1 Corinthians 15:15
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses.—Not mistaken witnesses, but witnesses testifying to what they know to be false. This is another result involved in a denial of the doctrine of the resurrection, that the Apostles must be regarded as false witnesses—not deceived, but deceivers. The suppressed part of the argument here is the absurdity of the Apostles being such. There was no motive for them to speak untruth.

If so be that the dead rise not.—Better, if the dead be not raised.

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.Yea, and we are found - We are; or we shall be proved to be. It will follow, if the Lord Jesus was not raised up, that we have been false witnesses.

Of God - Respecting God. It will be found that we have affirmed that which is not true of God; or have said that he has done that which he has not done. Nothing could be regarded as a greater crime than this, whatever might be the immediate subject under consideration. To bear false witness of a man, or to say that a man has done what he has not done, is regarded as a grievous crime. How much more so to bear false testimony of God!

Because we have testified of God - Or rather "against" God (κάτα τοῦ θεοῦ kata tou theou). Our evidence has been "against" him. We have affirmed that which is not true; and this is "against" God. It is implied here that it would be a "crime" to testify that God had raised up the Lord Jesus if he had not done it; or that it would be affirming that of God which would be "against" his character, or which it would be improper for him to do. This would be so:

(1) Because it would he wrong to bear any false witness of God, or to affirm that he had done what he had not done;

(2) Because "if" the Lord Jesus had not been raised up, it would prove that he was an "impostor," since he had declared that he would be raised up; and to affirm of God that he had raised up an impostor would be against him, and would be highly dishonorable to him.

If the dead rise not - If there is, and can be no resurrection. If this general proposition is true that there can be no resurrection, then it will apply to Christ as well as any others, and must prove that he did not rise. The "argument" in this verse is this:

(1) If it was denied that Christ was raised, it would prove that all the apostles were false witnesses of the worst character; false witnesses against God.

(2) this the apostle seems to have presumed they "could not" believe. They had had too many evidences that they spoke the truth; they had seen their uniform respect for God, and desire to bear witness of him and in his favor; they had had too conclusive evidence that they were inspired by him, and had the power of working miracles; they were too fully convinced of their honesty, truth, and piety, ever to believe that they could be false witnesses against God. They had had ample opportunity to know whether God did raise up the Lord Jesus; and they were witnesses who had no inducement to bear a false witness in the case.

15. testified of God—that is, concerning God. The rendering of others is, "against God" [Vulgate, Estius, Grotius]: the Greek preposition with the genitive implies, not direct antagonism (as the accusative would mean), but indirect to the dishonor of God. English Version is probably better.

if so be—as they assert. It is not right to tell untrue stories, though they are told and seem for the glory of God (Job 13:7).

Ver. 15,16. There is nothing in these two verses but what the apostle had before said, viz. That if Christ were not risen, the apostles’ preaching and the Corinthians’ believing were both of them vain and false. Only what the apostle, in the former verse, called preaching, he here calleth witnessing:

We are (saith he) false witnesses of God. To be false witnesses for men, or in the name of men, is against the ninth commandment, and a sin of no ordinary magnitude; but to be a false witness of God, is a much higher sin. This title of witnesses was at first given to the apostles by Christ, Acts 1:8; afterwards often (especially in the Acts) applied to them, Acts 1:22 2:32 4:33 5:32 10:39,41: particularly Paul applieth it to himself, Acts 22:15 26:16. It is true, the apostles, who either saw Christ while he was on earth after his resurrection, or in heaven, as Paul did, Acts 9:1-43, were in the strictest sense eye witnesses; but yet in a larger sense this notion agreeth to all ministers, who testify, upon the hearing of the ears, and upon reading the Scriptures, the same thing which the apostles testified, though not upon the same evidence. Now to aifirm a thing, as from God, for truth, which is in itself false, is a very high transgression; which (saith the apostle) we must be guilty of, if Christ be not raised; and

if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God,.... The apostles were chosen to be witnesses of the resurrection of Christ; he appeared to them, and was seen by them for this purpose; and they were sent into all the world, to bear their testimony to this truth, which they accordingly did: now if Christ is not risen, they have bore a false testimony; and what greater scandal, or a more odious character can be fixed upon a man, than to be a false witness? but God forbid that such an imputation should be fastened upon the holy apostles of Christ, who cannot be thought to have any sinister end in publishing such a falsehood; who were sure on account of declaring it, and abiding by it, to meet with nothing but hatred, reproach, persecution, poverty, and death; but this is not all, nor the worst; for if they are false witnesses, they are false witnesses of God; they are of his suborning; he selected them as witnesses; he must put this lie into their mouths, and send them into the world under his authority to publish it; than which to say nothing can be thought of more blasphemous and execrable; and yet this must follow, upon a denial of the resurrection of Christ:

because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ, whom he raised not up, if so be the dead rise not; it may be read, "we have testified against God", as the Vulgate Latin does; for as it must be bringing a false testimony from God, so it must be bearing a false testimony against him, to say that he raised Christ from the dead, when he is not risen; which must be the case, if there is no resurrection of the dead.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:15. We should not, with Lachmann, place only a comma after 1 Corinthians 15:14; for 1 Corinthians 15:15 carries independently its full confirmation with it, and its awful thought comes out all the more impressively, when taken independently of what precedes it. The emphasis of the verse lies in the God-dishonouring ψευδομάρτ. τοῦ θεοῦ. In this phrase τοῦ θεοῦ must, in conformity with what follows, be genitivus objecti (not subjecti, as Billroth would make it: “false witnesses, whom God has,” comp. Osiander, et al.): persons who have testified what is false against God.

κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ] is not to be taken, with Erasmus, Beza, Wolf, Raphel, de Wette, and others, as in respect to God, of God (Schaefer, ad Dem. I. p. 412 f.; Valck. ad Phoen. 821; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 272); for the context requires the reference to be as much in opposition to God as possible, and hence requires the sense: against, adversus (Vulgate). Comp. Matthew 26:59; Matthew 26:62; Matthew 27:13; Mark 14:56; Mark 14:60; Mark 15:4, al.; Xen. Apol. 13 : οὐ ψεύδομαι κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, Plato, Gorg. p. 472 B. Every consciously false giving of testimony that God has done something, is testimony against God, because an abuse of His name and injury to His holines.

ὃν οὐκ ἤγειρεν, εἴπερ ἄρα κ.τ.λ.] whom He has not raised, if really thus (as is asserted) dead persons are not raised. Regarding εἰ ἄρα and εἴπερ ἄρα, see Klotz, l.c. pp. 178, 528. Observe here (1) the identity of the category, in which Paul places the resurrection of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead; (2) the sacredness of the apostolic testimony for the former; (3) the fanatical self-deception, to which he would have been a victim, if the appearances of the Risen One had been psychological hallucinations, so that the whole transformation of Saul into Paul—nay, his whole Gospel—would rest upon this self-deception, and this self-deception upon a mental weakness which would be totally irreconcilable with his otherwise well-known strength and acuteness of intellect.

15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses] Not only is our authoritative proclamation of Christ’s Resurrection useless, but it is even false, though it has been made from the beginning. See Acts 1:22; Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 3:21; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30; Acts 13:33-34, &c. Dean Stanley reminds us that this Epistle was written within twenty-five years of the event to which it refers with such unhesitating confidence. Yet that event is not merely affirmed, but is actually made the foundation of the Apostle’s whole argument. “There is a certain instinct within us generally which enables us to detect when a man is speaking the truth.… Truth, so to speak, has a certain ring by which it may be known. Now, this chapter rings with truth.” Robertson. It certainly has not the appearance of having been written by a man who was endeavouring to persuade others of what he did not believe himself.

of God] i.e. concerning Him, but the genitive (which is here found in the original) implies also that they had claimed to be God’s special ministers and witnesses.

1 Corinthians 15:15. ψευδομάρτυρες, false witnesses) It is not lawful to declare concerning God what is not so; although it may seem to give glory to Him. False witnesses are, for instance, traders, who, for the sake of their gain, give fictitious accounts of earthquakes, inundations, and other great calamities, which have happened in distant countries, and lead souls otherwise not too credulous to thoughts and conversations concerning divine judgments, good in the proposition (thesis), but erroneous in the supposition (hypothesis) on which the proposition rests.

Verse 15. - We are found. The word means, "we are proved to be," convicted of being false witnesses. False witnesses of God; i.e. concerning God. St. Paul does not shrink from the issue. It is not one - it could not be one - between truth and mistake, but between truth and falsehood. We have testified of God that he raised up Christ; rather, the Christ. "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:32; Acts 4:33; Acts 13:30). 1 Corinthians 15:15
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