In 1 Corinthians 15:23 do we overlook a comma after Christ? (a mark of punctuation used for indicating a division in a sentence). I need help with the Greek punctuation and if there’s a comma would not that separate Christ and the first fruits? And if so, wouldn’t the order of resurrection be different?

KJV But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
NIV But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. NET But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him.

Westcott and Hort 1881Ἕκαστος δὲ ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι• ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός, ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ•

I know Christ is the first fruits of those that slept. He resurrected the same day they were waving the Sheaf Offerings of the first harvest.

But there are also the first fruits of the Spirit, the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb starting at Pentecost, Feast of Weeks the second harvest.

Romans 8:23 (KJV)23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

James 1:18 (KJV) 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

God has always expected us to show our devotion and love to him by giving him the first of what we have been blessed with, all way back to Cain and Abel. After God took the first born of Egypt God told Israel that all their first born was his, and so on. And there are the harvests and feasts commanded by God, and the pattern of them runs from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

We have first fruits of the first harvest given to God thanking Him for bringing them out of Egypt (slavery and bondage) and giving them the land and for the next crop. Christ was given and became the first fruits of those that slept and freed us from the slavery and bondage of sin.

Feast of Weeks, second harvest (the wheat harvest) and the celebration of the day God gave the Torah. And Pentecost the second harvest, the baptizing of the Holy Ghost (the Comforter and Teacher). What I am seeing Is 1. Christ 2. firstfruits 3. They that are Christ’s at his coming.

Help with the Greek most of the text I see a comma but it may not be and if not can put this question to bed. Thanks for your help.

  • The Greek does not use punctuation marks. We add them for English grammar.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 22:08
  • ...And for this reason, it is helpful to consult parallel versions Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 5:57
  • Ronald this is a great question.
    – user20490
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 11:09
  • As most/all of the translations do this, my suspicion is that there is, in fact a good rule for this, but I'm not educated in Koine Greek linguistics, so I cant say more beyond that. You can also ask at the Latin.SE. The sometimes do Greek translation, and also commit to the Greek Language proposal. Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 22:52
  • @JamesShewey So, would such a "Koine Greek linguistics" question be something that wouldn't be acceptable on this site? I've been studiously reading some of the backstory posts about what is hermeneutically acceptable, and the how-to's of both asking and answering questions, and it's daunting! As a teacher, I never discouraged any questions, even the very dumb and/or rude ones ... there was always something of worth behind them. Your process may be tried and true, but the only real purpose I've yet to fathom about it, is that it's intended to be very selective, not necessarily educational.
    – robin
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


The original Greek text had neither punctuation marks nor chapter and verse divisions, so one must generally rely on the translator's interpretation.

In the Greek text you quote, the phrase underlying Christ, the first friuts is ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός. Though a noun, the word ἀπαρχὴ (aparchē) behaves almost like an adjective or appellation (e.g. "Christ First-Fruits"). Greek does not always punctuate phrases the way we do in English.

The Nestle-Aland Critical Text, Majority Text, and 1904 Patriarchal Texts all agree on how this particular verse should be punctuated.


You are mistaking the firstfruits as a separate group along with Christ, due to the comma. When Christ is called as the first-fruit. Despite the comma, the firstfruit remains an attribute of Christ. Those versions using the comma after Christ (NET, CEB, CSB. Mounce etc) are showing the attribute as non-essential. Although it is a minor issue, the comma also a break in the reading flow, and possible confusion that the two are separate entities. The word firstfruits should also be singular instead. I don't understand where did the plural came from, and that too for a singular antecedent. The translators are are at fault.

It should be simply: 'firstfruit is Christ', or 'the first-fruit Christ', or Christ is the first-fruit.

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