Google+ 04/16/13 It is All Greek To Me!

1 Corinthians 15:1-3


Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,

Which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,

Unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,

How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;   


Today, I am using the King James Version of the Bible, as Paul has many things to say that need to be explored in the original Biblical language.  As we know, Paul was a very learned man.  Today, he is speaking to the church at Corinth about the resurrection message.  Paul declares the "gospel" to the Corinthians.  The word "gospel" is both a proposition and a person.  As a proposition, it embraces the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Christ is also the "gospel" as a person.  To alter this gospel in any way, means to be cursed by God.  This means that we must both receive the person of Christ and believe in His death, burial, and resurrection.  Paul points out that this is what separates us from others who believe in God, but not the "gospel."  Finally, the word "gospel" is defined in the Greek as "good news."  How appropriate!  In 1 Corinthians 15, the word "vain" is used 6 separate times.  Much like the three different Greek words for love, Paul uses three different Greek words for "vain," which all have slightly different nuances.  Eikei is literally defined as "without effect."  In other words, the Corinthians, may have "believed in vain," or without effect.  A temporary faith makes no appreciable difference in one's life, as the gospel fails to take effect.   Kenos is defined as "without success or truth."  The personal application here is that  believers' faith is "not in vain" as Jesus died for all of us.  Hence, all Christians will be resurrected, so our labor is "not in vain!"  Finally, Mataios is defined as "completely useless."  If Christ was not really raised from the dead, our "faith is in vain," that is for nothing.   The language of the Corinthians would have been two-fold.  Because the common folks all spoke Greek, much of Paul's writing was done in that original language.  The Corinthians would have understood the nuances listed above, as Greek was the "language of the people."  The wealthy and educated would have spoken Latin.  As such, they would have been great studiers of the Greek and would have probably spoken both languages, depending on the circumstance and location of the conversation.  Our message today from Paul is the same as the message from Jesus Himself.  None of our labor will be in vain if we truly embrace the "gospel."  Many of us accept one or the other, but not both.  We may accept the "gospel" message, but not the person of Jesus Christ.  We may embrace the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins, but struggle with how accurate the "gospel" message really is.  Paul is telling us that without both, our struggles and very existence are Eikei, Kenos, and Mataios!  Now you can truly say, as you celebrate this resurrection season, "It is All Greek to Me!!! "