The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:44 Explained

1 Corinthians 15:44

KJV: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

YLT: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body;

Darby: It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body: if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.

ASV: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body .

What does 1 Corinthians 15:44 Mean?

Verse Meaning

It is natural (Gr. psychikon, soulish), belonging to the present age; but it becomes spiritual (pneumatikos, i.e, supernatural), belonging to the future age. The Corinthians had not entered into their eschatological states yet. This would come with their resurrections. Their bodies would become spiritual, namely, fitted for their future existence. Thus "spiritual" here refers to the body"s use, as well as its substance.
". . . for pagans in and outside the church, Paul seeks to show that the fundamental relation of creation to resurrection (and behind that the identification of the Creator as the Redeemer) is a non-negotiable of the metanarrative of the Christian gospel, an essential sine qua non of the Bible"s world view, without which one is lost ( 1 Corinthians 15:17; cf. Acts 17:30-31)." [1]
The Corinthians believed that they were alive in a new kind of "spiritual" existence since they trusted Christ. This is the only type of resurrection they saw. They did not believe that human bodies had any future beyond the grave. Paul wrote to help them see that their physical bodies would be raised to continuing life, but that those bodies, while physical, would be of a different type than their present physical bodies. They would be spiritual, but of a different type than what they thought of as spiritual.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 15:42-58 - Victory Over Sin And Death
Life on the other side will be as real and as earnest as here. We shall not dissolve into thin mist or flit as bodiless ghosts. We shall each be provided with a body like that which our Lord had after, He arose from the dead. It will be a spiritual body, able to go and come at a wish or a thought; a body that will be perfectly adapted to its spiritual world environment. The last Adam, our Lord, will effect this for us. But we must in the meanwhile be content to make the best use of the discipline of mortality, keeping our body pure and sweet as the temple and vehicle of the Holy Spirit until we are born into the next stage of existence. Always the physical before the psychical and the psychical before the spiritual.
What triumph rings through those last four verses! As generations of Christians have stood around the mortal remains of their beloved, they have uttered these words of immortal hope. The trumpet's notes will call those who have died and the saints that are still alive on the earth, into one mighty host of transfigured and redeemed humanity. Oh, happy day! Then we shall be manifested, rewarded, and glorified with Christ. All mysteries solved, all questions answered! Till then let us abound always in the work of the Lord. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 15

1  By Christ's resurrection,
12  he proves the necessity of our resurrection,
16  against all such as deny the resurrection of the body
21  The fruit,
35  and the manner thereof;
51  and of the resurrection of those who shall be found alive at the last day

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 15:44

A natural body [σωμα πσυχικον]
See note on 1 Corinthians 2:14 for this word, a difficult one to translate since πσυχη — psuchē has so many meanings. Natural is probably as good a rendering as can be made, but it is not adequate, for the body here is not all πσυχη — psuchē either as soul or life. The same difficulty exists as to a spiritual body The resurrection body is not wholly πνευμα — pneuma Caution is needed here in filling out details concerning the πσυχη — psuchē and the πνευμα — pneuma But certainly he means to say that the “spiritual body” has some kind of germinal connection with the “natural body,” though the development is glorious beyond our comprehension though not beyond the power of Christ to perform (Philemon 3:21). The force of the argument remains unimpaired though we cannot follow fully into the thought beyond us. [source]
If there is [ει εστιν]
“If there exists” There exists also. [source]
There is also [εστιν και]
There exists also. [source]
There is []
The best texts insert if. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. The existence of the one forms a logical presumption for the existence of the other. [source]
A natural body [σώμα ψυχικόν]
See on 1 Corinthians 2:14. The word ψυχικόν naturaloccurs only twice outside this epistle; James 3:15; Judges 1:19. The expression natural body signifies an organism animated by a ψυχή soul(see on Romans 11:4); that phase of the immaterial principle in man which is more nearly allied to the σάρξ fleshand which characterizes the man as a mortal creature; while πνεῦμα spiritis that phase which looks Godward, and characterizes him as related to God. “It is a brief designation for the whole compass of the non-corporeal side of the earthly man” (Wendt). “In the earthly body the ψυχή soul, not the πνεῦμα spiritis that which conditions its constitution and its qualities, so that it is framed as the organ of the ψυχή . In the resurrection-body the πνεῦμα spiritfor whose life-activity it is the adequate organ, conditions its nature” (Meyer). Compare Plato: “The soul has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing; when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and is the ruler of the universe; while the imperfect soul loses her feathers, and drooping in her flight, at last settles on the solid ground - there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having a body, and having also a soul which are united throughout all time” (“Phaedrus,” 246). [source]
Spiritual body [σώμα πνευματικόν]
A body in which a divine πνεῦμα spiritsupersedes the ψυχή soulso that the resurrection-body is the fitting organ for its indwelling and work, and so is properly characterized as a spiritual body.“When, glorious and sanctified, our fleshIs reassumed, then shall our persons be More pleasing by their being all complete;-DIVIDER-
For will increase whate'er bestows on us-DIVIDER-
Of light gratuitous the Good Supreme,-DIVIDER-
Light which enables us to look on Him;-DIVIDER-
Therefore the vision must perforce increase,-DIVIDER-
Increase the ardor which from that is kindled,-DIVIDER-
Increase the radiance from which this proceeds. -DIVIDER-
But even as a coal that sends forth flame,-DIVIDER-
And by its vivid whiteness overpowers it-DIVIDER-
So that its own appearance it maintains,-DIVIDER-
Thus the effulgence that surrounds us now-DIVIDER-
Shall be o'erpowered in aspect by the flesh,-DIVIDER-
Which still to-day the earth doth cover up;-DIVIDER-
Nor can so great a splendor weary us,-DIVIDER-
For strong will be the organs of the body-DIVIDER-
To everything which hath the power to please us.”“Paradiso,” xiv., 43-60. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 15:44

Mark 12:30 Soul [ψυχῆς]
The word is often used in the New Testament in its original meaning of life. See Matthew 2:20; Matthew 20:28; Acts 20:10; Romans 11:3; John 10:11. Hence, as an emphatic designation of the man himself. See Matthew 12:18; Hebrews 10:38; Luke 21:19. So that the word denotes “life in the distinctness of individual existence” (Cremer). See further on ψυχικός , spiritual, 1 Corinthians 15:44. [source]
Romans 6:6 The body of sin [τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας]
Σῶμα in earlier classical usage signifies a corpse. So always in Homer and often in later Greek. So in the New Testament, Matthew 6:25; Mark 5:29; Mark 14:8; Mark 15:43. It is used of men as slaves, Revelation 18:13. Also in classical Greek of the sum-total. So Plato: τὸ τοῦ κόσμου σῶμα thesum-total of the world (“Timaeus,” 31). The meaning is tinged in some cases by the fact of the vital union of the body with the immaterial nature, as being animated by the ψυξή soulthe principle of individual life. Thus Matthew 6:25, where the two are conceived as forming one organism, so that the material ministries which are predicated of the one are predicated of the other, and the meanings of the two merge into one another. -DIVIDER-
In Paul it can scarcely be said to be used of a dead body, except in a figurative sense, as Romans 8:10, or by inference, 2 Corinthians 5:8. Commonly of a living body. It occurs with ψυχή soulonly 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and there its distinction from ψυχή rather than its union with it is implied. So in Matthew 10:28, though even there the distinction includes the two as one personality. It is used by Paul:-DIVIDER-
1. Of the living human body, Romans 4:19; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. -DIVIDER-
2. Of the Church as the body of Christ, Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18, etc. Σάρξ fleshnever in this sense. -DIVIDER-
3. Of plants and heavenly bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:40. -DIVIDER-
4. Of the glorified body of Christ, Philemon 3:21. -DIVIDER-
5. Of the spiritual body of risen believers, 1 Corinthians 15:44. -DIVIDER-
It is distinguished from σάρξ fleshas not being limited to the organism of an earthly, living body, 1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:38. It is the material organism apart from any definite matter. It is however sometimes used as practically synonymous with σάρξ , 1 Corinthians 7:16, 1 Corinthians 7:17; Ephesians 5:28, Ephesians 5:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11. Compare 1 Corinthians 5:3with Colossians 2:5. An ethical conception attaches to it. It is alternated with μέλη membersand the two are associated with sin (Romans 1:24; Romans 6:6; Romans 7:5, Romans 7:24; Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), and with sanctification (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19sq.; compare 1 Thessalonians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is represented as mortal, Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 10:10; and as capable of life, 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 4:10. -DIVIDER-
In common with μέλη membersit is the instrument of feeling and willing rather than σάρξ , because the object in such cases is to designate the body not definitely as earthly, but generally as organic, Romans 6:12, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10. Hence, wherever it is viewed with reference to sin or sanctification, it is the outward organ for the execution of the good or bad resolves of the will. -DIVIDER-
The phrase body of sin denotes the body belonging to, or ruled by, the power of sin, in which the members are instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6:13). Not the body as containing the principle of evil in our humanity, since Paul does not regard sin as inherent in, and inseparable from, the body (see Romans 6:13; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12; 2 Corinthians 7:1. Compare Matthew 15:19), nor as precisely identical with the old man, an organism or system of evil dispositions, which does not harmonize with Romans 6:12, Romans 6:13, where Paul uses body in the strict sense. “Sin is conceived as the master, to whom the body as slave belongs and is obedient to execute its will. As the slave must perform his definite functions, not because he in himself can perform no others, but because of His actually subsistent relationship of service he may perform no others, while of himself he might belong as well to another master and render other services; so the earthly σῶμα bodybelongs not of itself to the ἁμαρτία sinbut may just as well belong to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:13), and doubtless it is de facto enslaved to sin, so long as a redemption from this state has not set in by virtue of the divine Spirit” (Romans 7:24: Dickson).DestroyedSee on Romans 3:3.He that is dead ( ὁ ἀποθανὼν )Rev., literally, he that hath died. In a physical sense. Death and its consequences are used as the general illustration of the spiritual truth. It is a habit of Paul to throw in such general illustrations. See Romans 7:2. [source]

Romans 8:23 Of the Spirit [του πνευματος]
The genitive of apposition. The Holy Spirit came on the great Pentecost and his blessings continue as seen in the “gifts” in 1 Corinthians 12-14, in the moral and spiritual gifts of Galatians 5:22. And greater ones are to come (1 Corinthians 15:44.). Even we ourselves (και αυτοι — kai autoi). He repeats for emphasis. We have our “groaning” (στεναζομεν — stenazomen) as well as nature. Waiting for The same verb used of nature in Romans 8:19. Our adoption (υιοτεσιαν — huiothesian). Our full “adoption” (see Romans 8:15), “the redemption of our body” (την απολυτρωσιν του σωματος ημων — tēn apolutrōsin tou sōmatos hēmōn). That is to come also. Then we shall have complete redemption of both soul and body. [source]
1 Corinthians 2:14 Now the natural man [πσυχικος δε αντρωπος]
Note absence of article here, “A natural man” (an unregenerate man). Paul does not employ modern psychological terms and he exercises variety in his use of all the terms here present as πνευμα — pneuma and πνευματικοσ πσυχη — pneumatikosπσυχικοσ σαρχ — psuchē and σαρκινος — psuchikosσαρκικος — sarx and σαρχ πνευμα — sarkinos and πσυχη — sarkikos A helpful discussion of the various uses of these words in the New Testament is given by Burton in his New Testament Word Studies, pp. 62-68, and in his Spirit, Soul, and Flesh. The papyri furnish so many examples of Πσυχικος — sarxπσυχη — pneuma and ανιμα — psuchē that Moulton and Milligan make no attempt at an exhaustive treatment, but give a few miscellaneous examples to illustrate the varied uses that parallel the New Testament. πσυχικος — Psuchikos is a qualitative adjective from πνευματικος — psuchē (breath of life like πσυχικος — anima life, soul). Here the Vulgate renders it by animalis and the German by sinnlich, the original sense of animal life as in Judges 1:19; James 3:15. In 1 Corinthians 15:44, 1 Corinthians 15:46 there is the same contrast between πνευματικος — psuchikos and ου δεχεται — pneumatikos as here. The ουδε γαρ δυναται — psuchikos man is the unregenerate man while the μωρια — pneumatikos man is the renewed man, born again of the Spirit of God. [source]
Jude 1:19 The spirit []
The higher spiritual life. So the adjective πνευματικός ,spiritual, is everywhere in the New Testament opposed to ψυχικός , natural. See 1 Corinthians 15:44, 1 Corinthians 15:46. [source]
Jude 1:19 Sensual [ψυχικοί]
See on Mark 12:30. As ψυχή denotes life in the distinctness of individual existence, “the centre of the personal being, the I of each individual,” so this adjective derived from it denotes what pertains to man as man, the natural personality as distinguished from the renewed man. So 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:44:. The rendering sensual, here and James 3:15, is inferential: sensual because natural and unrenewed In contrast with this is [source]
Jude 1:19 Sensual [πνευμα μη εχοντες]
Old adjective from μη — psuchē as in 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:44; James 3:15. Opposed to εχω — pneumatikos Not used by Peter.Having not the Spirit (πνευμα — pneuma mē echontes). Usual negative mē with the participle (present active of echō). Probably pneuma here means the Holy Spirit, as is plain in Judges 1:20. Cf. Romans 8:9. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 15:44 mean?

It is sown a body natural it is raised spiritual If there is also
σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν ἐγείρεται πνευματικόν Εἰ ἔστιν καὶ

σπείρεται  It  is  sown 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐπισπείρω 
Sense: to sow, scatter, seed.
σῶμα  a  body 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.
ψυχικόν  natural 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ψυχικός  
Sense: of or belonging to breath.
ἐγείρεται  it  is  raised 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐγείρω  
Sense: to arouse, cause to rise.
πνευματικόν  spiritual 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: πνευματικός  
Sense: relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ.
ἔστιν  there  is 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
καὶ  also 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.

What are the major concepts related to 1 Corinthians 15:44?

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