1 Corinthians 15:32
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

New Living Translation
And what value was there in fighting wild beasts--those people of Ephesus--if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, "Let's feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

English Standard Version
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Berean Study Bible
If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for human motives, what did I gain? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Berean Literal Bible
If according to man I fought wild beasts in Ephesus, what is the profit to me? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and let us drink, for tomorrow we die."

New American Standard Bible
If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.

King James Bible
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with only human hope, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

International Standard Version
If I have fought with wild animals in Ephesus from merely human motives, what do I get out of it? If the dead are not raised, "Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

NET Bible
If from a human point of view I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what did it benefit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

New Heart English Bible
If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And if, as a citizen of the people, I was cast to wild beasts in Ephesaus, what have I gained if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If I have fought with wild animals in Ephesus, what have I gained according to the way people look at things? If the dead are not raised, "Let's eat and drink because tomorrow we're going to die!"

New American Standard 1977
If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what does it advantage me, if the dead do not rise? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.

King James 2000 Bible
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what is the gain to me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.

American King James Version
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

American Standard Version
If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If (according to man) I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me, if the dead rise not again? Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall die.

Darby Bible Translation
If, [to speak] after the manner of man, I have fought with beasts in Ephesus, what is the profit to me if [those that are] dead do not rise? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.

English Revised Version
If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

Webster's Bible Translation
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.

Weymouth New Testament
If from merely human motives I have fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, what profit is it to me? If the dead do not rise, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.

World English Bible
If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Young's Literal Translation
if after the manner of a man with wild beasts I fought in Ephesus, what the advantage to me if the dead do not rise? let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die!
Study Bible
The Order of Resurrection
31I face death every day, brothers, as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for human motives, what did I gain? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.”…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

Isaiah 22:13
Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die."

Isaiah 56:12
"Come," they say, "let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so."

Luke 12:19
Then I will say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry!"'

Acts 18:19
When they reached Ephesus, Paul parted ways with Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue there and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 18:21
But as he left, he said, "I will come back to you again if God is willing." And he set sail from Ephesus.

Acts 19:1
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the interior and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples

Romans 3:5
But if our unrighteousness highlights the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict His wrath on us? I am speaking in human terms.

1 Corinthians 16:8
But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost,

2 Corinthians 1:8
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the hardships we encountered in the province of Asia. We were under a burden far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
Treasury of Scripture

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

after. or, to speak after.

Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh…

Galatians 3:15 Brothers, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's …

beast.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, …

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what …

Ephesus.

Acts 19:1,23 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having …

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which …

what.

Job 35:3 For you said, What advantage will it be to you? and, What profit …

Psalm 73:13 Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.

Malachi 3:14,15 You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that …

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose …

let.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, …

Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you …

Isaiah 22:13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating …

Isaiah 56:12 Come you, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves …

Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for …

(32) If after the manner of men . . .--These words imply here, as elsewhere (1Corinthians 3:3), "merely from a human point of view." What is the advantage or necessity of my incurring daily risks, if I am merely a human being, with a life limited by what we see, and no immortality and resurrection awaiting me?

I have fought with beasts at Ephesus.--The question here arises, Are these words to be taken literally or figuratively? Does St. Paul refer to some actual contest in the arena with beasts, or to his conflict with the opponents at Ephesus, whom he thus designates beasts? It is scarcely possible to accept the former interpretation. There is no mention to be found of it in the Acts, and, moreover, his Roman citizenship would have legally protected him against such treatment. We must therefore conclude that the Ephesians themselves are spoken of as "beasts." Both Hebrew and Greek literature would have made such a form of expression familiar to the Apostle and to his readers. In the Psalms (see Psalm 22:12-13; Psalm 22:20-21) the opponents of God are similarly spoken of. The Cretans are called "evil beasts" by the poet Epimenides, whom St. Paul quotes in Titus 1:12. Heraclitus calls the Ephesians "beasts"--the same word as St. Paul uses here; and St. Ignatius (Epis. ad Rom.) speaks of "fighting with beasts by land and sea," and having been bound to 'ten leopards,' that is a band of soldiers."

Although the Greek verb implies that reference is made, not to general or prolonged opposition, but to some one outburst of rage on the part of his opponents, we must not take it as indicating the scene described in Acts 19:23-34, which had probably not taken place when this was written; but no doubt the "many adversaries" (1Corinthians 16:9) at Ephesus had already availed themselves of some opportunity of venting their rage on the Apostle after the manner of wild beasts (See Introduction.)

What advantageth it me?--This sentence is completed with these words, and should be followed by a note of interrogation, thus--"What advantageth it me?" (See next Note.)

If the dead rise not?--Better, if the dead be not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. If the dead be not raised our conduct is illogical. Consistency then belongs to those who disregard God's call to repentance, and of whom we read in Isaiah 22:13, that they say, "Let us eat and drink." The reference is directly to this passage in the prophet describing the conduct of abandoned Jews during the siege of Jerusalem; but the words indicate with equal accuracy that school of Epicurean philosophy of which, no doubt, there were many representatives at Corinth. Similar expressions are to be found in many classical writers; but the most remarkable instance of the use of these words is where they occur in an inscription on a statue at Anchiale, a town in Cilicia, which was St. Paul's native province--"Sardanapalus, the son of Anacyn-draxes, built Anchiale and Tarsus in one day. Stranger, eat, drink, and play, for all the rest is not worth this." The figure is represented as making a contemptuous motion with its fingers. Saul of Tarsus had probably often seen that statue and inscription.

Verse 32. - After the manner of men. The phrase is a qualification of the strong metaphor, "I fought with beasts." It is equivalent to "humanly speaking." This is Chrysostom's view. It is the most reasonable, and accords with the use of the phrase in Romans 3:5; Galatians 3:15. Meyer, however, explains it to mean "with mere human motives." I have fought with beasts. Not literally, for in that case he would have mentioned it in 2 Corinthians 11. as one of his deadliest perils, and it must have been recorded by St. Luke in his full account of St. Paul's life at Ephesus. A Roman citizen was legally exempt from this mode of punishment. The word points to some special peril incurred in resisting the hostility of the worshippers of Artemis (Acts 20:19), but not to the tumult in the theatre, which did not happen till after this letter was despatched (1 Corinthians 16:8, 9). The metaphor is not uncommon. Thus in 2 Timothy 4:17 St. Paul alludes to Nero (probably) as "the lion." David often compares his enemies to wild beasts (Psalm 22:21, etc.). When his jailor informed Agrippa of the death of Tiberius, he did so in the words, "The lion is dead." St. Ignatius writes of the ten soldiers who were conducting him to Rome as "ten leopards." Epimenides, in the line quoted by St. Paul in Titus 1:12, spoke of the Cretans as "evil wild beasts," and the pseudo-Heraclitus gives this same uncomplimentary title to these very Ephesians. Let as eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. Perhaps the "if the dead are not raised" belongs to this clause. He means that such an Epicurean maxim, if never excusable, would at least be natural, if men could only look to life in the present. The sentiment is found on the lips of the despairing and the sensual alike in Isaiah 22:13, and in the writings of the heathen (Horace, 'Od.,' 1:4, 13-17, etc.). St. Paul would be all the more familiar with it because it formed the infamous epitaph of a statue of Sardauapalus, which he must have often seen in his boyhood at Anchiale, near Tarsus. It represented the debased king as snapping his fingers, and using almost these very words. It is strange that similar passages should be found even in the Talmud. Shemuel said to Rav Yehudah, "Seize and eat, seize and drink; for the world is like a wedding feast (soon over)" ('Eiruvin,' fol. 54, 1). If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,.... This is one of the particulars of the jeopardy and danger of life he had been in: some understand this in a figurative sense, and think that by "beasts" are meant Satan, the roaring lion, and his principalities and powers; or men of savage dispositions, persecuting principles, and cruel practices; as Herod is called a fox, by Christ, and Nero a lion, by the apostle; and suppose his fighting with them at Ephesus designs his disputations with the hardened and unbelieving Jews, his concern with exorcists, the seven sons of Sceva, and the troubles he met with through Demetrius the silversmith, and others of the same craft; the reason of such an interpretation is, because Luke makes no mention of anything of this kind, that befell the apostle in his history of the Acts of the Apostles: but to this it may be replied, that Luke does not relate everything that befell him and the rest; and his omission of this is no sufficient argument against it; besides, a literal sense not to be departed from, unless there is a necessity for it; and especially when it is suitable to the context, and to the thread and reasoning of the discourse, as it is certainly here; the literal sense best agrees with the apostle's argument. There were two sorts of usages among the Romans in their theatres; sometimes they cast men naked to the wild beasts, to be devoured by them, as wicked servants, deadly enemies, and the vilest of men (m); and so the Syriac version renders the words here, "if as among men, , "I am cast to the beasts": and seems to represent it as a supposed case, and not as matter of fact, in which the difficulty about Luke's omission is removed, and the argument in a literal sense is just and strong: sometimes they put men armed into the theatre to fight with beasts (n), and if they could conquer them and save themselves it was well, if not, they fell a prey to them; it is this last custom that is here referred to: and if regard is had to what befell thee apostle at Ephesus, when Demetrius and his craftsmen made the uproar mentioned in Acts 19:21 this could not be in reality, but only in the purpose and design of men; and certain it is, that though he was not then had to the theatre, yet Demetrius and his men intended to have hurried him there, as they did Gaius and Aristarchus his companions; and he himself was desirous of going thither, had he not been prevented by the disciples, and by the Asiarchs his friends, who had the command of the theatre where these practices were used; and then the sense is this, if after the manner of men, or in the intention and design of men, and as much as in them lay, "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus"; though if this epistle was written, as it is said to be, before that commotion by Demetrius, no respect can be had to that; but rather to something in fact before, at the same place, when the apostle did actually fight with beasts, and was wonderfully and providentially preserved; and may he what he refers to, in 2 Corinthians 1:8 when he despaired of life, had the sentence of death in himself, and yet was delivered; and then his sense is, if "after the manner of brutish men", the Romans, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus": which I was obliged to do, or deny the Gospel preached;

what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? instead of its being a glorious action, it was a fool hardy one; and if he had died in it, what profit could he have had by it, if he rose not again; or if there is no resurrection of the dead? instead of incurring such dangers, and running such risks, it would be more eligible to sit down and say with the Epicureans,

let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die; which words seem to be taken out of Isaiah 22:13 and are used in favour of the doctrine of the resurrection, showing that the denial of it opens a door to all manner of licentiousness; and are not spoken as allowing or approving of such a conduct; nor as his own words, but as representing a libertine, and pointing out what such an one would say, and might justly infer from such a tenet, that there is no resurrection of the dead.

(m) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 5. Tertul. Apolog. c. 40. & de Spectaculis, c. 19. (n) Tertul. de Spectaculis, c. 21. & 23. Cicero in Vatinium Orat. 32. 32. Punctuate thus: "If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me? If the dead rise not, let us eat and drink," etc. [Bengel]. If "merely as a man" (with the mere human hope of the present life; not with the Christian's hope of the resurrection; answering to "If the dead rise not," the parallel clause in the next sentence), I have fought with men resembling savage beasts. Heraclitus, of Ephesus, had termed his countrymen "wild beasts" four hundred years before. So Epimenides called the Cretians (Tit 1:12). Paul was still at Ephesus (1Co 16:8), and there his life was daily in danger (1Co 4:9; compare 2Co 1:8). Though the tumult (Ac 19:29, 30) had not yet taken place (for after it he set out immediately for Macedonia), this Epistle was written evidently just before it, when the storm was gathering; "many adversaries" (1Co 16:9) were already menacing him.

what advantageth it me?—seeing I have renounced all that, "as a mere man," might compensate me for such sufferings, gain, fame, etc.

let us eat, etc.—Quoted from the Septuagint, (Isa 22:13), where the prophet describes the reckless self-indulgence of the despisers of God's call to mourning, Let us enjoy the good things of life now, for it soon will end. Paul imitates the language of such skeptics, to reprove both their theory and practice. "If men but persuade themselves that they shall die like the beasts, they soon will live like beasts too" [South].15:20-34 All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ, shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be an order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will be the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph in that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever serve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as Mt 20:22,23. What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it is as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession, if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not die like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any to disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to rights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them as a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin.
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