abolish them; all which he has done, as the Gospel declares, and the apostle affirms; and thereby was accomplished what Moses and the prophets did say should come to pass. Every promise, type, and prophecy recorded in the law, in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning his sufferings and death, had their fulfilment in him; nothing was more clearly prefigured and foretold, and nothing more punctually and fully answered.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. I delivered unto you—A short creed, or summary of articles of faith, was probably even then existing; and a profession in accordance with it was required of candidates for baptism (Ac 8:37).
first of all—literally, "among the foremost points" (Heb 6:2). The atonement is, in Paul's view, of primary importance.
which I … received—from Christ Himself by special revelation (compare 1Co 11:23).
died for our sins—that is, to atone FOR them; for taking away our sins (1Jo 3:5; compare Ga 1:4): "gave Himself for our sins" (Isa 53:5; 2Co 5:15; Tit 2:14). The "for" here does not, as in some passages, imply vicarious substitution, but "in behalf of" (Heb 5:3; 1Pe 2:24). It does not, however, mean merely "on account of," which is expressed by a different Greek word (Ro 4:25), (though in English Version translated similarly, "for").
according to the scriptures—which "cannot be broken." Paul puts the testimony of Scripture above that of those who saw the Lord after His resurrection [Bengel]. So our Lord quotes Isa 53:12, in Lu 22:37; compare Ps 22:15, &c.; Da 9:26.
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