1 Corinthians 15:12
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) If Christ be preached that he rose from the dead.—Better, is being preached. It has been proved as a matter of historical fact that a man has risen from the dead; it is therefore illogical to say that there is no resurrection of the dead.

15:12-19 Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind, especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in the times of the sharpest persecution.Now if Christ ... - Paul, having 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 stated the direct evidence for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, proceeds here to demonstrate that the dead would rise, by showing how it followed from the fact that the Lord Jesus had risen, and by showing what consequences would follow from denying it. The whole argument is based on the fact that the Lord Jesus had risen. If that was admitted, he shows that it must follow that his people would also rise.

Be preached - The word "preached" here seems to include the idea of so preaching as to be believed; or so as to demonstrate that he did rise. If this was the doctrine on which the church was based, that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, how could the resurrection of the dead be denied?

How say - How can any say; how can it be maintained?

Some among you - See the introduction to 1 Corinthians 15. Who these were is unknown. They may have been some of the philosophic Greeks, who spurned the doctrine of the resurrection (see Acts 17:32); or they may have been some followers of Sadducean teachers; or it may be that the Gnostic philosophy had corrupted them. It is most probable, I think, that the denial of the resurrection was the result of reasoning after the manner of the Greeks, and the effect of the introduction of philosophy into the church. This has been the fruitful source of most of the errors which have been introduced into the church.

That there is no resurrection of the dead - That the dead cannot rise. How can it be held that there can be no resurrection, while yet it is admitted that Christ rose? The argument here is twofold:

(1) That Christ rose was one "instance" of a fact which demonstrated that there "had been" a resurrection, and of course that it was possible.

(2) that such was the connection between Christ and his people that the admission of this fact involved also the doctrine that all his people would also rise. This argument Paul states at length in the following verses. It was probably held by them that the resurrection was "impossible." To all this, Paul answers in accordance with the principles of inductive philosophy as now understood, by demonstrating A fact, and showing that such an event had occurred, and that consequently all the difficulties were met. Facts are unanswerable demonstrations; and when a fact is established, all the obstacles and difficulties in the way must be admitted to be overcome. So philosophers now reason; and Paul, in accordance with these just principles, labored simply to establish the fact that one had been raised, and thus met at once all the objections which could be urged against the doctrine. It would have been most in accordance with the philosophy of the Greeks to have gone into a metaphysical discussion to show that it was not impossible or absurd, and this might have been done. It was most in accordance with the principles of true philosophy, however, to establish the fact at once, and to argue from that, and thus to meet all the difficulties at once. The doctrine of the resurrection, therefore, does not rest on a metaphysical subtilty; it does not depend on human reasoning; it does not depend on analogy; it rests just as the sciences of astronomy, chemistry, anatomy, botany, and natural philosophy do, "on well ascertained facts;" and it is now a well understood principle of all true science that no difficulty, no obstacle, no metaphysical subtilty; no embarrassment about being able to see how it is, is to be allowed to destroy the conviction in the mind which the facts are suited to produce.

12. if—Seeing that it is an admitted fact that Christ is announced by us eye-witnesses as having risen from the dead, how is it that some of you deny that which is a necessary consequence of Christ's resurrection, namely, the general resurrection?

some—Gentile reasoners (Ac 17:32; 26:8) who would not believe it because they did not see "how" it could be (1Co 15:35, 36).

The apostle having laid a good foundation, proving the resurrection of Christ by a plentiful testimony of those who saw him after that he was risen from the dead; and minded them, that this was the doctrine of the gospel, which both they and all the rest of the apostles had with one consent preached to them; he comes to build upon it, and from this, as a main argument, to prove, that there must needs be a resurrection from the dead; and beginneth with a reflection upon some in that church who denied it. Who those were we are not told: some think they were Hymeneus and Philetus, mentioned 2 Timothy 2:17,18, who held that the resurrection was past; others think he reflects on Cerinthus, who was one of the leaders of those heretics we read of, who after Simon Magus denied the resurrection others think they were some of the Sadducees, of whom we read in the Acts, that they denied the resurrection, or some of the Pharisees, who denied the resurrection of Christians, looking on them as apostates; others think they were some who had been tinctured, at least, with the doctrine of the pagan philosophers. We cannot certainly determine who, but certain it is some there were; and the apostle argues them in this thing to assert absurdly, upon this supposition, that Christ was risen. Now if Christ be preached that he arose from the dead,.... As he was by the Apostle Paul, when at Corinth, and by all the rest of the apostles elsewhere.

How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? Who these were is not certain, whether Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose notion this was, were come hither, or any of their disciples; or whether they were some of the followers of Simon Magus and Cerinthus, who denied the resurrection; or rather, whether they were not Jews, and of the sect of the Sadducees, who though they believed in Christ, retained their old principle, that there is no resurrection of the dead, cannot be affirmed: however, it is certain that they were such as were then at Corinth, and went under the Christian name; and it is highly probable were members of the church there; and who not only held this notion privately, but broached it publicly, saying, declaring, affirming, and that openly, before the whole church, what were their opinions and sentiments: it was indeed but some of them, not all that were chargeable with this bad principle, which the apostle asks how, and with what face they could assert, then it had been preached, and so fully proved to them, that Christ was risen from the dead; and if so, then it is out of question that there is a resurrection of the dead; for their notion, as it is here expressed, was not only that there would be no resurrection of the dead, but that there was none, nor had been any: though the apostle's view is also to prove the future resurrection of the dead, and which is done by proving the resurrection of Christ, for his resurrection involves that of his people; for not only the saints rose in, and with Christ, as their head representatively, and which is the sense of the prophecy in Hosea 6:2 but because he is their head, and they are members of him, therefore as sure as he the head is risen, so sure shall the members rise likewise; nor will Christ's resurrection, in a sense, be perfect, until all the members of his body are risen: for though the resurrection of Christ, personally considered, is perfect, yet not as mystically considered; nor will it till all the saints are raised, of whose resurrection Christ's is the exemplar and the pledge: their bodies will be raised and fashioned like unto Christ's, and by virtue of union to him, and as sure as he is risen, for he is the firstfruits of them that slept. Besides, as he became incarnate, obeyed, suffered, not for himself, but for his people, so he rose again on their account, and that they dying might rise also; which if they should not, one end at least of Christ's resurrection would not be answered: add to this, that the same power that raised Christ from the dead, can raise others, even all the saints; so that if it is allowed that Christ is raised, it need not be thought incredible that all the dead shall be raised; and particularly when it is observed, that Christ is the efficient, procuring, and meritorious cause of the resurrection from the dead, as well as the pattern and earnest of it.

{3} Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

(3) The first argument to prove that there is a resurrection from the dead: Christ is risen again, therefore the dead will rise again.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:12. In what a contrast, however, with this preaching stands the assertion of certain persons among you that, etc. ! Χριστός has the main emphasis in the protasis; hence its positio.

πῶς] expression of astonishment; how is yet possible, that; 1 Corinthians 14:7; 1 Corinthians 14:16; Romans 3:6; Romans 6:2; Romans 8:32; Romans 10:14; Galatians 2:14 The logical justice of the astonishment rests on this, that the assertion, “there is no resurrection of dead persons,” denies also per consequentiam the resurrection of Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:13.

τινές] quidam, quos nominare nolo. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 731, also Schoemann, ad Is. p. 250. See, besides, introduction to the chapter. Ἐν ὑμῖν is simply in your church, without any emphasis of contradistinction to non-Christians (Krauss).

οὐκ ἔστιν] does not take place, there is not. Comp. Ephesians 6:9; Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8. Comp. also Plato, Phaed. p. 71 E: εἴπερ ἔστι τὸ ἀναβιώσκεσθαι, Aesch. Eum 639: ἅπαξ θανόντος οὔτις ἐστʼ ἀνάστασις.1 Corinthians 15:12-19. § 51. IF CHRIST IS NOT RISEN? Paul has intrenched his own position; he advances to demolish that of his opponents. His negative demonstration, taking the form of a destructive hypothetical syllogism, has two branches: he deduces (a), in 1 Corinthians 15:13-15, from the (supposed) non-existence of the fact of resurrection, the falsity of the faith (κενὴ ἡ πίστις) accorded to it, and of the witnesses attesting it; (b), in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, from the non-existence of the fact, the unreality of the effects derived from it (ματαία ἡ πίστις). Are the sceptics at Cor[2296] prepared to affirm that the App. are liars? and that the new life and hopes of their fellow-Christians are an illusion? In arguing these two points, P. presses on the impugners twice over (1 Corinthians 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:16), that their general denial logically and in principle excludes Christ’s resurrection.

[2296] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.12. how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?] There were three different schools of thought among those outside the Christian Church which denied the doctrine of the Resurrection from the dead. The first was the materialistic school, represented by the Epicureans among the heathen and by the Sadducees among the Jews. They thought that man would entirely cease to exist after death, and that any other idea was only the result of man’s vanity and his insatiable longing after existence. The second, in which the Stoics were the most prominent body, taught, what amounted to the same thing, the Pantheistic doctrine of the ultimate reabsorption of the soul into the Divinity from which it had sprung, and therefore the final extinction of the individual personality. The third school, of which the disciples of Plato were the chief representatives, while maintaining the eternal personality and immortality of the soul, regarded matter as the cause of all evil, the only barrier between the soul and the Absolute Good, a thing, in fact, essentially and eternally alien to the Divine, and therefore could not conceive of immortality except through the entire freedom of the soul from so malignant and corrupting an influence. Hence the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body was the principal stumbling-block in the way of an early reception of Christianity. It aroused the antagonism of an influential section among the Jews (Acts 4:1-2; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6-9), and was considered by heathen philosophers inadmissible and absurd (Acts 17:32). This doctrine for many centuries has proved the principal hindrance to the progress of Christianity. It produced the numerous Gnostic sects, which were willing to accept the doctrine of eternal life through Christ, so long as it was not encumbered by the necessity of believing in the resurrection of the body. The Manichaeans and their followers maintained for many centuries a conflict with the Christian Church, mainly on this point, and were able for many years to boast of so distinguished a convert as St Augustine, who describes them, after his return to the Church, as holding that “Christ came to deliver not bodies but souls.” De Haer. 46. For information concerning the tenets of the heathen philosophers on this point, the student may consult Archer Butler’s Lectures on Philosophy; for the early Christian heretics, Neander and Gieseler’s Church Histories, and Mansel’s Gnostic Heresies, and for both Ueberweg’s History of Philosophy,1 Corinthians 15:12. Εἰ) if [since], an affirmative particle.—πῶς, how) The connection between the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the resurrection of the dead was extremely manifest to Paul. Those, indeed, who held a resurrection in general as a thing impossible, could not believe even in the resurrection of Christ.—τινὲς) some, no doubt, of the Gentiles, Acts 17:32.Verses 12-19. - The resurrection of Christ is the basis of our faith in the general resurrection. Verse 12. - Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead. St. Paul sees that if One has risen from the dead, the fact of that miracle, taken in connection with the rest of the gospel, furnishes Christians with a sufficient proof that they shall rise. "For," he had already said to the Thessalonians, "if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him" (see the same argument in Romans 8:11). That there is no resurrection of the dead. These deniers of the resurrection are usually called "the Corinthian Sadducees." After the state of social and moral laxity of which we have been reading, we can scarcely be surprised at the existence of any disorder or anomaly in the Church of Corinth. Yet it comes with something of a shock on our paralyzed sense of astonishment to read that some of these Christians actually denied a resurrection! The fact at once proves two remarkable truths, namely,

(1) that the early Christian Church had none of the ideal purity of doctrine which is sometimes ecclesiastically attributed to it; and

(2) that there was in the bosom of that Church a wide and most forbearing tolerance. We have no data to enable us to determine what were the influences which led to the denial of the resurrection.

1. They can hardly have been Jewish. The mass of Jews at this time shared the views of the Pharisees, who strongly maintained the resurrection (Acts 23:6). If they were Jews at all, they could only have been Sadducees or Essenes. But

(1) the Sadducees were a small, wealthy, and mainly political sect, who had no religious influence, and can certainly have had no representatives at Corinth; and

(2) the Essenes, though they had considerable influence in Asia, do not seem to have established themselves in Greece, nor are we aware that they were hostile to the doctrine of the resurrection.

2. Probably, then, they were Gentiles. If so, they may have been

(1) either Epicureans, who disbelieved in a future life altogether; or

(2) Stoics, who held that the future life was only an impersonal absorption into the Divine. Both these schools of philosophers "jeered" at the very notion of a bodily resurrection (Acts 17:32). In 2 Timothy 2:18 we read of some, like Hymenaeus and Philetus, who erred, saying "that the resurrection was past already." These teachers were incipient Gnostics, who spiritualized the resurrection, or rather said that the term was only applicable to the rising from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. The Corinthian doubters seem from the arguments which St. Paul addresses to them, to have been rather troubled with material doubts which they may have inherited from their Gentile training. There is no resurrection

Compare Aeschylus: "But who can recall by charms a man's dark blood shed in death, when once it has fallen to the ground at his feet? Had this been lawful, Zeus would not have stopped him who knew the right way to restore men from the dead" ("Agamemnon," 987-992).

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