1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
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(3) For I delivered . . .—Here follows the explanation and illustration of what he meant, in 1Corinthians 15:2, by “with what word I preached the gospel.” We see here what the subject of apostolic teaching was—not indeed all the gospel that the Apostle taught, but what he considered of the first importance, and therefore put in the forefront of his teaching—viz., the historical fact of Christ’s death for our sins, His burial, His resurrection. This was the first Creed of Christendom.

For our sins.—Not only because of, but in behalf of our sins, in order to take them away (Galatians 1:4; 1Peter 2:24; 1John 3:5). The fact of the Atonement was not something evolved by the Apostle’s own consciousness, but a fact revealed to him by Christ. (See 1Corinthians 11:23, and Note there.)

1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 15:3 - 1 Corinthians 15:4

Christmas day is probably not the true anniversary of the Nativity, but Easter is certainly that of the Resurrection. The season is appropriate. In the climate of Palestine the first fruits of the harvest were ready at the Passover for presentation in the Temple. It was an agricultural as well as a historical festival; and the connection between that aspect of the feast and the Resurrection of our Lord is in the Apostle’s mind when he says, in a subsequent part of this chapter, that Christ is ‘risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.’

In our colder climate the season is no less appropriate. The ‘life re-orient out of dust’ which shows itself to-day in every bursting leaf-bud and springing flower is Nature’s parable of the spring that awaits man after the winter of death. No doubt, apart from the Resurrection of Jesus, the yearly miracle kindles sad thoughts in mourning hearts, and suggests bitter contrasts to those who sorrow, having no hope, but the grave in the garden has turned every blossom into a smiling prophet of the Resurrection.

And so the season, illuminated by the event, teaches us lessons of hope that ‘we shall not all die.’ Let us turn, then, to the thoughts naturally suggested by the day, and the great fact which it brings to each mind, and confirmed thereafter by the miracle that is being wrought round about us.

I. First, then, in my text, I would have you note the facts of Paul’s gospel.

‘First of all . . . I delivered’ these things. And the ‘first’ not only points to the order of time in the proclamation, but to the order of importance as well. For these initial facts are the fundamental facts, on which all that may follow thereafter is certainly built. Now the first thing that strikes me here is that, whatever else the system unfolded in the New Testament is, it is to begin with a simple record of historical fact. It becomes a philosophy, it becomes a religious system; it is a revelation of God; it is an unveiling of man; it is a body of ethical precepts. It is morals and philosophy and religion all in one; but it is first of all a story of something that took place in the world.

If that be so, there is a lesson for men whose work it is to preach it. Let them never forget that their business is to insist upon the truth of these great, supernatural, all-important, and fundamental facts, the death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They must evolve all the deep meanings that lie in them; and the deeper they dig for their meanings the better. They must open out the endless treasures of consolation and enforce the omnipotent motives of action which are wrapped up in the facts; but howsoever far they may carry their evolving and their application of them, they will neither be faithful to their Lord nor true stewards of their message unless, clear above all other aspects of their work, and underlying all other forms of their ministry, there be the unfaltering proclamation-’first of all,’ midst of all, last of all-’how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,’ and ‘that He was raised again according to the Scriptures.’

Note, too, how this fundamental and original character of the gospel which Paul preached, as a record of facts, makes short work of a great deal that calls itself ‘liberal Christianity’ in these days. We are told that it is quite possible to be a very good Christian man, and reject the supernatural, and turn away with incredulity from the story of the Resurrection. It may be so, but I confess that it puzzles me to understand how, if the fundamental character of Christian teaching be the proclamation of certain facts, a man who does not believe those facts has the right to call himself a Christian.

Note, further, how there is an element of explanation involved in the proclamation of the facts which turns them into a gospel. Mark how ‘that Christ died,’ not Jesus. It is a great truth, that the man, our Brother, Jesus, passed through the common lot, but that is not what Paul says here, though he often says it. What he says is that ‘Christ died.’ Christ is the name of an office, into which is condensed a whole system of truth, declaring that it is He who is the Apex, the Seal, and ultimate Word of all divine revelation. It was the Christ who died; unless it was so, the death of Jesus is no gospel.

‘He died for our sins.’ Now, if the Apostle had only said ‘He died for us,’ that might conceivably have meant that, in a multitude of different ways of example, appeal to our pity and compassion and the like, His death was of use to mankind. But when he says ‘He died for our sins,’ I take leave to think that that expression has no meaning, unless it means that He died as the expiation and sacrifice for men’s sins. I ask you, in what intelligible sense could Christ ‘die for our sins’ unless He died as bearing their punishment and as bearing it for us? And then, finally, ‘He died and rose . . . according to the Scriptures,’ and so fulfilled the divine purposes revealed from of old.

To the fact that a man was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem, ‘and rose again the third day,’ which is the narrative, there are added these three things-the dignity of the Person, the purpose of His death, the fulfilment of the divine intention manifested from of old. And these three things, as I said, turn the narrative into a Gospel.

So, brethren, let us remember that, without all three of them, the death of Jesus Christ is nothing to us, any more than the death of thousands of sweet and saintly men in the past has been, who may have seen a little more of the supreme goodness and greatness than their fellows, and tried in vain to make purblind eyes participate in their vision. Do you think that these twelve fishermen would ever have shaken the world if they had gone out with the story of the Cross, unless they had carried along with it the commentary which is included in the words which I have emphasised? And do you suppose that the type of Christianity which slurs over the explanation, and so does not know what to do with the facts, will ever do much in the world, or will ever touch men? Let us liberalise our Christianity by all means, but do not let us evaporate it; and evaporate it we surely shall if we falter in saying with Paul, ‘I declare, first of all, that which received,’ how that the death and resurrection were the death and resurrection of the Christ, ‘for our sins, according to the Scriptures.’ These are the facts which make Paul’s gospel.

II. Now I ask you to look, in the second place, at what establishes the facts.

We have here, in this chapter, a statement very much older than our existing written gospels. This epistle is one of the four letters of Paul which nobody that I know of-with some quite insignificant exceptions in modern times-has ever ventured to dispute. It is admittedly the writing of the Apostle, written before the gospels, and in all probability within five-and-twenty years of the date of the Crucifixion. And what do we find alleged by it as the state of things at its date? That the belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the subject of universal Christian teaching, and was accepted by all the Christian communities. Its evidence to that fact is undeniable; because there was in the early Christian Church a very formidable and large body of bitter antagonists of Paul’s, who would have been only too glad to have convicted him, if they could, of any misrepresentation of the usual notions, or divergence from the usual type of teaching. So we may take it as undeniable that the representation of this chapter is historically true; and that within five-and-twenty years of the death of Jesus Christ every Christian community and every Christian teacher believed in and proclaimed the fact of the Resurrection.

But if that be so, we necessarily are carried a great deal nearer the Cross than five-and-twenty years; and, in fact, there is not, between the moment when Paul penned these words and the day of Pentecost, a single chink in the history where you can insert such a tremendous innovation as the full-fledged belief in a resurrection coming in as something new.

I do not need to dwell at all upon this other thought, that, unless the belief that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead originated at the time of His death, there would never have been a Church at all. Why was it that they did not tumble to pieces? Take the nave out of the wheel and what becomes of the spokes? A dead Christ could never have been the basis of a living Church. If He had not risen from the dead, the story of His disciples would have been the same as that which Gamaliel told the Sanhedrim was the story of all former pseudo-Messiahs such as that man Theudas. ‘He was slain, and as many as followed him were dispersed and came to naught.’ Of course! The existence of the Church demands, as a pre-requisite, the initial belief in the Resurrection. I think, then, that the contemporaneousness of the evidence is sufficiently established.

What about its good faith? I suppose that nobody, nowadays, doubts the veracity of these witnesses. Anybody that knows an honest man when he sees him, anybody that has the least ear for the tone of sincerity and the accent of conviction, must say that they may have been fanatics, they may have been mistaken, but one thing is clear as sunlight, they were not false witnesses for God.

What, then, about their competency? Their simplicity, their ignorance, their slowness to believe, their stupor of surprise when the fact first dawned upon them, which they tell not with any idea of manufacturing evidence in their own favour, but simply as a piece of history, all tend to make us certain that there was no play of a morbid imagination, no hysterical turning of a wish into a fact, on the part of these men. The sort of things which they say that they saw and experienced are such as to make any such supposition altogether absurd. There are long conversations, appearances appealing to more than one sense, appearances followed by withdrawals, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening, sometimes at a distance, as on the mountain, sometimes close by, as in the chamber, to single souls and to multitudes. Fancy five hundred people all at once smitten with the same mistake, imagining that they saw what they did not see! Miracles may be difficult to believe, they are not half so difficult to believe as absurdities. And this modern explanation of the faith in the Resurrection I venture respectfully to designate as absurd.

But there is one other point to which I would like to turn for a moment; and that is that little clause in my text that ‘He was buried.’ Why does Paul introduce that amongst his facts? Possibly in order to affirm the reality of Christ’s death; but I think for another reason. If it be true that Jesus Christ was laid in that sepulchre, a stone’s throw outside the city gate, do you not see what a difficulty that fact puts in the way of disbelief or denial of His Resurrection? If the grave-and it was not a grave, remember, like ours, but a cave, with a stone at the door of it, that anybody could roll away for entrance-if the grave was there, why, in the name of common-sense, did not the rulers put an end to the pestilent heresy by saying, ‘Let us go and see if the body is there’ ?

Modern deniers of the Resurrection may fairly be asked to front this thought-If Jesus Christ’s body was in the sepulchre, how was it possible for belief in the Resurrection to have been originated, or maintained? If His body was not in the grave, what had become of it? If His friends stole it away then they were deceivers of the worst type in preaching a resurrection; and we have already seen that that hypothesis is ridiculous. If His enemies took it away, for which they had no motive, why did they not produce it and say, ‘There is an answer to your nonsense. There is the dead man. Let us hear no more of this absurdity of His having risen from the dead’ ?

‘He died . . . according to the Scriptures, and He was buried.’ And the angels’ word carries the only explanation of the fact which it proclaims, ‘He is not here-He is risen.’

I take leave to say that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is established by evidence which nobody would ever have thought of doubting unless for the theory that miracles were impossible. The reason for disbelief is not the deficiency of the evidence, but the bias of the judge.

III. And now I have no time to do more than touch the last thought. I have tried to show what establishes the facts. Let me remind you, in a sentence or two, what the facts establish.

I by no means desire to suspend the whole of the evidence for Christianity on the testimony of the eyewitnesses to the Resurrection. There are a great many other ways of establishing the truth of the Gospel besides that, upon which I do not need to dwell now. But, taking this one specific ground which my text suggests, what do the facts thus established prove?

Well, the first point to which I would refer, and on which I should like to enlarge, if I had time, is the bearing of Christ’s Resurrection on the acceptance of the miraculous. We hear a great deal about the impossibility of miracle and the like. It upsets the certainty and fixedness of the order of things, and so forth, and so forth. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead; and that opens a door wide enough to admit all the rest of the Gospel miracles. It is of no use paring down the supernatural in Christianity, in order to meet the prejudices of a quasi-scientific scepticism, unless you are prepared to go the whole length, and give up the Resurrection. There is the turning point. The question is, Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, or do you not? If your objections to the supernatural are valid, then Christ is not risen from the dead; and you must face the consequences of that. If He is risen from the dead, then you must cease all your talk about the impossibility of miracle, and be willing to accept a supernatural revelation as God’s way of making Himself known to man.

But, further, let me remind you of the bearing of the Resurrection upon Christ’s work and claims. If He be lying in some forgotten grave, and if all that fair thought of His having burst the bands of death is a blunder, then there was nothing in His death that had the least bearing upon men’s sin, and it is no more to me than the deaths of thousands in the past. But if He is risen from the dead, then the Resurrection casts back a light upon the Cross, and we understand that His death is the life of the world, and that ‘by His stripes we are healed.’

But, further, remember what He said about Himself when He was in the world-how He claimed to be the Son of God; how He demanded absolute obedience, implicit trust, supreme love, how He identified faith in Himself with faith in God-and consider the Resurrection as bearing on the reception or rejection of these tremendous claims. It seems to me that we are brought sharp up to this alternative-Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and was declared by the Resurrection to be the Son of God with power; or Jesus Christ has not risen from the dead-and what then? Then He was either deceiver or deceived, and in either case has no right to my reverence and my love. We may be thankful that men are illogical, and that many who reject the Resurrection retain reverence, genuine and deep, for Jesus Christ. But whether they have any right to do so is another matter. I confess for myself that, if I did not believe that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, I should find it very hard to accept, as an example of conduct, or as religious teacher, a man who had made such great claims as He did, and had asked from me what He asked. It seems to me that He is either a great deal more, or a great deal less, than a beautiful saintly soul. If He rose from the dead He is much more; if He did not, I am afraid to say how much less He is.

And, finally, the bearing of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ upon our own hopes of the future may be suggested. It teaches us that life has nothing to do with organisation, but persists apart from the body. It teaches us that a man may pass from death and be unaltered in the substance of his being; and it teaches us that the earthly house of our tabernacle may be fashioned like unto the glorious house in which He dwells now at the right hand of God. There is no other absolute proof of immortality than the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If we accept with all our hearts and minds Paul’s Gospel in its fundamental facts, we need not fear to die, because He has died, and by dying has been the death of death. We need not doubt that we shall live again, because He was dead and is alive for ever more. This Samson has carried away the gates on His strong shoulders, and death is no more a dungeon but a passage. If we rest ourselves upon Him, then we can take up, for ourselves and for all that are dear to us and have gone before us, the triumphant song, ‘O Death, where is thy sting?’ ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’1 Corinthians 15:3-4. For I delivered unto you first of all — Among the first things, and as the chief articles of the gospel, that which I also received, namely, from Christ himself; that Christ died for our sins — Made atonement for them by dying; according to the Scriptures — Of the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah 53:5-6; Isaiah 53:12; Daniel 9:26. He proves, first, from the Scriptures, that the Messiah was to die for the expiation of sin, and then from the testimony of a cloud of witnesses, that Jesus of Nazareth, who by his miracles had proved himself to be that Messiah, had died for men’s sins accordingly. And that he was buried — In consequence of his being certainly dead; and that he rose again the third day — His enemies keeping guard about his dead body in vain. According to the Scriptures — The Scriptures which foretold the resurrection of Christ on the third day, and to which St. Paul refers, are Psalm 16:10, (which Peter, Acts 2:31, expressly affirmed to be a prediction of that event,) and Jonah 1:17, which our Lord himself affirmed to be a typical prophecy of his continuing three days in the heart of the earth, and of his subsequent resurrection. See Matthew 12:39-40. Here we see the apostle delivered to the Corinthians, from the Lord himself, not only that he died for our sins, and rose again the third day after his death, but that these things had happened according to the prophecies of the Scriptures concerning the Christ, because by that circumstance, as well as by his resurrection, our Lord was demonstrated to be the Christ.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.For I delivered unto you - See the note at 1 Corinthians 11:23. "First of all." Among the first doctrines which I preached. As the leading and primary doctrines of Christianity.

That which I also received - Which had been communicated to me. Not doctrines of which I was the author, or which were to be regarded as my own. Paul here refers to the fact that he had received these doctrines from the Lord Jesus by inspiration; compare the 1 Corinthians 10:23, note; Galatians 1:2, note. This is one instance in which he claims to be under the divine guidance, and to have received his doctrines from God.

How that Christ died for our sins - The Messiah, The Lord Jesus, died as an expiatory offering on account of our sins. They caused his death; for them he shed his blood; to make expiation for them, and to wipe them away, he expired on the cross. This passage is full proof that Christ did not die merely as a martyr, but that his death was to make atonement for sin. That he died as an atoning sacrifice, or as a vicarious offering, is here declared by Paul to be among the "first" things that he taught; and the grand fundamental truth on which the church at Corinth had been founded, and by which it had been established, and by which they would be saved. It follows that there can be no true church, and no wellfounded hope of salvation, where the doctrine is not held that Christ died for sin.

According to the Scriptures - The writings of the Old Testament; See the note at John 5:39. It is, of course, not certain to what parts of the Old Testament Paul here refers. He teaches simply that the doctrine is contained there that the Messiah would die for sin; and, in his preaching, he doubtless adduced and dwelt upon the particular places. Some of the places where this is taught are the following: Psalm 22; Isaiah 53:1-12; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10; compare Luke 24:26, Luke 24:46. See also Hengstenberg's Christology of the Old Testament, vol. 1:pp. 187,216, translated by Keith.

3. I delivered unto you—A short creed, or summary of articles of faith, was probably even then existing; and a profession in accordance with it was required of candidates for baptism (Ac 8:37).

first of all—literally, "among the foremost points" (Heb 6:2). The atonement is, in Paul's view, of primary importance.

which I … received—from Christ Himself by special revelation (compare 1Co 11:23).

died for our sins—that is, to atone FOR them; for taking away our sins (1Jo 3:5; compare Ga 1:4): "gave Himself for our sins" (Isa 53:5; 2Co 5:15; Tit 2:14). The "for" here does not, as in some passages, imply vicarious substitution, but "in behalf of" (Heb 5:3; 1Pe 2:24). It does not, however, mean merely "on account of," which is expressed by a different Greek word (Ro 4:25), (though in English Version translated similarly, "for").

according to the scriptures—which "cannot be broken." Paul puts the testimony of Scripture above that of those who saw the Lord after His resurrection [Bengel]. So our Lord quotes Isa 53:12, in Lu 22:37; compare Ps 22:15, &c.; Da 9:26.

For I, in my preaching, delivered it to you as one of the principal articles of the Christian faith, which I received, either from Christ by revelation, ( as he saith, Galatians 1:12), or from Ananias. Acts 9:17, how that Christ died for our sins, Romans 4:25, that is, that he might satisfy the Divine justice for our sins, and make an atonement for us. And this is according to the Scriptures of the Old Testament, where it was foretold, Isaiah 53:5, He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; and Daniel 9:26, that the Messiah should be cut off, but not for himself. For I delivered unto you first of all,.... Not only in the first place as to order; but among the chief and principal things, as the words will bear to be rendered, this was insisted on in his ministry; this was one he after relates, even a crucified Christ, or the doctrine of his dying for the sins of his people; and which he mentions to lead on to his resurrection; which he meant to improve, and does improve, in a very strong manner, in favour of the resurrection of the saints. This doctrine of a crucified Saviour, which he at first determined only to make known among them, and did make known, was what he fully and faithfully delivered to them, as he had received it:

that which also I received; not from men, but from Christ; for from him he had the doctrines of the Gospel, as well as the ordinances of it; and he delivered nothing to be believed and practised, but what he had received, and which ought to be the practice and conduct of every Gospel minister; whatever they have received they should deliver, and nothing else: and especially the following important doctrine,

how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that is, of the Old Testament, the writings of Moses, and the prophets, according to Scripture promises, Scripture types, and Scripture prophecies; particularly Genesis 3:15 Daniel 9:24 which declare that his heel was to be bruised, that he should be brought to the dust of death, should pour out his soul unto death, and be stricken and cut off in a judicial way, and that for sins; not his own, but for the sins of his people, in order to atone for them, procure the pardon of them, take them away, make an end of them, and abolish them; all which he has done, as the Gospel declares, and the apostle affirms; and thereby was accomplished what Moses and the prophets did say should come to pass. Every promise, type, and prophecy recorded in the law, in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning his sufferings and death, had their fulfilment in him; nothing was more clearly prefigured and foretold, and nothing more punctually and fully answered.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:3 f. More precise explanation of the τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγ. ὑμ. εἰ κατέχετε, by adducing those main points of that λόγος, which are of decisive importance for the further discussion which Paul now has in view. Hofmann’s interpretation of it as specifying the ground of the alleged condition and reservation in 1 Corinthians 15:2, falls with his incorrect exposition of εἰ κατέχετε κ.τ.λ.

ἐν πρώτοις] neuter: in primis, chiefly, i.e. as doctrinal points of the first rank. Comp. Plato, Pol. p. 522 C: ὃ καὶ παντὶ ἐν πρώτοις ἀνάγκη μανθάνειν. To take it, with Chrysostom,[26] of the time (ἘΞ ἈΡΧῆς), comp. Sir 4:17, Proverbs 20:21, runs counter to the connection, according to which it is rather the fundamental significance of the following doctrines that is concerned. This in opposition also to Rückert’s view of it as masculine: to you among the first (comp. 1Ma 6:6; Sir 45:20; Thuc. vii. 19. 4; Lucian, Paras. 49; Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 220), which is, moreover, historically untrue, unless with Rückert we arbitrarily supply “in Achaia.”

ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον] This conveys the idea: which had been likewise communicated to me,—nothing therefore new or self-invented. From whom Paul had received the contents of 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, he does not say; but for the very reason that he does not add an ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, as in 1 Corinthians 11:23, or words to like effect, and on account of the correlation in which ΠΑΡΈΛΑΒΟΝ stands to ΠΑΡΈΔΩΚΑ (comp. also Ὃ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΕΛΆΒΕΤΕ, 1 Corinthians 15:1), as well as on account of the reference extending to the simple historical statements in 1 Corinthians 15:5 ff., we are not to supply: from Christ, through revelation (the common view since Chrysostom), but rather: through historical tradition, as it was living in the church (comp. van Hengel, Ewald, Hofmann). It is true, indeed, that he has that, which forms the inner relation of the ἀπέθανεν κ.τ.λ. and belongs to the inner substance of the gospel, from revelation (Galatians 1:12); but here it is the historical element which is predominantly present to his min.

ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτ. ἡμ.] on account of our sins, i.e. in order to expiate them, Romans 3:23-26; Galatians 3:13 ff., al. The connection of the preposition with the abstract noun proves that Paul, in saying elsewhere ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (comp. also Ephesians 5:25 : ὙΠῈΡ Τῆς ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑς), has not used the preposition in the sense of loco, not even in 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13. The idea of the satisfactio vicaria lies in the thing itself, not in the preposition. See on Romans 5:6; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2. It may be added that, except in this passage, the expression ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμ. occurs nowhere in the writings of Paul (not even in Galatians 1:4), although it does in the Epistle to the Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 5:3 (?), Hebrews 9:7; Hebrews 10:12. Regarding the distinction between ὙΠΈΡ and ΠΕΡΊ the remark holds true: “id unum interest, quod ΠΕΡΊ usu frequentissimo teritur, multo rarius usurpatur ὙΠΈΡ,[27] quod ipsum discrimen inter Lat. praep. de et super locum obtinet,” Buttmann, Ind. ad Mid. p. 188.

κατὰ τ. γραφ.] according to the Scriptures of the O. T. (“quae non impleri non potuere,” Bengel), in so far as these (as e.g. especially Isaiah 53) contain prophecies regarding the atoning death of Christ. Comp. Luke 24:25 ff.; John 20:9; John 2:22; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22 f., Acts 8:35; 1 Peter 1:11.

The second κ. τ. γρ. does not refer to the burial (Isaiah 53:9) also, as de Wette and most interpreters assume, following Theodoret and Oecumenius, but, as is to be deduced from the repetition of the ὅτι before ἐγηγ., only to the resurrection.[28] See on John 2:22. Christ’s death and resurrection are the great facts of the redemptive work, borne witness to by the Scriptures; the burial (comp. Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Acts 13:29), being the consequence of the one and the presupposition of the other, lies between as historical correlate of the corporeal reality of the resurrection, but not as a factor of the work of redemption, which as such would require to have been based upon Scripture testimony.

ἐγήγερται] not the aorist again; the being risen is the abiding state, which commenced with the ἘΓΕΡΘῆΝΑΙ. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:8; Winer, p. 255 [E. T. 339].

[26] Who is followed by van Hengel: “Recenset partem eorum, a quibus proponendis Corinthios docere incepit.” So Hofmann also in substance. According to Chrysostom, Paul adduces the time as witness καὶ ὅτι ἐσχάτης ἦν αἰσχύνης, ποσοῦτον χρόνον πεισθέντας νῦν μετατίθεσθαι.

[27] This holds in the N. T., where the death of Christ is spoken of, only of those passages in which the preposition is not joined with persons: of persons Paul constantly uses ὑπέρ. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 1:13, Remark.

[28] And that on the third day, which κατὰ τ. γραφ. must be held to include in its reference. Comp. Matthew 12:40; Luke 24:46.1 Corinthians 15:3-4 answer the question put in 1 Corinthians 15:2, reinforming the readers: “For I delivered to you amongst the first things, that which I also received”.—καὶ emphasises the identity of the παραδοθὲν and παραλημφθέν, involved in the character of a “faithful steward” (1 Corinthians 4:1 f., cf. John 17:8, etc.). How these matters had been received—whether by direct revelation (Galatians 1:12) or through other contributory channels (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 11:23 above)—is irrelevant.—ἐν πρώτοις, in primis, in chief (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15 f.). The things thus delivered are “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. Amongst the three πρῶτα, the first and third are πρώτιστα (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14 f., Romans 4:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, etc.); the second is the link between them, signalising at once the completeness of the death and the reality of the resurrection (cf. Romans 6:4; Romans 10:7); ὅτι ἐτάφη καὶ ὅτι ἐγήγερται is a more vivid and circumstantial expression for ὅτι ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν (1 Corinthians 15:12, etc.).—The two chiefest facts P. and the other Apostolic preachers (1 Corinthians 15:2) were accustomed to verify, both separately and jointly, from the Old Testament, κατὰ τὰς γραφάς (Acts 13:32 ff; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22 f., Romans 1:2 ff.), after the manner of Jesus (Luke 22:37; Luke 24:25 ff., John 3:14). But it was the facts that opened their eyes to the meaning of the Scriptures concerned (cf. John 2:22; John 20:9). The death and burial are affirmed in the aor[2262] as historical events; the resurrection is put with emphasis into the pf. these, as an abiding power (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1Co 15:17; 1Co 15:20) = ἐγερθεὶςοὐκέτι ἀποθνήσκει (Romans 6:9; cf. Hebrews 7:25).—“For our sins,” see parls.—“pro peccatis nostris abolendis” (Bg[2263]). “P. could not have said ὑπὲρ f1τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν if Christ’s death were only an example of self-denial, not because ὑπὲρ must be rendered ‘instead of’ (in loco), but because the ref[2264] to sin involves with ὑπὲρ the notion of expiation” (Ed[2265]); cf. the excellent note of Mr[2266]; see the exposition of the relation of Christ’s death to man’s sin in 2 Corinthians 5:18 ff., Romans 3:23 ff; Romans 5:6-11, Galatians 3:10 ff., with notes in this Comm[2267] ad locc.; also 1 Corinthians 15:56 below, and note. The definition on the third day indicates that “in His case restoration to life ensued, instead of the corruption of the corpse that sets in otherwise after this interval” (Hf[2268]). Jesus appears to have seen a Scriptural necessity in the “third day” (Luke 24:46).

[2262] aorist tense.

[2263] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.


[2265] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2266] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[2267] commentary, commentator.

[2268] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received] The close resemblance of this passage to the Apostles’ Creed shews that this summary of the doctrines of our faith is actually what it professes to be, a short compendium of Apostolic teaching. Irenaeus, a writer in the second century, and a careful observer of Apostolic tradition, gives a very similar summary in his treatise against Heresies, Book iii. c. 4. Dean Stanley calls attention to the fact that this bold affirmation of the truth of the Resurrection, possibly the earliest we have (see above ch. 1 Corinthians 11:23) was written barely twenty-five years after the event St Paul does not state here from whom he received his doctrine, but he must have acquired some elementary instruction in the first principles of the Christian faith from his intercourse with the disciples (Acts 9:19), and even at his admission into the Christian body. And what he had received from others he tested by examination of the Scriptures, by prayer and silent communing with God, till it became his own, by revelation and by that inward conviction which none but God can give. See Galatians 1:12; Galatians 1:16.

died for our sins] Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Corinthians 8:11. Also St Matthew 20:28; St Mark 10:45; Romans 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:19, &c.

according to the scriptures] What Scriptures? Those of the O. T., clearly. Those of the New (see ch. 1 Corinthians 4:6 and note) were hardly any of them in existence. If it be asked what Scriptures of the O. T. are meant, we may refer to Psalms 22.; Isaiah 53., as well as to Genesis 22.; Deuteronomy 9:24-26; Zechariah 12:10. For the same words in the next verse see Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10; Hosea 6:2; Jonah 2:10. This latter passage having been applied to the Resurrection by Christ Himself (St Matthew 12:40; Matthew 16:4), may not unnaturally be conceived to be among those St Paul had in his mind here.1 Corinthians 15:3. [132] Ἐν πρώτοις, among the primary things) The things, which are of greatest importance, ought to be taught among the first things. בראשונה, the LXX., ἐν πρώτοις, i.e. in old time; 2 Samuel 20:18 : but, first, in Deuteronomy 13:9, and so here.—παρελάβον, I received) from Christ Himself, what I have spoken is no fiction, 2 Peter 1:16.—ὍΤΙ, that) Paul says that he had declared among the first points of faith, not only the resurrection of Christ, but also the resurrection of the dead, which flows from it; and the Corinthians believed in these doctrines, before they were baptised in the name of Christ, who was crucified for them, and so also died and rose again, 1 Corinthians 1:13 : comp. Hebrews 6:2.—ὙΠῈΡ, for) a very effective expression, which means, for taking away our sins, Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5. So ὑπέρ, Hebrews 5:3; comp. Titus 2:14; Luke 1:71-74; 2 Corinthians 5:15.—ἁμαρτιῶν, sins) on account of which we had deserved death, 1 Corinthians 15:17.—γραφάς, Scriptures) Many things are said in Scripture respecting the death of Christ. Paul puts the testimony of Scripture before the testimony of those, who saw the Lord after His resurrection.

[132] Εἰκῆ, in vain—a melancholy term, Galatians 2:2; Galatians 3:4; Galatians 4:11.—Vg.Verse 3. - First of all; literally, among the first things; but this idiom means "first of all." It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but is found in Genesis 33:2; 2 Samuel 5:8 (LXX.). This testimony to the Resurrection is very remarkable, because:

1. It is the completest summary.

2. It refers to some incidents which are not mentioned in the Gospels.

3. It declares that the death and resurrection of Christ were a subject of ancient prophecy.

4. It shows the force of the evidence on which the apostles relied and the number of living eye witnesses to whom they could appeal.

5. It is the earliest written testimony to the Resurrection; for it was penned within twenty-five years of the event itself.

6. It shows that the evidence for the Resurrection as a literal, historical, objective fact, was sufficient to convince the powerful intellect of a hostile contemporary observer.

7. It probably embodies, and became the model for, a part of the earliest Creed of the Church. For our sins; literally, on behalf of. The passage is remarkable as the only one in which "on behalf of" is used with "sins" in St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians 1:13 we are told that he died" on behalf of us" (Romans 5:8; see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). The expressions involve the image of Christ as a Sin Offering for the forgiveness of sins. According to the Scriptures. The chief passages alluded to are doubtless Isaiah 53:5, 8; Daniel 9:26; Psalm 22; Zechariah 12:10; together with such types as the offering of Isaac (Genesis 22.) and the Paschal lamb, etc. Our Lord had taught the apostles confidently to refer to the Messianic interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies (Luke 24:25, 46: Acts 8:35; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22, 23; John 2:22; John 20:9; 1 Peter 1:11). That Christ, etc.

Stanley remarks that 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 contain the earliest known specimen of what may be called the creed of the early Church, differing, indeed, from what is properly called a creed, in being rather a sample of the exact form of the apostle's early teaching, than a profession of faith on the part of converts. See his dissertation in the commentary on Corinthians.

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