1 Corinthians

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1 Corinthians 15 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Corinthians 15 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

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;

(15:3-4) These verses claim that the scriptures prophesied that Jesus would suffer, die, and be resurrected from the dead. But where are the prophecies that are referred to here? Hosea 6:2 perhaps? But this verse refers to the people living at the time (hence "us") and therefore cannot be fulfilled by the the death and resurrection of Jesus.
If the author of the SAB had consulted a single commentary, he would have found these prophesies very easily. That Christ would die is already foretold in Gen. 3:15 where Adam and Eve are told that his heel would be bruised, i.e. he would be brought down. In Daniel 9:24 we read: “To make reconciliation for iniquity.”

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That Christ was buried and would rise we find in Psalm 16:10. That he should rise again we find in Hosea 6:2, but also in many other places. As John Gill observes:

The Jews take a particular notice of the third day as remarkable for many things they observe (Bereshit Rabba, sect. 56. fol. 49. 3.), as:
"of the third day Abraham lift up his eyes, Gen. 22:4 of the third day of the tribes, Gen. 42:18 of the third day of the spies, Jos. 2:16 of the third day of the giving of the law, Ex. 19:16 of the third day of Jonah, Jonah 1:17 of the third day of them that came out of the captivity, Ezra 8:15 of the third day of the resurrection of the dead, as it is written, Hosea 6:2 "after two days will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight".
From which passage, it is clear, that they under stood the prophecy in Hosea of the resurrection of the dead; and it is observable, that among the remarkable third days they take notice of, are the two instances of Isaac's and Jonah's deliverances, which were Scripture types of Christ's resurrection.

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

"He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve."
But Judas hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5) and Matthias was not elected (Acts 1:9-26) until after the ascension.
To whom did Jesus make his first post-resurrection appearance?
On the twelve, the situation is even worse than the author of the SAB suggest: at the first appearance, only 10 disciples were present! But of course the twelve doesn't mean the number twelve, but it had become the word for the closest disciples of Christ. They were still called the twelve, although only 11 were still alive, and only 10 present.
On the first appearance, contrary to what the author of the SAB claims, Paul does not say here that Jesus was first seen by Cefas. And Paul's intention here is not to tell us the names of all to whom Christ appeared. But his intention here is to tell the Corinthians that Christ has also appeared to him. That he received his authority and his message from Christ himself. That's why he focuses on the male disciples and apostles. And ends with “last of all also by me,” verse 8.

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.

(15:6) "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once."
How many believers were there at the time of the ascension?
This happened in Galilee, but see Acts 1:15.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

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

(15:8) "He was seen of me."
In an apparent reference to his encounter on the road to Damascus, Paul says, "And last of all he was seen by me." But Acts (9:5) says he saw no one because he was blinded.
Did Paul see Jesus?

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.

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.

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

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:

"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised."
Is death final?
The apostle Paul cannot make it clearer that death is not final.

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.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

(15:21-22) "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Nothing died before Adam sinned. In Christ all will have eternal life. (Christ died for the animals.)
Does hell exist?
David Snoke PowerPoint presenation
Hell exists and the person who preached most about hell was Jesus Christ, see Luke 16:22-23.
I'm missing the relevance of the link to Dave Snoke's very unclear PowerPoint presentation. Supposedly Young Earth Creationists claim that the earth looks old, but is really young. They claim no such thing. The earth looks young and the evidence backs this up.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

"Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him"
Is Jesus God?
The author of the SAB interprets “subject unto him” as meaning that Christ is not God, else he would not be subject to His father. But given that this verse is in the future tense, wouldn't that mean that Christ is not subject now, and is therefore God? So if it would mean that he will become subject, he that is God now, would become less than God?
This line of reasoning leads to nonsense, and indicates the logic of the author of the SAB is faulty. John Gill very carefully considers various positions and refutes heretics, and then arrives at:

it is best, therefore to understand it of the Son's giving up the account of his mediatorial kingdom and concerns to his Father; when it will appear that he has in the whole of his conduct and administration been subject to him; that he has in all things acted in his name, done all by his power, and to his honour and glory; and now having accomplished all he undertook and was intrusted with, gives in his account, delivers up his charge, and resigns his office; all which will be plain proofs of his subjection: when I say he will resign or lay aside his office as Mediator, my meaning is not that he will cease to be God-man and Mediator; but that he will cease to administer that office as under God, in the manner he now does: he will be the prophet of the church, but he will not teach by his Spirit, and word, and ordinances as now, but will himself be the immediate light of the saints, he will be a priest for ever, the virtue of his sacrifice and intercession will always remain, but he will not plead and intercede as he now does; he will also reign for ever over and among his saints, but his kingdom will not be a vicarious one, or administered as it now is; nor be only in his hands as Mediator, but with God, Father, Son, and Spirit.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

(LDS) "If the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
This is the verse that the Mormons use to justify their belief in the baptism of the dead.
What must you do to be saved?
Interesting as I didn't know the Mormons quoted the Bible for this weird belief. What is also clear is that this interpretation has been associated with heretics such as Marcion. It is a text that is somewhat unclear, and many explanations have been offered. For example the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry claims this verse refers to a practice well-known to the Corinthians: at a nearby city, Eleusis, baptism for the dead was practiced. But why would Paul refer to a heathen practice he no doubt disapproved of, to confirm the truth of resurrection? Also John Gill discusses it at length, and arrives at this conclusion:

I am therefore rather inclined to think that baptism is used here in a figurative and metaphorical sense, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as in Matthew 20:22 and it was for the belief, profession, and preaching of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, both of Christ and of the saints, that the apostles and followers of Christ endured so much as they did

The Catholic Answers site points out in Mormonism's Baptism for the Dead that vicarious baptism is refuted by the Book of Mormon (end of article).

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

(Jehovah's Witnesses) "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
"Do not be mislead. Bad associations spoil useful habits." (NWT) This verse is used to discourage any contact with non-JWs. ("Bad associations" refers to any contact with non-JWs.)
John Gill on “Be not deceived,”:

By such as deny the doctrine of the resurrection, and by their reasonings about it; or by such libertines who go into the denial of it, and argue from thence in favour of their licentious course of life:

And on “evil communications corrupt good manners.”:

This is a sentence taken out of Menander, an Heathen poet, showing how dangerous is the conversation of evil men, and what an influence bad principles communicated and imbibed, have on the lives and practices of men.

We are clearly talking about those who deny the doctrine of the resurrection: avoid those, says the apostle Paul. And who deny the doctrine of the resurrection? The Jehovah's Witnesses themselves...

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die."
Paul calls people fools, thereby making himself eligible for "hell fire" (according to the words of Jesus in Mt.5:22).
Paul also shows his (and God's) ignorance of biology by saying that only dead seeds will germinate. Actually, a seed must be alive to germinate. Is it OK to call someone a fool?
On fools, see Matthew 5:22.
On the seed that dies, where is the seed when the wheat has grown up? It has died. It gave live to the wheat, and disappears after that. The apostle Paul doesn't talk about dead seeds who germinate, but that in the process of giving life to the wheat, the seed itself dies.

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another of beasts."
This verse is used by Creationists to argue against both evolution and any attempt to create "human-animal hybrids" or "chimeras."
(The Loom: Grandma Manimal)
And they are perfectly right in doing so. Evolutionists have to change the word evolution to include natural selection so they can claim any kind of adaption in mammals is evolution, and they don't have to prove that you can go from one kind of animal to another in a laboratory. Just claiming a handful of disputed fossils is supposedly enough. Repeatable science? Not needed.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

"The first man Adam"
Young Earth Creationists use this verse to support a literal reading of Genesis. "If we cannot believe in the First Adam, why believe in the Last [Christ]?"
Support a literal reading? Genesis itself is clearly literal and not poetry. The only people who desire a non-literal Genesis are those who believe that science falsely so called comes first, and God's Word second.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

"And afterword that which is spiritual."
Asa Gray, the foremost American botanist in the 19th century and close friend of Charles Darwin, used this verse to support the idea that the Bible is not inconsistent with human evolution.
(Asa Gray, Natural Science and Religion, 1880, 55)
Just one after another: one verse says no to evolution and another makes evolution possible? What is it? Was Paul confused? Or was Asa Gray just another person who wanted to twist the Bible to support ideas conceived outside the Bible?

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

(15:41-52) "We shall not all sleep."
Paul expects the end of the world to come before he and his followers die.
No, Paul expected no such thing, as he is preaching to all those who live in the last days. The last days are the days of between Christ's first coming and his second, see chapter 10:11. Man nor angel knows when Christ shall return. The apostle Paul even warns people not to be deceived and gives specific signs, 2 Thess. 2:2-3, that will happen first.

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

"The dead shall be raised incorruptible."
Is death final?
Clearly death is not final.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

(15:55-56) BOM: Mormon 7:5, Mosiah 16:7-8

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.