1 Corinthians 15:34
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
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(34) Awake to righteousness, and sin not.—Literally, Awake to soberness in a righteous manner, With this earnest call to arouse from the sleep of indulgence and of death, the Apostle completes this section of the chapter, and the direct proofs of the doctrine of the resurrection. The exhortation is needed, for there are some who call themselves Christians and still have “an ignorance” regarding God. “To their shame the Apostles speaks this, not only the last words, but the whole preceding argument. It was a shame that to Christians the Apostle should have to vindicate the very fundamental truth of the Faith.

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.Awake to righteousness - See the note on Romans 13:11. The word here translated "awake" denotes, properly, to awake up from a deep sleep or torpor; and is usually applied to those who awake, or become sober after drunkenness. The phrase "to righteousness" (δικαίως dikaiōs) may mean either "rouse to the ways of righteousness; to a holy life; to sound doctrine," etc.; or it may mean "as it is right and just that you should do." Probably the latter is the correct idea, and then the sense will be, "Arouse from stupidity on this subject; awake from your conscious security; be alarmed, as it is right and proper that you should do, for you are surrounded by dangers, and by those who would lead you into error and vice; rouse from such wild and delusive opinions as these persons have, and exercise a constant vigilance as becomes those who are the friends of God and the expectants of a blessed resurrection."

And sin not - Do not err; do not depart from the truth and from holiness; do not embrace a doctrine which is not only erroneous, but the tendency of which is to lead into sin. It is implied here, that if they suffered themselves to embrace a doctrine which was a denial of the resurrection, the effect would be that they would fall into sin or that a denial of that doctrine led to a life of self-indulgence and transgression. This truth is everywhere seen and against this effect Paul sought to, guard them. He did not regard the denial of the doctrine of the resurrection as a harmless speculation, but as leading to most dangerous consequences in regard to their manner of life or their conduct.

For some have not - Some among you. You are surrounded by strangers to God; you have those among you who would lead you into error and sin.

I speak this to your shame - To your shame as a church; because you have had abundant opportunities to know the truth, and because it is a subject of deep disgrace that there are any in your bosom who deny the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and who are strangers to the grace of God.

34. Awake—literally, "out of the sleep" of carnal intoxication into which ye are thrown by the influence of these skeptics (1Co 15:32; Joe 1:5).

to righteousness—in contrast with "sin" in this verse, and corrupt manners (1Co 15:33).

sin not—Do not give yourselves up to sinful pleasures. The Greek expresses a continued state of abstinence from sin. Thus, Paul implies that they who live in sinful pleasures readily persuade themselves of what they wish, namely, that there is to be no resurrection.

some—the same as in 1Co 15:12.

have not the knowledge of God—and so know not His power in the resurrection (Mt 22:29). Stronger than "are ignorant of God." An habitual ignorance: wilful, in that they prefer to keep their sins, rather than part with them, in order to know God (compare Joh 7:17; 1Pe 2:15).

to your shame—that you Corinthian Christians, who boast of your knowledge, should have among you, and maintain intercourse with, those so practically ignorant of God, as to deny the resurrection.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not: sin is in Scripture compared to sleep, Revelation 13:11 Ephesians 5:14, and that very properly; for as the natural senses are bound up in natural sleep, so the sinner’s spiritual senses are locked up, so that he doth not exercise them to discern between good and evil; and as he that is asleep is void of all care and fear, is secure, so the sinner is secure and void of fear. And repentance is set out under the notion of awaking; we are not only concerned to eschew evil, but to do good; not only to awake from sin, but to righteousness, that is, to a holy life and conversation, that is it which is here called righteousness, all spiritual rectitude being to be judged from the soul’s conformity to the Divine rule; hence sin is called a crooked way, because it will not agree with the rule of God’s word.

For some have not the knowledge of God; for some amongst you have not a due and saving knowledge of God, or a right apprehension of the things of God;

I speak this to your shame; though it be a shame for them that have it not, considering the light and means of knowledge which you have had by my ministry, and the ministry of others who have been amongst you.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not,.... The apostle represents the Corinthians as inebriated with bad principles and notions, and as fallen asleep, and as greatly remiss, and declined in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; and therefore calls upon them to awake out of sleep, to watch and be sober, and attend to "righteousness"; to the justice of God, which requires the resurrection of the dead, and makes it necessary that men may receive the things done in the body, whether good or evil; for as it is a righteous thing with God to render tribulation to them that sin against him, and trouble his people; so it is but just, that those bodies which Christ has purchased with his blood, who have served him, and suffered for his sake, should be raised again, that, together with their souls, they may enjoy the happiness provided for them; and to the righteousness of Christ, to look unto it, lay hold on it, exercise faith upon it, desiring to be found in it living and dying; and to works of righteousness, to a holy life and conversation, a living soberly, righteously and godly; and not spend their time, and give up themselves to vain speculations and notions; which were so far from being edifying, that they were very detrimental to themselves and others. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "awake, ye righteous": for righteous persons, good men, the wise as well as foolish virgins, sometimes fall asleep, and need awaking out of it; which is done by one providence or another, or by the ministry of the word, and whenever to purpose, by the powerful and efficacious grace of God: the words may be rendered, "awake righteously"; or as the Syriac version reads, "awake your hearts righteously"; and as the Arabic, "with a due awaking"; that is, as it becomes you, and as it is just, right, and proper you should: "and sin not"; not that they could be, or that it could be thought they might be without sin in them, or without sin being done by them; but that they ought not to live a sinful course of life, which the denial of the resurrection led unto, or indulged in; or not sin by denying that doctrine, and giving themselves up to a vicious life in consequence of it:

for some have not the knowledge of God; are like the Gentiles that are without God, and know him not; they know not, or, at least, do not own the truth of God in his word, declaring and testifying the doctrine of the resurrection; they err in that point, not knowing the Scriptures, the sense of them, and this truth contained in them; nor the power or God in raising the dead, nor the justice of God, which makes it necessary that the dead should be raised:

I speak this to your shame; that there should be such ignorant persons in their community; that there were any of such bad principles as to deny the resurrection of the dead, and of such dissolute lives as to give up themselves to sensual lusts and pleasures: that such were continued in the church, kept company with, indulged and caressed; and that there was so great a corruption in doctrine, discipline, and conversation, among them.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
34. Awake to righteousness] The word here translated ‘Awake’ signifies to arise from the stupefaction of a slumber produced by overindulgence (cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 12:2). The word translated ‘to righteousness,’ literally righteously, may either mean (1) as is just and proper, or (2) to what is just and proper, or (3) as in our version, so as to become righteous. The Vulgate renders by justi, Wiclif by juste men. Tyndale truely, Luther recht (i.e. rightly, properly), Calvin juste. Diodati has giustamente. De Sacy follows the Vulgate.

for some have not the knowledge of God] The original is remarkable; some have ignorance of God. So Wiclif. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 14:38. As there were some among them who denied the resurrection, so there were some who were ready to pervert such denial to every form of fleshly indulgence. See Php 3:18-19; 2 Peter 2:10; 2 Peter 2:18-22; Judges 4, 7, 8, 10.

I speak this to your shame] The original is even stronger, to shame you. To reuerence, Wiclif, following the Vulgate. To youre rebuke, Tyndale. Ad pudorem incutiendum, Calvin. St Paul was usually very anxious to spare the feelings of his converts (2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:3). But when the question was of making shipwreck of Christian purity, he had no such scruples. See 2 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 12:20; 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Corinthians 13:10.

1 Corinthians 15:34. Ἐκνήψατε) An exclamation full of apostolic majesty: shake off lethargy or surfeiting, 1 Corinthians 15:32, so the LXX., ἐκνήψατε οἱ μεθύοντες, Awake, ye drunkards, Joel 1:5. He uses milder language, watch ye, in the conclusion, 1 Corinthians 16:13.—δικάιως, to righteousness) that righteousness, which is derived from the true knowledge of God. The antithesis is, sinning in this ver., and corrupt manners, 1 Corinthians 15:33.—καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε) The Imperative after an imperative has the force of a future (John 7:37, note) and ye shall not sin, either by an error of the understanding, or by evil communications [conversation] or by corrupt manners. Those, who place sin in the will alone, and not in the understanding, are in error, and therefore commit sin. Arguments calculated to rouse are added to those used as proofs, as Galatians 4:12, note: for Scripture instructs the whole man.—ἀγνωσίαν, ignorance) ἀγνωσία is both ignorance, 1 Peter 2:15, and forgetfulness, 3Ma 5:24 : κατὰ πᾶν ἀγνωσίᾳ κεκρατημένος. To have ignorance, [To labour under ignorance] is a more significant phrase than to be ignorant,[142] and includes in it the antithesis to knowledge, which in other respects was so agreeable to the Corinthians.—Θεοῦ, of God) and therefore also of the power and works of God, Matthew 22:29.—τινὲς, some) This word softens the reproof.—ἐντροπὴν, shame) The Corinthians claimed for themselves great knowledge. Ignorance and drowsiness are a disgrace, and from these they must awake.—ὑμῖν, to you) who are either ignorant, or have among you those that are ignorant. It is however at the same time the dative of advantage.—λέγω, I speak) boldly. He speaks more severely than at the beginning, when treating of another subject, 1 Corinthians 4:14.

[142] The former implies an habitual state of ignorance under which they labour. To be ignorant, may be but temporary, and restricted to one point.—ED.

Verse 34. - Awake to righteousness. The word rendered "awake" means "awake at once from a drunken sleep." This verb does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The word rendered "awake" in Ephesians 5:14 and Romans 13:11 is a different one. The metaphor, however, occurs in the simple verb in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 5:8, etc. The word rendered "to righteousness" is literally an adverb, righteously. It may mean "as is fit." And sin not. Here the present tense, "be not sinning," is contrasted with the instantaneous aorist, "awake." Have not the knowledge. The original is stronger, "have an ignorance." They have not a vacuum of nescience, but a plenuum of ignorance. I speak this to your shame; rather, I am speaking to shame you. The object of all I am saying is to excite your shame - not, as in some previous instances, "to spare you." 1 Corinthians 15:34Awake (ἐκνήψατε)

Only here in the New Testament. It means to awake from a drunken stupor. Compare Joel 1:5, Sept. The kindred verb ἀνανήφω return to soberness (A.V. and Rev., recover), occurs at 2 Timothy 2:26.

Have not the knowledge (ἀγνωσίαν ἔχουσιν)

Lit., have an ignorance. Stronger than ἀγνοεῖν to be ignorant. They have and hold it. For the form of expression, see on have sorrow, John 16:29. The word for ignorance is found only here and 1 Peter 2:15 (see note).

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