1 Corinthians 15:1-32
1 Corinthians 15:1-11-Paul gives the essentials of the Gospel…
- Christ died for our sins (which is what the OT had taught)
- was buried
- was raised on the third day (which is what the OT had taught)
- and He appeared to many different people (:5-Cephas, the twelve; :6-more than 500 brethren; :7-James, then all of the Apostles; :8-Paul)
And he says that if we "hold fast" to it and do not "believe in vain" (without cause, lightly, rashly)...we will be saved. Paul says that he was the last of the Apostles that Jesus appeared to and the least of the Apostles. But he is himself an example of the grace of God.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19-In the previous verses Paul had emphatically established the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. These verses must be an answer to a question about the resurrection. Some must have begun to doubt that believers who died before Jesus returned would be resurrected. Perhaps this is because they were anticipating that their resurrection would be similar to that of Jesus in that He appeared to people before He ascended into Heaven. Now, some believers had died, but none of them had appeared to people after their death...so, they began to doubt the resurrection. Paul says that if those believers who have already died have not been resurrected, then…
- Christ was not, either (:13,16)
- their preaching is in “vain” (:14-without substance, empty, having no value)
- their faith is in vain (:14,17)
- Paul and others who proclaimed the resurrection are actually false witnesses (:15)
- you are still in your sins (:17)
- those who have died are dead and gone forever (:18)
- they should be pitied more than any other people because they had trusted their lives to something that is false (:19).
1 Corinthians 15:20-28-Paul declares that Christ has been resurrected and He is the “first fruits” (prototype) of resurrections that are yet to take place. He then explains the order of resurrection and says that the physical appearance of their resurrection will take place after the second coming.
(Ryrie) 15:23-24. The order of resurrections is as follows: first, Christ’s; then that of believers at His coming (1 Thess. 4:13-18); and finally, the resurrection at the end of the millennial kingdom.
For an interesting article explaining the importance of the resurrection of Christ see:
1 Corinthians 15:29-This verse is difficult to interpret because it is the only verse in the Bible that mentions such a practice. There is no other passage of Scripture to compare it with. Perhaps it is simply a reference to a practice among some of the believers to baptize living people in behalf or honor of believers who have already died. They recognize that it has no saving virtue. In fact, the dead believer is already with Christ. So, the baptism was a clear statement of belief in the resurrection...since in part, that is what baptism symbolizes...death, burial, resurrection. Paul is saying that if there is no resurrection...then this practice would be meaningless.
- Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead to not rise at all? What was being baptized for the dead? It is a mysterious passage, and there have been more than thirty different attempts to interpret it.
- The plain meaning of the original language is that some people are being baptized on behalf of those who have died. Paul's point is "If there is no resurrection, why are they doing this? What is the point if there is no life after death?"
- Significantly, Paul does not say, "we baptize for the dead," but asks what will they do who are baptized for the dead, and Why then are they baptized for the dead? Therefore, Paul is referring to a pagan custom of vicarious baptism for the dead. "Paul simply mentions the superstitious custom without approving it and uses it to fortify his argument that there is a resurrection from the dead." (Mare)
iii. Paul certainly does not approve of the practice; he merely says that if there is no resurrection, why would the custom take place? The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead is neither Scriptural nor sensible.
- Paul's point is plain: "The pagans even believe in the resurrection because they baptize for the dead. The pagans have the sense to believe in resurrection, but some of you Corinthian Christians do not!"
- Clarke said of this verse, "This is certainly the most difficult verse in the New Testament; for, notwithstanding the greatest and wisest of men have laboured to explain it, there are to this day nearly as many different interpretations of it as there are interpreters."
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 1 Corinthians 15
1 Corinthians 15:30-34-Paul asks if the Corinthians understand why he has been willing to go through all of the danger and difficulties that he has experienced. If there is no resurrection…why would he do such things. If there is no resurrection…then we should live for the pleasures of the moment and not for the promise of the future. Paul says that he has placed a death sentence on his life. He has already declared himself dead to anything in this life that would prohibit him from living based on the resurrection. Then he tells them to be careful of associating with people that teach anything different. Don’t give them opportunity to deceive you into believing anything else about the resurrection. He says that it is to their shame that they allow themselves to be dissuaded from the truth instead of being the one who influences the thinking of those who don’t even know God.
Prayer: Father, with difficult passages like this (:29) I pray that You will give me Your wisdom. Help me Lord, to live every moment of every day in the belief and conviction of the resurrection.