1 Corinthians 15

Remember the gospel, Christ arose, grace 1
Resurrection confirmed 12
Order of resurrections 20
The last enemy 26
Avoid deception 33
What is the resurrection like 35
Adam compared to the new Adam 45
We shall be changed 51
Victory over death 53

.1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
 2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
  2 - Saved if ye keep Paul's listeners were "standing" in the gospel v1 but its saving power would be lost unless they remembered.
  2 - Unless ... believed in vain Jesus described this class as seeds that failed to produce a harvest. Some of the seeds became plants but then died mr0403.
.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;
 4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
  3 - For our sins "For" is from huper, "on behalf of" or "because of." He carried our guilt. He died to atone for them ro0324, ro0425, 2co0521, ga0104, 1pe0224.
.5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
.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.
.7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
.8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
 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.
.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.
 11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
  5 - Was seen of Cephas Or "appeared to Cephas." It was an action of the risen Christ. Of course Mary Magdalene saw Him first. Paul would not have denied this but was following accepted culture. His readers would have understood.
  5 - Cephas From kephas, a transliteration of the Aramaic name Kepha which translates to Petros in Greek and "Peter" in English. See mt0418.
  5 - Twelve Paul apparently used the term to identify the group rather than to say how many were in it. There were only ten disciples when Jesus first met with them. See on jn2024. Judas had hung himself and his replacement, Matthias, was yet to be added to the group ac0126.
  6 - Above five hundred Today people deny the resurrection but they would not have done so then. Many who had known Christ saw Him after the resurrection. Only 120 met in the upper room to wait for the Holy Spirit.
  6 - Fallen asleep The metaphor for death had been confirmed by Jesus jn1111.
  8 - Me also Even before the encounter on the road to Damascus ac0755.
  10 - Yet not I The credit belonged to God through the grace of Christ.
  11 - Whether ... I or they Those who bore the message of the pure truth of Christ spoke with the same authority.
.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?
 13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
.14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
 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.
 16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
 17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
.18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
 19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 
  12 - No resurrection? Without believing in the miracle of the resurrection, we lose all. See note.
  15 - False witnesses Paul is included in the witnesses. He met the risen Christ on the road to damascus. "The apostle carried the minds of the Corinthian brethren forward to the triumphs of the resurrection morn, when all the sleeping saints are to be raised, henceforth to live forever with their Lord. 'Behold,' the apostle declared, 'I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.'" (Acts of the Apostles, p. 320).
.20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
 21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
.22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Texts linked to often include more than one verse.
  20 - Risen ... firstfruits He opened the way for us to be resurrected. This was pictured in the wave sheaf (a bunch of grain on stems). This was waved before the Lord in a ceremony that began the harvest le2310.
  21 - Since .. man ... death Paul wrote essentially the same argument to the Romans ro0512-19. Instead of "by man" the text reads "through a man" who was Adam.
 23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
.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.
 25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
  23 - Own order From tagma which does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a military term. A series of ranks is pictured. Christ was the first to rise leading the way (v20). The "firstfruits" would be others who were resurrected. Moses who appeared on the mount, mt1703. Also Lazarus (See on jn1143).
  23 - They that are Christ's Including the dead in Christ who arise at His coming 1th0416,7.
  23 - At his coming Paul clearly connects the resurrection of the righteous with the coming of Christ.
  24 - Then From eita meaning "next" or "afterward."
  24 - Delivered ... kingdom Scholars are unsure of the interpretation. I suggest that it may be understood in the light of jn1706-8.
.26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
.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.
 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.
  26 - Last enemy ... destroyed At the end of the thousand years death will be no more re2013.
  28 - The Son also ... subject God reveals Himself in ways we can understand. This subjection we see in the incarnation jn0638. In taking human flesh he1005 Christ accepted our position he0214, yet He is fully God jn0517, not an inferior god jn0101. See on jn2028.
 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?
 30  And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
 31  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
.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.

.29 -  Baptized for the dead This is a puzzling verse. Paul is establishing the truth of the resurrection. Would he here be recognizing baptism for the dead as a valid process? No, for several reasons: (1) Those who pray thus are a special group who believe this doctrine. The other groups in the context are the dead v18 and the living who, along with Paul, hope for an afterlife v19. (2) Baptism cannot be valid because it is not possible to rescue sinners who have died. Death closes human probation ps04907ff, ec0905f, ec0910, is3818f, lu1626, he0927f. In fact salvation is Christ's work. It is not possible for us to save another person living or dead ez1414ff, ps04907 (linked above). It must be an individual choice ac0238, ac0836f, ez1820ff, jn0316.
  Then what does Paul mean? He is saying that even those with this pagan idea about the dead recognize that there must be a resurrection. In the middle of the first century, Church father Tertullian referred to the pagan festival Kalendae Februariae where worshippers were washed on behalf of the dead. It had likely been a pagan practice from long before. Pagan ideas had infiltrated the doctrines of Judaism before the time of Christ.
  30 - Why stand we in jeopardy? If this life were the only hope, Paul and his audience would been protecting themselves and not preaching revolutionary doctrines. See v32.
  31 - I protest Or "firmly attest."
.33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
 34  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
  34 - Awake From eknepho, "to awaken from a deep sleep."
.35 ¶ But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
 36  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
 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:
 38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
 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.
 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.
  35 - How ... raised This is beyond human understanding. For example, how can cremation ashes spread over a large area be reassembled to form the man who died? jb3415, ec1207.
  36 - Fool or "senseless one."
  37 - Sowest not that body Like a seed, the body disintegrates for a new one to arise. Of course we do not understand how God can recreate our bodies in perfect form with memory and all. This is a miracle 1co1312.
  39 - Not the same It is reasonable to expect different bodies.
  40 - Celestial From the context we know that these are not stars and planets.
 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.
.42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
 43  It is sown in dishonour; 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
  41 - Sun ... moon This does not contradict the previous verse. Paul apparently recognizes that there are different meanings for the words and uses this as an illustration.
.45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
 46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
 47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
 48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
 49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
 50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
  45 - Quickening spirit  The new Adam, Only Christ, has the power to give life.
  And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (NKJV) See ge0207.
Text Comments
.50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 ¶ Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
.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.
  51 Mystery indeed! The God who created us in the first place is able to change us. He will give the righteous living bodies that will never again get old and sick.
  51 - Sleep That is, "death." Those who await the wake-up call of the resurrection are consistently referred to, in the Bible, as sleeping. Many people do not realize that the idea that soul and body will be separated at death with the conscious part going to heaven or hell at death is not biblical.
  Paul is talking only about the righteous here. Notice that some will sleep to be raised. He expected to be in the other group of righteous "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord." 1th0416. There is no other group already in heaven. See texts on death.
  52 - The last trump  John describes seven trumpet calls. The resurrection happens when Christ takes over the kingdoms of the world at the time of the seventh. re1118
.53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
.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.
   53 - Incorruption What a blessing it will be. Jesus, who healed all who came to Him, will give us bodies that are free from weakness and sickness jb1328, ps10315.
   53 - Mortal  This word means "subject to death." Death is one of the most certain things about life as we know it. The righteous living when Jesus comes will "put on" immortality "at the last trump." That means that neither righteous nor wicked have it now and that no souls go to heaven with it at death. Paul is assuming his readers to be among the righteous.
   54 - The saying that death is ... is2508.
.55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
 56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
 57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
.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.
- Death and Hades (the grave) go into the lake of fire in chapter 20 re2013. Christ has conquered them re0113. They are destroyed. See them also under the fourth seal re0608.
 - Sting Since the victory comes at the time of the resurrection, some have argued that saved people will keep sinning until that time. Since this idea is foreign to the rest of the Bible 1co1013, 2pe0314, we ask what the passage really does mean.
 - The analogy is to the sting of an insect that causes death. Sin stings us and, because of the strength of the law, we are condemned and die. It's a hopeless picture until we read verse 57. God gives us victory over death is in victory over sin through our Lord. Praise His name! Jesus saves us from our sins, not in them. mt0121. The faithful in all of the seven churches are "overcomers" r03c.
 - By sin here I don't mean the occasional slip which we don't realize is wrong at the time. We may be imperfect until the final victory but have no excuse for willful sin.
  55 - ho1314.
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