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1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Context
15:51 Listen, 1  I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, 2  but we will all be changed – 15:52 in a moment, in the blinking 3  of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 tn Grk “Behold.”

2 tc The manuscripts are grouped into four basic readings here: (1) א C 0243* 33 1739 have “we all will sleep, but we will not all be changed” (πάντες κοιμηθησόμεθα, οὐ πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα); (2) Ì46 Ac (F G) have “we will not all sleep, but we will not all be changed” (πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, οὐ πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα); (3) D* lat Tert Ambst Spec read “we will all rise, but we will not all be changed.” (4) The wording πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα (“we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed”) is found in B D2 Ψ 075 0243c 1881 Ï sy co. How shall we interpret such data? In light of the fact that Paul and his generation did in fact die, early scribes may have felt some embarrassment over the bald statement, “We will not all sleep” (πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα). This could account for the first variant. Although the second variant could be viewed as a conflation of (1) and (4) (so TCGNT 502; G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 796), it could also have arisen consciously, to guard against the notion that all whom Paul was addressing should regard themselves as true believers. The third variant, prominent in the Western witnesses, may have arisen to counter those who would deny the final resurrection (so TCGNT 502). In any event, since the fourth reading has the best credentials externally and best explains the rise of the others it should be adopted as the authentic wording here.

tn See the note on the word “asleep” in 15:6.

3 tn The Greek word ῥιπή (rJiph) refers to a very rapid movement (BDAG 906 s.v.). This has traditionally been translated as “twinkling,” which implies an exceedingly fast – almost instantaneous – movement of the eyes, but this could be confusing to the modern reader since twinkling in modern English often suggests a faint, flashing light. In conjunction with the genitive ὀφθαλμοῦ (ofqalmou, “of an eye”), “blinking” is the best English equivalent (see, e.g., L&N 16.5), although it does not convey the exact speed implicit in the Greek term.



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