1 Corinthians 15:5
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
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(5) That he was seen of Cephas.—From the indications of sequence here given we may conclude that the appearances here grouped together are arranged in chronological order. We have these appearances:—(1) To Cephas (see Luke 24:34). (2) To the Twelve—the phrase “the Twelve” being used to indicate, not the number of those present, but the group to which they belonged, as Decemviri might be used, or Hebdomadal Council, not to express the exact number but the corporate body—(see Luke 24:36; John 20:19). This was probably the appearance to the ten Apostles, and is distinguished from a subsequent appearance to “all the Apostles.” (3) To above five hundred brethren at once. This must have been in Galilee, for at a later date (see Acts 1:15) the Church at Jerusalem consisted of only one hundred and twenty disciples. (See Matthew 28:16-17, and Acts 1:15.) (4) To James. This appearance is recorded only here and in the Gospel of the Hebrews, which is quoted by St. Jerome, “But the Lord, when he had given the sindôn” (the same word as that for the “linen garment,” in Mark 14:51) “to the servant of the priest, had a table brought out, and bread on it, which He blessed and gave to James, saying, ‘Eat thy bread now, brother, since the Son of Man has risen from the dead;’ for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from the hour in which he had drunk the cup of the Lord until he should see Him rising from the dead.” (5) To all the Apostles, Thomas being present (John 20:26). (6) St. Paul himself (Acts 9:5). To these facts St. Paul appeals. Most of those who saw Him were alive. Their enemies were alive to dispute it if they could. The witnesses had nothing to gain, everything to lose by telling the truth. The evidence was set forth some twenty-five or thirty years after the occurrence of the alleged facts. The Apostle here maintains the truth of an historical fact. He appeals solely to historical proof, and accumulates a mass of historical testimony, such as in any matter of history, if produced so shortly after the occurrence, would be deemed overwhelming.

1 Corinthians 15:5. And that he was seen of Cephas — As mentioned Luke 24:34, who saw him before any of the other apostles. He appeared, indeed, after his resurrection, first of all to Mary Magdalene: but as no woman was employed to testify his resurrection to the world, St. Paul did not think it necessary, in exhibiting the proofs of Christ’s resurrection, to mention any of his appearances to the women. Then of the twelve — That company of apostles so called, though several of the number were not present when he appeared. Macknight thinks, that in this expression all our Lord’s appearances to his apostles, from the time he arose, to the time he showed himself to the five hundred brethren at once, are comprehended; namely, his appearance to the apostles on the evening of the day on which he arose, and on the eighth day thereafter, and at the sea of Tiberias, as also every other appearance to them which the evangelists may have omitted to relate; for that they omitted some is certain.

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.And that he was seen of Cephas - Peter; See the note at John 1:42. The resurrection of Christ was A fact to be proved, like all other facts, by competent and credible witnesses. Paul, therefore, appeals to the witnesses who had attested, or who yet lived to attest, the truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and shows that it was not possible that so many witnesses should have been deceived. As this was not the first time in which the evidence had been stated to them, and as his purpose was merely to remind them of what they had heard and believed, he does not adduce all the witnesses to the event, but refers only to the more important ones. He does not, therefore, mention the woman to whom the Saviour first appeared, nor does he refer to all the times when the Lord Jesus manifested himself to his disciples. But he does not refer to them in general merely, but mentions "names," and refers to persons who "were then alive," who could attest the truth of the resurrection. It may be observed, also, that Paul observes probably the exact "order" in which the Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples, though he does not mention all the instances. For an account of the persons to whom the Lord Jesus appeared after his resurrection, and the order in which it was done, see the notes on the Gospels.

Then of the twelve - The apostles; still called "the twelve," though Judas was not one of them. It was common to call the apostles "the twelve." Jesus appeared to the apostles at one time in the absence of Thomas John 20:19, John 20:24; and also to them when Thomas was present, John 20:24-29. Probably Paul here refers to the latter occasion, when all the surviving apostles were present.

5. seen of Cephas—Peter (Lu 24:34).

the twelve—The round number for "the Eleven" (Lu 24:33, 36). "The Twelve" was their ordinary appellation, even when their number was not full. However, very possibly Matthias was present (Ac 1:22, 23). Some of the oldest manuscripts and versions read, "the Eleven": but the best on the whole, "the Twelve."

We read not in the history of the gospel of Christ’s appearing unto Peter, unless he were one of those to whom Christ appeared, as they were going to Emmaus; for which there is this probability, because when they came to Jerusalem, they told the rest, that the Lord was risen, and had appeared unto Simon, Luke 24:34 (if Simon Peter be there meant). His appearance to the whole number of the disciples we have recorded, John 20:19: they are called twelve, ( though Judas was now dead, and Thomas at that time was not there), because twelve was the number that God had appointed the college of apostles to consist of; so, Genesis 42:13, the children of Jacob said they were twelve brethren, though they thought at that time that Joseph (who made the twelfth) was dead. This is much more probably the sense, than the fancy of some, that Barnabas, who was afterward chosen to supply the room of Judas, being at that time a disciple, might at that time be with them; for admit he were, yet Thomas, we are sure, was at that time absent.

And that he was seen of Cephas,.... Or Simon Peter; for Cephas was a name given him by Christ, John 1:42. This was not another Cephas, one of the seventy disciples, as Clemens suggests (g), but the Apostle Peter himself, to whom it is certain the Lord appeared. Not that he was the first person by whom Christ was seen after his resurrection, for he first appeared to Mary Magdalene, Mark 16:9 but the testimony of the women the apostle omits, and it seems as if Peter was the first of the men that saw Christ when risen, see Luke 24:34. Whether he was one of the disciples that went to Emmaus, to whom Christ joined himself, and entered into discourse with, is not certain; it should rather seem, that the appearance here referred to was when he was alone;

then of the twelve; though there were then but eleven of them, Judas being gone from them, and having destroyed himself; and at the first appearance of Christ to them, there were but ten present, Thomas being absent; and yet because their original number, when first chosen and called, were twelve, they still went by the same name; see John 20:24. The appearance or appearances here referred to are those in John 20:19. The Vulgate Latin reads the "eleven"; and so the Claromontane exemplar.

(g) Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 12.

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the {c} twelve:

(c) Of those twelve picked and chosen apostles, who were commonly called twelve, though Judas was put out of the number.

1 Corinthians 15:5. “Res tanti momenti neque facilis creditu multis egebat testibus,” Grotiu.

Κηφᾷ] Comp. Luke 24:34.[29]

εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα] John 20:19 ff.; Luke 24:36 ff. After the death of the traitor, there were indeed only eleven (hence several witnesses read ἕνδεκα, comp. Acts 1:26), nay, according to John l.c., Thomas also was absent at that time; but comp. the official designations decemviri, centumviri, al., where the proper number also was often not complete. To reckon in Matthias (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Bengel, and others) would make a needless prothysteron of the expression. It may be added that under the ὤφθη we are always to conceive of but one act of appearing, as is especially clear from 1 Corinthians 15:8; hence we are not in connection with ΤΟῖς ΔΏΔΕΚΑ to think of a combination of John 20:19 ff. and John 20:26 ff. (Osiander, van Hengel, and others), to which some have even added John 21. That Paul narrates the series of appearances chronologically, should not have been questioned by Wieseler (Synopse der Evang. p. 420 f.), who assumes only an enumeration of the individual cases without order of time. It is implied necessarily in the words of historical continuation themselves (ἔπειτα ὤφθη), as well as in their relation to ἜΣΧΑΤΟΝ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ, 1 Corinthians 15:8. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 15:23-24; 1 Corinthians 15:46.

[29] According to Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 115 ff., the appearance made to Peter also (like all the following ones) was a vision, the determining occasion of which was the perplexing contradiction between the once living and the now dead Messiah.

1 Corinthians 15:5. καὶ ὅτι ὤφθη Κηφᾷ, εἶτα τοῖς δώδεκα: so much of the evidence P. states as having been formally delivered to the Cor[2269] along with the facts attested; for these two clauses are under the regimen of παρέδωκα (1 Corinthians 15:3). The manifold testimony was detailed with more or less fulness at diff[2270] times; but P. seems always to have related imprimis the witness of Kephas and the Twelve, beside the revelation to himself (1 Corinthians 15:8). The Lord’s manifestation to Peter (on the form Kephas, see 1 Corinthians 1:12) preceded that given to the body of the Apostles (Luke 24:34). Peter’s evidence, as the witness of Pentecost and ἀπόστολος τ. περιτομῆς, was of palmary importance, ἀξιόχρεων εἰς μαρτυρίαν (Thd[2271]), esp. in view of the consensus to be asserted in 1 Corinthians 15:11 (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12).—ὤφθη with dat[2272], appeared (pass, aor[2273], in reflexive sense: see Bm[2274], pp. 52, 187), is used of exceptional, supernatural appearances (see parls.). “The twelve,” the college of the App., without exact regard to number: actually ten, wanting Judas Iscariot, and Thomas absent on the first meeting. Luke speaks on this occasion of “the eleven (the Western reading here) and those with them,” Luke 24:33; Paul cites the official witnesses.

[2269] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[2270] difference, different, differently.

[2271] Theodoret, Greek Commentator.

[2272] dative case.

[2273] aorist tense.

[2274] A. Buttmann’s Grammar of the N.T. Greek (Eng. Trans., 1873).

5. of Cephas] See Luke 24:34. St Paul and St John alone use the Aramaic form of the Apostle’s surname, the former only in this Epistle and once in the Epistle to the Galatians. This, coupled with the fact that St John only uses the Aramaic form in the narrative in ch. John 1:42, is one of those minute touches which speak strongly for the genuineness of his gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:5. κηφᾷ, of Cephas) Luke 24:34.—δώδεκα, twelve) Luke 24:36. It is probable that Matthias was then also present. Photius in his Amphilochia and others read ἕνδεκα.[133]

[133] D corrected later, Gfg. Vulg. and MSS., alluded to in Augustine, Photius, and Jerome, read ἔνδεκα. But AB Orig. 1, 434e read δωδεκα.—ED.

Verse 5. - Was seen of Cephas (Luke 24:34). The appearances to the women (John 20:14, etc.) are omitted, as being evidential rather to the apostles than to the world. The twelve (John 20:19, 26). Some officious scribes have in some manuscripts altered the word into" the eleven." But "the twelve" is here the designation of an office, and great ancient writers are always indifferent to mere pragmatic accuracy in trifles which involve nothing. To witness to the Resurrection was a main function of "the twelve" (Acts 2:23; Acts 3:15; Acts 10:40, etc.). 1 Corinthians 15:5Was seen (ὤφθη)

Rev., appeared. The word most commonly used in the New Testament for seeing visions. See on Luke 22:43. Compare the kindred ὀπτασία vision, Luke 1:22; Acts 26:19; 2 Corinthians 12:1.

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