Chapter Fifteen OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To see how the resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our faith 2) To determine why we believe that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead 3) To notice the sequence of events which will occur at the end of time as presented in this chapter 4) To understand what is revealed about our own future resurrection from the dead SUMMARY In this chapter Paul deals with problems the Corinthians were having concerning the resurrection of the dead. Evidently there were teachers at Corinth claiming there would be no resurrection. Paul answers this false doctrine by reminding them of the gospel which they received and which proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1-11). He then proceeds to verify the resurrection with several different lines of argumentation (12-34). The last half of the chapter is devoted to answering anticipated questions concerning how the dead will be raised and with what body will they come (35-58). OUTLINE I. THE RESURRECTION: PROCLAIMED IN THE GOSPEL (1-11) A. THE GOSPEL IN RELATION TO THE CORINTHIANS (1-2) 1. Paul proclaimed it and they received it (1) 2. By it they are saved, if they hold fast to it (2) B. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GOSPEL (3-8) 1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (3) 2. He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (4) 3. He was seen by many eyewitnesses (5-7) 4. He was seen by Paul himself, who by the grace of God was able to preach the gospel (8-10) 5. Such was the gospel preached, and the Corinthians had believed it (11) II. THE RESURRECTION: VERIFIED BY THE APOSTLE PAUL (12-34) A. CONSEQUENCES IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION (12-19) 1. Christ is not risen from the dead (12-13) 2. The apostles' preaching and the Corinthians' faith is vain (14) 3. The apostles are false witnesses (15-16) 4. They are still in their sins (17) 5. Those who have died in Christ have perished (18) 6. Those who hope in Christ are the most pitiable of all men (19) B. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OUR RESURRECTION (20-28) 1. Christ is the "firstfruits" (20) 2. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive (21-22) 3. A brief description as to when this will occur (23-28) a. At the coming of Christ (23) b. This will be the end, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God (24-28) 1) When He has put an end to all rule, authority and power (24) 2) For Christ must reign till God has put all enemies under His feet (25) 3) The last enemy being death itself (26) 4) When all is made subject to Christ, the Son will also be subject to Him Who put all things under Him (27-28) C. ADDITIONAL ARGUMENTS FOR THE RESURRECTION, WITH A WARNING (29-34) 1. Why are some being baptized for the dead if there is no resurrection? (29) 2. Why do the apostles and others suffer harsh persecution if there is no resurrection? (30-32) 3. Beware of evil influence and those who do not have the knowledge of God (33-34) III. THE RESURRECTION: DESCRIBED BY PAUL (35-58) A. IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: "WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?" (35-49) 1. It will be different from the one sown, just as the plant is different from the seed (35-38) 2. Illustrations of the different types of bodies in the physical world (39-41) 3. Thus the resurrected body will be different from the physical body, though it is the same as the one sown (42-49) a. The weak, dishonorable, corruptible body will be raised in incorruption, glory and power (42-43) b. The natural body, patterned after the first Adam, will be raised a spiritual body patterned after the Last Adam (44-46) c. Those who have borne the image of the man of dust from the earth, will one day bear the image of the Man of heaven (47-49) B. IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: "HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP" (50-58) 1. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption (50) 2. The mystery of the resurrection as revealed by Paul (51-57) a. All shall be changed, whether dead or alive (51) b. It will occur in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (52) c. The corruptible, mortal man will put on incorruption and immortality, and we will be victorious over death through Jesus Christ our Lord (53-57) 3. A final exhortation to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (58) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) List the main points of this chapter - The Resurrection: Proclaimed In The Gospel (1-11) - The Resurrection: Verified By Paul (12-34) - The Resurrection: Described By Paul (35-58) 2) What are some of the key elements of the gospel? (1-8) - Christ died for our sins - Christ was buried and raised the third day - Christ was seen by eyewitnesses 3) What type of proof is offered for the resurrection of Jesus? (5-8) - Eyewitness testimony by numerous witnesses 4) If Christ was not raised from the dead, what would it mean? (14-19) - The preaching of the apostles and our faith is vain - The apostles are false witnesses - We are still in our sins - Those who died in Christ have perished - We who hope in Christ are to be pitied 5) What will happen when Christ comes again? (23-26, 51-53) - The resurrection from the dead - The kingdom delivered to God the Father 6) What does Paul refer to when he speaks of "baptism for the dead"? (29) - Of the many different explanations that have been offered, the one making most sense to me is that Paul is speaking of the inconsistency of those who deny the resurrection while at the same time practicing a form of "vicarious baptism". Notice that Paul refers to "they" who were doing this, not "we" (i.e., the apostles). Paul in this passage is neither openly condemning or justifying the practice. He simply uses the practice of others to demonstrate the inconsistency of such practice when denying the resurrection of the dead. Whether we should practice such a rite as "baptism for the dead" today must be determined from passages elsewhere. All we find elsewhere concerning baptism is that it requires faith and repentance of the one being baptized. This would preclude the practice of "vicarious baptism."
1 Corinthians 15
The risen Christ, faith's reality
[1Co 15:1-58 NASB] 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then [it was] I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
The risen Christ, our hope
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
The last enemy destroyed
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man [came] death, by a man also [came] the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 24 then [comes] the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
Effects of denying the resurrection
29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour? 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. 33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." 34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak [this] to your shame.
A glorious body
35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one [flesh] of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the [glory] of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable [body,] it is raised an imperishable [body;] 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual [body.] 45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
Our final victory
50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not [in] vain in the Lord.