Thread: 1 Corinthians 15.23-29 Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.

To visit this thread, use this URL:;f=70;t=028281

Posted by pererin (# 16956) on :
Seeing as we're having such fun with 1 Corinthians, and on the basis of loggats' post in one of the other threads:

Originally posted by loggats:
Surely the epistles do contain something that's relevant to the entire Church (each and every one of us), through the particular experience of the individual communities to whom they were addressed. They're devoid of significance, sometimes even very practical information rather than abstract theology, for successive generations of Christians.

Let me throw in another few fun verses in the hope of provoking another discussion:

23 ἕκαστος δὲ ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι· ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός, ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ·
23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

24 εἶτα τὸ τέλος, ὅταν παραδιδῷ τὴν βασιλείαν τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, ὅταν καταργήσῃ πᾶσαν ἀρχὴν καὶ πᾶσαν ἐξουσίαν καὶ δύναμιν, 25 δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸν βασιλεύειν ἄχρι οὗ θῇ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ.
24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

26 ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται ὁ θάνατος, 27 πάντα γὰρ ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ. ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ ὅτι πάντα ὑποτέτακται, δῆλον ὅτι ἐκτὸς τοῦ ὑποτάξαντος αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

28 ὅταν δὲ ὑποταγῇ αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, τότε αὐτὸς ὁ υἱὸς ὑποταγήσεται τῷ ὑποτάξαντι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν.
28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Ἐπεὶ τί ποιήσουσιν οἱ βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν; εἰ ὅλως νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, τί καὶ βαπτίζονται ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν;
29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

So any thoughts, either on the relation between the persons of the Trinity aspect or on the baptism aspect? And how do y'all envisage these verses' relevance for the Church today?
Posted by Nigel M (# 11256) on :
Just shoving this up because for a few weeks it's been on my mind to read it up - though it hasn't moved much further than my mind since!

My initial thought when I first saw the OP was that the clue would lie in the OT references / allusions. Since Paul was so obviously immersed in the Jewish scriptures, I think he is using that world throughout this letter as a part of his rhetorical plan to persuade his audience.

Now all that thought needs is evidence.
Posted by Anselm (# 4499) on :
With regards to the reference to baptism in verse 29. I think it is worth considering that the semantic range of "huper" (translated here as on behalf of) includes not just the idea of substitutionary action, but also can refer to a motivating reason for an action.

Hence, what Paul could be referring to is people who wish to get baptised (ie become a Christian), because of a desire to share eternity with a Christian (spouse, family member) who has died.
Posted by Nigel M (# 11256) on :
The two interesting things in this passage that stick out for me are the 'order/subjugation' and 'baptism' themes. Anselm's thought on the latter makes sense to me.

I took a look at a fairly recent (2005) monograph on rhetoric in 1 Corinthians to see how an analysis of Paul's use of OT themes assists in understanding his informed approach to advising his fledgling churches on how to live. I've pretty much come to view Paul as (among other things) a commentator and interpreter of the Jewish Scriptures. He was brought up on them, immersed in them, and consequently used them as his point of reference when he needed answer to questions. Not surprising, then, to see him quote or allude to OT passages so consistently in his letters. What he is doing is not proof-texting, but presenting a world to his audience. Just a few words could evoke entire passages or themes in his audience's mind. In 1 Corinthians it's possible to see Paul collating his thoughts around these quotes/allusions; they act as peaks in his arguments, focal points around which Paul extrapolates significances.

So, to apply those ideas to the current passage.

Paul is in the process of dealing with the issue of resurrection in chapter 15. He argues in support of this because he sees it in the creation accounts. Since death came through a human being (the first human being, Adam), the resurrection of the dead also came through a human being (Christ) (15:21). What is significant here is Paul's focus on “Order” (“But each in his own order [tagmati]” 15:23). There is a creational order that guarantees resurrection eventually. All defeated enemies – including death – will be placed in (subordinated to) their proper creational order, where they ultimately belong, under the feet of Christ.

This allows Paul to see death as an enemy that will inevitably be defeated. He emphasis this point by way of a chiasm in verses 24-28, with phrase D as the focal point:

A 24a Then [comes] the end,
24b when he hands over the kingdom to the God and Father,
B 24c when he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.
C 25a For it is necessary that he reign
25b “until He has placed all the enemies under his feet” (LXX Ps 109:1b).
D 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is the death.
C' 27a “For all things He subjected under his feet” (LXX Ps 8:7b).
B' 27b But when it says that all things have been subjected,
27c it is clear that excepted is the One who subjected to him all the things.
A' 28a But when all the things are subjected to him,
28b then also the Son himself will be subjected to the One who subjected to him all the things,
28c so that God may be all things in all things.

The scriptural quotes play a pivotal role within the chiasm. They act to assure Paul's audience that there is a proper order to things and that this order requires death to be destroyed. Therefore there must be resurrection.

Then Paul makes his next argument: “Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they baptized for them?” (15:29). He follows this up another OT quote, this time from Isa. 23:13 - “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

The Isaiah context is a sobering one of judgment in the face of incredulity and Paul evokes it to sober up his audience. Rather than being people whose lifestyle reflects those who do not believe in resurrection, Paul uses the parallelism between 15:29b and 15:32b to persuade his audience that since some are being baptised with a view to the afterlife (15:29b) and since the audience themselves would not think of living only for the present by engaging in an extremely extravagant way of life as proposed by the quotation in 15:32b, they should have hope for a future life through the resurrection of the dead.

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0