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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's FIRST letter to the Corinthians

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FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 15

In this ‘Framework' we use our usual text PLUS comment style to enable you, as simply as possible, to catch the sense of his writing.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Corinthians 15 : All About resurrection


v.1-11 The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christ

v.12-21 Christ & the Resurrection of the Dead

v.22-28 Towards the End

v.29-34 Ministry Lives if there is no Resurrection

v.35-41 The Different Bodies

v.42-44 Natural & Spiritual

v.45-50 The Body to Come

v.51-58 The Time of Transformation


[Chapter Synopsis: As he senses he is coming to the end of his ‘check list' of things to be corrected, Paul moves to wind up with teaching about resurrection. Perhaps some had asked about it, although there is no indication of that. He starts with strongly affirming the resurrection of Christ, then moves on to the resurrection of the dead and the nature of the resurrected body. This is a powerful and unique chapter. It will not answer all our questions but should answer some and will set us thinking further.]



v.1-11 The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christ


v.1 (it starts with the gospel that is preached) Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

v.2 (it's the gospel that brought them their salvation) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

v.3-5 (two key elements are Christ dying for us and being raised from the dead) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

v.6 (having been seen by Peter and the other inner group, he also appeared to many more) After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

v.7,8 (also to James [current leader of the church in Jerusalem] to all the apostles and then later to him) Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

v.9 (he humbly includes himself although he does not feel worthy to be named alongside the rest) For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

v.10 (… and yet he did encounter the risen Christ and by his grace was saved) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

v.11 (thus they all preach the same thing) Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.


[Passage Synopsis: The Gospel of Christ has two parts to start: first that Christ died for our sins and, second, he was raised [see 1 Pet 1:21 & Rom 4:25) to focus our belief so we can be justified. We know he was raised because there were many witnesses to testify to it. Logically if he wasn't raised we have an empty hope and are to be pitied, but the good news is that he DID rise as the witnesses testify.]



v.12-21 Christ & the Resurrection of the Dead


v.12 (if Christ was raised why deny the rest of us believers will be raised?) But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

v.13 (if resurrection is not possible that excludes Christ also) If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

v.14 (and he wasn't raised that undermines all our preaching) And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

v.15 (…and it would make us false witnesses) More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.

v.16 (so to repeat, no possible resurrection, no meaning, no Christ resurrected) For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

v.17 (and if that was true, our faith is futile) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

v.18 (… and indeed all who have died are lost for ever) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

v.19  (… and if that's our hope we are to be pitied) If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

v. 20 (but Christ HAS been raised, the forerunner for the rest of us) But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

v.21  (as death came through Adam, now resurrection comes from Christ) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.


[Passage Synopsis: The fact of Jesus being raised from the dead provides a foundation for the belief found in scripture that all we believers will be raised from the dead.]



v.22-28 Towards the End


v.22 (so, again, Adam's sin brought death but through Christ we can all receive eternal life and be raised from the death of our old sin-focused lives) For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

v.23 (the order is clear: first Christ, then us) But each in turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

v.24 (there will come a time at the End when Jesus winds everything up and hands the rule of the kingdom back his Father) Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

v.25 the meantime Jesus reigns over all [see Rev 5]) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

v.26 (and death will be the last thing to be removed from our eternal experience) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

v.27 (Paul hastens to clarify the divine order – Jesus is submissive to the Father, not the other way round) For he “has put everything under his feet.” [Psa 8:6] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.

v.28 (when Jesus has finished his work the Father will be seen supreme) When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.


[Passage Synopsis: The thoughts about resurrection lead towards the end time when Jesus winds everything up and we are raised up and enter fully into our eternal inheritance in the new heaven and new earth and God is glorified.]



v.29-34 Ministry Lives if there is no Resurrection


v.29 (the practice that some had of baptizing people for those who have died would be pointless if there was no resurrection) Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

v.30 (and as for the rest of us [who, by implication, don't follow that practice] why do we constantly face death if we didn't have a hope of more after death?) And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?

v.31,32 (Paul was doing that all the time and if there is no future hope we could live as wildly as we liked now) I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink,   for tomorrow we die.” [Isa 22:13]

v.33 (but be careful to avoid that ) Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

v.34 (if that's what you are doing, straighten out your thinking and repent of bad actions) Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.


[Passage Synopsis: Paul makes three logical appeals. First, he refers to a practice of some at that time who baptized people on behalf of their deceased loved ones and makes the point that if they didn't believe in a resurrected afterlife it was a waste of time. And then, second, he refers to the sort of life the apostles were living, with their lives often under threat. They lived with a future hope and if there was no resurrection that hope was a futile future hope. Indeed, he goes on with a third example, if there was no future then they could live like they wanted now and that opened itself up to a whole lot of wrong potential. But no, there is a resurrected future and they need to live with that in mind.]



v.35-41 The Different Bodies


v.35 (but the question arises, what sort of body will the resurrected body be?) But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”

v.36 (come on, life follows death) How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

v.37 (you plant seeds, not the completed body) When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

v.38 (but God has designed it so different seeds bring forth different 'bodies') But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

v.39 (so humans, animals, fish etc. have different sorts of bodies) Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.

v.40 (and there are heavenly bodies [angels] and earthly bodies [humans]) There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

v.41 (as with stars and planets, all different sorts within God's design ) The sun has one kind of splendour, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendour.


[Passage Synopsis: Paul starts reflecting on the sort of body that will be raised and considers that in God's creation there are all sorts of bodies.]



v.42-44 Natural & Spiritual


v.42,43 (so when our perishable bodies die, they will be raised imperishable) So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

v.44 (when the natural dies, a spiritual body is raised) it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.


[Passage Synopsis: The biggest distinction perhaps is material (or natura)l and spiritual. When our natural material body dies it will be raised with a spiritual dimension.]



v.45-50 The Body to Come


v.45 (Adam was a material body, Christ was Spirit in a material body) So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” [Gen. 2:7] ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

v.46 (Spirit follows natural in God's creation) The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

v.47 (Adam's origin was molecules of the earth, Christ's was of heaven) The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

v.48 (living on earth, we're like Adam, in heaven we will be like Jesus) As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.

v.49 (here a human image, in heaven a Christlike image) And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

v.50 (flesh and blood is not the end for it cannot be imperishable) I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.


[Passage Synopsis: The distinction from above is emphasised, the difference between material bodies on earth and the spiritual bodies we will have in heaven.]



v.51-58 The Time of Transformation


v.51,52 (However the End works out – whether some will be asleep (dead already) or alive when Jesus returns, when he comes, in a split second we will all be transformed) Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

v.53 (that which will rot will become eternal) For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

v.54 (when this happens, Isaiah's prophecy will be fulfilled) When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” [Isa 25:8]

v.55 (as will Hosea's challenge to death) “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” [Hos 13:14]

v.56 (sin, empowered by the Law, brings death) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

v.57 (but now it's all changed through Jesus) But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

v.58 (so be assured and stand firm) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

[Passage Synopsis: The Logic is brought to an end – The End – when Jesus returns and we will all be transformed in a split second, taking on eternal dimensions. Death will have gone.]