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1 Corinthians Chapter Fifteen


1 Corinthians 15

But other evils had found means to introduce themselves into the midst of the shining gifts which were exercised in the bosom of the flock at Corinth. The resurrection of the dead was denied. Satan is wily in his dealings. Apparently it was only the body that was in question; nevertheless the whole gospel was at stake, for if the dead rose not, then Christ was not risen. And if Christ was not risen, the sins of the faithful were not put away, and the gospel was not true. The apostle therefore reserved this question for the end of his epistle, and he enters into it thoroughly.

First, he reminds them of that which he had preached among them as the gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and was raised again according to the scriptures. This then was the means of their salvation, if they continued in it, unless they had believed in vain. Here at least was a very solid foundation for his argument: their salvation (unless all that they had believed was but a profitless fable) depended on the fact of the resurrection, and was bound up with it. But if the dead rose not, Christ was not risen, for He had died. The apostle begins therefore by establishing this fact through the most complete and positive testimonies, including his own testimony, since he had himself seen the Lord. Five hundred persons had seen Him at once, the greater part of whom were still alive to bear witness of it.

Observe, in passing, that the apostle can speak of nothing without a moral effect being produced in his heart, because he thinks of it with God. Thus, verses 8-10, he calls to mind the state of things with regard to himself and to the other apostles, and that which grace had done; and then, his heart unburdened, he returns to his subject. The testimony of every divine witness was the same. Everything declared that Christ was risen; everything depended on the fact that He was so. This was his starting-point. If, said he, that which was preached among you is that Christ was raised from the dead, how happens it that some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is none, Christ is not risen; if He is not risen, the preaching of His witnesses is vain, the faith of Christians vain. Nor that only; but these witnesses are false witnesses, for they had declared, with respect to God, that He had raised up Christ from the dead. But God had not raised Him up if the dead do not rise. And in that case their faith was vain: they were yet in their sins; and those who had already fallen asleep in Christ had perished. Now, if it be in this life only that the believer has hope in Christ, he is of all men the most miserable; he does but suffer as to this world. But it is not so, for Christ is risen.

Here, however, it is not only a general doctrine that the dead are raised. Christ, in rising, came up from among the dead. It is the favour and the power of God come in, [1] to bring back from among the dead the One who had in His grace gone down into death to accomplish and to display the deliverance of man in Christ from the power of Satan and of death; and to put a public seal on the work of redemption, to exhibit openly in man the victory over all the power of the enemy. Thus Christ arose from among all the other dead (for death could not hold Him), and established the glorious principle of this divine and complete deliverance, and He became the first-fruits of them that slept, who, having His life, await the exercise of His power, which will awaken them by virtue of the Spirit that dwells in them.

This evidently gives a very peculiar character to the resurrection. It is not only that the dead rise, but that God, by His power, brings back certain persons from among the dead, on account of the favour which He has for them, and in connection with the life and the Spirit which are in them. Christ has a quite peculiar place. Life was in Him, and He is our life. He gained this victory by which we profit. He is of right the first-fruits. It was due to His glory. Had He not gained the victory, we should always have remained in prison. He had power Himself to resume life, but the great principle is the same, it is not only a resurrection of the dead, but those who are alive according to God arise as the objects of His favour, and by the exercise of that power which wills to have them for Himself and with Himself-Christ, the first-fruits: those who are Christ's, at His coming. We are associated with Christ in resurrection. We come out like Him, not only from death, but from the dead. We mark, too, here how Christ and His people are inseparably identified. If they do not rise, He is not risen. He was as really dead as we can be, has taken in grace our place under death, was a man as we are men (save sin) so truly that, if you deny this result for us, you deny the fact as to Him; and the object and foundation of faith itself fails. This identification of Christ with men, so as to be able to draw a conclusion from us to Him, is full of power and blessing. If the dead do not rise, He is not risen; He was as truly dead as we can be.

It needed to be by man. No doubt the power of God can call men back from the tomb. He will do so, acting in the Person of His Son, to whom all judgment is given. But that will not be a victory gained in human nature over death which held men captive. This it is which Christ has done. He was willing to be given up to death for us, in order (as man) to gain the victory for us over death and over him who had the power of death. By man came death; by man, resurrection. Glorious victory! complete triumph! We come out of the state where sin and its consequences fully reached us. Evil cannot enter the place into which we are brought out. We have crossed the frontiers for ever. Sin, the power of the enemy, remains outside this new creation, which is the fruit of the power of God after evil had come in, and which the responsibility of man shall not mar. It is God who maintains it in connection with Himself: it depends on Him.

There are two great principles established here: by man, death; by man, the resurrection of the dead; Adam and Christ as heads of two families. In Adam all die; in Christ all shall be made alive. But here there is an all-important development in connection with the position of Christ in the counsels of God. One side of this truth is the dependence of the family, so to call it, upon its head. Adam brought death into the midst of his descendants-those who are in relation with himself. This is the principle which characterises the history of the first Adam. Christ, in whom is life, brings life into the midst of those who are His-communicates it to them. This principle characterises the second Adam, and those who are His in Him. But it is life in the power of resurrection, without which it could not have been communicated to them. The grain of wheat would have been perfect in itself, but would have remained alone. But He died for their sins, and now He imparts life to them, all their sins being forgiven them.

Now, in the resurrection, there is an order according to the wisdom of God for the accomplishment of His counsels-Christ, the first-fruits; those who are Christ's, at His coming again. Thus those who are in Christ are quickened according to the power of the life which is in Christ; it is the resurrection of life. But this is not the whole extent of resurrection as acquired by Christ, in gaining the victory over death according to the Spirit of holiness. The Father has given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him. The latter are those of whom this chapter treats essentially, because its subject is resurrection among Christians; and the apostle, the Spirit Himself, loves to speak on the subject of the power of eternal life in Christ. Yet he cannot entirely omit the other part of the truth. The resurrection of the dead, he tells us, is come by man. But he is not here speaking of the communication of life in Christ. In connection with this last and nearer part of his subject, he does not touch upon the resurrection of the wicked; but after the coming of Christ he introduces the end, when He shall have given up the kingdom to the Father. With the kingdom is introduced the power of Christ exercised over all things-a different thought entirely from the communication of life to His own.

There are three steps therefore in these events: first, the resurrection of Christ; then, the resurrection of those who are His, at His coming; afterwards, the end, when He shall have given up the kingdom to the Father. The first and the second are the accomplishment in resurrection of the power of life in Christ and in His people. When He comes, He takes the kingdom; He takes His great power and acts as king. From His coming then to the end is the development of His power, in order to subdue all things to Himself; during which all power and all authority shall be abolished. For He must reign till all His enemies are under His feet; the last subdued will be death. Here then, as the effect of His power only, and not in connection with the communication of life, we find the resurrection of those who are not His; for the destruction of death is their resurrection. They are passed over in silence: only that death, such as we see it, has no longer dominion over them. Christ has the right and the power, in virtue of His resurrection and of His having glorified the Father, to destroy the dominion of death over them, and to raise them up again. This will be the resurrection of judgment. Its effect is declared elsewhere.

When He has put all His enemies under His feet, and has given back the kingdom to His Father (for it is never taken from Him, nor given to another, as happens with human kingdoms), then the Son Himself is subject to Him who has put all things under Him, in order that God may be all in all. The reader should observe, that it is the counsels of God with regard to the government of all things which is here spoken of, and not His nature; and moreover it is the Son, as man, of whom these things are said. This is not an arbitrary explanation: the passage is from Psalm 8, the subject of which is the exaltation of man to the position of head of all things, God putting all things under His feet. Nothing, says the apostle, is excepted (Heb. 2:8) save, as he adds here, that He is necessarily excepted who put all things under Him. When the man Christ, the Son of God, has in fact accomplished this subjugation, He gives back to God the universal power which had been committed to Him, and the mediatorial kingdom, which He held as man, ceases. He is again subject, as He was on earth. He does not cease to be one with the Father, even as He was so while living in humiliation on the earth, although saying at the same time "Before Abraham was, I am." But the mediatorial government of man has disappeared-is absorbed in the supremacy of God, to which there is no longer any opposition. Christ will take His eternal place, a Man, the Head of the whole redeemed family, being at the same time God blessed for ever, one with the Father. In Psalm 2 we see the Son of God, as born on earth, King in Zion, rejected when He presented Himself on earth; in Psalm 8 the result of His rejection, exalted as Son of man at the head of all that the hand of God has made. Then we find Him here laying down this conferred authority, and resuming the normal position of humanity, namely, that of subjection to Him who has put all things under Him; but through it all, never changing His divine nature, nor-save so far as exchanging humiliation for glory-His human nature either. But God is now all in all, and the special government of man in the Person of Jesus-a government withwhich the assembly is associated (see Eph. 1:20-23, which is a quotation from the same Psalm)-is merged in the immutable supremacy of God, the final and normal relationship of God with His creature. We shall find the Lamb omitted in that which is said in Revelation 21:1-8, speaking of this same period.

Thus we find in this passage resurrection by man-death having entered by man; the relationship of the saints with Jesus, the source and the power of life, the consequence being His resurrection, and theirs at His coming; power over all things committed to Christ, the risen Man; afterwards the kingdom given back to God the Father, the tabernacle of God with men, and the man Christ, the second Adam, eternally a man subject to the Supreme-this last a truth of infinite value to us (the resurrection of the wicked, though supposed in the resurrection brought in by Christ, not being the direct subject of the chapter). The reader must now remark that this passage is a revelation, in which the Spirit of God, having fixed the apostle's thoughts upon Jesus and the resurrection, suddenly interrupts the line of his argument, announcing-with that impulse which the thought of Christ always gave to the mind and heart of the apostle-all the ways of God in Christ with regard to the resurrection, to the connection of those that are His with Him in that resurrection, and the government and dominion which belong to Him as risen, as well as the eternal nature of His relationship, as man, to God. Having communicated these thoughts of God, which were revealed to him, he resumes the thread of his argument in verse 29. This part ends with verse 34, after which he treats the question, which they had brought forward as a difficulty-in what manner should the dead be raised?

By taking the verses 20-28 (which contain so important a revelation in a passage that is complete in itself) as a parenthesis, the verses 29-34 become much more intelligible, and some expressions, which have greatly harassed interpreters, have a tolerably determined sense. The apostle had said, in verse 16, "If the dead rise not," and then, that if such were the case, those who had fallen asleep in Jesus had perished, and that the living were of all men most miserable. At verse 28 he returns to these points, and speaks of those who are baptised for the dead, in connection with the assertion, that if there were no resurrection those who had fallen asleep in Christ had perished; "if," he says, repeating more forcibly the expression in verse 16, "the dead rise not at all"; and then shews how entirely he is himself in the second case he had spoken of, "of all men most miserable," and almost in the case of perishing also, being every moment in danger, striving as with wild beasts, dying daily. Baptised, then, for the dead is to become a Christian with the view fixed on those who have fallen asleep in Christ, and particularly as being slain for Him, taking one's portion with the dead, yea, with the dead Christ; it is the very meaning of baptism (Rom. 6). How senseless if they do not rise! As in 1 Thessalonians 4, the subject, while speaking of all Christians, is looked at in the same way. The word translated "for" is frequently used in these epistles for "in view of," "with reference to."

We have seen that verses 20-28 form a parenthesis. Verse 29 then is connected with verse 18. Verses 30-32 relate to verse 19. The historical explanations of these last verses is found in the second epistle (see chap. 1:8, 9; 4:8-12). I do not think that verse 32 should be taken literally. The word translated "I have fought with beasts" is usually employed in a figurative sense, to be in conflict with fierce and implacable enemies. In consequence of the violence of the Ephesians he had nearly lost his life, and even despaired of saving it; but God had delivered him. But to what purpose all these sufferings, if the dead rise not? And observe here, that although the resurrection proves that death does not touch the soul (compare Luke 20:38), yet the apostle does not think of immortality,(18) apart from resurrection. God has to do so, with man? and man is composed of body and of soul. He gives account in the judgment of the things done in the body. It is when raised from the dead that he will do so. The intimate union between the two, quite distinct as they are, forms the spring of life, the seat of responsibility, the means of God's government with regard to His creatures, and the sphere in which His dealings are displayed. Death dissolves this union; and although the soul survives, and is happy or miserable, the existence of the complete man is suspended, the judgment of God is not applied, the believer is not yet clothed with glory. Thus to deny the resurrection, was to deny the true relationship of God with man, and to make death the end of man, destroying man as God contemplates him, and making him perish like a beast. Compare the Lord's argument in that passage in Luke of which I have already quoted one verse.

Alas! the denial of the resurrection was linked with the desire to unbridle the senses. Satan introduced it into the heart of Christians through their communication with persons with whom the Spirit of Christ would have had no communion.

They needed to have their conscience exercised, to be awakened, in order that righteousness might have its place there. It is the lack of that which is commonly the true source of heresies. They failed in the knowledge of God. It was to the shame of these Christians. God grant us to take heed to it! It is the great matter even in questions of doctrine.

But further, the inquisitive spirit of man would fain be satisfied with respect to the physical mode of the resurrection. The apostle did not gratify it, while rebuking the stupid folly of those who had occasion every day to see analogous things in the creation that surrounded them. Fruit of the power of God, the raised body would be, according to the good pleasure of Him who gave it anew for the glorious abode of the soul, a body of honour, which, having passed through death, would assume that glorious condition which God had prepared for it-a body suited to the creature that possessed it, but according to the supreme will of Him who clothed the creature with it. There were different kinds of bodies; and as wheat was not the bare grain that had been sown, although a plant of its nature and not another, so should it be with the raised man. Different also were the glories of heavenly and earthly bodies: star differed from star in glory. I do not think that this passage refers to degrees of glory in heaven, but to the fact that God distributes glory as He pleases. Heavenly glory and earthly glory are however plainly put in contrast, for there will be an earthly glory.

And observe here, that it is not merely the fact of the resurrection which is set forth in this passage, but also its character. For the saints it will be a resurrection to heavenly glory. Their portion will be bodies incorruptible, glorious, vessels of power, spiritual. This body, sown as the grain of wheat for corruption, shall put on glory and incorruptibility. [2] It is only the saints that are here spoken of-"they also that are heavenly," and in connection with Christ, the second Adam. The apostle had said that the first body was "natural." Its life was that of the living soul; as to the body it partook of that kind of life which the other animals possessed-whatever might be its superiority as to its relationship with God, in that God Himself had breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life, so that man was thus in a special way in relationship with God (of His race, as the apostle said at Athens). "Adam, the son of God," said the Holy Ghost in Luke-made in the image of God. His conduct should have answered to it, and God had revealed Himself to him in order to place him morally in the position that was suitable to this breath of life which he had received. He had become-free as he was from death by the power of God who sustained him, or mortal by the sentence of Him who had formed him-a living soul. There was not the quickening power in himself. The first Adam was simply a man-"the first man Adam."

The word of God does not express itself thus with regard to Christ, when speaking of Him in this passage as the last Adam. He could not be the last Adam without being a man; but it does not say "the last man was a quickening Spirit," but the "last Adam"; and when it speaks of Him as the second Man, adds that He was "from heaven." Christ had not only life as a living soul, He had the power of life, which could impart life to others. Although He was a man on earth, He had life in Himself; accordingly He quickened whom He would. Nevertheless it is as the last Adam, the second Man, the Christ, that the word here speaks of Him. It is not only that God quickens whom He will, but the last Adam, Christ, the Head, spiritually, of the new race, has this power in Himself: and therefore it is said-for it is always Jesus on earth who is in question-"He hath given to the Son to have life in himself." Of us it is said, "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: he who hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Howbeit that which is of the Spirit is not that which was first, but that which is natural, that is, that which has the natural life of the soul. That which is spiritual, which has its life from the power of the Spirit, comes after. The first man is of the earth-has his origin, such as he is (God having breathed into his nostrils a spirit or breath of life), from the earth. Therefore he is of the dust, even as God said, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The last Adam, though He was as truly man as the first, is from heaven.

As belonging to the first Adam, we inherit his condition, we are as he is: as participating in the life of the second, we have part in the glory which He possesses as Man, we are as He is, we exist according to His mode of being, His life being ours. Now the consequence here is that, as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Observe here, that the first Adam and the last, or second Man, respectively, are looked at as in that condition into which they entered when their respective trials under responsibility had ended; and those who are connected with the one and the other inherit the condition and the consequences of the work of the one and the other, as thus tested. It is the fallen Adam who is the father of a race born after his image-a fallen and guilty race, sinful and mortal. He had failed, and committed sin, and lost his position before God, was far from Him, when he became the father of the human race. If the corn of wheat falling into the ground does not die, it bears no fruit; if it die, it bears much fruit. Christ had glorified God, made expiation for sin, and was raised in righteousness; had overcome death and destroyed the power of Satan, before He became, as a quickening Spirit, the Head of a spiritual race, [3] to whom-united to Himself-He communicates all the privileges that belong to the position beforeGod which He has acquired, according to the power of that life by which He quickens them. It is a risen and glorified Christ whose image we shall bear, as we now bear the image of a fallen Adam. Flesh and blood, not merely sin, cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Corruption (for such we are) cannot inherit that which is incorruptible. This leads the apostle to a positive revelation of that which will take place with regard to the enjoyment of incorruptibility by all the saints. Death is conquered. It is not necessary that death should come upon all, still less that all should undergo actual corruption; but it is not possible for flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of glory. But we shall not all sleep; there are some who will be changed without dying. The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (for redemption being accomplished and Christ ready to judge the quick and the dead, the apostle always looked at it as a thing immediately before his eyes, ready to take place any moment) shall be changed (a change equivalent to resurrection); for that which is corruptible, if not already in dust and corruption, shall put on incorruptibility; that which is mortal, immortality. We see that this relates to the body; it is in his body that man is mortal, even when he has eternal life, and shall live by Christ and with Christ. The power of God will form the saints whether living or dead for the inheritance of glory.

Take especial notice of what has just been said. Death is entirely conquered-annulled in its power-for the Christian. He possesses a life (Christ risen), which sets him above death, not perhaps physically, but morally. It has lost all its power over his soul, as the fruit of sin and judgment. It is so entirely conquered, that there are some who will not die at all. All Christians have Christ for their life. If He is absent, and if He does not return-as will be the case as long as He sits on His Father's throne, and our life is hid with Him in God-we undergo death physically according to the sentence of God; that is to say, the soul is separated from the mortal body. When He shall return and exercise His power, having risen up from the Father's throne to take His people to Himself before He exercises judgment, death has no power at all over them: they do not pass through it. That the others are raised from the dead is a proof of power altogether divine, and more glorious even than that which created man from the dust. That the living are changed proves a perfection of accomplished redemption, and a power of life in Christ which had left no trace, no remains, of the judgment of God as to them, nor of the power of the enemy, nor of the thraldom of man to the consequences of his sin. In place of all that, is an exercise of divine power, which manifests itself in the absolute, complete, and eternal deliverance of the poor guilty creature who before was under it-a deliverance that has its perfect manifestation in the glory of Christ, for He had subjected Himself in grace to the condition of man under death for sin; so that to faith it is always certain, and accomplished in His Person. But the resurrection of the dead and the change of the living will be its actual accomplishment for all who are His, at His coming. What a glorious deliverance is that which is wrought by the resurrection of Christ, who-sin entirely blotted out, righteousness divinely glorified and made good, Satan's power destroyed-transports us by virtue of an eternal redemption, and by the power of a life which has abolished death, into an entirely new sphere, where evil cannot come, nor any of its consequences, and where the favour of God in glory shines upon us perfectly and for ever! It is that which Christ has won for us according to the eternal love of God our Father, who gave Him to us to be our Saviour.

At an unexpected moment we shall enter into this scene, ordained by the Father, prepared by Jesus. The power of God will accomplish this change in an instant: the dead shall rise, we shall be changed. The last trumpet is but a military allusion, as it appears to me, when the whole troop wait for the last signal to set out all together.

In the quotation from Isaiah 25:8 we have a remarkable application of scripture. Here it is only the fact that death is thus swallowed up in victory, for which the passage is quoted; but the comparison with Isaiah shews us that it will be, not at the end of the world, but at a period when, by the establishment of the kingdom of God in Zion, the veil, under which the heathen have dwelt in ignorance and darkness, shall be taken off their face. The whole earth shall be enlightened, I do not say at the moment, but at the period. But this certainty of the destruction of death procures us a present confidence, although death still exists. Death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. All is changed by the grace which, at the end, will bring in this triumph. But meantime, by revealing to us the favour of God who bestows it, and the accomplishment of the redemption which is its basis, it has completely changed the character of death. Death, to the believer who must pass through it, is only leaving that which is mortal; it no longer bears the terror of God's judgment, nor that of the power of Satan. Christ has gone into it and borne it and taken it away totally and for ever. Nor that only,-He has taken its source away. It was sin which sharpened and envenomed that sting. It was the law which, presenting to the conscience exact righteousness, and the judgment of God which required the accomplishment of that law, and pronounced a curse on those who failed in it,-it was the law which gave sin its force to the conscience, and made death doubly formidable. But Christ was made sin, and bore the curse of the law, being made a curse for His own who were under the law; and thus, while glorifying God perfectly with regard to sin, and to the law in its most absolute requirements, He has completely delivered us from the one and the other, and, at the same time, from the power of death, out of which He came victorious. All that death can do to us is to take us out of the scene in which it exercises its power, to bring us into that in which it has none. God, the Author of these counsels of grace, in whom is the power that accomplishes them, has given us this deliverance by Jesus Christ our Lord. Instead of fearing death, we render thanks to Him who has given us the victory by Jesus. The great result is to be with Jesus and like Jesus, and to see Him as He is. Meanwhile we labour in the scene where death exercises its power-where Satan uses it, if God allows him, to stop us in our way. We labour although there are difficulties, with entire confidence, knowing what will be the infallible result. The path may be beset by the enemy; the end will be the fruit of the counsels and the power of our God, exercised on our behalf according to that which we have seen in Jesus, who is the Head and the manifestation of the glory which His own shall enjoy.

To sum up what has been said, we see the two things in Christ: firstly, power over all things, death included; He raises up even the wicked: and secondly, the association of His own with Himself. With reference therefore to the latter, the apostle directs our eyes to the resurrection of Christ Himself. He not only raises up others, but He has been raised up Himself from the dead. He is the first-fruits of them that sleep. But before His resurrection He died for our sins. All that separated us from God is entirely put away-death, the wrath of God, the power of Satan, sin, disappear, as far as we are concerned, in virtue of the work of Christ; and He is made to us that righteousness which is our title to heavenly glory. Nothing remains of that which appertained to His former human estate, except the everlasting favour of God who brought Him there. Thus it is a resurrection from among the dead by the power of God in virtue of that favour, because He was the delight of God, and in His exaltation His righteousness is accomplished.

For us it is a resurrection founded on redemption, and which we enjoy even now in thepower of a life, which brings the effect and the strength of both into our hearts, enlightened by the Holy Ghost who is given to us. At the coming of Christ the accomplishment will take place in fact for our bodies.

With regard to practice, the assembly at Corinth was in a very poor condition; and being asleep as to righteousness, the enemy sought to lead them astray as to faith also. Nevertheless, as a body, they kept the foundation; and as to external spiritual power, it shone very brightly.


[1] Christ could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," for He who dwells in the temple is God. It is also said that He was raised up by the Spirit, and at the same time by the glory of the Father. But here He is viewed as man who has undergone death; and God intervenes, that He may not remain in it, because here the object is, not to shew forth the glory of the Lord's Person, but to prove our resurrection, since He, a dead man, has been raised. By man came death; by man, resurrection. While demonstrating that He was the Lord from heaven, the apostle always speaks here of the Man Christ.

[2] It is a striking collateral proof of the completeness of our redemption, and the impossibility of our coming into judgment, that we are raised in glory. We are glorified before we arrive before the judgment seat. Christ will have come and changed our vile body and fashioned it like His glorious body.

[3] It is not that as Son of God He could not quicken at all times, as indeed He did. But in order to our partaking with Him, all this was needed and accomplished, and here He is looked at as Himself risen from the dead, the heavenly Man. Thus also it is founded in divine righteousness.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 15

Chapter Contents

The apostle proves the resurrection of Christ from the dead. (1-11) Those answered who deny the resurrection of the body. (12-19) The resurrection of believers to eternal life. (20-34) Objections against it answered. (35-50) The mystery of the change that will be made on those living at Christ's second coming. (51-54) The believer's triumph over death and the grave, An exhortation to diligence. (55-58)

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

(Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

The word resurrection, usually points out our existence beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

(Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind, especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in the times of the sharpest persecution.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20-34

(Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-34)

All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ, shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be an order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will be the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph in that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever serve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as Matthew 20:22,23. What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it is as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession, if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not die like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any to disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to rights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them as a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:35-50

(Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-50)

1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

(Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58)

All the saints should not die, but all would be changed. In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are made known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse 58, we have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Corinthians


1 Corinthians 15

Verse 2

[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

Ye are saved, if ye hold fast — Your salvation is begun, and will be perfected, if ye continue in the faith.

Unless ye have believed in vain — Unless indeed your faith was only a delusion.

Verse 3

[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

I received — From Christ himself. It was not a fiction of my own. Isaiah 53:8,9.

Verse 4

[4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

According to the scriptures — He proves it first from scripture, then from the testimony of a cloud of witnesses. Psalms 16:10.

Verse 5

[5] And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

By the twelve — This was their standing appellation; but their full number was not then present.

Verse 6

[6] After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

Above five hundred — Probably in Galilee. A glorious and incontestable proof! The greater part remain - Alive.

Verse 7

[7] After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

Then by all the apostles — The twelve were mentioned 1 Corinthians 15:5. This title here, therefore, seems to include the seventy; if not all those, likewise, whom God afterwards sent to plant the gospel in heathen nations.

Verse 8

[8] And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

An untimely birth — It was impossible to abase himself more than he does by this single appellation. As an abortion is not worthy the name of a man, so he affirms himself to be not worthy the name of an apostle.

Verse 9

[9] For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

I persecuted the church — True believers are humbled all their lives, even for the sins they committed before they believed.

Verse 10

[10] But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

I laboured more than they all — That is, more than any of them, from a deep sense of the peculiar love God had shown me. Yet, to speak more properly, it is not I, but the grace of God that is with me - This it is which at first qualified me for the work, and still excites me to zeal and diligence in it.

Verse 11

[11] Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

Whether I or they, so we preach — All of us speak the same thing.

Verse 12

[12] Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

How say some — Who probably had been heathen philosophers.

Verse 13

[13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

If there be no resurrection — If it be a thing flatly impossible.

Verse 14

[14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Then is our preaching — From a commission supposed to be given after the resurrection.

Vain — Without any real foundation.

Verse 15

[15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

If the dead rise not — If the very notion of a resurrection be, as they say, absurd and impossible.

Verse 17

[17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Ye are still in your sins — That is, under the guilt of them. So that there needed something more than reformation, (which was plainly wrought,) in order to their being delivered from the guilt of sin even that atonement, the sufficiency of which God attested by raising our great Surety from the grave.

Verse 18

[18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

They who sleep in Christ — Who have died for him, or believing in him.

Are perished — Have lost their life and being together.

Verse 19

[19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

If in this life only we have hope — If we look for nothing beyond the grave. But if we have a divine evidence of things not seen, if we have "a hope full of immortality," if we now taste of "the powers of the world to come," and see "the crown that fadeth not away," then, notwithstanding" all our present trials, we are more happy than all men.

Verse 20

[20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

But now — St. Paul declares that Christians "have hope," not "in this life only." His proof of the resurrection lies in a narrow compass, 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Almost all the rest of the chapter is taken up in illustrating, vindicating, and applying it. The proof is short, but solid and convincing, that which arose from Christ's resurrection. Now this not only proved a resurrection possible, but, as it proved him to be a divine teacher, proved the certainty of a general resurrection, which he so expressly taught.

The first fruit of them that slept — The earnest, pledge, and insurance of their resurrection who slept in him: even of all the righteous. It is of the resurrection of these, and these only, that the apostle speaks throughout the chapter.

Verse 22

[22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

As through Adam all, even the righteous, die, so through Christ all these shall be made alive - He does not say, "shall revive," (as naturally as they die,) but shall be made alive, by a power not their own.

Verse 23

[23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Afterward — The whole harvest. At the same time the wicked shall rise also. But they are not here taken into the account.

Verse 24

[24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Then — After the resurrection and the general judgment.

Cometh the end — Of the world; the grand period of all those wonderful scenes that have appeared for so many succeeding generations. When he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father, and he (the Father) shall have abolished all adverse rule, authority, and power - Not that the Father will then begin to reign without the Son, nor will the Son then cease to reign. For the divine reign both of the Father and Son is from everlasting to everlasting. But this is spoken of the Son's mediatorial kingdom, which will then be delivered up, and of the immediate kingdom or reign of the Father, which will then commence. Till then the Son transacts the business which the Father hath given him, for those who are his, and by them as well as by the angels, with the Father, and against their enemies. So far as the Father gave the kingdom to the Son, the Son shall deliver it up to the Father, John 13:3. Nor does the Father cease to reign, when he gives it to the Son; neither the Son, when he delivers it to the Father: but the glory which he had before the world began, John 17:5; Hebrews 1:8, will remain even after this is delivered up. Nor will he cease to be a king even in his human nature, Luke 1:33. If the citizens of the new Jerusalem" shall reign for ever," Revelation 22:5, how much more shall he?

Verse 25

[25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

He must reign — Because so it is written.

Till he — the Father hath put all his enemies under his feet. Psalms 110:1.

Verse 26

[26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The last enemy that is destroyed is death — Namely, after Satan, Hebrews 2:14, and sin, 1 Corinthians 15:56, are destroyed. In the same order they prevailed. Satan brought in sin, and sin brought forth death. And Christ, when he of old engaged with these enemies, first conquered Satan, then sin, in his death; and, lastly, death, in his resurrection. In the same order he delivers all the faithful from them, yea, and destroys these enemies themselves. Death he so destroys that it shall be no more; sin and Satan, so that they shall no more hurt his people.

Verse 27

[27] For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

Under him — Under the Son. Psalms 8:6,7

Verse 28

[28] And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The Son also shall be subject — Shall deliver up the mediatorial kingdom. That the three-one God may be all in all - All things, (consequently all persons,) without any interruption, without the intervention of any creature, without the opposition of any enemy, shall be subordinate to God. All shall say, "My God, and my all." This is the end. Even an inspired apostle can see nothing beyond this.

Verse 29

[29] Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Who are baptized for the dead — Perhaps baptized in hope of blessings to be received after they are numbered with the dead. Or, "baptized in the room of the dead"-Of them that are just fallen in the cause of Christ: like soldiers who advance in the room of their companions that fell just before their face.

Verse 30

[30] And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

Why are we — The apostles.

Also in danger every hour — It is plain we can expect no amends in this life.

Verse 31

[31] I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

I protest by your rejoicing, which I have — Which love makes my own.

I die daily — I am daily in the very jaws of death. Beside that I live, as it were, in a daily martyrdom.

Verse 32

[32] If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

If to speak after the manner of men - That is, to use a proverbial phrase, expressive of the most imminent danger I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus - With the savage fury of a lawless multitude, Acts 19:29, etc. This seems to have been but just before.

Let as eat, … — We might, on that supposition, as well say, with the Epicureans, Let us make the best of this short life, seeing we have no other portion.

Verse 33

[33] Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Be not deceived — By such pernicious counsels as this.

Evil communications corrupt good manners — He opposes to the Epicurean saying, a well - known verse of the poet Menander. Evil communications - Discourse contrary to faith, hope, or love, naturally tends to destroy all holiness.

Verse 34

[34] Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Awake — An exclamation full of apostolical majesty. Shake off your lethargy! To righteousness - Which flows from the true knowledge of God, and implies that your whole soul be broad awake.

And sin not — That is, and ye will not sin Sin supposes drowsiness of soul. There is need to press this. For some among you have not the knowledge of God - With all their boasted knowledge, they are totally ignorant of what it most concerns them to know.

I speak this to your shame — For nothing is more shameful, than sleepy ignorance of God, and of the word and works of God; in these especially, considering the advantages they had enjoyed.

Verse 35

[35] But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

But some one possibly will say, How are the dead raised up, after their whole frame is dissolved? And with what kind of bodies do they come again, after these are mouldered into dust?

Verse 36

[36] Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

To the inquiry concerning the manner of rising, and the quality of the bodies that rise, the Apostle answers first by a similitude, 1 Corinthians 15:36-42, and then plainly and directly, 1 Corinthians 15:42,43. That which thou sowest, is not quickened into new life and verdure, except it die - Undergo a dissolution of its parts, a change analogous to death. Thus St. Paul inverts the objection; as if he had said, Death is so far from hindering life, that it necessarily goes before it.

Verse 37

[37] And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

Thou sowest not the body that shall be — Produced from the seed committed to the ground, but a bare, naked grain, widely different from that which will afterward rise out of the earth.

Verse 38

[38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

But God — Not thou, O man, not the grain itself, giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, from the time he distinguished the various Species of beings; and to each of the seeds, not only of the fruits, but animals also, (to which the Apostle rises in the following verse,) its own body; not only peculiar to that species, but proper to that individual, and arising out of the substance of that very grain.

Verse 39

[39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

All flesh — As if he had said, Even earthy bodies differ from earthy, and heavenly bodies from heavenly. What wonder then, if heavenly bodies differ from earthy? or the bodies which rise from those that lay in the grave?

Verse 40

[40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

There are also heavenly bodies — As the sun, moon, and stars; and there are earthy - as vegetables and animals. But the brightest lustre which the latter can have is widely different from that of the former.

Verse 41

[41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

Yea, and the heavenly bodies themselves differ from each other.

Verse 42

[42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

So also is the resurrection of the dead — So great is the difference between the body which fell, and that which rises.

It is sown — A beautiful word; committed, as seed, to the ground.

In corruption — Just ready to putrefy, and, by various degrees of corruption and decay, to return to the dust from whence it came.

It is raised in incorruption — Utterly incapable of either dissolution or decay.

Verse 43

[43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

It is sown in dishonour — Shocking to those who loved it best, human nature in disgrace! It is raised in glory - Clothed with robes of light, fit for those whom the King of heaven delights to honour.

It is sown in weakness — Deprived even of that feeble strength which it once enjoyed.

It is raised in power — Endued with vigour, strength, and activity, such as we cannot now conceive.

Verse 44

[44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

It is sown in this world a merely animal body - Maintained by food, sleep, and air, like the bodies of brutes: but it is raised of a more refined contexture, needing none of these animal refreshments, and endued with qualities of a spiritual nature, like the angels of God.

Verse 45

[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

The first Adam was made a living soul — God gave him such life as other animals enjoy: but the last Adam, Christ, is a quickening spirit - As he hath life in himself, so he quickeneth whom he will; giving a more refined life to their very bodies at the resurrection. Genesis 2:7

Verse 47

[47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

The first man was from the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven-The first man, being from the earth, is subject to corruption and dissolution, like the earth from which he came.

The second man — St. Paul could not so well say, "Is from heaven, heavenly:" because, though man owes it to the earth that he is earthy, yet the Lord does not owe his glory to heaven. He himself made the heavens, and by descending from thence showed himself to us as the Lord. Christ was not the second man in order of time; but in this respect, that as Adam was a public person, who acted in the stead of all mankind, so was Christ. As Adam was the first general representative of men, Christ was the second and the last. And what they severally did, terminated not in themselves, but affected all whom they represented.

Verse 48

[48] As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

They that are earthy — Who continue without any higher principle.

They that are heavenly — Who receive a divine principle from heaven.

Verse 49

[49] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

The image of the heavenly — Holiness and glory.

Verse 50

[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

But first we must be entirely changed; for such flesh and blood as we are clothed with now, cannot enter into that kingdom which is wholly spiritual: neither doth this corruptible body inherit that incorruptible kingdom.

Verse 51

[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

A mystery — A truth hitherto unknown; and not yet fully known to any of the sons of men.

We — Christians. The Apostle considers them all as one, in their succeeding generations.

Shall not all die — Suffer a separation of soul and body.

But we shall all — Who do not die, be changed - So that this animal body shall become spiritual.

Verse 52

[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

In a moment — Amazing work of omnipotence! And cannot the same power now change us into saints in a moment? The trumpet shall sound - To awaken all that sleep in the dust of the earth.

Verse 54

[54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Death is swallowed up in victory — That is, totally conquered, abolished for ever.

Verse 55

[55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

O death, where is thy sting? — Which once was full of hellish poison. O hades, the receptacle of separate souls, where is thy victory - Thou art now robbed of all thy spoils; all thy captives are set at liberty. Hades literally means the invisible world, and relates to the soul; death, to the body. The Greek words are found in the Septuagint translation of Hosea 13:14. Isaiah 25:8

Verse 56

[56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

The sting of death is sin — Without which it could have no power. But this sting none can resist by his own strength.

And the strength of sin is the law — As is largely declared, Romans 7:7, etc.

Verse 57

[57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory — Over sin, death, and hades.

Verse 58

[58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Be ye steadfast — In yourselves.

Unmovable — By others; continually increasing in the work of faith and labour of love.

Knowing your labour is not in vain in the Lord — Whatever ye do for his sake shall have its full reward in that day. Let us also endeavour, by cultivating holiness in all its branches, to maintain this hope in its full energy; longing for that glorious day, when, in the utmost extent of the expression, death shall be swallowed up for ever, and millions of voices, after the long silence of the grave, shall burst out at once into that triumphant song, O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Corinthians


1 Cor. 15:58

A goose will sit faithfully on a dozen or so eggs and will not move for anybody or anything. But, after three or four eggs hatch, she becomes so preoccupied with them that she walks away from the remaining eggs. She does not persevere to the end.

In this passage, Paul reminds the Corinthians not to become so preoccupied with nonessentials that they are in danger of not remaining steadfast and immovable in the work of the Lord.


Chapter 15. The Belief in Resurrection

Labor in the Lord
Not In Vain

I. The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christ

  1. Contents of the Gospel
  2. The Appearance of the Lord
  3. Paul Testifies

II. The Error of Disbelieving Resurrection

  1. Six Questions
  2. The Firstfruits
  3. The Order of Resurrection

III. Raised in Glory in the Future

  1. Not the Same Body
  2. Transformation of the Body
  3. Glorious Victory
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Fifteen General Review
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
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
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).
      1. Paul proclaimed it and they received it (1)
      2. By it they are saved, if they hold fast to it (2)
      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)
      1. Christ is not risen from the dead (12-13)
      2. The apostles' preaching and the Corinthians' faith is vain 
      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)
      1. Christ is the "firstfruits" (20)
      2. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive
      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
            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)
      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)
      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
         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
      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)
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"?
   - 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."

--《Executable Outlines


The Belief in Resurrection

Labor in the Lord

Not in Vain


I.  The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christ

1.    Contents of the Gospel

2.    The Appearance of the Lord

3.    Paul Testifies

II.The Error of Disbelieving Resurrection

1.    Six Questions

2.    The Firstfruits

3.    The Order of Resurrection

III.       Raised in Glory in the Future

1.    Not the Same Body

2.    Transformation of the Body

3.    Glorious Victory

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament