1 Corinthians 15:44
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(44) It is sown a natural body.—Here is a further and different application of the three analogies. It is not only that there is a variety of body in these illustrations, but there is also an adaptability. The “body” which a plant has when it is in the form of seed is suited to the condition in which seed is placed; the “body” which it has when grown into a plant is suited to the changed conditions in which a plant exists; the “flesh” in the “body” form of a bird is suited to its sphere of life; the “flesh” in the “body” form of a fish is suited to its condition; and so on. It is not an accidental but a purposely adapted variety. So it will be in the variety of “bodies” for Humanity. A man’s organism is sown (i.e., is born into this world) a natural body; it is raised (through and by death) a spiritual body. The body which we have here on earth is suited with a marvellous detail of adaptability to the life, physical and intellectual, amid which we are placed, and of which we form a part. It is, however, a hindrance to the spiritual man in each of us. (See 2 Corinthians 5) There will be a time for each when the body will become as perfectly adapted to the spiritual man in each as the human body here is to the natural man—no longer its hindrance, but its help. The “willing spirit” will then never be hampered and thwarted by a “weak flesh;” the body, having become spiritual itself, will be spiritually strong.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.—This emphatic assertion that there are two bodies for man—as really as seed and a blossom are two bodies yet the same plant—is introductory to the further thought introduced in the next verse.

15:35-50 1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has.It is sown a natural body - (σῶμα ψυχικὸν sōma psuchikon). This word, "natural," denotes properly that which is endowed with "animal" life, having breath, or vitality. The word from which it is derived (ψυχή psuchē) denotes properly the breath; vital breath; the soul, as the vital principle; the animal soul, or the vital spirit; the soul, as the seat of the sentient desires, passions, and propensities; and then a living thing, an animal. It may be applied to any animal, or any living thing, whether brutes or men. It is distinguished from the soul or spirit (Πνεῦμα Pneuma), inasmuch as that more commonly denotes the rational spirit, the immortal soul, that which thinks, reasons, reflects, etc. The word "natural" here, therefore, means that which has "animal" life; which breathes and acts by the laws of the animal economy; that which draws in the breath of life; which is endowed with senses, and which has need of the supports of animal life, and of the refreshments derived from food, exercise, sleep, etc.

The apostle here, by affirming that the body will be spiritual, intends to deny that it will need that which is now necessary to the support of the animal functions; it will not be sustained in that way; it will lay aside these special animal organizations, and will cease to convey the idea which we now attach to the word animal, or to possess that which we now include under the name of vital functions. Here the body of man is endowed simply with animal functions. It is the dwelling-place indeed of an immortal mind; but as a body it has the properties of animal life, and is subject to the same laws and inconveniences as the bodies of other animals. It is sustained by breath, and food, and sleep; it is endowed with the organs of sense, the eye, the ear, the smell, the touch, by which alone the soul can hold communication with the external world; it is liable to disease, languor, decay, death. These animal or vital functions will cease in heaven, and the body be raised in a different mode of being, and where all the inconveniences of this mere animal life shall be laid aside.

It is raised a spiritual body - Not a mere spirit, for then it would not be a body. The word spiritual (πνευματικόν pneumatikon) here stands opposed to the word natural, or animal. it will not be a body that is subject to the laws of the vital functions, or organized or sustained in that way. It will still be a "body" (σῶμα sōma), but it will have so far the nature of spirit as to be without the vital functions which here control the body. This is all that the word here means. It does not mean refined, sublimated, or transcendental; it does not mean that it will be without shape or form; it does not mean that it will not be properly a body. The idea of Paul seems to be this: "We conceive of soul or spirit as not subject to the laws of vital or animal agency. It is independent of them. It is not sustained or nourished by the functions of the animal organization. It has an economy of its own; living without nourishment; not subject to decay; not liable to sickness, pain, or death. So will be the body in the resurrection. It will not be subject to the laws of the vital organization. It will be so much like a spirit as to be continued without food or nutriment; to be destitute of the special physical organization of flesh, and blood, and bones; of veins, and arteries, and nerves, as here 1 Corinthians 15:50.; and it will live in the manner in which we conceive spirits to live; sustained, and exercising its powers, without waste, weariness, decay, or the necessity of having its powers recruited by food and sleep." All, therefore, that has been said about a refined body, a body that shall be spirit, a body that shall be pure, etc., whatever may be its truth, is not sustained by this passage. It will be a body without the vital functions of the animal economy; a body sustained in the manner in which we conceive the spirit to be.

There is a natural body - This seems to be added by Paul in the way of strong affirmation arising from earnestness, and from a desire to prevent misconception. The affirmation is, that there is a natural body; that is apparent: it is everywhere seen. No one can doubt it. So, with equal certainty, says Paul, there is a spiritual body. It is just as certain and indisputable. This assertion is made, not because the evidence of both is the same, but is made on his apostolic authority, and is to be received on that authority. That there was an animal body was apparent to all; that there was a spiritual body was a position which he affirmed to be as certain as the other. The only proof which he alleges is in 1 Corinthians 15:45, which is the proof arising from revelation.

44. a natural body—literally, "an animal body," a body moulded in its organism of "flesh and blood" (1Co 15:50) to suit the animal soul which predominates in it. The Holy Spirit in the spirit of believers, indeed, is an earnest of a superior state (Ro 8:11), but meanwhile in the body the animal soul preponderates; hereafter the Spirit shall predominate, and the animal soul be duly subordinate.

spiritual body—a body wholly moulded by the Spirit, and its organism not conformed to the lower and animal (Lu 20:35, 36), but to the higher and spiritual, life (compare 1Co 2:14; 1Th 5:23).

There is, &c.—The oldest manuscripts read, "IF there is a natural (or animal-souled) body, there is also a spiritual body." It is no more wonderful a thing, that there should be a body fitted to the capacities and want of man's highest part, his spirit (which we see to be the case), than that there should be one fitted to the capacities and wants of his subordinate part, the animal soul [Alford].

It is sown a natural body; such a body as all living creatures have by nature, which is upheld by the actions of the soul that quickeneth it; both the vegetative powers, by which it is nourished by the use of meat and drink, the eating, concocting, and digesting it, &c.; and the sensitive powers, &c. But it shall be

raised a spiritual body; spiritual, not as to the substance of it, for in that sense a spiritual body is a contradiction, but in respect of the qualities and conditions of it, Matthew 22:30 Luke 20:35,36. Bodies which, in respect of many new qualities they shall have, shall be more like angels and other spirits, than human bodies; beautiful, incorruptible, free from infirmities, not subject to hunger, or thirst, or injuries from cold or heat, &c.; not using meat, drink, clothes, physic, or marriage; free, active, and nimble as spirits, 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Spiritual, because they shall perfectly obey the soul made perfect, and be by it commanded to spiritual actions only; of subtile, spiritual, refined constitutions. It is sown a natural body,.... Or an animal one, being generated as animals are, and supported with food as they be, and die at last as they do: see Ecclesiastes 3:19.

It is raised a spiritual body; not as to substance, but as to its quality; it will not be changed into a spirit; our Lord's risen body, to which ours will be conformed, was not a spirit, but, as before, consisted of flesh and bones: but the body will then be subject to the spirit and soul of man; it will be employed in spiritual service, for which it will be abundantly fitted and assisted by the Spirit of God; and it will be delighted with spiritual objects; it will be like the angels, those excellent spirits; it will live as spirits do, without natural helps and means, as meat, drink, clothes, sleep, and, as they, will never die:

there is a natural; or "animal body", such as the first man's was, and those are that descend from him by ordinary generation; and

there is a spiritual body; such as the body of Christ now is, and as will be the bodies of the risen saints; the phrase is Jewish, , "the spiritual body" (y) and the flesh of the righteous, being , "spiritual flesh" (z), are to be met with in their writings.

(y) Nishmath Chayim. fol. 37. 1.((z) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 9. 4.

{24} It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

(24) He shows perfectly in one word this change of the quality of the body by the resurrection, when he says that a natural body will become a spiritual body: which two qualities being completely different the one from the other he straightway expounds, and sets forth diligently.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:44. “There is sown a psychic body; there is raised a spiritual body.” This dictum grounds the antithesis unfolded in 1 Corinthians 15:42 f. upon its proper basis; the diff[2540] is not a matter of condition merely, but of constitution. Corruption, dishonour, feebleness are, in great part, penal inflictions (Romans 5:12 ff.), signalising not a natural defect, but a positive subjection to the power of sin (1 Corinthians 15:53-56); man, however, is essentially ψυχὴ under the present order (1 Corinthians 15:45), and his body therefore is essentially ψυχικὸν as determined by that order (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:13, and note; Colossians 2:20 ff., Matthew 22:30, etc.), being fitted to and expressive of the “soul” wherein his earthly being centres; see the note on ψυχικός 1 Corinthians 2:14. Though inadequate, “natural” is the best available rendering of this adj[2541]; it indicates the moulding of man’s body by its environment and its adaptation to existing functions; the same body is χοϊκὸν in respect of its material (1 Corinthians 15:47).—ψυχικὸν is only relatively a term of disparagement; the “psychic body” has in it the making of the “spiritual”; “its adaptation for the present service of the soul is the sowing of it, that is the initial step in its adaptation for the future uses of the spirit. An organism fitted to be the seat of mind, to express emotion, to carry out the behests of will, is in process of being adapted for a still nobler ministry” (Ed[2542]): “he that sows to the Spirit (in the natural body), will reap of the Spirit (in the spiritual body),” Galatians 6:8.—“If there is a psychic body, there is also a spiritual”: a frame suited to man’s earthly life argues a frame suited to his heavenly life, according to the principle of 1 Corinthians 15:38 b (cf. the argument from lower to higher in Matthew 6:30); and the σῶμα πν. lies, in some way, germinally hidden in the σῶμα ψ., to be unfolded from it under “the universal law of progress” (Ed[2543]).—ἔστιν (existit) bears emphasis in each clause; from the fact of sense P. argues to the fact of faith. Observe txtl. notes 1–3.

[2540] difference, different, differently.

[2541] adjective.

[2542] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2543] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.244. it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body] For the word natural see ch. 1 Corinthians 2:14. The ‘natural body’ is the body accommodated to, and limited by, the needs of the animal life of man. Man possesses a spiritual life through union with Jesus Christ, but his present body is not adapted to the requirements of such a life. It is called a ‘body of death,’ Romans 7:24 (‘this body of death,’ in the E. V. ‘the body of this death.’). ‘The corruptible body (Wis 9:15) presseth down the soul,’ and we groan under its weight, and look earnestly forward to its redemption (Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 5:4). But the spiritual body will not only be a body in which the spiritual principle dominates the whole organism (Theodoret), but it will be adapted to the needs of that principle, and therefore will be possessed of powers hitherto unknown. So St Chrysostom. See also last note and 2 Corinthians 5:1, ‘we have in the heavens a house not made with hands.’ “The earthly and celestial body are not identical, but not absolutely different; the elements of the former are employed in the formation of the latter, the operation of Christ in believers gradually transforms the one into the other.” Olshausen. This remark, however, leaves out of sight the fact that however gradual the transformation of the natural man into the spiritual man in this life, it is completed by a process which is not gradual, namely the Resurrection.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body] Most modern editors have received the better supported reading, ‘if there is a natural body, there is a spiritual one also.’ It is also the reading of the Vulgate and of Wiclif. The reading in the text, which is that received by Tyndale, is the more easy to understand, but perhaps it is for that very reason that it has been substituted for the other. If we receive it, the passage is a simple assertion of the existence of a spiritual as well as of a natural body. If we prefer the other, it affirms that the life spiritual of necessity demands a proper vehicle as much as the life natural; that if the latter has—and we see that this is so—a body corresponding to its demands, it follows that the life spiritual will have one also.1 Corinthians 15:44. Ψυχικὸν, animal [natural] body) which, consisting of flesh and blood, 1 Corinthians 15:50, is wholly moulded [given form and fashion to] by the animal soul.—πνευματικὸν, spiritual) which is wholly moulded by the spirit.—καὶ) and so consequently.Verse 44. - A natural body. The adjective is the word ψυχικόν, which is so difficult to translate; it means a body only animated by the psyche, or natural life. The word is sometimes in our Authorized Version rendered "carnal." A spiritual body. The apparent contradiction in terms is inevitable. The thing meant is a body which is not under the sway of corporeal desires or of intellectual and passionate impulses, but is wholly dominated by the Spirit, and therefore has no desire or capacity to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. There is. The better supported reading (א, A, B, C, D, F, G), is, if there is a natural body, etc. The existence of the one is no more impossible than the existence of the other. A natural body (σώμα ψυχικόν)

See on 1 Corinthians 2:14. The word ψυχικόν natural occurs only twice outside this epistle; James 3:15; Jde 1:19. The expression natural body signifies an organism animated by a ψυχή soul (see on Romans 11:4); that phase of the immaterial principle in man which is more nearly allied to the σάρξ flesh, and which characterizes the man as a mortal creature; while πνεῦμα spirit is that phase which looks Godward, and characterizes him as related to God. "It is a brief designation for the whole compass of the non-corporeal side of the earthly man" (Wendt). "In the earthly body the ψυχή soul, not the πνεῦμα spirit is that which conditions its constitution and its qualities, so that it is framed as the organ of the ψυχή. In the resurrection-body the πνεῦμα spirit, for whose life-activity it is the adequate organ, conditions its nature" (Meyer). Compare Plato: "The soul has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing; when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and is the ruler of the universe; while the imperfect soul loses her feathers, and drooping in her flight, at last settles on the solid ground - there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having a body, and having also a soul which are united throughout all time" ("Phaedrus," 246).

Spiritual body (σώμα πνευματικόν)

A body in which a divine πνεῦμα spirit supersedes the ψυχή soul, so that the resurrection-body is the fitting organ for its indwelling and work, and so is properly characterized as a spiritual body.

"When, glorious and sanctified, our flesh

Is reassumed, then shall our persons be

More pleasing by their being all complete;

For will increase whate'er bestows on us

Of light gratuitous the Good Supreme,

Light which enables us to look on Him;

Therefore the vision must perforce increase,

Increase the ardor which from that is kindled,

Increase the radiance from which this proceeds.

But even as a coal that sends forth flame,

continued...

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