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August 18, 2015

First Corinthians – Part 37


Last time we looked at the first 10 verses of 1 Cor. 15 which talks about the foundation of the gospel. We noted that there is an awkward “if” in the salvation condition which we discovered expressed the fact that the gospel that was received and in which the Corinthian believers stood would result in salvation if they held in what word Paul preached to them. Paul clearly received by revelation the gospel and yet it was also according to scriptures. We also learnt abouty the untimely birth (abortion) mentioned in vs 8. 

Chapter 15:11-20

In verse 10 Paul says:

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:10 χάριτι δὲ Θεοῦ εἰμὶ ὅ εἰμι, καὶ ἡ χάρις αὐτοῦ ἡ εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ κενὴ ἐγενήθη, ἀλλὰ περισσότερον αὐτῶν πάντων ἐκοπίασα· οὐκ ἐγὼ δέ, ἀλλ᾽ ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ σὺν ἐμοί.

The expression “but I laboured more abundantly than they all” is the translation of  “ἀλλὰ περισσότερον αὐτῶν πάντων ἐκοπίασα”. We must ask what is the antecedent of “they” or “αὐτῶν”? It is apparent that it is the “apostles” of verse 9.  So the Grace of God enabled Paul to labour more abundantyly than the apostles. Despite this great flurry of activity and fruitful ministration in terms of truth and revelation brought to the growing “church” a disobedient nation progressively rebelled against the teachings brought by Paul concerning Messiah. Acts 28:28 being the consumation of this.

KJV  1 Corinthians 15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
TBT  1 Corinthians 15:11 εἴτε οὖν ἐγώ, εἴτε ἐκεῖνοι, οὕτω κηρύσσομεν, καὶ οὕτως ἐπιστεύσατε.

The connection with the apostles is made even more poignant here. Paul says that whether it were him or the apostles so “WE PREACH” and “SO YE BELIEVED”, “οὕτω κηρύσσομεν, καὶ οὕτως ἐπιστεύσατε.” — The tenses are interesting “present” then “aorist” – we are preaching and thus you believed, there action of preaching was ongoing – the Corinthians believed in time past. The fact that the pronoun “we” is used in conjunction with the preaching shows a commonality of “good news”. 

The fact that the believers were saved “if” they held what Paul preached does not negate the fact that the apostles and Paul preached the same message. Nor does it negate the idea that some brought in false doctrine concerning the resurrection.

The commonality of the message is clearly taught here. Those who teach a mid-Acts beginning of the church which is his body must now explain this — if Paul was raised with a new message how come this “commonality”?

“I or they” — commonality of message!

If we look at Paul’s statements throughout the  Acts before Felix and Agrippa and last of all at the end of the book of Acts concerning the all day conference we must confess that Paul was saying none other things than what Moses and the prophets said should come.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 

The above verses show the absolute necessity of the resurrection of Christ. To try and uphold some sort of spiritual change over the dead and rotting corpse of Christ is to be yet in your sins and to be most miserable. See debate between William Lane Craig and Bishop Spong