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August 13, 2015

First Corinthians – Part 36


Last time we looked at the last portion of chapter 14.  The issues related to prophecy and women teachers in the church. It was found that men and women were to function differently in the church and that this was not something that was found in only one age but was rooted in the Genesis of mankind and hence inter dispensational. These different functions are not surprizing when one considers the differences both morphological and psychological. The Christian faith proposes the best model of functionality and peace from God. Rebellion to this will have its fruits and we see much of that today.

Chapter 15:1-10

Paul begins with the verb “Γνωρίζω”: 

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:1 Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, ὃ καὶ παρελάβετε, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε,

If you take the word order more literally in your translation then  the verse begins ” And I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you …” . There are many issues that come up in this chapter. The first point that should be made is that the gospel which Paul preached was made known by Paul, this in and of itself needs further explanation. Did this gospel come by way of revelation to Paul only? How did Paul ascertain the content of the message he preached? First lets look at the verb “to make known”.

The lemma of this word appears 24 times in the new testament and is used by Luke,Peter, John and Paul. In John, the Lord is showing the relationship between friend and servant:

KJV  John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
TBT  John 15:15 οὐκέτι ὑμᾶς λέγω δούλους, ὅτι ὁ δοῦλος οὐκ οἶδε τί ποιεῖ αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος· ὑμᾶς δὲ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐγνώρισα ὑμῖν.

They were called friends (not slaves) by the Lord because He had made known “all things that I have heard of the Father –  πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐγνώρισα” – they were to be slaves of a very different order.

KJV  John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
TBT  John 17:26 καὶ ἐγνώρισα αὐτοῖς τὸ ὄνομά σου, καὶ γνωρίσω· ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη, ἣν ἠγάπησάς με, ἐν αὐτοῖς ᾖ, κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς.

The Lord declares the Father’s name and will continue to declare it “in order that”  the same love which the Father had already demonstrated toward the Son would be in them and also that Christ would be in them. Friendship with the Lord and special love is what comes from making known the Father’s knowledge and name respectively. What special knowledge comes to us from the Father today? Read carefully Eph 1:1-23. The point is that we can have a better relationship with Christ by allowing the Spirit to make known the Fathers will and person.

The biggest frequency of usage is found in Ephesians — here is the climax of knowledge, here we find “the mystery” as the climax of “the mystery of Christ”. To rebel against these truths is to reduce ourselves to slaves only and to reduce our love one to another — for what does a slave know? Knowledge brings freedom, “for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth”. When we know what the Lord is doing today we can function and be of greater use.

Not accepting the mystery can often lead to myth acceptance see: 1 Tim. 1:4,1 Tim. 4:7, 2 Tim. 4:4, Tit. 1:14, 2 Pet. 1:16. Open your eyes and see — compare, make spiritual judgments trust the scriptures.

A comparison between 1 Cor.15:1-4 and Gal. 1:11 ff reveals that the gospel preached by Paul in the book of Acts and which brought salvation — that is resurrection to life eternal was BOTH revealed and scriptural (found in scripture). That is to say it rested on the prophetical scriptures and was also “specially” revealed to Paul. This is no surprize — since “a mystery” had to be manifest through revelation directly from Christ and made known through scripture Rom 16:26. The concordance above is remarkable.

In 1 Cor.15:1 Paul says: “the gospel which I preached unto you – τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν”, that is the gospel which was gospelized (to emphasize the etymology). Paul preached good news — this particular good news was both received by the Corinthians and they stood in it. It was the basis of their confidence and spiritual life.

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:2 δι᾽ οὗ καὶ σώζεσθε· τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, εἰ κατέχετε, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῆ ἐπιστεύσατε.

The expression  ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ is used in the following other passages:

 TBT 1 Corinthians 14:5  θέλω δὲ πάντας ὑμᾶς λαλεῖν γλώσσαις, μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε· μείζων γὰρ ὁ προφητεύων ἢ ὁ λαλῶν γλώσσαις, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ διερμηνεύῃ, ἵνα ἡ ἐκκλησία οἰκοδομὴν λάβῃ.
TBT 1 Timothy 5:19  κατὰ πρεσβυτέρου κατηγορίαν μὴ παραδέχου, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ ἐπὶ δύο ἢ τριῶν μαρτύρων.

It is translated “but rather” and “but” respectively. In 1  Cor. 15:2 it is translated “unless”. A literal translation might go ” Through which ye are also saved if ye hold in what word I preached unto you unless you believed in vain”.

They received it, they stood in it and they were saved by it — IF! The “if” is a problem to some — why should there be an “if”? — Surely if it is by Grace then its by Grace plus NOTHING why should there be another “if” after belief? But clearly there is another “if” mentioned by Paul. — here is the “reality” test — if ye keep in memory “what” I preached unto you. That is  “if you hold in what word I preached to you”. It was the word given to them by Paul that mattered — they needed to believe Paul’s word of the gospel and by this they were saved. This would be true unless they believed in vain meaning that if the content of what they believed had no real substance in reality then all claims to salvation through this gospel would be in jeopardy.

Robertson says: “If we hold it fast (ει κατεχετε). Condition of first class. Paul assumes that they are holding it fast. Except ye believed in vain (εκτος ει μη εικη επιστευσατε). For εκτος ει μη see on “1Co 14:5”.  Condition of first class, unless in fact ye did believe to no purpose (εικη, old adverb, only in Paul in N.T.). Paul holds this peril over them in their temptation to deny the resurrection. “

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:3 παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον, ὅτι Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν κατὰ τὰς γραφάς·

Paul delivered to the Corinthians what he received (see 1 Cor. 11:23 for the same verb in respect to the Lord’s supper) and this was in first place of importance (ἐν πρώτοις,). Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. This was received by way of revelation BUT was in accordance with scriptures “κατὰ τὰς γραφάς”– In Galatians Paul emphasizes the origin of his gospel as by revelation of Jesus Christ. So it was BOTH by revelation and in accordance with scripture. 

KJV  Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. (Gal 1:11 KJV)

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

The resurrection was seen by Peter, the 12, five hundred at once and some were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing. The resurrection has very good evidence and can also be viewed as evidence for the existance of God – see the following debate by William Lane Craig  ( For more debates exposing atheism see )

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:8 ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων, ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι, ὤφθη κἀμοί.

The Lord was seen of Paul — LAST. Here Paul uses a very interesting expression  ” as it were by one who was aborted” – ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι”

Thayer: e;ktrwma, evktrwtoj, to, (evktitrw,skw to cause or to suffer abortion; like e;kbrwma from evkbibrw,skw), an abortion, abortive birth; an untimely birth: 1 Cor. 15:8, where Paul likens himself to an e;ktrwma, and in 1 Cor. 15:9 explains in what sense: that he is as inferior to the rest of the apostles as an immature birth comes short of a mature one, and is no more worthy of the name of an apostle than an abortion is of the name of a child. (Num. 12:12; Eccl. 6:3; Job 3:16; in Greek first used by Aristotle, de gen. an. 4, 5, 4 (p. 773b, 18); but, as Phrynichus shows, p. 208f, Lob. edition (288f, edition Rutherford), avmblwma and evxamblwma are preferable; (Huxtable in Expositor for Apr. 1882, p. 277ff; Lightfoot Ignatius ad Rom. 9, , p. 230 f).)* 

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (1Co 15:1 KJV)

The above verse reinforces Thayer’s comments, however it may be that the interpretation is only getting one half of the meaning. Paul was last and least — note that the picture would be expected to show a difficult birth to life not death as one would see in an ektroma. A search through the LXX and nt for ektroma  gives Num. 12:12,Eccl. 6:3,Job 3:16,1 Co. 15:8 these all result in a dead birth. 

In verse 10 we see the life of ministry — look at the words “grace”, “abundantly” — perhaps there is a deeper significance here:

Paul’s ministry was dead in the mind of God because He knew that the same group from which Paul was saved would also reject the ministry concerning His son,