1 Corinthians 15:1
Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XV.

(1) Moreover, brethren.—This chapter is throughout occupied with the DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. The occasion which caused the Apostle to dwell at such length and with such emphasis on this subject was the denial of the resurrection by some members of the Corinthian Church. It has been suggested by some writers that what the Apostle had to combat was a false conception of the resurrection—that at Corinth there were probably those who refined away the doctrine of the resurrection into merely a rising from the death of sin into a life of righteousness, something after the manner of Hymenæus and Philetus (2Timothy 2:17-18), who taught that “the resurrection was past already.” It seems clear, however, from the emphatic statement in 1Corinthians 15:12, and from the general scope and drift of the entire argument, that what the Apostle is here meeting is not a perversion, but a denial of the doctrine. There were many elements in such a mixed body as the Corinthian Church which would have contributed to the growth of this error. Amongst the Jewish converts would be some traces of the Sadducean (Matthew 22:23) denial of the resurrection, and in the Gentile section of the Church there would linger the spirit of the Athenians who “mocked when they heard of the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 17:32), and of the Epicurean philosophers who said, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” From these and from other like sources there had crept into the Church itself a denial of the doctrine of the resurrection. In reading this chapter it is well to remember that the Apostle probably intended it, not only as a reply to these corruptors of the faith, but as supplying those who remained faithful with a confirmation of their own faith, and arguments with which they might meet their opponents. It is always difficult to give a clear, exhaustive analysis of an argument by such a writer as St. Paul. The enthusiasm of his nature leads him to mingle the syllogism of passion with the syllogism of logic; and, as he was not writing himself, but dictating the composition, a word often leads him off from his argument into some splendid outburst of pathetic exhortation, or of prophetic utterance. Still, including such digressions, the general argument of this chapter may be tabulated thus:—

I.—THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION (1Corinthians 15:1-34).

Subdivided as follows:

(1) The resurrection proved by the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection (1Corinthians 15:1-15).

(2) The resurrection proved by an appeal to the moral consequences involved in a denial of it (1Corinthians 15:16-28).

(3) The truth of the resurrection involved in certain existing practices (1Corinthians 15:29-34).

II.—THE METHOD AND PRINCIPLE OF THE RESURRECTION (1Corinthians 15:35-58).

(1) Illustration from analogy (1Corinthians 15:35-44).

(2) Illustration from our dual descent from. Adam and from Christ (1Corinthians 15:44-49).

(3) The great change (1Corinthians 15:50-53).

(4) A song of triumph (1Corinthians 15:54-57).

(5) Concluding exhortation (1Corinthians 15:58).

I declare unto you.—The Apostle opens his historical argument by reminding the Corinthians that this is no new nor unimportant matter. It is the original gospel which he had preached to them, which they received, and in which they stand, and by which they are being saved (not “are saved,” as in the English).

1 Corinthians 15:1-2. Moreover, brethren — The resurrection of the body being one of the great objects of the faith and hope of Christians, the apostle in this chapter sets before the Corinthians, and all mankind, the proof by which that joyful event is rendered indubitable, namely, that it is a necessary consequence of the resurrection of Christ. Wherefore, to lay a firm foundation for this proof, he judged it proper to recall to the remembrance of the Corinthians the arguments by which he had proved to their satisfaction the truth of Christ’s resurrection, which is the subject that he first touches upon. I declare — Γνωριζω, I make known; the gospel — The principal doctrines thereof; which I preached unto you — At the very beginning of my ministry among you; which also you received — In faith and love; and wherein you stand — In the faith of which many of you persevere; by which also ye are — Or shall be; saved finally, if ye keep in memory — Ει κατεχετε, if ye hold fast; what I preached unto you — The great truths to which I bore testimony: that is, your salvation is begun, and will be perfected if ye continue in the faith; unless ye have believed in vain — Or rather, rashly, as εικη seems evidently here to signify, denoting the disposition of those who do a thing by chance and lightly, without knowing for what reason or end they do it. 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.Moreover - But (δὲ de). In addition to what I have said, or in that which I am now about to say, I make known the main and leading truth of the gospel. The particle δὲ de is "strictly adversative, but more frequently denotes transition and conversion, and serves to introduce something else, whether opposite to what precedes, or simply continuative or explanatory" - Robinson. Here it serves to introduce another topic that was not properly a continuation of what he had said, but which pertained to the same general subject, and which was deemed of great importance.

I declare unto you - (Γνωρίζω Gnōrizō). This word properly means to make known, to declare, to reveal Luke 2:15; Romans 9:22-23; then to tell, narrate, inform Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:9; and also to put in mind of, to impress, to confirm; see the note at 1 Corinthians 12:3. Here it does not mean that he was communicating to them any new truth, but he wished to remind them of it; to state the arguments for it, and to impress it deeply on their memories. There is an abruptness in our translation which does not exist in the original. Bloomfield.

The gospel - See the note at Mark 1:1. The word here means the "glad announcement," or the "good news" about the coming of the Messiah, his life, and sufferings, and death, and especially his resurrection. The main subject to which Paul refers in this chapter is the resurrection, but he includes in the word gospel. Here, the doctrine that he died for sins, and was buried, as well as the doctrine of his resurrection; see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

Which I preached unto you - Paul founded the church at Corinth; Acts 18:1 ff. It was proper that he should remind them of what he had taught them at first; of the great elementary truths on which the church had been established, but from which their minds had been diverted by the other subjects that had been introduced as matters of debate and strife. It was fair to presume that they would regard with respect the doctrines which the founder of their church had first proclaimed, if they were reminded of them; and Paul, therefore, calls their attention to the great and vital truths by which they had been converted, and by which the church had thus far prospered. It is well, often, to remind Christians of the truths which were preached to them when they were converted, and which were instrumental in their conversion. When they have gone off from these doctrines, when they had given their minds to speculation and philosophy, it has a good effect to "remind" them that they were converted by the simple truths, that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again from the dead. The argument of Paul here is, that they owed all the piety and comfort which they had to these doctrines; and that, therefore, they should still adhere to them as the foundation of all their hopes.

Which also ye have received - Which you embraced; which you all admitted as true; which were the means of your conversion. I would remind you, that, however that truth may now be denied by you, it was once received by you, and you professed to believe in the fact that Christ rose from the dead, and that the saints would rise.

And wherein ye stand - By which your church was founded, and by which all your piety and hope has been produced, and which is at the foundation of all your religion. You were built up by this, and by this only can you stand as a Christian church. This doctrine was vital and fundamental. This demonstrates that the doctrines that Christ died "for sins," and rose from the dead, are fundamental truths of Christianity. They enter into its very nature; and without them there can be no true religion.

CHAPTER 15

1Co 15:1-58. The Resurrection Proved against the Deniers of It at Corinth.

Christ's resurrection rests on the evidence of many eye-witnesses, including Paul himself, and is the great fact preached as the groundwork of the Gospel: they who deny the resurrection in general, must deny that of Christ, and the consequence of the latter will be, that Christian preaching and faith are vain.

1. Moreover—"Now" [Alford and Ellicott].

I declare—literally, "I make known": it implies some degree of reproach that it should be now necessary to make it known to them afresh, owing to some of them "not having the knowledge of God" (1Co 15:34). Compare Ga 1:11.

wherein ye stand—wherein ye now take your stand. This is your present actual privilege, if ye suffer not yourselves to fall from your high standing.1 Corinthians 15:1-19 From the truth of Christ’s resurrection Paul

inferreth the necessity of our own.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Christ the first-fruits, being raised, shall be

followed in due order by those that are his,

1 Corinthians 15:24-28 till having subdued all enemies he shall give up the

kingdom to God the Father.

1 Corinthians 15:29-34 If there be no resurrection of the dead, in vain is

it for any one to risk his life, as the apostle did

continually.

1 Corinthians 15:35-50 The manner of the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 The change which shall be wrought at the last day in

the bodies both of the dead and the living.

1 Corinthians 15:58 An exhortation to stedfast faith and perseverance in

our duty.

The apostle, towards the conclusion of his Epistle, comes to reprove the Corinthians for an error in the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead; an error, though last mentioned, yet of all the most momentous. The resurrection of the body in the last day is an article of faith, to the firm belief of which reason speaketh not sufficiently, and therefore it was denied by many philosophers and worldly wise men, Acts 17:18. It should seem, that some in the church of Corinth had sucked in some of their notions; the apostle, therefore, in this chapter setteth himself to confirm that article of the Christian faith. To this purpose he begins, telling them, that that which he declared unto them was

the gospel, that is, that doctrine of the gospel which he had before preached to them, and which they had heard, and believed, and embraced as the truth of God, and wherein the greatest part yet stood firm to their former profession, though some of them had been seduced and warped.

Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel,.... The apostle here passes on, and proceeds to a new subject, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which some in this church denied; and which he undertakes to prove, establish, and defend; and in order to lead on to it, observes, that what he was about to declare, make known, or put them in mind of, was no other than the Gospel he had formerly preached to them, they had received, professed to stand in, and were saved by, unless their faith was in vain. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead he calls "the Gospel", that being a most important doctrine, and a fundamental article of it. The resurrection of Christ from the dead made a considerable part in the ministry of the apostles, to the grief of the Sadducees among the Jews, to the scorn of the Gentile philosophers, and to the faith, hope, and comfort of Christians: this is the sum and substance of the word of faith, or doctrine of the Gospel, upon which the whole depends; see Romans 10:8 and the resurrection of the saints is connected with it, and assured by it. This indeed is the Gospel, good news, glad tidings that the bodies of the saints shall be raised again, and made like to the glorious body of Christ; and being reunited to their souls, shall live with him to all eternity; and were this out of the Gospel, it would not be Gospel, or good news; it would be an idle story, faith would be a vain thing, and hoping and believing Christians of all the most miserable. Moreover, says the apostle, the Gospel I declare, is

which I preached unto you; meaning, when he first came among them, and which had been so very useful to them for conversion and consolation; and therefore if he himself, or an angel from heaven, was to preach any other doctrine, it was to be rejected; and hence, much less should the false teachers be regarded: yea, adds he, it is the doctrine

which also you have received; when first enlightened and converted, with all gladness and joyfulness, with all readiness and cheerfulness, in the love of it, and by a full assent to it; and therefore having had such an experience of it, should not now depart from it: nay, he further says,

and wherein ye stand; as he hoped they did, at least it was what they ought to have done, and doubtless was the case of the majority of them, and whose example it became the rest to follow.

Moreover, {1} brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye {a} stand;

(1) The sixth treatise of this epistle, concerning the resurrection: and he uses a transition, or passing over from one matter to another, showing first that he brings no new thing, to the end that the Corinthians might understand that they had begun to swerve from the right course. And next that he does not go about to entreat of a trifling matter, but of another chief point of the Gospel, which if it is taken away, their faith will necessarily come to nothing. And so at the length he begins this treatise at Christ's resurrection, which is the ground and foundation of ours, and confirms it first by the testimony of the scriptures and by the witness of the apostles, and of more than five hundred brethren, and last of all by his own.

(a) In the profession of which you still continue.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:1-2. Δέ] forming the transition to a new subject. There is no trace, however, of a question on the part of the Corinthians, to which Paul is giving the answer.

γνωρίζω] not, as is commonly held, equivalent to ὑπομιμνήσκω (Oecumenius), nor yet, as (Rückert weakens the force of the word: I call your attention to; but: I make known to you (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:9; Colossians 4:7, al.). It is, no doubt, in substance a reminding them of something already known, but the expression is more emphatic, more arousing, putting to shame a part of the readers, and accordant with the fundamental importance of what is now to be discusse.

τὸ εὐαγγ.] is not simply the tidings of the death and resurrection of Jesus (Heydenreich, Rückert, and others), but the Christian tidings of salvation generally, because there is here no limiting definition, and as is further in particular clear from ἐν πρώτοις in 1 Corinthians 15:3.

ὃ καὶ παρελ. κ.τ.λ.] which you have also received. The thrice used καί denotes with ever increasing emphasis the element to be added[25] to the preceding one.

Regarding παρελ., comp. John 1:11; Php 4:9; and regarding ἑστήκ., you stand, are firm, 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 6:13; 1 Peter 5:12; John 8:44.

σώζεσθε] pictures as present the future, quite certain Messianic salvation. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:18.

τίνι λόγῳκατέχετε] condition to σώζεσθε, in which τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. is put first for the sake of emphasis. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:4, 1 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Corinthians 14:7; 1 Corinthians 14:9. Comp. also Plato, Pol. i. p. 347 D: πόλις ἀνδρῶν ἀγαθῶν εἰ γένοιτο, Parm. p. 136 A; Bar 3:13, as indeed in general it is common in the classics (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 238 A) and in the N. T. (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 334 [E. T. 390]) for such words as ought to follow the conjunctions to precede them for the sake of emphasis. Hence: through which (by means of faith in its contents) you also obtain salvation, if you hold fast with what word I preached it to you. Not without design does he add this condition to the σώζεσθε; for his readers were threatened with the danger of being led by the deniers of the resurrection to become untrue to the specific contents of his preaching. Others (including Bengel, Heydenreich, Billroth, van Hengel, Ewald) regard τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. as a more precise definition to τὸ εὐαγγ. ὁ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. in accordance with the common form of attraction οἶδά σε τίς εἶ (Winer, p. 581 [E. T. 781]). Against this, however, it may be urged: (1) that the meaning: “I make known to you … if you still hold it fast,” contains in the latter half (which is not to be transmuted, with van Hengel, into the sense: “si curae nobis cordique est quod nunc dico”) a condition which stands in no logical relation to the first half; (2) that εἰ κατέχετε would be at variance with ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε; (3) that we should then have to assume for ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. the inadmissible (see below) reference to κατέχετε. All these difficulties fall away with the above interpretation, according to which παρελάβετε expresses the historical act of reception; ἑστήκατε, the present faithfulness; σώζεσθε, the certain blessed future; and εἰ κατέχετε, the abiding condition to the attainment of this end; while ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. in turn denotes the exaltation above every doubt in respect of the Messianic salvation really to be attained under this conditio.

τίνι λόγῳ] not as in Acts 10:29, with what ground (Wetstein, Kypke, Heydenreich, and others, following Theodorus of Mopsuestia and Pelagius), which Osiander takes of scriptural ground; for παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμ. κ.τ.λ., 1 Corinthians 15:3, gives, in fact, not a ground, but the contents of the preaching. Hence also it does not refer to the “manner and method of the proclamation” (Neander), but means: through what word, i.e. preaching what. As regards τίνι, instead of a relative, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 216 [E. T. 251]. How different from the seductive discourses of the deniers had this λόγος of the apostle been! According to Hofmann, τίνι λόγῳ is meant to be interrogative, and that in the sense of “with what presupposition,” while εἰ κατέχετε and εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ. are the answer to it. Against this it may be urged: (1) that, since εἰ μὴ εἰκ. ἐπιστ. would be a second condition, Paul would have marked the connection in an intelligible way by καί (putting therefore either καὶ εἰ or καί by itself, but not simply εἰ); (2) that λόγος, in the sense of condition or presupposition, is foreign to the N. T. and peculiar to Herodotus, who, however, always expresses sub conditione by ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ; see Schweighäuser, Lex. Herod. II. p. 79 f.

εἰ κατέχετε] This implies not merely the not having forgotten; it is the believing firm retention, which does not let go the doctrine received—the continuance of the ἑστήκατε. Comp. Luke 8:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2. And there is not so much an “aculeus ad pungendum” (Calvin) in this as an admonition of the danger.

ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστ.] through which you are also saved, if you hold fast my word,—unless that ye have become believing in vain, without any result. Only in this case, inconceivable to the Christian consciousness (Beza aptly says: “argumentatur ab absurdo”), would ye, in spite of that holding fast, lose the σωτηρία. The words therefore imply the certainty of the σώζεσθαι to be expected under the condition of the κατέχειν. On εἰκῆ, comp. Galatians 3:4; Galatians 4:11; and regarding ἐκτὸς εἰ μή, except if, see on 1 Corinthians 14:5; on ἐπιστ., comp. 1 Corinthians 3:5; Romans 13:11. To refer εἰκῆ to κατέχετε (Oecumenius, Theophylact, Theodoret, Luther, Calvin, Estius, and others, including Billroth and de Wette) is impracticable for this reason, that εἰ κατέχετε itself is a conditional clause, while to supply such an idea as κατέχετε δὲ πάντως (Theophylact) would be quite an arbitrary course.

[25] Calovius says rightly: “Sequuntur haec se invicem: evangelii annuntiatio, annuntiati per fidem susceptio, suscepti in fide perseveranti conservatio, perque illud fide susceptum et conservatum aeterna salvatio.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Foundation for the following argument. The latter enlarges upon the resurrection itself as far as 1 Corinthians 15:34, and then upon the manner of it from 1 Corinthians 15:35 to 1 Corinthians 15:54, after which triumph and exhortation, 1 Corinthians 15:55-58, form the conclusion.

The certainty of the resurrection of Jesus was not doubted even by his opponents, who must otherwise have given up the whole historic basis of Christianity, and must have been treated by the apostle as apostates (comp. Ziegler, theol. Abh. II. p. 93; Knapp, Scr. var. arg. p. 316; Räbiger, p. 154 f.); for only in this way was that fact capable of serving him for a firm starting-point for his argument with the view of reducing the deniers ad absurdum. For this reason he sets forth the resurrection of Jesus in its certainty not polemically, but as a purely positive proposition.1 Corinthians 15:1-11. § 50. THE FACTS CONCERNING CHRIST’S RESURRECTION. The doubt which the Ap. combats strikes at the fundamental, probative fact of his Gospel. He must therefore go back to the beginning, and reassert the “first things” he had taught at Cor[2233] (1 Corinthians 15:1-4); to establish the resurrection of Jesus Christ is logically to destroy the theorem, “There is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12). Six successive appearances of the Risen One are enumerated—the first made to Kephas, and the last to Paul himself—(1 Corinthians 15:5-9); the list is not intended as exhaustive, but includes the names most prominent in the Church, the witnesses whose testimony would be best known and most accessible. The Ap. dwells on the astonishing mercy that was in this way vouchsafed to himself (1 Corinthians 15:9 f.), insisting finally, on the unbroken agreement of the Apostolic preaching and of the Church’s faith in regard to this supremely important event (1 Corinthians 15:11).

[2233] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.Ch. 1 Corinthians 15:1-58. The Doctrine of the Resurrection

1. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you] This gospel was indeed good tidings. Beside the fact that Christ had been offered for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3) St Paul, as well as the rest of the Apostles (1 Corinthians 15:11), taught that He had risen again in order to communicate to us that new and Divine life whereby our own resurrection should be assured—a life which should make the human body, though laid in the grave, a seed from whence in God’s own good time, a new and more glorious body should arise. This chapter is one of the deepest and most mysterious in the Bible. It is the one exception to the statement in ch. 3 that St Paul was unable to feed the Corinthians with meat; for it ranks with the profound exposition of the principles of Justification in the Epistle to the Romans, and the weighty but most difficult enunciation of the doctrine of God’s foreknowledge and man’s call in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. The chapter may be divided into six parts. See Introduction.

which also you have received] Rather, which ye received, that is, when it was preached.

and wherein ye stand] Stand fast, that is, against the assaults of sin. Cf. Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 6:13-14. Our faith in Christ, the giver of the new life of holiness, can alone defend us from evil.1 Corinthians 15:1. Γνωρίζω, I make known [I declare]) construed with τίνι, what, 1 Corinthians 15:2 : comp. Galatians 1:11. Paul had formerly made known the gospel to the Corinthians, but he now informs them at greater length, in what way, according to what method, on what foundation, and by what arguments he preached it to them. It had been formerly doctrine, it now becomes reproof, which severely stigmatizes ἀγνωσίαν, their ignorance, at 1 Corinthians 15:34.—τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, the gospel) concerning Christ, chiefly of His resurrection. A pleasing appellation, by which he allures the Corinthians, and a conciliatory preface, by which he holds them as it were in suspense.—παρελάβετε, ye have received) The preterite. [This receiving involves an everlasting obligation.—V. g.]—ἐστήκατε, ye stand) i.e. ye have obtained a standing-place, [you have taken your stand.] It is present, in sense.Verses 1-58. - The doctrine of the resurrection. This chapter, and the thirteenth, on Christian love, stand out, even among the writings of St. Paul, as pre-eminently beautiful and important. No human words ever written have brought such comfort to millions of mourners as the words of this chapter, which form a part of the Burial Service of almost every Christian community. It is the more deeply imprinted on the memory of men because it comes to us in the most solemn hours of bereavement, when we have most need of a living faith. The chapter falls into six sections.

1. The evidence of Christ's resurrection (vers. 1-11).

2. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith in the general resurrection (vers. 12-19).

3. Results to be deduced from Christ's resurrection (vers. 20 - 28).

4. The life of believers an argument for the resurrection (vers. 29-34).

5. Analogies helpful for understanding the subject (vers. 35-49).

6. Conclusion and exhortation (vers. 50-58). Verses 1-11. - The evidence of the resurrection of Christ. Verse 1. - Moreover. The δὲ of the original merely marks the transition to a new topic. The gospel. He here uses the word with special reference to the Resurrection, which is one of the most central and necessary doctrines of the "good tidings," and which always occupied a prominent place in St. Paul's preaching (Acts 17:18; Acts 23:6), as well as in that of all the apostles (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 3:21). Ye have received; rather, ye received. The "also" is emphatic. The Corinthians had not been like Christ's "own," who "received him not" (John 1:11). I declare (γνωρίζω)

Reproachfully, as having to declare the Gospel anew.

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