1 Corinthians 15:29
New International Version
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

New Living Translation
If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again?

English Standard Version
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

Berean Study Bible
If these things are not so, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

Berean Literal Bible
Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why also are they baptized for them?

King James Bible
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

New King James Version
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?

New American Standard Bible
For otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

NASB 1995
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

NASB 1977
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

Amplified Bible
Otherwise, what will those do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people even baptized for them?

Christian Standard Bible
Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?

American Standard Version
Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Otherwise, what shall those do who are baptized for the sake of the dead, if the dead do not live again? Why are they baptized for the sake of the dead?

Contemporary English Version
If the dead are not going to be raised to life, what will people do who are being baptized for them? Why are they being baptized for those dead people?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Otherwise what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not again at all? why are they then baptized for them?

English Revised Version
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

Good News Translation
Now, what about those people who are baptized for the dead? What do they hope to accomplish? If it is true, as some claim, that the dead are not raised to life, why are those people being baptized for the dead?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
However, people are baptized because the dead [will come back to life]. What will they do? If the dead can't come back to life, why do people get baptized as if they can [come back to life]?

International Standard Version
Otherwise, what will those people do who are being baptized because of those who have died? If the dead are not raised at all, why are they being baptized because of them?

Literal Standard Version
Seeing what will they do who are immersed for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why are they also immersed for the dead?

NET Bible
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they baptized for them?

New Heart English Bible
Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

Weymouth New Testament
Otherwise what will become of those who got themselves baptized for the dead? If the dead do not rise at all, why are these baptized for them?

World English Bible
Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren't raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead?

Young's Literal Translation
Seeing what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? why also are they baptized for the dead?

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Order of Resurrection
28And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all. 29If these things are not so, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30And why do we endanger ourselves every hour?…

Cross References
Matthew 3:6
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

1 Corinthians 15:28
And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 15:30
And why do we endanger ourselves every hour?


Treasury of Scripture

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

what.

1 Corinthians 15:16,32
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: …

Romans 6:3,4
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? …

Matthew 20:22
But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.









(29) Else.--We can well imagine the Apostle pausing, as it were, to take breath after the splendid outburst of mingled rhetoric and logic which we find in 1Corinthians 15:23-28; or perhaps even postponing until some other day the further dictation of his Epistle, when he could calmly resume his purely logical argument in favour of the doctrine of the Resurrection. Then there will not appear such a startling or inexplicable abruptness in the words with which this new argument is commenced. "Else"--i.e., if there be no resurrection--what shall they who are baptised for the dead do? If the dead be not raised at all, why are they then baptised for the dead? Such is the proper punctuation, and not as in the English version, which joins the clause, "if the dead rise not," with the preceding instead of with the following portion of the verse. Also the word translated "rise," is "are raised." This is an argumentum ad hominem. The practice known as baptism for the dead was absurd if there be no resurrection. To practise it and to deny the doctrine of the resurrection was illogical. What shall they do? i.e., What explanation shall they give of their conduct? asks the Apostle. There have been numerous and ingenious conjectures as to the meaning of this passage. The only tenable interpretation is that there existed amongst some of the Christians at Corinth a practice of baptising a living person in the stead of some convert who had died before that sacrament had been administered to him. Such a practice existed amongst the Marcionites in the second century, and still earlier amongst a sect called the Corinthians. The idea evidently was that whatever benefit flowed from baptism might be thus vicariously secured for the deceased Christian. St. Chrysostom gives the following description of it:--"After a catechumen (i.e., one prepared for baptism, but not actually baptised) was dead, they hid a living man under the bed of the deceased; then coming to the bed of the dead man they spake to him, and asked whether he would receive baptism, and he making no answer, the other replied in his stead, and so they baptised the 'living for the dead.'" Does St. Paul then, by what he here says, sanction the superstitious practice? Certainly not. He carefully separates himself and the Corinthians, to whom he immediately addresses himself, from those who adopted this custom. He no longer uses the first or second person; it is "they" throughout this passage. It is no proof to others; it is simply the argumentum ad hominem. Those who do that, and disbelieve a resurrection, refute themselves. This custom possibly sprang up amongst the Jewish converts, who had been accustomed to something similar in their own faith. If a Jew died without having been purified from some ceremonial uncleanness, some living person had the necessary ablution performed on them, and the dead were so accounted clean.

Verses 29-34. - Arguments from the practices and lives of Christians. The three arguments used in these verses are: If there be no resurrection:

1. Why do some of you get yourselves baptized on behalf of your dead friends?

2. Why do we face lives of daily peril?

3. How would it be otherwise possible to resist Epicurean views of life? Verse 29. - Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, etc.? This clause can have but one meaning, and that its obvious one, namely, that, among the many strange opinions and practices which then prevailed, was one which was entirely un-warranted-but which St. Paul does not here stop to examine - of persons getting themselves baptized as it were by proxy for others who had died. Doubtless some of the deaths alluded to in 1 Corinthians 11:30 had happened to persons who had been cut off before they were actually baptized; and their friends had as it were gone through the rite in their stead, in the hope of extending to them some of its benefits. It is argued that St. Paul could not possibly mention such a practice without reprobation; but that is an a priori assumption not warranted by St. Paul's methods (see 1 Corinthians 10:8; 1 Corinthians 11:6). He always confines his attention to the question immediately before him, and his present object is merely to urge a passing argumentum ad hominem. There is nothing at all surprising in the existence of such an abuse in the medley of wild opinions and wild practices observable in this disorganized Church. It accords with the known tendency of later times to postpone baptism, as a rite which was supposed to work as a charm. We also find that the actual practice of baptism on behalf of the dead lingered on among Corinthians (Epiph., 'Haer.,' 28:7) and Marcionites (Tertullian, 'De Resurrect.,' 48; 'Adv. Marc.,' 5:10). Tertullian accepts the words in their obvious sense in his 'De Praeser. Haer.,' 48, but accepts the absurdity of "the dead" meaning "the body" ("pro mortuis tingui est pro corporibus tingui") in his book against Marcion (5:10). St. Chrysostom tells us further that the proxy who was to be baptized used to be concealed under the bier of the dead man, who was supposed to answer in his name that he desired to be baptized. How perfectly natural the custom was may be seen from the fact that among the Jews also a man dying under ceremonial pollution was cleansed by proxy. The "interpretations" of this verse are so numerous that it is not even possible to give a catalogue of them. Many of them are not worth recording, and are only worth alluding to at all as specimens of the wilful bias which goes to Scripture, not to seek truth, but to support tradition. They are mostly futile and fantastic, because they pervert the plain meaning of the plain words. It is a waste of time and space to give perpetuity to baseless fancies. Such are the notions that "for the dead" can mean "for our mortal bodies" (Chrysostom); or "for those about to die" (Estius, Calvin, etc.); or "over (the sepulchres of) the dead" (Luther); or "to supply the vacancies left by the dead" (Le Clerc, etc.). Equally unwarrantable are the "explanations" (?) which make those who are being "baptized" mean those who are "passing through a baptism of suffering" (!). Not a single argument which is worth a moment's consideration can be urged in favour of any one of these, or scores of similar views. If we are to get rid of everything that is surprising on the ground that it is "immensely improbable," we may as well discard Scripture at once, and reconstruct early Christian history out of our own consciousness. It has been very usual to represent it as we think that it ought to have been, and not as it was. The disuse of this vicarious baptism among orthodox Christians may have been due to the discouragement of it by St. Paul when he went to Corinth, and "set in order" various erroneous customs (1 Corinthians 11:34).

Parallel Commentaries ...


Greek
If [these things are] not so,
Ἐπεὶ (Epei)
Conjunction
Strong's 1893: Of time: when, after; of cause: since, because; otherwise: else. From epi and ei; thereupon, i.e. Since.

what
τί (ti)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's 5101: Who, which, what, why. Probably emphatic of tis; an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what.

will those do
ποιήσουσιν (poiēsousin)
Verb - Future Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 4160: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

who
οἱ (hoi)
Article - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

are baptized
βαπτιζόμενοι (baptizomenoi)
Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's 907: Lit: I dip, submerge, but specifically of ceremonial dipping; I baptize.

for
ὑπὲρ (hyper)
Preposition
Strong's 5228: Gen: in behalf of; acc: above.

the
τῶν (tōn)
Article - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

dead?
νεκρῶν (nekrōn)
Adjective - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's 3498: (a) adj: dead, lifeless, subject to death, mortal, (b) noun: a dead body, a corpse. From an apparently primary nekus; dead.

If
εἰ (ei)
Conjunction
Strong's 1487: If. A primary particle of conditionality; if, whether, that, etc.

[the] dead
νεκροὶ (nekroi)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's 3498: (a) adj: dead, lifeless, subject to death, mortal, (b) noun: a dead body, a corpse. From an apparently primary nekus; dead.

are not raised
ἐγείρονται (egeirontai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 1453: (a) I wake, arouse, (b) I raise up. Probably akin to the base of agora; to waken, i.e. Rouse.

at all,
ὅλως (holōs)
Adverb
Strong's 3654: Adverb from holos; completely, i.e. Altogether;, everywhere; not by any means.

why
τί (ti)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's 5101: Who, which, what, why. Probably emphatic of tis; an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what.

are [people] baptized
βαπτίζονται (baptizontai)
Verb - Present Indicative Middle or Passive - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 907: Lit: I dip, submerge, but specifically of ceremonial dipping; I baptize.

for
ὑπὲρ (hyper)
Preposition
Strong's 5228: Gen: in behalf of; acc: above.

them?
αὐτῶν (autōn)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.


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NT Letters: 1 Corinthians 15:29 Or else what will they do who (1 Cor. 1C iC 1Cor i cor icor)
1 Corinthians 15:28
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