1 Corinthians 15:35-44

1 Corinthians 15:35-44
Easter Thursday – A Women’s Lectionary


35 But someone will ask, “How are the deadA raised?B With what kind of bodyC do they come?”D 

Notes on verse 35

A “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead of lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
B “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
C “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
D “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.

36 Fool!E What you sowF does not come to lifeG unless it dies.H 

Notes on verse 36

E “fool” = aphron. 11x in NT. From a (not, without) + phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); {perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb)}. This is not having reason – foolish, unperceptive, unwise. It denotes short-sightedness and lack of perspective, which leads one to act without prudence. It is not grasping cause and effect, even willful ignorance. It implies being rash or egotistical.
F “sow” = speiro. Probably from spao (to pull or draw like one draws a sword). This is sowing a seed or scattering. It is sowing in a literal or figurative sense.
G “come to life” = zoopoieo. 11x in NT. From the same as zoon (literally a thing that is alive; so, an animal or living creature); {from zao (to live literally or figuratively)} + poieo (to make, do, construct, cause). This is to bring life to something, including something that was dead. This can also be to revitalize in a literal or figurative sense.
H “dies” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

37 And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be,I but a bareJ seed,K

Notes on verse 37a

I “is to be” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
J “bare” = gumnos. 15x in NT. This is naked. Generally, it refers to someone who is not completely clothed i.e. only wearing the undergarment and not the complete attire for going out. Rarely, it can mean completely naked. It can be naked in a literal or figurative sense – open, bare, ill-clad. This is where “gymnasium” comes from.
K “seed” = kokkos. 7x in NT. This is grain, kernel, or seed.

perhapsL of wheatM or of some otherN grain. 

Notes on verse 37b

L “perhaps” = tugchano. 12x in NT. Root means to become ready. This word is to hit, meet, happen, obtain, chance, perhaps. Properly, it means to hit the mark or be spot on. Thus, it is the opposite of the Greek word for sin hamartano, which literally means to miss the mark.
M “wheat” = sitos. 15x in NT. This is used for any kind of grain that you can eat. It is usually wheat, but it can also be barley and other grains.
N “other” = loipos. From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.

38 But GodO givesP it a body as he has chosen,Q and to each kind of seedR its ownS body. 

Notes on verse 38

O “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
P “gives” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
Q “chosen” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
R “seed” = sperma. Related to “sow” in v36. From speiro (see note F above). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.
S “its own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).

39 Not all fleshT is alike, but there is oneU fleshV for human beings,W

Notes on verse 39a

T “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
U “one” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
V {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
W “human beings” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

anotherX for animals,Y another for birds,Z and another for fish.AA 

Notes on verse 39b

X “another” = allos. Same as “one” in v39. See note U above.
Y “animals” = ktenos. 4x in NT. From ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is an animal used for labor like a horse or a mule – for carrying loads or yoking to a vehicle. Specifically, it can refer to any domestic animal.
Z “birds” = ptenos. 1x in NT. From peteinon (something with wings i.e. a bird); from petomai (to fly). This is something with wings – a bird.
AA “fish” = ichthus. This means fish. It was also an early, secret Christian symbol – the “sign of the fish.” It was short for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” in Greek. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys

40 There are both heavenlyBB bodies and earthlyCC bodies, but the gloryDD of the heavenly is oneEE thing,FF and that of the earthly is another.GG 

Notes on verse 40

BB “heavenly” = epouranios. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}. This is heavenly, celestial, high, heavenly one, heavenly thins. It is the heavenly sphere in contrast to the earthly one, the place of spiritual activity. Figuratively, it can mean divine or spiritual. Properly, this describes that which is fitting from heaven’s perspective.
CC “earthly” = epigeios. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ge (earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area). This is earthly or worldly. It can mark the earth in contrast to the sky or the earth in contrast to heaven. It can include all of physical life or describe the moral character of the world.
DD “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
EE “one” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
FF {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v39. See note V above.
GG “another” = heteros. Same as “one” in v40. See note EE above.

41 There is oneHH glory of the sun,II and anotherJJ glory of the moon,KK and anotherLL glory of the stars;MM indeed, star differsNN from star in glory.

Notes on verse 41

HH “one” = allos. Same as “one” in v39. See note U above.
II “sun” = helios. This is sun, which would imply light in general or the east.
JJ “another” = allos. Same as “one” in v39. See note U above.
KK “moon” = selene. 9x in NT. From selas (bright flame). This is moon as bright.
LL “another” = allos. Same as “one” in v39. See note U above.
MM “stars” = aster. Perhaps from stronnumi (to spread, furnish, strew). This is a star in a literal or figurative sense.
NN “differs” = diaphero. 13x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to carry through as in all the way to the end. It is differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison. Literally, it means transport – figuratively it can mean report or surpass.

42 So it is with the resurrectionOO of the dead. What is sown is perishable,PP what is raised is imperishable.QQ 

Notes on verse 42

OO “resurrection” = anastasis. From anistemi (to raise up, rise, appear; to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect); from ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is literally standing up or standing again. It is used figuratively for recovering a spiritual truth. It can be raising up, rising, or resurrection.
PP “perishable” = phthora. 9x in NT. From phtheiro (to destroy, corrupt, perish, waste away; figuratively, moral decay). This is destruction, corruption, or something perishable. It can be spontaneous decay or corruption inflicted on another in a literal or figurative sense.
QQ “imperishable” = aphtharsia. Related to “perishable” in v42. 8x in NT. From aphthartos (imperishable, undecaying, immortal, incorruptible); {from a (not, without) + phtheiro (see note PP above). This is incorruptibility – not able to decay. So, it is used for immortality. Figuratively, it can also mean genuineness.

43 It is sown in dishonor,RR it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness,SS it is raised in power.TT 44 It is sown a physicalUU body, it is raised a spiritualVV body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.

Notes on verses 43-44

RR “dishonor” = atimia. 7x in NT. From a (not, without) + time (value, price, honor; honor as it is perceived by another or willingly granted by another; mark or respect, price, precious value, esteem, dignity); {from tio (to honor, pay respect to, value)} OR from tino (to pay a penalty or fine). This is dishonor or disgrace, shame, reproach, or common use. It is something that as seen as having no value.
SS “weakness” = astheneia. From asthenes (without strength, sick, deprivation; weak in a moral or physical sense); {From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is weakness, frailty, illness, suffering, or calamity. It is any kind of sickness or injury that includes weakness or diminishes your ability to enjoy or accomplish what you would choose.
TT “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
UU “physical” = psuchikos. 6x in NT. From psuche (breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul; that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections; this isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality; not life as a general concept, but specific to people); from psucho (to breathe, blow). This is natural, animal, sensitive, having the mind of the world. It relates to physical life and behavior. Pneumatikos is the highest of our natures and phusikos is the lowest of our natures (our animal side). Psuchikos is in between.
VV “spiritual” = pneumatikos. From pneuma (wind, breath, or ghost; a breeze or blast of air, a breath; figuratively, a spirit, the human soul or the part of us that is rational; also angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit); from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is spiritual, spiritual people, or spiritual things – that which is ethereal or divine or religious.

Image credit: “Falling Stars” by Franz Stuck, 1912.

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