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1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

Some possibilities I can think of:

  • 'directly because of': we sinned by putting him to death.
  • 'indirectly because of': humanity's sinful state resulted in Jesus being killed.
  • 'to correct': to make us stop sinning.
  • 'to forgive': to allow God to forgive us.

I'm sure there are many other possibilities. Is there any way to narrow down the possibilities linguistically?

Bonus question: was Paul being deliberately cryptic with ambiguous phrasing or would he expect his readers to know what he meant?

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Good question.

1 Corinthians 15:3

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

for
ὑπὲρ (hyper)
Preposition
Strong's 5228: Genitive: in behalf of; acc: above.

our
ἡμῶν (hēmōn)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive 1st Person Plural
Strong's 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

Literally, it says:

Christ died on behalf of our sins

It is more than just because of our sins. Paul expressed the same idea in Galatians 1:4

who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

A somewhat different idea is expressed in Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us [on behalf of us].

Christ died not just because of our sins. He died on behalf of us and our sins. He was a sin offering for the forgiveness of sins on our behalf.

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