1 Corinthians 15:8
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
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(8) Was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.—Better, Last of all, as to an untimely born one he appeared also to me. The Apostle here distinctly states that he saw the Lord at the time of his conversion as really as St. Peter and others had seen him, though with touching pathos and strongly marked emphasis he adds that it was not at the same time as the “firstborn” had seen Him, but only as an “untimely born” one.

1 Corinthians 15:8. Last of all — This evidently implies that our Lord appeared to none of the disciples after his ascension, except to Paul; he was seen of me also — He here no doubt speaks of Christ’s appearing to him on the way to Damascus, but he does not exclude his other appearances to him. See 1 Corinthians 9:1. As of one born out of due time — An untimely birth. It was impossible to abase himself more than he does by this single appellation. As an abortion is not worthy the name of a man, so he affirms himself to be not worthy the name of an apostle. It must be observed, however, it was not on account of his being sensible of any imperfection in his commission, or of any weakness in his qualifications as an apostle, that he gave himself this name; for he affirms (2 Corinthians 11:5) that he was in nothing behind the very chief of the apostles: but he called himself an untimely birth, for the reason mentioned in the next verse, “and because he was made an apostle without that previous course of instruction and preparation which the other apostles enjoyed, who had attended Jesus during his ministry on earth; so that, in the proper sense of the word, he was εκτρομα, one born before he was brought to maturity. That want, however, was abundantly supplied by the many revelations which his Master gave him, after he had made him an apostle.” — Macknight.

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 last of all - After all the other times in which he appeared to people; after he had ascended to heaven. This passage proves that the apostle Paul saw the same Lord Jesus, the same "body" which had been seen by the others, or else his assertion would be no proof that he was risen from the dead. It was not a fancy, therefore, that he had seen him; it was not the work of imagination; it was not even a "revelation" that he had risen; it was a real vision of the ascended Redeemer.

He was seen of me also - On the way to Damascus, see Acts 9:3-6, Acts 9:17.

As of one born out of due time - Margin, Or, "an abortive." Our translation, to most readers, probably, would not convey the real meaning of this place. The expression, "as of one born out of due time," would seem to imply that Paul meant to say that there was some unfitness "as to the time" when he saw the Lord Jesus; or that it was "too late" to have as clear and satisfactory a view of him as those had who saw him before his ascension. But this is by no means the idea in the passage. The word used here (ἔκτρωμα ektrōma) properly means an abortion, one born prematurely. It is found no where else in the New Testament; and here it means, as the following verse shows, one that was "exceedingly unworthy;" that was not worth regard; that was unfit to be employed in the service of the Lord Jesus; that had the same relation to that which was worthy of the apostolic office which an abortion has to a living child. The word occurs (in the Septuagint) in Job 3:16; Ecclesiastes 6:3, as the translation of נפל nephel, an abortion, or untimely birth. The expression seems to be proverbial, and to denote anything that is vile, offensive, loathsome, unworthy; see Numbers 12:11. The word, I think, has no reference to the mode of "training" of the apostle, as if he had not had the same opportunity as the others had, and was therefore, compared with their advantages, like an untimely child compared with one that had come to maturity before its birth, as Bloomfield supposes; nor does it refer to his diminutive stature, as Wetstein supposes; but it means that he felt himself "vile," guilty, unworthy, abominable as a persecutor, and as unworthy to be an apostle. The verse following shows that this is the sense in which the word is used.

8. One born out of due time—Greek, "the one abortively born": the abortion in the family of the apostles. As a child born before the due time is puny, and though born alive, yet not of the proper size, and scarcely worthy of the name of man, so "I am the least of the apostles," scarcely "meet to be called an apostle"; a supernumerary taken into the college of apostles out of regular course, not led to Christ by long instruction, like a natural birth, but by a sudden power, as those prematurely born [Grotius]. Compare the similar image from childbirth, and by the same spiritual power, the resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3). "Begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus." Jesus' appearance to Paul, on the way to Damascus, is the one here referred to. Last of all the apostles, or, it may be, last of all persons; for after Stephen we read of none but St. Paul who saw Christ. Stephen, as they were stoning him, cried out: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God, Acts 7:56. We read of Paul’s hearing a voice from him, Acts 9:4, and no doubt but he had a bodily sight of him, for he here reckoneth himself amongst those that were eye witnesses. Nor is it any objection against it, that he was struck blind, for that was after his sight of Christ, not before. He calls himself an abortive, or

one born out of due time, either because he was added to the number of the twelve; or in respect to his new birth, he being converted (as he tells us afterward) after that he had been a persecutor of the church of Christ, after the descending of the Holy Ghost; or, it may be, because his conversion was sudden, like the abortive birth of a woman.

And last of all he was seen of me also,.... Either when the apostle was caught up into the third heaven; or when he was in a trance in the temple at Jerusalem; or rather at the time of his conversion, when he not only heard the voice of Christ, but saw him in the human nature; for he expressly says, that he appeared unto him, and he calls it the heavenly vision, Acts 26:16. This was a sight of Christ in heaven, not on earth, such an one as Stephen had, and was a corporeal one; otherwise it would have been impertinent to have mentioned it, with the rest of the ocular testimonies of Christ's resurrection. Not that this was the last time that Christ was seen, or to be seen, for he was seen after this by the Apostle John in a visionary way, and will be corporeally seen by all the saints at the last day; but Paul was the last of the apostles and brethren before named, and he had his vision of Christ after them all; and perhaps it might be a more clear, full, and distinct one than any of the rest, as the last things are sometimes the most excellent. The apostle adds, as of

one born out of due time: or "as an abortive"; not that he was really one, but like one: several learned interpreters think the apostle refers to a proverbial way of speaking among the common people at Rome, who used to call such supernumerary senators in the times of Augustus Caesar, who got into the senate house by favour or bribery, "abortives" (i), they being generally very unworthy persons; and therefore calls himself by this name, as being in his own opinion a supernumerary apostle, and very unworthy of that office: though others rather think that he refers to a "posthumous" birth, to one that is born after the death of his father; because that the rest of the apostles were all chosen, and called, and sent forth, whilst Christ, their everlasting Father, was living on earth, but he not till after his death, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven: but it seems best to understand him of an abortion, a miscarriage, or birth before its time; and may respect either the manner of his conversion, which was done both suddenly, immediately, and at once, by a sudden light from heaven, when he little thought of it, and had no expectation of it, which is commonly the case of abortions; and also powerfully and irresistibly, being effected by mighty and efficacious grace, as births before the full time are often occasioned by blows or outward force, and are violent extrusions of the foetus; or else the state and condition in which he was when Christ was first seen by him: as to his bodily state, as soon as ever he saw the light about him, and the object by it, he was struck blind, and continued so some days, like an hidden untimely birth, and like an infant that never saw light, Job 3:16. And as to his spiritual estate, his soul was like an unshapen foetus, Christ being not yet formed in him, his image stamped on him, and his grace implanted in him; yea, it may be applied to the present apprehensions he had of himself, and which he expresses without a figure in the next verse, though in a beautiful manner, with a view to what he here says, when he observes that he was "the least of the apostles, and not meet to be called" one; as an abortive, or one born before its time, is imperfect in one respect or another, is not come to its proper size and shape, and scarcely is to be reckoned in the class and number of men.

(i) Vid. Sueton. in Vita August. c. 35.

{2} And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

(2) He maintains along the way the authority of his apostleship, which was required to be in good credit among the Corinthians, that this epistle might be of force and weight among them. In the mean time he compares himself, under divine inspiration, in such a way with certain others, that he makes himself inferior to them all.

1 Corinthians 15:8. Appearance at Damascus. Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:1.

Regarding the adverbial ἔσχατον, comp. Plato, Gorg. p. 473 C; Soph. Oed. Col. 1547; Mark 12:22 (Lachm.). It concludes the series of bodily appearances, and thereby separates these from later appearances in visions (Acts 18:9), or some other apocalyptic wa.

πάντων] is not to be understood, as has been usually done, of all those in general to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection, but of all apostles, as is the most natural interpretation from the very foregoing τοῖς ἀποστ. πᾶσι, and is rendered certain by the τῷ ἐκτρώμ. with the article, which, according to 1 Corinthians 15:9, denotes κατʼ ἐξοχήν the apostolic “abortion.”[31]

The apostle’s sense of the high privilege of being counted worthy to see the Risen One awakens in him his deep humility, which was always fostered by the painful consciousness of having once persecuted the church; he therefore expresses his strong sense of unworthiness by saying that he is, as it were (ὡσπερεί, quasi, only here in the N. T., often in classic writers), τὸ ἔκτρωμα, the untimely foetus, Arist. Gener. An. iv. 5; LXX. Numbers 12:12; Job 3:16; Ecclesiastes 6:3; Aq. Psalm 57:9. See the passages in Wetstein, Fritzsche, Diss. I. p. 60 f.; and as regards the standing of the word as Greek (for which the older Attic writers have ἄμβλωμα), Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 209. In opposition to Heydenreich and Schulthess (most recently in Keil and Tzschirner’s Anal. I. 4, p. 212 f.), who interpret in a way which is linguistically erroneous (adopted, however, as early as by τινές in Theophylact), lateborn, born afterwards in old age, see Fritzsche, l.c. The idea of being late-born, i.e. late in becoming an apostle, is conveyed in ἔσχατον πάντων, not in ἔκτρωμα. What Paul meant to indicate in a figurative way by τ. ἐκτρ. is clearly manifest from 1 Corinthians 15:9, namely, that he was inferior to, and less worthy than, the rest of the apostles, in the proportion in which the abortive child stands behind that born mature.[32] Comp. Bengel: “Ut abortus non est dignus humano nomine, sic apostolus negat se dignum apostoli appellatione.” See also Ignatius, ad Romans 9. The distinct explanation which he gives himself in 1 Corinthians 15:9 excludes all the other—some of them very odd—interpretations which have been given,[33] along with that of Hofmann: Paul designates himself so in contrast to those who, when Jesus appeared to them, were brethren (James too?) or apostles, and consequently had been “born as children of God into the life of the faith of Christ;” whereas with him the matter had not yet come to a full formation of Christ (Galatians 4:19), as was the case with the rest. This artificial interpretation is all the more erroneous, seeing that Paul, when Christ appeared to him, had not yet made even the first approach to being a Christian embryo, but was the most determined opponent of the Lord, and was closely engaged in persecuting Him (Acts 9:4); ὡσπ. τ. ἐκτρ. does not describe what Paul was then, when Christ appeared to him, but what he is since that tim.

κἀμοί] at the end, with the unaffected stamp of humility after the expressions of self-abasement put before.

Observe, further, that Paul places the appearance of the Risen One made to himself in the same series with the others, without mentioning the ascension which lay between. Certainly, therefore, he did not regard the latter as the striking, epoch-making event, which it first appears in the narrative of the Book of Acts, forty days after the resurrection. See generally on Luke 24:51, Remark. But observe also what stress Paul lays here and 1 Corinthians 9:1 upon the outwardly manifested bodily appearance of the Lord, with which Galatians 1:15 does not in any way conflict.[34] 2 Corinthians 12:2 ff. is of a different tenor.

[31] The “abortion” in the series of the apostles. Hofmann is wrong in making πάντων extend to the whole of the cases previously adduced. That would surely be a thing quite self-evident, namely, that in a series of cases following after each other, the last mentioned is just the last of all. No, πάντων is correlative to the preceding πᾶσιν, and the progress of thought is: “to the apostles all, last of all, however, to me also.” Thereby Paul gives adequate expression to the deep humility with which he sees himself added to the circle of the apostles. Comp. ver. 9 : ἀποστόλων, ἀπόστολος, and then the retrospective τῶν πάντων, ver. 10, also the ἐκεῖνοι, ver. 11.—Hofmann seems to take the ὡσπερεί in the sense of ut decet; for he cites Klausen, ad Aesch. Agam. 1140, who treats specially of this meaning of the word, p. 244.

[32] The whole passage is entirely misunderstood by Kienlen in the Jahrb. f. d. Theol. 1868, p. 316 ff.

[33] Among these must be placed Calvin’s opinion (comp. Osiander): “Se comparat abortivo … subitae suae conversionis respectu,” shared by Grotius and others, including Schrader. So, too, with the view of Baronius, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, and others, that Paul describes himself as a supernumerary. And Wetstein even suggests: “Pseudapostoli videntur Paulo staturam exiguam objecisse, 2 Corinthians 10:10.”

[34] See Paret in the Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol. 1859, p. 243 ff.; Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 219 f.

1 Corinthians 15:8. ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων, ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι: “But last of all, as it were to the abortion (a creature so unfit and so repulsive), He appeared also to me”.—ἔσχατον (adv[2277]) πάντων marks the conclusion of a long series; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:9, also Mark 12:22.—ὡσπερεί, a frequent cl[2278] conjunction, “nonnihil mitigat—ut si [or quasi]: docet non debere hoc nimium premi, … Articulus vim habet (τῷ ἐκτρώματι). Quod inter liberos est abortus, inquit, id ego sum in apostolis.… Ut abortus non est dignus humano nomine, sic apostolus negat se dignum apostoli appellatione” (Bg[2279]; similarly Est., Mr[2280], Al[2281], Ed[2282], Sm[2283]); ἔκτρωμα need not be pressed beyond this figurative and descriptive meaning. However, Cv[2284], Gr[2285], Bt[2286], Gd[2287], and many find in the phrase an indication of the suddenness and violence of Paul’s birth into Christ; Hn[2288] and El[2289] see pictured in it, more appropriately, the unripe birth of one who was changed at a stroke from the persecutor into the Apostle, instead of maturing normally for his work,—“P. describes himself thus in contrast with those who, when Jesus appeared to them, were already brothers or apostles, already born as God’s children into the life of faith in Christ” (Hf[2290]). Sm[2291] aptly suggests that τὸ ἔκτρωμα was one of the insulting epithets flung at Paul by the Judaists; in their eyes he was a wirklich Missgeburt. He adopts the title—“the abortion, as they call me”—and gives it a deeper meaning. His low stature may have suggested the taunt: cf. 2 Corinthians 10:10, and Acta Pauli et Theclae, 3. An abortion is a living, genuine offspring.

[2277] adverb

[2278] classical.

[2279] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

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

[2281] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[2282] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[2283] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).

[2284] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[2285] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

J. A. Beet’s St. Paul’s Epp. to the Corinthians (1882).

[2287] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[2288] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[2289] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[2290] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[2291] P. Schmiedel, in Handcommentar zum N.T. (1893).

8. of me also, as of one born out of due time] Deed borun, Wiclif. The word here (after Tyndale) translated born out of due time refers to a birth out of the usual course of nature (cf. Psalm 58:8), about which there is therefore, (1) something violent and strange. Such was the nature of St Paul’s conversion, an event unparalleled in Scripture. Moreover, (2) such children are usually small and weakly, an idea which the next verse shews St Paul also had in mind. St Paul saw the Lord on more than one occasion. See note on ch. 1 Corinthians 9:1.

1 Corinthians 15:8. Ἒσχατον δὲ πάντων) and last of all, or rather, after them all, in order to exclude himself. Also after Stephen, Deuteronomy 31:27; Deuteronomy 31:29.—ἔσχατον τοῦ θανάτου μου, κ.τ.λ. after my death. [The appearances, that afterwards followed are not excluded by this expression, Acts 23:11.—V. g.]—ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι, as by the abortion [one born out of due time]) The LXX., ἐκτρώμα, Numbers 12:12. The article is emphatic. Paul applies to himself alone this denomination in reference to the circumstances of the appearance, and in reference to the present time of writing. What ἐκτρώμα, an abortion, is among children, he says, I am among the apostles; and by this one word he sinks himself lower than in any other way. As an abortion is not worthy of the name of man, so the apostle declares that he is not worthy of the name of apostle. The metaphor, is drawn from the same idea from which the term regeneration is used, 1 Peter 1:3 [Begotten again—by the resurrection of Jesus, etc.]; εἰ in ὡσπερεὶ somewhat softens the phrase: as if; he shows that this ought not to be pressed too far.—κᾀμόι, by me also) This word is elegantly placed at the end of the period.

Verse 8. - He was seen of me also. The reference undoubtedly is to the vision on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5; Acts 22:14; Acts 26:16). As of one born out of due time; literally, as to the abortive born. The word means "the untimely fruit of a woman," a child born out of the due time or natural course; and hence "diminutive" and "weakly." The Greek ektroma is represented by the Latin abortivus. St. Paul, when he remembered the lateness of his conversion, and his past persecution of the saints, regards himself as standing in this relation to the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:8One born out of due time (τῷ ἐκτρώματι)

Only here in the New Testament. It occurs, Numbers 12:12; Job 3:16; Ecclesiastes 6:3. The Hebrew nephel, which it is used to translate, occurs in the same sense in Psalm 58:8, where the Septuagint follows another reading of the Hebrew text. In every case the word means an abortion, a still-born embryo. In the same sense it is found frequently in Greek medical writers, as Galen and Hippocrates, and in the writings of Aristotle on physical science. This is the rendering of the Rheims Version: an abortive. Wyc., a dead-born child. The rendering of the A.V. and Rev. is unsatisfactory, since it introduces the notion of time which is not in the original word, and fails to express the abortive character of the product; leaving it to be inferred that it is merely premature, but living and not dead. The word does not mean an untimely living birth, but a dead abortion, and suggests no notion of lateness of birth, but rather of being born before the time. The words as unto the abortion are not to be connected with last of all - last of all as to the abortion - because there is no congruity nor analogy between the figure of an abortion and the fact that Christ appeared to him last. Connect rather with He appeared: last of all He appeared unto me as unto the abortion. Paul means that when Christ appeared to him and called him, he was - as compared with the disciples who had known and followed Him from the first, and whom he had been persecuting - no better than an unperfected foetus among living men. The comparison emphasizes his condition at the time of his call. The attempt to explain by a reference to Paul's insignificant appearance, from which he was nicknamed "The Abortion" by his enemies, requires no refutation.

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