Friday, February 1, 2013

1 Corinthians 15 -- Resurrection

Christ's Resurrection 15:1-11

The Sadducees—and others—doubted Christ's Resurrection, enhanced by the provoking of those opposing Christ. Paul addresses this by bluntly stating the gospel he preaches saves, except if "you believed in vain." The fact of Christ's death for our sins, burial, and resurrection on the third day all correlated with the Scriptures. Paul continues with the historical fact and verification of Jesus appearing to Peter, then to the twelve, followed by showing himself to over five-hundred—many of whom remain alive.


This latter part certainly enhances historical proof, as these remain available for personal questioning and verification of seeing the Risen Christ. Paul's chronological description of events continues with telling about Christ meeting James, along with the other apostles. Lastly, the resurrected and ascended Christ appeared to Paul—this inadvertently supports Paul's authority in the letter's salutation. Paul's diligent, historical recollection of Christ's fulfillment of Scripture and specify the witnesses—many of whom remained alive—substantiates this occurrence.

Resurrection of the Dead 15:12-34

Paul challenges the Corinthians who deny the historical, verifiable, resurrection of Christ and the eventual resurrection of the dead. He continues the foundation of his argument in stating the truth of the gospel, his witness, and his message demand Christ's resurrection, and the raising of the dead. Some of the Corinthian church members believed the resurrection of Christ, yet denied the resurrection of the dead as they clung to the beliefs of the Greek philosophers. Paul bluntly nullifies any faith, salvation, and witness of Christ denying the resurrection, or the raising of the dead.


Christ's resurrection, the raising of the dead, and forgiveness of sins are codependent. Paul continues explaining the necessity of Christ's death and resurrection. Effectively, Paul teaches a math or physics lesson—yes, God created math and physics—a denominator cancels its numerator of equal value, and a Law of Physics states that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. Christ's death and resurrection cancel out man's fall through Adam. Christ's death and resurrection provide the opposite and equal reactions to man's fall in Eden.


Paul describes the order of the resurrection, and the ultimate end, to help this church understand how and where they fit in to the big picture. Additionally, coherently detailing the plan increases believability. The necessity of this discussion continues with those who follow the previously mentioned Greek philosophy denouncing the raising of the dead. "Christ the first fruits" compares the whole crop's sanctification by the crop's first fruits, so Christ's death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins sanctifies all who believe in Him. Paul continues emphasizing to the Corinthians the significance of grasping, understanding, believing the death and resurrection of Christ and the dead.


Jesus Christ will gather those in the church, including raising the dead. He will then hand these over to God the Father. Scholars dispute the specific time intervals demarcating the end events. Some believing in seemingly instantaneous end of the world, others with a more literal Biblical interpretation envision greater amounts of elapsing time such as a millennium. Paul fails to specify in this passage, yet prudence suggests the Corinthian church ponder and believe the clarified specifics. When Paul speaks of death, some Corinthians viewed this as the destruction of the human body, rather than the correct understanding of Christ reigning victorious over death. Consequently, Paul continues clarifying false views and beliefs.


Paul's argument continues against those denying the Resurrection. Some scholars believe "baptized for the dead" represents some Corinthians receiving baptism for those dying without receiving baptism. Paul argues that eternal salvation resides in the Christ's resurrection. He then addresses the issue of Corinthian church members associating with fellow members who endorse immoral lives and false doctrine. Paul warns of evil's effective infectious plague nature, using a proverb of Menander, "Bad company corrupts good morals". He further commands they halt sinning.


One cause of continual sin arises from spiritual drowsiness, thus he instructs them to wake-up. Runners sometimes fall asleep during a race, consciousness and open eyes remain while they go through the motions of running. They remain in the race, and the casual observers continue viewing them as competitors. However, they allow the emotional fatigue from the race to remove their focus and concentration. While asleep, they fail to drive forward striving to win the prize. Moreover, competitors easily pass the runner without his responding. This results in mediocrity at best. Paul commands the Corinthian believers to wake-up in their race of the Christian life. Avoid going through the motions of believers, rather engage in the challenging relationship with Jesus Christ, pushing toward the incorruptible prize in chapter nine. Otherwise, the evil—immoral—world will easily overtake the drowsy Corinthian church members.

Resurrection of the Body 15:35-58

Paul discusses the distinctive nature of creation's flesh, this certainly debunks any argument in Corinth about fish, animals and man having the same flesh type. This supports the order of creation, as he describes the creative formation of man from dust. Man's nature of dust precedes his spiritual nature. Many Greek and Roman pagans believed in the immorality of the soul, though disembodied, absent Christ or any knowledge of Christ. Paul previously addressed this in a different format. Now he approaches Corinthians' false doctrine from yet a different perspective to illuminate scriptures proper understanding.


Paul's explanation continues in sharing that in the end—at Christ's return, every believer will receive a glorified body, with which they will live eternally with God. He further defines the immediate benefits of this truth and understanding. Because of eternal life, death has lost its sting. The removal of death's sting, applies to both believers who physically die, as well as the loved ones of dying believers. Those who have lost loved ones quickly understand the power of the latter, while the meaning lacks clarity for those whom have yet to experience this grief. The Corinthian church's membership certainly contained believers in both groups. Paul ultimately encourages them to remain hopeful because of Christ's death, resurrection, and their ensuing new life and new glorified body at the end—when the last trumpet sounds.


See Christ, Believe Christ, Achieve with Christ!

Rick E. Meyer

See, Believe, Achieve Inc.


(Pringle n.d., Vol. II, 6)

2 (Boa, et al. 1997, 1267)

3 (Acts 17:32)

4 (D. S. Toussaint 2012, Class Notes)

5 (Ex. 16, 19)

6 (Lowery 1983, 544)

7 (Radmacher, Allen and House 1999, 1487)

8 (Genesis 1:26)

9 (Getz 2011, 1590)


Bibliography at the end of Intro and Chapt. 1

No comments:

Post a Comment