First Corinthians 15:20-28 -- By: A. C. Kendrick

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:185 (Jan 1890)
Article: First Corinthians 15:20-28
Author: A. C. Kendrick

First Corinthians 15:20-28

Prof. A. C. Kendrick

The New Testament contains two or three passages which may, perhaps, be termed “monadic” in their character. While most of the Scripture teachings appear in manifold forms and depend for their attestation on no single passage, in these the truth, as perhaps of less vital practical importance, is left to their single utterance. Such, if I rightly interpret it, is the passage in which Peter declares the personal preaching of the risen Christ to the impenitent victims of the Flood. Such, though not without one or two other probable allusions (as 2 Thess. 2:3), seems the apocalyptic (symbolical, yet none the less real) revelation of the millennial glory of the church followed by a brief apostasy just preceding the final catastrophe. Eminently such, and more signal perhaps than either, is the passage indicated at the head of this article, which stands alone in revealing one or two remarkable features of that critical point when the scenes of time shall open out on the issues of eternity. These are the abdication by the Son of his temporary universal dominion, and the surrender of his vice-royalty to the hands from which he had received it. This special point is confined strictly to verses 24 and 28; yet, as it is intertwined in the entire passage (ver. 20-28), forming a connected whole, I propose to include in my discussion also the passage in which it lies imbedded. On the abdication, opinion is nearly unanimous; the statements of the apostle seem too explicit to allow much diversity. On the

results of the abdication, I fear that my opinions are not shared by most interpreters. In the rest of the passage the most important question is, whether it teaches a double or triple tagma (order, class) in the resurrection; and thus, whether the end (τὸ τέλος) is the last act of the resurrection itself, or, as the language scanned more closely may imply, following this, the closing scene of the great eschatological drama.

But besides this another point. The memorable passage (ver. 20-28) which opens this unique glimpse into the world’s closing scene,—the surrender of the Son’s delegated sway,—is interposed amidst a glowing strain of reflection on the fact and the necessity of the Christian resurrection (ver. 13-19, 29-33); on the emptiness, apart from this, of the Christian hope, and the wretchedness of the Christian life. The persistent earnestness of this strain shows how deep a hold it has taken on the mind of the apostle; how the sufferings of the infant church are to him matters of the deepest and darkest reality. Follow for a moment his course of thought. The resur...

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