Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, April 13th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 15

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1


And now I want to remind you. “Since some of you destroy the Good News by saying the dead are not raised to life, I repeat to you some things which I told you when I was at Corinth.”

Verse 2


You are saved by the gospel. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:22. Unless it was for nothing. “Unless you were only acting on impulse and didn’t really understand what it was all about.” [For the nature of faith, see note on James 2:19.]

Verse 3


I passed on to you what I received. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:23; Galatians 1:12. This is the Lord’s message and not just something that Paul “made up.” Of the greatest importance. Christianity looks back to an ACT IN HISTORY! The whole Christian system stands or falls on this point: “CHRIST ON THE CROSS!” Compare 1 Corinthians 15:14; and note on 1 Corinthians 1:23. That Christ died for our sins. Isaiah 53:5-6 predicted this. See notes on Romans 8:1-4. It is God’s act in Christ, EXTRINSIC to ourself, which is the source of our salvation.

Verse 4


That he was buried. As one who was known to be actually dead. See John 19:33-35. And was raised to life on the third day. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:14. This is very important, because if Jesus did not raise from death, there is no message of salvation!!! The prophets predicted this raising from death (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:31). [Third day: see note on Matthew 12:40.]

Verse 5


That he appeared to Peter. “To prove to you the truth of Jesus raising from death, I tell you that he appeared to Peter in bodily form.” [Jesus first appeared to a woman, Mary Magdalene. A complete list of appearances is in the notes on Matthew 28:9. ]

Verse 6


To more than five hundred. None of the Gospels mention this, but MacKnight thinks Matthew 28:10 hints at it. It probably took place in Galilee (Johnson thinks so), but it could have been while they were all still at Jerusalem. Most of whom were still alive. “They are eyewitnesses of all that happened, and the fact that most of them are still living makes it easy to check what I say.” Paul had no doubt seen and talked with some of these five hundred.

Verse 7


Then he appeared to James. The Gospels do not mention this. This James is the Lord’s human brother (see notes on Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18). Then to all the apostles. Acts 1:6-9.

Verse 8


Last of all. Paul did not see Jesus until the incident in Acts 9:4. Born in a most unusual way. EKTROMA is a sudden, violent birth, not like the usual order of things. Paul uses it symbolically, because his experience was so strange!

Verse 9


For I am the least. That is, by human standards, because he persecuted the church. Schmiedel thinks that TO EKTROMA was one of the insulting names pinned on Paul by the circumcision party; and that he takes this as his title and gives it a new meaning. Paul probably repeats their charge in a sense of irony. But it is also true that he never forgot that he had once persecuted Christ’s church (even though he knew he had been forgiven). Compare Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13-16.

Verse 10


But by God’s grace. The circumcision party may not consider Paul an apostle, but he is – by God’s grace!!! “Grace” is used in three different senses in this verse: (1) the grace that saved him (Ephesians 2:8); (2) the grace that appointed him an apostle; (3) the grace that made it possible to outwork all the other apostles.

Verse 11


Whether it came from me or from them. “It makes no difference whether it is Peter, the Twelve, James (see note on Galatians 2:12), or me, our gospels the same! We all preach that Jesus raised from death!!! This is what you believed when we led you to Christ.”

Verse 12


Now, since our message. “Since all the apostles including me preach that Christ has been raised from death and that his resurrection is a proof of yours, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life?”

Verse 13


If that is true. “If you say none of the dead will be raised to life, you are also saying that Christ was not raised from death!” Compare note on Acts 4:2.

Verse 14


And if Christ. “If Christ was not raised from death, then all of us (1 Corinthians 15:11) are telling a lie. And if we are telling a lie, then there is no Good News.”

Verse 15


Lying against God. “We said that God raised Christ from death! If Christ did not raise from the dead, then we become guilty of lying against God himself!!!”

Verse 16


For if the dead are not raised. Paul restates what he said in 1 Corinthians 15:13. Note: (1) if the fact is untrue, the witness is untrue also (1 Corinthians 15:14-15); (2) if the fact is untrue, the promises are untrue also (1 Corinthians 15:17-18).

Verse 17


Then your faith is a delusion. Faith is based on facts! [See note on James 2:19. ] “If Christ has not been raised (and his body still lies on the Judean hill), then he is not the Savior! This would mean that he is only another dead man who could not even save himself. You are still lost in your sins, because he cannot forgive them – IF HE HAS NOT RAISED TO LIFE!”

Verse 18


It would also mean. “The believers in Christ who have died, who thought the sting of death was removed and died happy in that belief, were cruelly deceived – if Christ has not raised to life!”

Verse 19


If our hope in Christ. This means: (1) “If Christ has not been raised, and death truly ends it all, then we Christians who have given up everything hoping to gain eternal life, deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world.” (2) “If we apostles hoped to gain something in this life by falsely preaching that Christ raised from death (it would be false if the dead do not raise), then we who have framed and preached this falsehood while knowing it to be false, deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world (because of the agony we brought on ourselves by this, 1 Corinthians 4:9-13).”

Verse 20


But the truth is. In contrast to all the bad things that would come if Christ were still in the grave, he how shows us the TRUTH! Christ has been raised from death. “Your faith is not a delusion! Your sins are forgiven!” As the guarantee. The “first-fruit” of the harvest was both an example and a pledge of the future harvest. Christ’s resurrection is both an example and a pledge that the dead will raise! The true value of goodness is seen in its future reward!!!

Verse 21


For just as death came. “The raising of the dead through Christ is a reasonable thing. If death came through a man, it is only right that the raising from death should come through a man.” What we unconditionally lost through Adam, we unconditionally get back through Christ. See 1 Corinthians 15:22.

Verse 22


For just as all men. The entire human race came under the sentence of (physical) death because of their union to Adam, their ancestor. In the same way the entire human race will be raised from (physical) death and brought to Judgment because of their union to Christ (the second Adam). This does not say that all will be finally saved, but that all the dead, whether bad or good, will be raised to life again. Compare John 5:26-29; Revelation 1:7. Romans 5:18 is a good explanation of this.

Verse 23


But each one in his proper order. This implies the good and the bad will be raised separately, but at the same time. Compare Revelation 14:13-20 and notes. The Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30) also applies to this.

Verse 24


Then the end will come. The world’s history and time itself will terminate as Christ Comes, the dead rise, and Judgment takes place. Christ will overcome. He has ALREADY won the victory (see note on Revelation 20:1-3), yet he does not completely destroy his enemies until the right time. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:26. And hand over the Kingdom. Jesus is NOW crowned as King (Hebrews 2:9) in the Kingdom which is called: “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Salvation puts us in his Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). But Christ’s mission of “putting men right with God” will terminate at the Coming. With his mission completed, he will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:28.

Verse 25


For Christ must rule. He is not fighting a battle to seize a Kingdom, since he has already won the victory (see Daniel 2:44; Acts 2:16-17; and read the Introduction to Acts). Until God defeats. Psalms 110:1; Hebrews 1:13. This is God’s promise to defeat these enemies, in order to destroy them!

Verse 26


The last enemy. Death will be destroyed by the RAISING FROM DEATH! Christ is the guarantee; the Resurrection will be the fact! Compare notes on Revelation 20:12-15; Romans 5:18.

Verse 27


For the scripture says. “What I have said about the duration of Christ’s Kingdom and his handing it over to the Father, agrees with the words of Psalms 8:6 as explained in Hebrews 2:8-9.” Do not include God himself. The Greeks had a myth about Jupiter dethroning his father Saturn and exiling him to the Fortunate Island. By proving from the words of the Psalm that the Father did not place himself under the authority of the Son, the apostle shows that not only is the supreme rule of the Father declared in the Psalm, but when the Son’s rule is no longer needed, the Father will receive back the Kingdom and rule it forever in person.

Verse 28


But when all things. “When there is no longer any need for a prophet to teach, a priest to make a sin-offering, or a king to rule under God.” In other words, when Christ’s mission is complete. Compare note on Revelation 6:11. Then he himself, the Son. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:24. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “‘The end’ does not mean the termination of Christ’s sovereignty, which in its largest sense began before the world (John 1:1-3; John 17:5) and is its goal (Colossians 1:16); but the termination of the reign of sin and death (Romans 5:21; compare John 6:37-40).”

Verse 29


Who are baptized for the dead? If we knew the exact wording of the Corinthians’ question, it would be easy to know exactly what Paul means. But we do know this is part of his logic in proving the dead will be raised. MacKnight translates this: “who are baptized for THE RESURRECTION of the dead.” Then, we take this as Paul continuing his reasoning of 1 Corinthians 15:16-19. (1) All the Corinthians were baptized (Acts 18:8). (2) They were baptized into union with Christ and shared his death (Romans 6:3-5). (3) Their baptism was in hope of being raised from death through Christ’s resurrection (1 Peter 3:21). Shepherd sees 2 Corinthians 4:11 as an added element, and says: “What is to become of those who on being baptized do so knowing that it may prove their death warrant, if the dead rise not?” Compare 1 Corinthians 15:30.

Verse 30


Why would we run the risk? If there were no Resurrection??? Compare 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

Verse 31


I face death every day! This is a vivid picture of his constant danger!

Verse 32


I have fought “wild beasts.” Most take these words as figurative of the opposition he faced from unbelievers. But MacKnight and most of the ancient scholars think this actually happened just as Paul says, and that 2 Corinthians 1:8 and the customs of the time imply that Paul actually faced wild beasts in the arena. But if the dead are not raised. Paul points to what “everybody says.” The words Paul quotes speak the moral recklessness of those who believe death ends it all!

Verse 33


Do not be fooled. “Do not let the false logic of the wicked fool you, especially about the raising from death. Your good character can be ruined by the unbelief that is hidden in what they say.”

Verse 34


Come back to your right senses. “Just because some say the dead will not rise does not give you the right to sin!” Some of you do not know God. The fact that some were saying the dead will not rise from death and that there is no future life – proved they did not really know God and his power! This is a shame, especially when these did claim to know God.

Verse 35


Someone will ask. These two questions have been asked by people in all ages of time. How can? “The body goes back to dust, or is burnt up, and the elements of it go to form the bodies of other people. How is it possible?” What kind? “What kind of body would they have if they could come out of the grave?”

Verse 36


You fool! “Nature itself teaches you this lesson.” Unless it dies. The body of the seed is destroyed, but out of it comes the new plant. So long as the body of the seed is protected, it cannot grow.

Verse 37


Not the full-bodied plant. But the full-bodied plant is contained in the seed (even though it is dormant), and under the proper conditions, it grows up out of the seed. The point is that the plant is not the very seed that was planted, so our new body will not be the same body that was buried, but there is a connection between the two!

Verse 38


God provides that seed. Nature shows the greatness of God! Compare 1 John 3:1-3.

Verse 39


And the flesh. “The flesh itself of man, animals, birds, and fish is another example of God’s power. God has structured each to fit into the ecosystem. Will he not also structure the bodies of those raised from death?”

Verse 40


And there are. Each of these is also structured to fill its role in the Creation.

Verse 41


The sun. Paul shows us the variety in the “heavenly bodies.” All of this is proof of a future body so different from our present body that we cannot begin to imagine what it will be like!

Verse 42


This is how it will be. “The resurrection of the dead is as possible as all these examples which I have just shown you.” It is mortal. “When the body is buried, it can decay and be destroyed.” It will be immortal. “The new body will not decay, nor will it ever be destroyed (but see Matthew 10:28 and note).”

Verse 43


Ugly and weak. Because of mutilation, disease, old age, and death. Beautiful and strong. Compare Luke 20:36; Philippians 3:20-21.

Verse 44


When buried it is flesh and blood, under the curse (Genesis 3:16-19). When raised it will be a spiritual body, structured to fit into the eternal world (1 John 3:1-3).

Verse 45


For the scripture says. Paul paraphrases Genesis 2:7 Septuagint, which says that Adam was created a living being. [PSUCHE means both soul and life, according to the context, PSUCHEN ZOSAN here means living being.] This is life in the animal or natural sense. Is the life-giving Spirit. The natural body depended upon the presence of the soul for its life. Our spiritual bodies will not be such fragile things. Paul implies a FUSING of our triune nature in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. But there is no way we can know just what this will be.

Verse 46


That comes first. First Adam, then Christ. First the physical, then the spiritual.

Verse 47


Made of dust. Genesis 2:7 Came from heaven. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:2-3 and notes.

Verse 48


Those who belong to the earth. Our natural bodies are like Adam’s body. Those who are of heaven. Our spiritual bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. Compare Philippians 3:20-21.

Verse 49


The likeness. “We Christians wear the likeness of Adam in our physical bodies as we live on earth for a short time. We will wear the likeness of Christ in our spiritual bodies as we live forever in eternity!”

Verse 50


What I mean. “Nature prohibits eternal life in this earthly body. Our own resurrection or change must come before we can possibly share in God’s Kingdom of Eternity!”

Verse 51


Listen to this secret. This is a new truth which they did not have! He challenges the false teacher and the others with this revelation from God! We shall not all die. When Christ Comes, many (perhaps millions) will not die (as we understand death)! All be changed. 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Verse 52


As the blinking of an eye. The change will be instantaneous! Notice this clearly shows the time factor in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. When the last trumpet sounds. Compare Hebrews 12:18-21.

Verse 53


For what is mortal. To share the Kingdom of God, our mortal bodies must become immortal, no longer capable of dying. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-5.

Verse 54


Then the scripture will come true. The Resurrection will cancel the curse of death placed on mankind in Genesis 3:16-19. See 1 Corinthians 15:26.

Verse 55


Where, Death? Paul adapts the language of Hosea 13:14 as a song of victory! “Death, who lead the human family captive, where is your victory? All the dead have been rescued from you! With your power to hurt you killed God’s people. Where now is your power to hurt, since they cannot die anymore?”

Verse 56


Death gets its power to hurt. Compare Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23. Sin gets its power from the Law. In these seven words Paul condenses his teaching in Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 6:14; ch 7; Galatians 2:16; ch 3; Galatians 4:21 to Galatians 5:4. “The Law of God, imposing on sinful man impossible yet necessary tasks, promising salvation upon terms he can never fulfill and threatening death upon non-fulfillment, in effect exasperates his sin and involves him in hopeless guilt.” [But see Romans 8:1-4 and notes.]

Verse 57


But thanks be to God. God gives us a way to escape from sin and death! The Resurrection comes through Christ on the cross!

Verse 58


Stand firm and steady. “Do this because the dead will be raised to life and God’s people will be happy beyond any human imagination in that Eternal Kingdom!!!” Keep busy. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:14. Christ did raise from death!!! Therefore their work for the Lord is NOT empty and useless.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-corinthians-15.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile