1 Corinthians 15:45-49

1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Ash Wednesday – A Women’s Lectionary


45 Thus it is written,A “The firstB man,C Adam,D

Notes on verse 45a

A “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
B “first” = protos. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief.
C “man” = 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.
D “Adam” = Adam. 9x in NT. From Hebrew Adam (Adam); from the same as adam (human, humankind, ruddy); from adam (to be red, red in the face). This is Adam.

becameE a livingF being”;G

Notes on verse 45b

E “became” = 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.
F “living” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
G “being” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for 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. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.

the lastH Adam became a life-givingI spirit.J 46 But it is not the spiritualK that is first,L but the physical, and then the spiritual. 

Notes on verses 45c-46

H “last” = eschatos. Related to eschaton (end, last); perhaps from echo (to have, possess, hold). This is last, end, extreme, final. It is often used to discuss the end times, prophecies of the future, and the afterlife. The branch of theology focusing on all these topics is called “eschatology.”
I “life-giving” = zoopoieo. Related to “living” in v45. 11x in NT. From the same as zoon (literally a thing that is alive; so, an animal or living creature); {from zao (see note F above)} + 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.
J “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
K “spiritual” = pneumatikos. Related to “spirit” in v45. 6x in NT. From pneuma (see note J above). This is spiritual, spiritual people, or spiritual things – that which is ethereal or divine or religious.
L “first” = proton. Related to “first” in v45. From protos (see note B above). This is firstly, before, in the beginning, formerly.

47 The firstM man was from the earth,N a man of dust;O the secondP man is from heaven.Q 

Notes on verse 47

M “first” = protos. Same as “first” in v45. See note B above.
N “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
O “dust” = choikos. 4x in NT. From chous (earth, dust, soil); {from cheo (to pour)} OR from choos (dust, soil, earth, loose dirt, rubbish); {from cheimon (winter, storm); from the same as cheimazo (be storm-tossed, exposed to the winter chill); from chasma (chasm, gap, gulf); from chasko (to yawn)}. This is earthy – something that is made of dust, transient, passing, or dirty.
P “second” = deuteros. From duo (two, both). This is second, twice, again. It is part of where “Deuteronomy” comes from, which means “second law” or “a repetition of the law.” See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Deuteronomy
Q “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.

48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven,R so are those who are of heaven.S 49 Just as we have borneT the imageU of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Notes on verses 48-49

R “heaven” = epouranios. Related to “heaven” in v47. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ouranos (se note Q above). 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.
S “heaven” = epouranios. Same as “heaven” in v48. See note R above.
T “borne” = phoreo. 6x in NT. From phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to wear or bear regularly or continually. It can refer to clothing or bearing a burden.
U “image” = eikon. From eiko (resemble, be like) OR perhaps related to eiko (to submit, give way, be weak, yield). This is a likeness such as an image, statue, or other representation. It implies a prototype that is being mirrored – a replication rather than a shadow. It can be an image in a figurative sense as well. This is where the word “icon” comes from.

Image credit: “Sketch for Adam” by Julius Paulsen, 1887.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply