Home > Hermeneutics > Punctuation in 1 Corinthians 15:22-26

Punctuation in 1 Corinthians 15:22-26

In our judgment a threefold change is required in the punctuation of 1 Corinthians 15:22-26. First, the clause “then cometh the end” should be placed at the close of verse 23 and not at the beginning of verse 24, for it completes the sentence instead of beginning a new one. Second, the whole of verse 25 requires to be placed in brackets if the order of thought is to be preserved. Third, the italicized words in verses 24 and 26 should be deleted, for they are not only unnecessary, but misleading. Punctuated thus, the passage will read: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all he made alive; but every man [literally “everyone”] in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming, then the end.” As the sin of Adam resulted not only in his own death, but also in the deaths of all who were in him as their federal head, so the obedience unto death of Christ not only procured His own resurrection, but ensures that of all who are united to Him as their federal Head: a resurrection in honor and glory—the resurrection of the wicked “to shame and everlasting contempt” falls not within the scope of this chapter. The clause “then the end” denotes not “the termination of all mundane affairs,” but signifies the conclusion of the resurrection—the completion of the harvest (John 12:24).

By placing its first clause at the close of verse 23, what follows in verse 24 begins a fresh sentence, though not a new subject. “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God [not His mediatorial one, but only that aspect thereof which concerns the suppression of all revolters against heaven], even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power (for He must reign till He hath put down all enemies under His feet), the last enemy shall be destroyed—death.” Christ rose again to reign: all power in heaven and in earth has been given to Him for the express purpose of subjugating and annulling all the enemies of Himself and of His Father, and this issues in the abolition of death in the glorious resurrection of all His people. The grand object throughout this chapter is to show the guarantee which Christ’s resurrection gives for that of His redeemed—denied by some (v. 12). That this subject is continued after the passage we are here critically examining is clear from verses 29-32, where further arguments are advanced—from the case of those who are baptized and Paul’s own experiences. Verses 24-26 are brought in to assure the hearts of believers: many powerful enemies seek to bring about their destruction, but their efforts are utterly vain, for Christ shall triumph over them al —death itself being abolished at their resurrection.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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