1 Cor 15:34 NASB

“Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:34‬ ‭‬‬

Who is Paul referring to when he talks about those who have no knowledge of God? Is he referring to the Corinthians or non-believers? Either way, how does this sentence relate to the surrounding context of importance of the dead being raised?

2 Answers 2


1 Cor 15:34 (BSB) Sober up as you ought, and stop sinning; for some of you are ignorant of God. I say this to your shame.

Paul directs his comments to the same people as the rest of the book - the people at Corinth; he accuses some of them of being ignorant of God. That is, some do not know God despite being "in the church" (the same situation exists today!).

Paul addresses one of the sad realities of church life - some of the members, despite pledging loyalty to Christ and professing to serve Him, were openly sinning, getting drunk and committing other grievous sins! Paul says this "to their shame"! That is, it should not be this way.

Ellicott says this:

(34) Awake to righteousness, and sin not.—Literally, Awake to soberness in a righteous manner, With this earnest call to arouse from the sleep of indulgence and of death, the Apostle completes this section of the chapter, and the direct proofs of the doctrine of the resurrection. The exhortation is needed, for there are some who call themselves Christians and still have “an ignorance” regarding God. “To their shame” the Apostles speaks this, not only the last words, but the whole preceding argument. It was a shame that to Christians the Apostle should have to vindicate the very fundamental truth of the Faith.

The Cambridge commentary is more pointed:

or some have not the knowledge of God The original is remarkable; some have ignorance of God. So Wiclif. Cf. ch. 1 Corinthians 14:38. As there were some among them who denied the resurrection, so there were some who were ready to pervert such denial to every form of fleshly indulgence. See Php 3:18-19; 2 Peter 2:10; 2 Peter 2:18-22; Judges 4, 7, 8, 10.

  • Thanks for the response, Dottard! Could you speak to how this sentence fits into the surrounding paragraphs that are mostly focused on the concept of the dead being raised? May 21, 2022 at 14:09
  • @Gremosa - I think it should be viewed as a parenthetical comment amidst Paul's discussion about the resurrection and heavenly bodies - if we do not act like God's people by allowing the miraculously transformation of the Holy Spirit, we will not be God's people
    – Dottard
    May 21, 2022 at 14:13

Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers and reminds them what he first brought to them. Seems like some of them did not believe in the resurrection of Christ or that anybody would be resurrected.

He reminds them what he first preached to them.

I make known to you, brethren, the good news that I proclaimed to you, which also ye did receive, in which also ye have stood, 2through which also ye are being saved, in what words I proclaimed good news to you, if ye hold fast, except ye did believe in vain,

"For I delivered to you first, what also I did receive, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Writings, 4and that he was buried, and that he hath risen on the third day, according to the Writings, 5and that he appeared to Cephas," ..Apostles, at 500 and then Paul.

There were some in there midst who were denying the resurrection and this was spreading and corrupting some of their beliefs.

Some were saying:

how say certain among you, that there is no rising again of dead persons?

if there be no rising again of dead persons, neither hath Christ risen;

if Christ hath not risen, then void [is] our preaching, and void also your faith

And we also are found false witnesses of God, because we did testify of God that He raised up the Christ,

whom He did not raise if then dead persons do not rise

For if dead persons do not rise, neither hath Christ risen

If Christ hath not risen, vain is your faith, ye are yet in your sin.

whats the advantage to me if the dead do not rise? let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die!

So if you don't rise from the dead then what the heck, just live for the day, eat drink and be merry. With this belief comes carelessness as some of them were living. They were being led astray by corrupt communication from others.

Be not led astray; evil communications corrupt good manners;

The Corinthians were a new church and seemed to be swayed by certain men who came in and we're teaching different things that what Paul had taught them. It did not seem like there were any leaders in their midst who would put a stop to some of these false teachings. It was to the shame of the Corinthians to let this carry-on.

Paul is once again educating them about death, the resurrection and hopefully straightened them out after this letter. Discipline can be very sobering, It helps one come to their senses and move on. Paul saying this to their shame, it hopefully was enough.

Come back to your senses as you should, and stop sinning! For some of you—I say this to your shame—don't fully know God.

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