1 Corinthians 15:51
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(51) Behold, I shew you a mystery.—It is better to take these words as referring to what follows rather than (as some have done) to the preceding statement. A mystery means something which up to this time has been kept concealed, but is now made manifest (Romans 11:25; Ephesians 3:3-5).

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be Changed.—There are here a considerable variety of readings in the Greek, but the text from which our English version is taken is probably correct. The Apostle believed that the end of the world might come in the lifetime of some then living. We shall not all, he says, necessarily sleep, but we shall all be changed. The change from the earthly to the spiritual body is absolutely necessary. To some it will come through the ordinary process of death; to those who are alive at Christ’s advent it will come suddenly, and in a moment. The dead shall be raised, but we (the living) shall be changed.

15:51-58 All the saints should not die, but all would be changed. In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are made known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse 58, we have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant.Behold I show you - This commences the third subject of inquiry in the chapter, the question, what will become of those who are alive when the Lord Jesus shall return to raise the dead? This was an obvious inquiry, and the answer was, perhaps, supposed to be difficult. Paul answers it directly, and says that they will undergo an instantaneous change, which will make them like the dead that shall be raised.

A mystery - On the meaning of this word, see the note on 1 Corinthians 2:7. The word here does not mean anything which was in its nature unintelligible, but that which to them had been hitherto unknown. "I now communicate to you a truth which has not been brought into the discussion, and in regard to which no communication has been made to you." On this subject there had been no revelation. Though the Pharisees held that the dead would rise, yet they do not seem to have made any statement in regard to the living who should remain when the dead should rise. Nor, perhaps, had the subject occupied the attention of the apostles; nor had there been any direct communication on it from the Lord Jesus himself. Paul then here says, that he was about to communicate a great truth which till then had been unknown, and to resolve a great inquiry on which there had as yet been no revelation.

We shall not all sleep - We Christians; grouping all together who then lived and should live afterward, for his discussion has relation to them all. The following remarks may, perhaps, remove some of the difficulty which attends the interpretation of this passage. The objection which is made to it is, that Paul expected to live until the Lord Jesus should return; that he, therefore, expected that the world would soon end, and that in this he was mistaken, and could not be inspired. To this, we may reply:

(1) He is speaking of Christians as such - of the whole church that had been redeemed - of the entire mass that should enter heaven; and he groups them all together, and connects himself with them, and says, "We shall not die; we Christians, including the whole church, shall not all die," etc. That he did not refer only to those whom he was then addressing, is apparent from the whole discussion. The argument relates to Christians - to the church at large; and the affirmation here has reference to that church considered as one church that was to be raised up on the last Day.

(2) that Paul did not expect that the Lord Jesus would soon come, and that the world would soon come to an end, is apparent from a similar place in the Epistle to the Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, he uses language remarkably similar to that which is used here: "We which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord," etc. This language was interpreted by the Thessalonians as teaching that the world would soon come to an end, and the effect had been to produce a state of alarm. Paul was, therefore, at special pains to show in his Second Epistle to them, that he did not mean any such thing. He showed them 2 Thessalonians 2 that the end of the world was not near; that very important events were to occur before the world would come to an end; and that his language did not imply any expectation on his part that the world would soon terminate, or that the Lord Jesus would soon come.

(3) Parallel expressions occur in the other writers of the New Testament, and with a similar signification. Thus, John 1 John 2:18 says, "It is the last time;" compare Hebrews 1:2. But the meaning of this is not that the world would soon come to an end. The prophets spoke of a period which they called "the last days" (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1; in Hebrew, "the after days"), as the period in which the Messiah would live and reign. By it they meant the dispensation which should be the last; that under which the world would close; the reign of the Messiah, which would be the last economy of human things. But it did not follow that this was to be a short period; or that it might not be longer than any one of the former, or than all the former put together. This was that which John spoke of as the last time.

(4) I do not know that the proper doctrine of inspiration suffers, if we admit that the apostles were ignorant of the exact time when the world would close; or even that in regard to the precise period when that would take place, they might be in error. The following considerations may be suggested on this subject, showing that the claim to inspiration did not extend to the knowledge of this fact:

(a) That they were not omniscient, and there is no more absurdity in supposing that they were ignorant on this subject than in regard to any other.

(b) Inspiration extended to the order of future events, and not to the thees. There is in the Scriptures no statement of the time when the world would close. Future events were made to pass before the minds of the prophets, as in a landscape. The order of the images may be distinctly marked, but the times may not be designated. And even events which may occur in fact at distant periods, may in vision appear to be near each other; as in a landscape, objects which are in fact separated by distant intervals, like the ridges of a mountain, may appeal to lie close to each other.

(c) The Saviour expressly said, that it was not designed that they should know when future events would occur. Thus, after his ascension, in answer to an inquiry whether he then would restore the kingdom to Israel, he said Acts 1:7, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." See the note on that verse.

(d) The Saviour said that even he himself, as man, was ignorant in regard to the exact time in which future events would occur. "But of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father;" Mark 13:32.

(e) The apostles were in fact ignorant, and mistaken in regard to, at least, the time of the occurrence of one future event, the death of John; John 21:23. There is, therefore, no departure from the proper doctrine of inspiration, in supposing that the apostles were not inspired on these subjects, and that they might be ignorant like others. The proper order of events they state truly and exactly; the exact time God did not, for wise reasons, intend to make known.

Shall not all sleep - Shall not all die; see the note at 1 Corinthians 11:30.

But we shall all be changed - There is considerable variety in the reading of this passage. The Vulgate reads it, "We shall all indeed rise, but we shall not all be changed." Some Greek manuscripts read it, "We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed." Others, as the Vulgate, "We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed." But the present Greek text contains, doubtless, the true reading; and the sense is, that all who are alive at the coming of the Lord Jesus shall undergo such a change as to fit them for their new abode in heaven; or such as shall make them like those who shall be raised from the dead. This change will be instantaneous 1 Corinthians 15:52, for it is evident that God can as easily change the living as he can raise the dead; and as the affairs of the world will then have come to an end, there will be no necessity that those who are then alive should be removed by death; nor would it be proper that they should go down to lie any time in the grave. The ordinary laws, therefore, by which people are removed to eternity, will not operate in regard to them, and they will be removed at once to their new abode.

51. Behold—Calling attention to the "mystery" heretofore hidden in God's purposes, but now revealed.

you—emphatical in the Greek; I show (Greek, "tell," namely, by the word of the Lord, 1Th 4:15) YOU, who think you have so much knowledge, "a mystery" (compare Ro 11:25) which your reason could never have discovered. Many of the old manuscripts and Fathers read, "We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed"; but this is plainly a corrupt reading, inconsistent with 1Th 4:15, 17, and with the apostle's argument here, which is that a change is necessary (1Co 15:53). English Version is supported by some of the oldest manuscripts and Fathers. The Greek is literally "We all shall not sleep, but," &c. The putting off of the corruptible body for an incorruptible by an instantaneous change will, in the case of "the quick," stand as equivalent to death, appointed to all men (Heb 9:27); of this Enoch and Elijah are types and forerunners. The "we" implies that Christians in that age and every successive age since and hereafter were designed to stand waiting, as if Christ might come again in their time, and as if they might be found among "the quick."

They might object: How can this be? There will be many saints alive in the world at the day when Christ shall come to judge the world, they will have natural bodies, such as they were born with, and grew up with in the world until that time. Saith the apostle: I now tell you a secret thing; for so the term mystery signifieth, Romans 11:25 16:25, and in many other texts.

We shall not all sleep any long sleep: some think all shall die, but some for a very short time, and then they shall revive.

But we shall all be changed, either dying for time, or by some other work of God, their natural, corruptible bodies shall be turned into spiritual bodies, not capable of corruption. Behold, I show you a mystery,.... Or a secret, which could never have been discovered by reason, or the light of nature, and what is of pure revelation; and which perhaps the apostle became acquainted with, when he was caught up into the third heaven; and is what is never made mention of by any prophet, or apostle, but himself: he prefaces the account of it in this manner, partly to show the great respect he had for these Corinthians, that he treated them as his bosom friends, to whom he communicated his secrets; and partly to excite their curiosity and attention:

we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; some copies read, "we shall all rise again, but we shall not all be changed", and so the Vulgate Latin version; according to which the sense is, all will rise again, both just and unjust, but all will not be changed into a state of glory; but the apostle is only speaking of the saints, of whom it is true, not only that they shall rise again, but shall be changed from corruption to incorruption; wherefore this cannot be a true reading: others read the words thus, "we shall all die, but we shall not all be changed"; and so the Ethiopic version and the Alexandrian copy seem to have read; which is just the reverse of the text, and arises from a wrong sense of Hebrews 9:27 where it is not said, it is "appointed unto all men", but "unto men once to die"; from which rule there has been some exceptions, as the instances of Enoch and Elijah show; and there will be more at the time of Christ's coming, for all will not sleep in their graves, or die, for death is meant by sleeping; they will not die as men ordinarily do, and continue under the power of death, but they will be changed at once from corruption to incorruption, from dishonour to glory, from weakness to power, from being natural to be spiritual bodies; this change all the saints will undergo, whether dead or alive, at Christ's coming; the dead by a resurrection from the dead, and the living by a secret and sudden power, which will at once render their bodies, without separating them from their souls, immortal and glorious: and this reading and sense are confirmed by the Syriac and Arabic versions.

{29} Behold, I shew you a {d} mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

(29) He goes further, declaring that it will come to pass that those who will be found alive in the latter day will not descend into that corruption of the grave, but will be renewed with a sudden change, which change is very necessary. And he further states that the certain enjoying of the benefit and victory of Christ, is deferred to that latter time.

(d) A thing that has been hid, and never known before now, and therefore worthy that you give good care to it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 15:51. After Paul has with the weighty axiom in 1 Corinthians 15:50 disposed of the question ποίῳ δὲ σώματι ἔρχονται, which he has been discussing since 1 Corinthians 15:35, a new point, which has likewise a right withal not to be left untouched in this connection, however mysterious it is, now presents itself for elucidation, namely, what shall happen in the case of those who shall be yet alive at the Parousia. This last, as it were, appended part of his discussion begins without transition in a direct and lively way (ἰδού), designated too as μυστήριον, as dogma reconditum, the knowledge of which Paul is conscious that he possesses by ἀποκάλυψις.[90] See on Romans 11:25.

ΠΆΝΤΕς ΜῈΝ Οὐ ΚΟΙΜ. Κ.Τ.Λ.
] is held by the commentators to mean: we shall indeed not all die, but all shall be changed. They either assume a transposition of the negation (so the majority of the older expositors, following Chrysostom, also Heydenreich, Flatt, Osiander, Reiche, and van Hengel); or they hold that Paul had ἀλλαγ., upon which all the emphasis lies, already in his mind in connection with the first ΠΆΝΤΕς: “We all—shall not indeed die until then, but notwithstanding—all shall be changed,” Billroth, whom Olshausen, de Wette, Maier, follow; or (so Rückert) the meaning is: die indeed we shall not all, etc., so that, according to this view, in pure Greek it would be said: κοιμηθησόμεθα πάντες μὲν οὐ.[91] Three makeshifts, contrary to the construction, and without proof or precedent, in order to bring out a meaning assumed beforehand to be necessary, but which is incorrect, for Paul after 1 Corinthians 15:52 can only have applied ἀλλαγησόμεθα to those still living at the Parousia, and not, as according to that assumed meaning must be the case, to those already dead. The result of this is, at the same time, that the subject of οὐ κοιμ. and ἀλλαγ. must be Paul himself, and the whole of those who, like him, shall yet witness the Parousia (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 : ἡμεῖς οἱ ξῶντες), as could not but be clear to the reader from ἀλλαγ. Hence we must interpret strictly according to the order of the words: we shall indeed all not sleep (i.e. shall not have to go through the experience of dying at the Parousia, in order to become sharers in the resurrection body, but shall remain alive then), but shall, doubtless, all be changed.[92] Regarding the subject-matter, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This interpretation alone, according to which Οὐ, in conformity with the quite ordinary use of it (comp. immediately Οὐ ΔΎΝΑΤΑΙ, 1 Corinthians 15:50), changes the conception of the word before which it stands into its opposite (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 278), is not merely verbally correct, but also in keeping with the character of a μυστήριον; while, according to the usual way of taking it, the first half at least contains nothing at all mysterious, but something superfluous and self-evident. Our interpretation is adopted and defended by Winer since his fifth edition (p. 517, ed. 7 [E. T. 695]), comp. Ewald and Kling;[93] but it is contested by Fritzsche, de conform. Lachm. p. 38; Reiche, Commentar. crit.; de Wette, van Hengel, Hofmann, Hoelemann, neue Bibelstud. p. 276 ff., who, it may be added, looks upon the passage as regards text and interpretation as a “still uncertain” one, but decidedly denies that there is here or in 1 Thessalonians 4 an expectation of the Parousia as nigh at hand. The objections raised against our view are insufficient; for (a) something absurd would result from it only on the supposition of the subject being all Christians or Paul and all his readers; (b) to make πάντες refer to the whole category of those among whom Paul reckoned himself, that is, to all who should still live to see the Parousia, of whom the apostle says that they shall not attain to the new body by the path of death, is not only not inadmissible, but is established in accordance with the context by the predicate ἀλλαγησ., which does not include the process of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52); (c) the LXX. Numbers 23:13 cannot be used to support the reference of οὐ to ΠΆΝΤΕς, for in the words of that passage: ΠΆΝΤΑς ΔῈ Οὐ ΜῊ ἼΔῌς, the wellknown use of Οὐ ΜΉ testifies irrefragably in favour of the connection of the negation, not with ΠΆΝΤΑς, but directly with the verb. Equally unavailable is the LXX. Joshua 11:13, where by ΠΆΣΑς ΤᾺς ΠΌΛΕΙς ΤᾺς ΚΕΧΩΜΑΤΙΣΜΈΝΑς ΟὐΚ ἘΝΈΠΡΗΣΕΝ it is declared of the whole of the hill-cities that Israel left them unburnt, so that the negation thus belongs to the verb alongside of which it stands. In Sir 17:30 also the words οὐ δύναται (it is impossible) belong to each other; in John 3:16; John 6:29, again, the mode of expression is quite of another kind (in opposition to Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 106 [E. T. 121]). In our text the repetition of πάντες ought to have sufficed of itself to prevent misapprehension of the plain meaning: all we shall at the return of the Lord, in order to our entering glorified into His kingdom, not need first to fall asleep, but shall all be changed living (1 Corinthians 15:52), so that our ΨΥΧΙΚῸΝ ΣῶΜΑ shall become a ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΌΝ.

[90]
Not “a half confession that now there comes a private opinion” (Krauss, p. 169), which he only with reluctance gives to the public. Comp. also, as against this view, 1 Thessalonians 5:15 : ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου.

[91] Comp. Hofmann’s earlier interpretation (in the Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 654): “Collectively we shall not sleep, but we shall be changed collectively.” Now (heil. Schr. d. N. T.) the same writer follows Lachmann’s reading, which, however, he punctuates thus: πάντες μὲν κοιμηθησόμεθα οὔ, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγ., whereby, on the one hand, the universality of the dying is denied, whereas on the other the universality of the change is affirmed. Against this interpretation, apart from the critical objections, it may be urged, as regards the sense, that ἀλλαγ. cannot be predicated of the dead along with the rest (see ver. 52), and as regards linguistic usage again, that to place the οὐ after the conceptions negatived by it (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 307 f.) is foreign throughout to the New Testament, often as there was opportunity for placing it so.

[92] εἰς ἀφθαρσίαν μεταπεσεῑ͂ν, Chrysostom.

[93] Comp. also Holtzmann, Judenth. u. Christenth. p. 565.1 Corinthians 15:51-52. This bodily change, indispensable in view of the incompatibility just affirmed, is the object of a momentous revelation communicated to P., to which he calls our earnest attention: “Lo, I tell you a mystery!” On μυστήριον, see note to 1 Corinthians 2:1. P. began by demonstrating the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11); he then reasoned upon it, in its bearings on religion and nature (1 Corinthians 15:12-49); now he adds a new specific revelation to crown his teaching. In doing so, P. challenges his opponents in the right of his inspiration and authority, hitherto in the background in this chap. 1 Corinthians 15:15 only vindicated his honesty.

In 1 Corinthians 15:51 b ἀλλαγησόμεθα (required by 50 and repeated in 52) bears the stress; to it the first πάντες (reiterated with emphasis) looks forward; οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα is parenthetical: “We shall all—not sleep, but—we shall all be changed”. ἀλλάσσω is interpreted by ἐνδύομαι of 1 Corinthians 15:53 and μετασχηματίζω of Php 3:21. As much as to say: “Our perishable flesh and blood, whether through death or not, must undergo a change”. That such a change is impending for the dead in Christ is evident from the foregoing argument (see esp. 22 f., 36, 42 f.); P. adds to this the declaration that the change will be universal, that it will extend to those living when the Last Trumpet sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52), amongst whom he then hoped that many of the present generation would be found: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7; also 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ff., where the like is affirmed ἐν λόγῳ Κυρίου. This hope dictates the interjected οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, which disturbs the grammar of the sentence and necessitates the contrastive δὲ attached to the repeated πάντες (see txtl. note; Wr[2564], p. 695; also El[2565] ad loc[2566]). There is no need to suppose a trajection of οὐ (as if for οὐ πάντες, or οὐ μὲν πάντες κοιμηθησ.), nor any diff[2567] between the sense of ἀλλαγησ. in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 : the certainty of change in all who shall “inherit incorruption” is declared (1 Corinthians 15:51), and the assurance is given that while this change takes place in “the dead” who are “raised incorruptible,” at the same time “we” (the assumed living) shall undergo a corresponding change (52; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:2 ff.). Thus in “all” believers, whether sleeping or waking when Christ’s trumpet sounds, the necessary development will be effected (1 Corinthians 15:53 f.).—The critical moment is defined by three vivid phrases: ἐν ἀτόμῳ (cl[2568] Gr[2569], ἐν ἀκαρεῖ), ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ (in ictu oculi, Vg[2570]; in a twinkling), ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ σάλπιγγι—the first two describing the instantaneousness, and the last (with allusion perhaps to the saying of Matthew 24:31 : cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16) the solemn finality of the transformation. The former idea is emphasized, possibly, to preclude the fear of a slow painful process. The σάλπιγξ was the wartrumpet, used for signals and commands (cf. ἐν κελεύσματι, 1 Thessalonians 4:16); and σαλπίσει (sc. ὁ σαλπιγκτής) is indef. in subject, according to military idiom (cf. Xen., Anab., I., ii., 17). 1 Thess. iv. identifies the “trumpet” with the “archangel’s voice”: any such description is of course figurative.

[2564] Winer-Moulton’s Grammar of N.T. Greek (8th ed., 1877).

[2565] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[2566] ad locum, on this passage.

[2567] difference, different, differently.

[2568] classical.

[2569] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[2570]
Latin Vulgate Translation.51. Behold, I shew you a mystery] See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 2:7, 1 Corinthians 4:1. Human reason unaided is of course incapable of arriving at the truth on a point like this.

We shall not all sleep] There are two other very important readings of this passage. The first, that of the Vulgate and of Tertullian, is omnes quidem resurgemus, sed non omnes immutabimur (alle we schulen rise aghen, but not alle we schullen be chaungid. Wiclif). The other is, we shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed, which is found in some important MSS. and versions. There seems little reason to doubt that the reading of our version is the true one. The others have probably arisen from the fact that St Paul and his contemporaries did sleep. But he was obviously under the impression (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17)—an impression in no way surprising, even in an inspired Apostle, when we remember St Mark 13:33—that the coming of Christ would take place during his life-time, or that of some at least of those whom he addressed. Estius gives six reasons against the received reading of the Vulgate, of which two appear by themselves to be conclusive. First, that the reading ‘we shall not all be changed,’ is not suited to the words ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye’ which follow; and next, that this reading is in direct contradiction to the words ‘we shall be changed’ in the next verse.

but we shall all be changed] “For we who have gone to rest in faith towards Christ, and have received the earnest of the Spirit in the time of our corporeal life, shall receive the most perfect favour and shall be changed into the glory which is of God.” Cyril of Alexandria (on St John 10:10). The Apostle explains that this change shall also take place in those who ‘are alive and remain’ until the coming of the Lord. See Php 3:21.1 Corinthians 15:51. Ὑμῖν, you) Do not suppose, that you know all things.—λέγω, I say) prophetically: 1 Corinthians 13:2 : 1 Thessalonians 4:15.—πάντες μἐν οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγημσόμεθα, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed) The Latins read with general consent; “Omnes quidem resurgemus, sed non omnes immutabimur,” We shall indeed all rise, but we shall not all be changed, and Tertullian and Rufinus and others besides follow this reading. And yet the Latin translator does not seem to have read the Greek different from our Greek copies, but to have expressed the sense, as he indeed understood it, rather than the words. For this is his common practice in this epistle, as when 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:28, he translated γλωσσῶν, words, and on the other hand 1 Corinthians 14:10 φωνῶν, tongues, he seems therefore to have translated οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, as if it had been οὐ μενοῦμεν κοιμηθέντες, that is, we shall rise again. Hence it followed, that he presently after supplied not, for the sake of the antithesis, as he had suppressed not, chap. 1 Corinthians 9:6 : and here also Tertullian follows his footsteps. Moreover from the Latin the word ἀναβιώσομεν has been fabricated in the Veles. and ἀναστησόμεθα (a word which Paul does not use in this whole chapter) is a correction by the first interpolator of the Clar. MS. Some of the Greeks have πάντες μὲν οὖν κοιμηθησόμεθα, ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντες ἀλλαγησόμεθα; whence from μὲν οὐ, μὲν οὖν was easily produced. Indeed in this verse the apostle wished to deny nothing whatever concerning the change, but to affirm it, and to bring forward the mystery. The reading of the text remains, which is not unknown even to the Latin copies, quoted by Jerome from Didymus.[149] Moreover each of the two clauses is universal. All indeed, namely we, from whom the dead are presently after contradistinguished, shall not sleep; but all, even we the same persons, shall be changed; the subject of each of the two enunciations is the same: comp. πᾶς οὐκ, taken universally, 1 Corinthians 16:12; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:3; Acts 11:8. The expression does not so much refer to the very persons, who were then alive, and were waiting for the consummation of the world, but to those, who are to be then alive in their place, 1 Corinthians 15:52 at the end, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, note.—ἈΛΛΑΓΗΣΌΜΕΘΑ, we shall be changed) While the soul remains in the body, the body from being animal [natural] will become spiritual.

[149] Tisch. reads πἀντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησομεθα, with B (from its silence), some Greek MSS. mentioned in Jerome 1,794c, 810c, also MSS. of Acacius and Didymus in Jerome 1,795e, 799b, both Syr. and Memph. Versions, Orig. 1,589f, and quoted in Jerome 1,804c. Lachm. reads πάντες [μὲν] κοιμηθησόμεθα, οὐ πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα, with CGg, Orig. 2,552bc, also Greek MSS. mentioned in Jerome 1,794c, 810c, also Didymus mentioned in Jerome 1,795d, and in 1,798b, Acacius, bishop of Cæsarea, who mentions it as the reading of very many MSS. A reads οἱ πάντες μὲν κοιμηθ. οἱ πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγ.—ED.Verse 51. - I show you a mystery. I make known to you a truth now made known to me by revelation. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. There is a great diversity of readings in this verse, noticed even by St. Jerome and St. Augustine. St. Jerome says that all the Latin manuscripts had "we shall all rise," and that the Greek manuscripts wavered between "we shall all sleep" and "we shall not all sleep." Some Greek manuscripts had "we shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed." This reading cannot be right, for it contradicts the next verse. There is little doubt that the reading of the Authorized version is right. It accounts for all the variations. They arose from a desire to shelter St. Paul from an apparent mistake, since he and his readers did all sleep. But

(1) St. Paul may have written under that conception of the imminence of Christ's personal return which he expresses in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, where he evidently imagines that the majority of those to whom he was writing would be of those who would be "alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord;" or

(2) even if he no longer entertained that expectation, the "we" may naturally apply to the continuity of the Christian Church. For in 2 Corinthians 4:14 he uses "us" of those who shall die and be raised. The universal expectation of the immediate return of Christ in the first century rose

(1) from their non apprehension of the truth that the close of the old dispensation was the "coming" to which our Lord had primarily referred in his great eschatological discourse (Matthew 24:34), and

(2) from the fact that watchfulness was intended to be the attitude of the Church, and the day and hour of Christ's coming were kept absolutely unrevealed (Matthew 24:36; Matthew 25:13). We shall not all sleep (πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα)

Not, there is not one of us now living who shall die before the Lord's coming, but, we shall not all die. There will be some of us Christians living when the Lord comes, but we shall be changed. The other rendering would commit the apostle to the extent of believing that not one Christian would die before the coming of Christ.

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