1 Corinthians 15:31
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus.—Better, I protest by your boast which I have in Christ Jesus. His converts are his boasting (2Corinthians 9:3), and by the fact that they are his in the Lord, he utters the solemn assertion, “I die daily.” Such a life as St. Paul’s, both as regards the spiritual battles in his own soul and the ceaseless conflict with enemies around him, was indeed a daily dying (2Corinthians 11:23-28).

1 Corinthians 15:31-34. I protest by your rejoicing — Greek, νη την υμετεραν καυχησιν ην εχω, by the boasting concerning you which I have, namely, on account of your faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. So the clause is interpreted by some critics. I die daily — That is, I am daily in danger of death, for bearing testimony to the resurrection of Christ, and to a general resurrection through him. If, to speak after the manner of men — That is, To use a proverbial phrase expressive of the most imminent danger; I have fought with beasts at Ephesus — With the savage fury of a lawless multitude, Acts 19:29, &c. What advantageth it me — What have I gained by such sufferings; if the dead rise not? And I have nothing to expect after death. Let us eat and drink, &c. — We might, on that supposition, as well say, with the Epicureans, Let us make the best of this short life, seeing we have no other portion to expect. Be not deceived — By such pernicious counsels as this. Evil communications corrupt good manners — He opposes to the Epicurean saying a well-known verse of the poet Menander. By evil communications, is meant conversation contrary to faith, hope, or love; or familiar intercourse with worldly and carnal people, which tends to destroy all holiness. Awake — An exclamation full of apostolical majesty. Shake off your lethargy! To righteousness — Evangelical and divine righteousness, flowing from the true knowledge of God, and implying that the whole soul be broad awake and watchful: the righteousness through which grace reigns unto eternal life, Romans 5:21; and sin not — That is, and you will not sin, for sin supposes sleepiness or drowsiness of soul. There is need to press this; for some — Among you; have not the knowledge of God — With all your boasted knowledge, you are ignorant of what it most concerns you to know; I speak this to your shame — For nothing is more shameful than sleepy ignorance of God, and of the word and works of God; to them especially, it was shameful, considering the advantages they had enjoyed.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.I protest - (νὴ nē). This is a particle of swearing, and denotes a strong asseveration. The subject was important; it deeply interested his feelings; and he makes in regard to it a strong protestation; compare John 3:5. "I solemnly affirm, or declare."

By your rejoicing - Many manuscripts here read "by our rejoicing, but the correct reading is doubtless that which is in the present Greek text, by your rejoicing. The meaning of the phrase, which is admitted by all to be obscure, is probably, "I protest, or solemnly declare by the glorying or exultation which I have on your account; by all my ground of glorying in you; by all the confident boasting and expectation which I have of your salvation." He hoped for their salvation. He had labored for that. He had boasted of it, and confidently believed that they would be saved. Regarding that as safe and certain, he says it was just as certain that he died daily on account of the hope and belief of the resurrcction. "By our hopes and joys as Christians; by our dearest expectations and grounds of confidence I swear, or solemnly declare, that I die daily." People swear or affirm by their objects of dearest affection and desire; and the meaning here is, "So certainly as I confidently expect your salvation, and so certainly as we look to eternal life, so certain is it that I am constantly exposed to die, and suffer that which may he called a daily death."

Which I have in Christ Jesus - The rejoicing, boasting, glorying in regard to you which I am permitted to cherish through the grace and favor of the Saviour. His boasting, or confident expectation in regard to the Corinthians, he enjoyed only by the mercy of the Lord Jesus, and he delighted to trace it to him.

I die daily - compare Romans 8:36. I endure so many sufferings and persecutions, that it may be said to be a daily dying. I am constantly in danger of my life; and my sufferings each day are equal to the pains of death. Probably Paul here referred particularly to the perils and trials which he then endured at Ephesus; and his object was to impress their minds with the firmness of his belief in the certainty of the resurrection, on account of which he suffered so much, and to show them that all their hopes rested also on this doctrine.

31. by your rejoicing—by the glorying which I have concerning you, as the fruit of my labors in the Lord. Some of the earliest manuscripts and fathers read "our," with the same sense. Bengel understands "your rejoicing," to be the enjoyable state of the Corinthians, as contrasted with his dying daily to give his converts rejoicing or glorying (1Co 4:8; 2Co 4:12, 15; Eph 3:13; Php 1:26). But the words, "which I have," favor the explanation—"the rejoicing which I have over you." Many of the oldest manuscripts and Vulgate insert "brethren" here.

I die daily—This ought to stand first in the sentence, as it is so put prominently forward in the Greek. I am day by day in sight of death, exposed to it, and expecting it (2Co 4:11, 12; 1:8, 9; 11:23).

What is meant here by your rejoicing which I have, is something doubted; some understanding it of the apostle’s rejoicing in them as believers, whom he had been an instrument to convert, and bring home to Christ; others, of their rejoicing in him (which seems not probable, many of them so much despising and vilifying him): others understand it of their glorying against him, and triumphing over him, and that this was one of his sufferings which he instanceth in, which he underwent in hope of a resurrection. The words are not an oath, (for here God is not called to witness), they are only an attestation. As the prophets sometimes call heaven and earth to witness, so here he calls their rejoicing to witness; and this rejoicing seems to be the joy of those who amongst them truly rejoiced in Jesus Christ, for which also he rejoiced daily, they being the seal of his apostleship. That which he solemnly affirms, is, that he died daily; not only was ready to die daily, but in the same sense that he elsewhere saith, he was in deaths often, and that they were killed all the day long; suffering such afflictions as were near akin to death, and led on to death, as their end. I protest by your rejoicing,.... Some copies read, "our rejoicing"; and so the Ethiopic version, which seems most natural and easy; since it follows,

which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord; who in him could rejoice and glory in afflictions and sufferings, which he endured as a preacher of the Gospel for his sake; and which being certain and evident, and what might be depended upon, he makes a protestation by it, saying,

I die daily; which is to be understood, not in a spiritual sense of dying unto sin; he was dead unto sin, as to its damning power, through the death of Christ, and as to its governing power, through the Spirit and grace of Christ, but still it was living and dwelling in him; but in a corporeal sense: he instances in himself in particular, who was one that was in jeopardy or danger of his life every hour; he always bore in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, and was continually delivered to death for Jesus' sake; death was always working in him, he expected it every day, and was ready for it; he did not count his life dear unto himself, but was very willing to lay it down for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; which he would never have done, if he had not good reason to believe the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.

I protest by your {p} rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

(p) As though he said, I die daily, as all the miseries I suffer can well witness, which I may truly boast of, that I have suffered among you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:31. Ἀποθνήσκω] I am occupied with dying, am a moribundus. See Bernhardy, p. 370, and van Hengel. Strong way of denoting the deadly peril with which he sees himself encompassed daily. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Romans 8:36, and the parallel passages in Wetstein. The perfect, as in Eur. Hec. 431, would have been still stronge.

νή] a very frequent term of asseveration in classical writers (in the New Testament only here), always with the accusative of the person or thing by which the asseveration is made (Kühner, II. p. 396). By your boasting, which I have in Christ, i.e. as truly as I boast myself of you in my fellowship with Christ, in the service of Christ. Comp. Romans 15:17. The boasting, which takes place on the part of the apostle, is conceived of by him as a moral activity, which belongs to him. Comp. the opposite μομφὴν ἔχειν, μέμψιν ἔχειν, and the like, Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 732.

ὑμετέραν] is to be understood objectively (Matthiae, p. 1032; Mätzner, ad Antiph. p. 221; Kühner, II. § 627, A. 6). Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 11:31. The expression brings out more strongly the reference to the person (as truly as ye are the subject of my boasting). The Corinthians, whose subsistence as a church is an apostolic boast for Paul, can testify to himself what deadly perils are connected with his apostolic work. He thus guards himself against every suspicion of exaggeration and bragging. The asseveration does not serve to introduce what follows (Hofmann), since that does not come in again as an assertive declaration, but in a conditional form.1 Corinthians 15:31-32 a. In no slight jeopardy do P. and his comrades stand; for his part he declares, “Daily I am dying; my life at Ephesus has been that of a combatant with wild beasts in the arena—for what end, if there is no resurrection?” With καθʼ ἠμέραν ἀποθνήσκω cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23, Romans 8:36; referring to his present “affliction in Asia,” P. writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8 f., “We have had the sentence of death in ourselves”. Ed[2436] softens the expression into “self-denial, dying to self and the world”: better Cv[2437], “obsideor assiduis mortibus quotidie”; and Gd[2438], “Not a day, nor an hour of the day, when they might not expect to be seized and led out to execution”—.[2439]. had not been in this extreme peril at Cor[2440] (see Acts 18:9 f.), and his readers might think the description overdrawn; so he exclaims, νὴ τ. ὑμετέραν καύχησιν κ.τ.λ.: “Yea, by the glorying over you, brothers, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord!” cf. the protests of 2 Cor. 2:18, 23; 2 Corinthians 11:10 f., 2 Corinthians 11:31, Romans 9:1. He protests by this καύχησις as by that which is dearest to him: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4 ff., 1 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 7:3; 2 Corinthians 7:14 ff.; similarly in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 f., 2 Thessalonians 1:4, Php 4:1, etc. For this rare use of the pron[2441], cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24, τ. ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν (and note), 2 Corinthians 9:3. νή (= ναί) with acc[2442] of adjuration, a cl[2443] idiom.—Paul’s “glorying” he “holds in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7); it is laid up with Christ as a καύχημα εἰς ἡμέραν Χ. (Php 2:16; cf. Php 3:8; Php 4:3 ff. above, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Colossians 1:4, etc.).—“If in the manner of men I have fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, what is the profit?” κατὰ ἄνθρωπον bears the stress, “humanitus—spe vitæ præsentis duntaxat” (Bg[2444]: cf. iii., 3 f.); seeking the rewards—applause, money, etc.—for which men risk their lives. Instead of these, P. earns poverty and infamy (1 Corinthians 4:9 ff., Php 3:7 f.); if there is no “day of Christ” when his “glorying” will be realised, he has been befooled (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19 and note, Php 3:14, 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 19:27 ff., Luke 14:14; Luke 22:28 ff.).—ὄφελος (from ὀφέλλω, to increase; nearly syn[2445] with μισθός, 1 Corinthians 3:8, etc.; or κέρδος, Php 1:21) signifies the consequent advantage accruing to P. from his fight; that it brings present moral benefit is obvious, but this is not the point (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; see Ed[2446] ad loc[2447], touching the diff[2448] of pagan and Christian morality).—ἐθηριομάχησα is probably figurative, though Gd[2449], Weizsäcker (Apost. Zeitalter, pp. 325 f.), McGiffert (Christianity in the Apost. Age, pp. 280 f.), with some older expositors, take it that P. had been actually a θηριομάχος in the Ephesian amphitheatre, despite his Roman citizenship. But no such experience is recorded in the list of his woes in 2 Corinthians 11; moreover it appears from Acts 19:31-40 that P. had friends in high quarters at Eph., who would have prevented this outrage if attempted. Ignatius (ad Rom., v.; cf. ad Smyrn., iv.) applies the figure to his guards, borrowing it probably from this place. The metaphor is in the strain of 1 Corinthians 4:9 (see note); cf. also Psalm 22:12; Psalm 22:16, etc., and the use of θηρίον in the Rev.—In view of this last parl[2450] and of 2 Timothy 4:17, Krenkel in his Beiträge, V., finds the “wild beast” of Paul’s struggle in the Imperial Power, which [2451]. thinks was already so designated “in the secret language of Christians” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:5 f.). But nothing in Acts 19 indicates conflict on P.’s part with the magistrates of Eph. (and Lk. habitually traces with care his relations with Roman authorities); it was the city-mob, instigated by the shrine-makers, which attacked him; before the riot he had been probably in danger of assassination from this quarter, as well as from “the Asian Jews,” who set upon him afterwards in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27 ff.). Bt[2452] observes the climax: κινδυνεύω, ἀποθνήσκω, θηριομαχῶ.

[2436] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2437] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[2438] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2439] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. 1 Corinthians 2:13-16.

[2440] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2441]ron. pronoun.

[2442] accusative case.

[2443] classical.

[2444] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[2445]
synonym, synonymous.

[2446] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2447] ad locum, on this passage.

[2448] difference, different, differently.

[2449] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2450] parallel.

[2451] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[2452] J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

1 Corinthians 15:32 b states in words of Scripture the desperation that ensues upon loss of faith in a future life: “If (the) dead are not raised (the Sadducean dogma repeated a sixth time), ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die!’ ” εἰ νεκροὶ κ.τ.λ. is rightly attached by the early Gr[2453] and most modern commentt. to the following clause. Paul is not drawing his own conclusion in these words, nor suggesting that the resurrection supplies the only motive against a sensual life; but he points out (cf. 33 f.) the patent fruit of the unbelief in question. This is just what men were saying on all sides; the words quoted voice the moral recklessness bred by loss of hope beyond death. Gr[2454] and Rom. literature teem with examples of this spirit (see Wis 2:6; Herod., ii., 78, Thuc., ii., 53, and other reff. furnished by Ed[2455] ad loc[2456]); indeed Paul’s O.T. citation might have served for the axiom of popular Epicureanism. Hn[2457] describes ancient drinking-cups, recently discovered, ornamented with skeleton figures wreathed in roses and named after famous philosophers, poets, and gourmands, with mottoes attached such as these: τὸ τέλος ἡδονή, τέρπε ζῶν σεαυτόν, σκηνὴ βίος, τοῦτʼ ἄνθρωπος (written over a skeleton holding a skull), ζῶν μετάλαβε τὸ γὰρ αὔριον ἄδηλόν ἐστιν. cf. our own miserable adage, “A short life and a merry one!”

[2453] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[2454]
Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[2455]
T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2456] ad locum, on this passage.

[2457] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).31. I protest by your rejoicing] The word here rendered rejoicing is translated boasting in Romans 3:27, and less correctly whereof I may glory in Romans 15:17. It may mean either (1) that St Paul boasted of the fruits of faith in his Corinthian converts, or better (2) that their boasting in Christ was also his by reason of their common indwelling in Jesus Christ, Whom he had been permitted to minister to them. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 3:3. He makes this asseveration, because it was to that daily death of his (ch. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13) that they owed their conversion.

I die daily] Cf. Romans 6:3-4; Romans 6:11; Romans 7:24; Romans 8:13; Romans 8:36; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:3; Colossians 3:5. The death of Christ was a death to sin, a death which must be imitated in His disciples by their putting all the sinful affections of their bodies to a lingering death. But such a task they would never be likely to undertake, but for the prospect of a Resurrection.1 Corinthians 15:31. Ἀποθνήσκω, I die) Not only by reason of the danger which was always set before him, 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 11:23, but also by a continual dying itself [mortification.] This agrees with the whole discourse.—νὴ τὴν ὑμετέραν καύχησιν,[140] ἣν ἔχω ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, by your glorying, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord) In swearing or making an asseveration, if a human being is appealed to, then that person is used, which is preferred as more worthy, and therefore sometimes the third, Genesis 42:15-16.—νὴ τὴν ὑγίειαν Φαραώ, by the health of Pharaoh; sometimes the first, 2 Samuel 3:35.—τάδε ποιήσαι μοι ὁ θεὸς καὶ τάδε προσθείη, God do so to me and more also: comp. ibid. 1 Corinthians 15:9., but generally the second, 1 Samuel 1:26, ζῇ ἡ ψυχή σου, may thy soul live: ibid. 1 Corinthians 3:17, τάδε ποιήσαι μοι ὁ θεὸς καὶ τάδε προσθέιη, God do so to thee, and more also. So Paul here appeals to the very enjoyable condition of the Corinthians, even as to spiritual life, in opposition to his own death, which he bore for [in order to give them] their glorying [rejoicing, Engl.] comp. 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 4:15; Php 1:26; Ephesians 3:13; and therefore he brings it forward to stir up the Corinthians themselves. They did not attend to this, who wrote ἡμετέραν for ὑμετέραν.[141] The first person indeed follows, ἣν ἔχω, but in the singular number; and ἫΝ is to be referred not to ὙΜΕΤΈΡΑΝ ΚΑΎΧΗΣΙΝ, but to ΚΑΎΧΗΣΙΝ; for so relatives are sometimes wont to be used, Galatians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:11; where that which is called circumcision is concrete, and there is added, however, in the flesh made by hands, which can only agree with the abstract, 1 Timothy 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul shows that it is not without good cause that he dies daily, but that he is a partaker of the glorying of the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 4:14.

[140] The vocative ἀδελφοὶ reckoned among the better readings in the margin of both Ed., and received by the Germ. Ver., is here thrown out.—E. B.

[141] Ὑμετέραν is the reading BD (Λ) Gfg Vulg. Ἡμετέραν is the reading of A, Orig. 2.710a.—ED.

Lachm. reads ἀδελφοὶ, with AB Vulg. But Tisch. omits it with D (Λ) Gfg Origen.—ED.Verse 31. - I protest. The particle of adjuration here used (νὴ) is found nowhere else in the New Testament. By your rejoicing. This is an erroneous translation. The words mean "by my glorying in you." St. Paul's one subject of earthly glory, his "hope, and joy, and crown of rejoicing," was the conversion of Churches (Romans 15:16, 17). In Christ Jesus our Lord. His boasting was not a worldly boasting, but was sanctifled by its reference to the work of Christ. I die daily. St. Paul "died daily" a double death - the ever deepening death unto sin and unto the world; and the daily death of sufferings borne for Christ's sake (see 2 Corinthians 4:10, 11). It is the latter to which he here alludes. "For thy sake are we killed all the day long" (Romans 8:36). I protest, etc.

I protest is not expressed, but merely implied, in the particle of adjuration, νὴ by. The order of the Greek is noteworthy. I die daily, by your rejoicing, etc.

Your rejoicing (τὴν ὑμέτεραν καύχησιν)

Rev., better, that glorying in you which I have. Paul would say: "You Corinthian Christians are the fruit of my apostolic labor which has been at a daily risk to life; and as truly as I can point to you as such fruit, so truly can I say, 'I die daily."'

I die daily

I am in constant peril of my life. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Romans 8:36. So Clytaemnestra: "I have no rest by night, nor can I snatch from the day a sweet moment of repose to enfold me; but Time, ever standing over me, was as a jailer who conducted me to death" (Sophocles, "Electra," 780, 781). And Philo: "And each day, nay, each hour, I die beforehand, enduring many deaths instead of one, the last."

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