The phrase, “shall be made alive” (ζῳοποιηθήσονται) in 1 Corinthians 15:22 stems from the use of zOopoieO, as a verb in the future tense. The future action of zOopoieO seems directed towards two orders mentioned in verse 23 and thus would be future to the time that 1 Corinthians was composed.

Indeed, at the composing of 1 Corinthians 15:20 Χριστῷ had been raised (perfect tense) and was considered as firstfruit of those still sleeping. Verse 21 provides a comparison between “death by man” and “resurrection by man”. Verse 22 carries on with a comparison between the dying that occurs “in the Adam” and those who shall be made alive “in the Christ”. The dying in the Adam is a present tense verb. The made alive in the Christ is a future tense verb, thus my question. In verse 23 the first group to be "made alive" is identified as ἀπαρχὴ χριστός (aparchE christos) and the second group is “in the presence (parousia) of Him”.

I am working with an understanding that ἔπειτα of verse 23 is separating two groups, in time, each which “shall be alive” (ζῳοποιηθήσονται) in a time future to the composing of 1 Corinthians. One group, ἀπαρχὴ χριστός (aparchE christos), shall be ζῳοποιηθήσονται prior to ἔπειτα and is a part of πάντες (of verse 22). The next group, οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτου (the-ones of-the christos in the presence of-him), shall be ζῳοποιηθήσονται after ἔπειτα and is likewise a part of πάντες (of verse 22).

Looking elsewhere in the new testament for the future tense use of zOopoieO brings forth one other occurrence in Romans 8:11. The action in this verse seems to be at some point in the future to the actual composing of Romans and is applicable to being “made alive” in mortal bodies.

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    Welcome! I'm not sure I understand the question. The subject of ζῳοποιηθήσονται in v. 22 is πάντες, which seems to share a referent with οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ in v. 23, a group which shall in the future (more specifically ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ) be made alive. This doesn't seem to me to include Christ himself, the firstfruits, already having been made alive.
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 20:52
  • Susan - Thank you for your consideration. With your response in mind, I might have asked the question more along these lines of: How can the Χριστός ἀπαρχὴ (Christ firstfruit, raised from the dead, present tense) of verse 20 also be the same ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός (firstfruit Christ, to be made alive, future tense) of verse 23? I have applied edits to original question, hopefully to clarify.
    – LWise
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 23:14
  • Thanks for clarifying. To me, the future tense of v. 23 applies to a plural subject that doesn't include Christ, but at this point what you're getting at seems clear enough, and I guess we should let someone answer. :-) Welcome again, and I hope you stick around.
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 23:30
  • Susan – Thank you for your welcome. Your application of plurals may very well be accurate. The plural πάντες of verse 22 seems to partner up nicely will the plural ζῳοποιηθήσονται to establish an overall group, “in the Christ” (ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ). Verse 23 them provides sequencing for zOoopoieO in each subgroup that is “in the Christ” (ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ).
    – LWise
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


This text talks about Adam and Jesus, each one being the head of their respective race. Those in the race of Adam are referred to in the text as "πάντες ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ", v.22 (these are the unbelievers), and those in the race of Jesus as "πάντες ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ".

Verse 23 is a new sentence that adds additional detail with respect to the order of the resurrection "parade" by listing two groups: (1) "ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός" - nominative case, often translated "Christ, the first fruits" - and (2) "οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ..." - genitive case, the rest of those belonging to Jesus, that make up his own race.

This letter to the Corinthians was written between the resurrection of the first and second groups. We have a glimpse of the first fruits' resurrection in Mat 27.52,53, while the second group was still future by the time of writing the letter.

The resurrection of the first group, "ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός", is already past when the letter was written. When verse 20 speaks of the past resurrection of Jesus, it is speaking of the first group through its most prominent member, Christ - so the first group resurrection is properly dealt with in past tense.

The resurrection of the second group is talked about in verse 22, "πάντες ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ", when future tense is used.

Also, verse 23 being a new sentence, confines the future tense of "ζῳοποιηθήσονται" to its subjects in verse 22 alone.

Hope this helps.

As a final remark, it is worth noting that although this resurrection comes like a parade, in stages, it represents only one resurrection: the first one mentioned in Rev 20:4-6.

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    Welcome to the site! I basically agree with where you're going here, but a minor point - "οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ" is really in the nominative as far as its function in the sentence goes. τοῦ Χριστοῦ is only genitive to identify its relationship with οἱ. It's confusing to suppose that ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός and οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ are in different cases since they're both functioning as subjects in the "resurrection parade" :-) as you posit.
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 2:30
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    cnaak, If I understand your reasoning correctly, verse 22 is functionally a parenthetical statement. It may be “good” information, but does not move forward Paul’s line of thinking – it is basically an aside. Would you elaborate how “ζῳοποιηθήσονται” is better understood as “resurrection”, than “shall be made alive”? Also, would replacing the period at the end of verse 22 with a coma change your understanding of the text?
    – LWise
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 5:02
  • Thank you, @Susan, for your welcome. Agreed: only the "τοῦ Χριστοῦ" part is on the genitive case. I was focusing my comment on those who are Christ's – the remaining of his race – which will be resurrected in the future, rather than Christ himself, already resurrected.
    – cnaak
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 13:48
  • Comments removed. Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. @LWise and cnaak: you've both got write access to that room.
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:13

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