The resurrection of Christ, together with His atoning work is the cornerstone of all Christian doctrine. It is the evidence that sin has been effectually put away, the ground for saving faith and the promise that all united to the Body of Christ shall be raised at His coming to receive a glorious body like unto His own, and to bear forever the image of the heavenly.
I Corinthians 15
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I Corinthians 15 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:1-4 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:5-8 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:9-11 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:12-19 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:20-28 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:29-35 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:36-42 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:43-49 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:50-52 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 15:53-58 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 – The Gospel: Christ Died and Rose Again
If I Corinthians 13 is a psalm of love, this chapter is a psalm of hope—a hope that cannot be ashamed. It is the most memorable argument in existence for the resurrection of the body. We need hardly stay to distinguish between this and the immortality of the soul. The former is distinctly a Christian teaching; the latter has been held by vast numbers outside of the Christian pale.
Notice that the Resurrection was primarily not a doctrine but a fact. It is not necessary to argue it, but simply to say that Christ arose, therefore all will arise, because Christ is the Son of man. Other religions rest on foundations of philosophy and metaphysics, but the empty grave in Joseph’s garden is the keystone of the arch. If that cannot be maintained, as it was in the primitive Church, the whole superstructure crumbles like a mass of clouds. But it can be maintained. There is even more evidence for it than for any fact of modern history. Men may as soon refuse to believe in the battle of Waterloo as in our Lord’s resurrection. The testimony of Paul is most important, because he knew all that could be alleged or argued against it by the Pharisees. Indeed, he had himself opposed it. Note that the words, not I, I Corinthians 15:10, are also in I Corinthians 7:10 and Galatians 2:20. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Corinthians 15:12-28 – Christ’s Resurrection Assures Ours
The argument here goes to show, first, that our resurrection is intimately connected with Christ’s. There must be such a thing, because he, as the representative of humanity, arose from the dead, in a human body which, though more ethereal in its texture, was easily recognizable by those who had known Him previously. Mary was recalled by the well-known intonations of her Master’s voice. Thomas was compelled to believe, in spite of his protestations to the contrary. In fact, all of our Lord’s friends were convinced against themselves. They credited the tidings of the risen Lord as idle tales. Therefore, says the Apostle, it is far easier to admit that man will rise than to face the difficulties of a still buried Christ, a vain faith, a vain gospel, and a false testimony from so many accredited witnesses.
What a burst of music breaks forth in I Corinthians 15:20-28! The first fruit sheaf is the forerunner and specimen of all the harvest. In Christ the whole Church was presented to God, and we may judge of the whole by Him. Note the divine order in I Corinthians 15:23: first, Christ; then, His own; lastly, the end, when death itself shall be destroyed, all enemies conquered, and the kingdom of an emancipated universe finally handed back by the Mediator to the Father. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Corinthians 15:20—Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Words which are altogether transcendent! How they thrill us and inspire! What memories they recall! How impossible is it not to feel their majesty. Surely no brain nor lip of man had begotten them! They bear the mint-mark of heaven.
On the day that Jesus arose, the firstfruit sheaf of the barley harvest was being waved by the High Priest in the Temple, as the representative of the myriads that stood stacked amid the stubble of the fields. It was the specimen sheaf—representative, pattern, and pledge of all the rest. The risen Christ is the pattern and pledge of what his people will be when their bodies shall be fashioned anew in the likeness of his resurrection.
He is pattern.—His body bore the same general outlines as before; so will theirs. It was recognisable by those who had known and loved Him, even to the tones of his voice; so will it be with theirs. It was the ethereal and pliant instrument of his spirit; so will theirs be. It could no more return to corruption; no more will theirs. It was invulnerable to disease and pain; such an experience awaits them too.
He is pledge.—He does not stand alone. He is united to us by a myriad indissoluble ties. What the power of God did for Him it will do for us. Those that sleep in Jesus God will bring with Him, and we that are alive and remain shall be caught up. There shall not a hoof be left behind. Not one purchased body of a saint, however obscure or unworthy, shall be excepted from the effect of the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Meanwhile, in the kindly embrace of Mother Earth, like the seed-germs of a vast harvest, the resurrection principle in the bodies of the saints awaits the resurrection signal. —Our Daily Homily
1 Corinthians 15:29-41 – This Body the Seed of a Glorious One
The anticipation of the final resurrection enabled the early Christians to endure incredible sufferings. As one rank fell martyred, another was ready to step into its place; and the catechumens, or young believers, took the names of the martyrs, so as to perpetuate their testimony. With this hope in his heart Paul himself had confronted at Ephesus the tumult of the infuriated mob, Acts 19. Belief in this sublime undoing of the last effects of sin was one of the chief features in the conquering power of Christianity.
In every seed there is the germ of a new and beautiful growth, more elaborate and yet identical; so in each of us there is something which has the capacity and potentiality of furnishing another body, through which the emancipated spirit will be able to express itself more perfectly than it can in this body, which is composed of coarser materials. It is not difficult to believe in this, when we have seen the caterpillar become the butterfly. The world is full of wonderful and beautiful things. God’s inventiveness reveals itself in a myriad differing organisms. It is by His will that the golden head of wheat is fairer than the little brown seed cast into the furrow; so it is His pleasure that the body which is to be shall surpass the present in glory. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Corinthians 15:42-58 – Victory over Sin and Death
Life on the other side will be as real and as earnest as here. We shall not dissolve into thin mist or flit as bodiless ghosts. We shall each be provided with a body like that which our Lord had after He arose from the dead. It will be a spiritual body, able to go and come at a wish or a thought; a body that will be perfectly adapted to its spiritual world environment. The last Adam, our Lord, will effect this for us. But we must in the meanwhile be content to make the best use of the discipline of mortality, keeping our body pure and sweet as the temple and vehicle of the Holy Spirit until we are born into the next stage of existence. Always the physical before the psychical and the psychical before the spiritual.
What triumph rings through those last four verses! As generations of Christians have stood around the mortal remains of their beloved, they have uttered these words of immortal hope. The trumpet’s notes will call those who have died and the saints that are still alive on the earth, into one mighty host of transfigured and redeemed humanity. Oh, happy day! Then we shall be manifested, rewarded, and glorified with Christ. All mysteries solved, all questions answered! Till then let us abound always in the work of the Lord. —Through the Bible Day by Day