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1 Corinthians 15:4-21

Context
15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised 1  on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters 2  at one time, most of whom are still alive, 3  though some have fallen asleep. 4  15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, 5  he appeared to me also. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, this is the way we preach and this is the way you believed.

No Resurrection?

15:12 Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, 6  how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. 15:15 Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. 15:18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep 7  in Christ have also perished. 15:19 For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.

15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 15:21 For since death came through a man, 8  the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 9 

1 tn Grk “he has been raised/is raised,” using a Greek tense that points to the present effect of the act of raising him. But in English idiom the temporal phrase “on the third day” requires a different translation of the verb.

2 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

3 tn Grk “most of whom remain until now.”

4 tn The verb κοιμάω (koimaw) literally means “sleep,” but it is often used in the Bible as a euphemism for death when speaking of believers. This metaphorical usage by its very nature emphasizes the hope of resurrection: Believers will one day “wake up” out of death. Here the term refers to death, but “sleep” was used in the translation to emphasize the metaphorical, rhetorical usage of the term.

5 sn One born at the wrong time. The Greek word used here (ἔκτρωμα, ektrwma) refers to a premature birth, a miscarriage, or an aborted child. Paul uses it as a powerful figure of the unexpected, abnormal nature of his apostolic call.

6 tn Grk “that he has been raised from the dead.”

7 tn See the note on the word “asleep” in 15:6. This term is also used in v. 20.

8 tn Or “through a human being” (a reference to Adam).

9 tn Or “through a human being” (a reference to Jesus Christ).



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