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The Gospel of the Messiah, Crucified, Buried and Risen

15 Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, about the good news which I announced to you. You received this good news, and you’re standing firm on it, and you are saved through it, if you hold fast the message I announced to you – unless it was for nothing that you believed!

What I handed on to you at the beginning, you see, was what I received, namely this: ‘The Messiah died for our sins in accordance with the Bible; he was buried; he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Bible; he was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve; then he was seen by over five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still with us, though some fell asleep; then he was seen by James, then by all the apostles; and, last of all, as to one ripped from the womb, he appeared even to me.’

I’m the least of the apostles, you see. In fact, I don’t really deserve to be called ‘apostle’ at all, because I persecuted God’s church! 10 But I am what I am because of God’s grace, and his grace to me wasn’t wasted. On the contrary. I worked harder than all of them – though it wasn’t me, but God’s grace which was with me. 11 So whether it was me or them, that was the way we announced it, and that was the way you believed.

What If the Messiah Wasn’t Raised?

12 Well, then: if the royal proclamation of the Messiah is made on the basis that he’s been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead, the Messiah hasn’t been raised, either; 14 and if the Messiah hasn’t been raised, our royal proclamation is empty, and so is your faith. 15 We even turn out to have been misrepresenting God, because we gave it as our evidence about God that he raised the Messiah, and he didn’t! – if, that is, the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead aren’t raised, the Messiah wasn’t raised either; 17 and if the Messiah wasn’t raised, your faith is pointless, and you are still in your sins. 18 What’s more, people who have fallen asleep in the Messiah have perished for good. 19 If it’s only for this present life that we have put our hope in the Messiah, we are the most pitiable members of the human race.

The Reign of the Messiah

20 But in fact the Messiah has been raised from the dead, as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since it was through a human that death arrived, it’s through a human that the resurrection from the dead has arrived. 22 All die in Adam, you see, and all will be made alive in the Messiah.

23 Each, however, in proper order. The Messiah rises as the first fruits; then those who belong to the Messiah will rise at the time of his royal arrival. 24 Then comes the end, the goal, when he hands over the kingly rule to God the father, when he has destroyed all rule and all authority and power. 25 He has to go on ruling, you see, until ‘he has put all his enemies under his feet’. 26 Death is the last enemy to be destroyed, 27 because ‘he has put all things in order under his feet’. But when it says that everything is put in order under him, it’s obvious that this doesn’t include the one who put everything in order under him. 28 No: when everything is put in order under him, then the son himself will be placed in proper order under the one who placed everything in order under him, so that God may be all in all.

Resurrection Gives Meaning to Present Christian Living

29 Otherwise, what are people doing when they get baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead simply aren’t raised, why should people get baptized on their behalf?

30 And why should we face danger every hour? 31 I die every day – yes, that’s something for you to boast about, my dear family, and that’s the boast I have in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord! 32 If, in human terms, I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what use is that to me? If the dead are not raised, ‘let’s eat and drink, because tomorrow we’re going to die’!

33 Don’t be deceived: ‘bad company kills off good habits’! 34 Sober up; straighten up; stop sinning. Yes, some of you simply don’t know God! I’m saying this to bring shame on you.

The Transformed Resurrection Body

35 But someone is now going to say: ‘How are the dead raised? What sort of body will they come back with?’ 36 Stupid! What you sow doesn’t come to life unless it dies. 37 The thing you sow isn’t the body that is going to come later; it’s just a naked seed of, let’s say, wheat, or some other plant. 38 God then gives it a body of the sort he wants, with each of the seeds having its own particular body.

39 Not all physical objects have the same kind of physicality. There is one kind of physicality for humans, another kind for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 Some bodies belong in the heavens, and some on the earth; and the kind of glory appropriate for the ones in the heavens is different from the kind of glory appropriate for the ones on the earth. 41 There is one kind of glory for the sun, another for the moon, and another for the stars, since the stars themselves vary, with different degrees of glory.

42 That’s what it’s like with the resurrection of the dead. It is sown decaying, and raised undecaying. 43 It is sown in shame, and raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, and raised in power. 44 It is sown as the embodiment of ordinary nature, and raised as the embodiment of the spirit. If ordinary nature has its embodiment, then the spirit too has its embodiment. 45 That’s what it means when the Bible says, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living natural being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 But you don’t get the spirit-animated body first; you get the nature-animated one, and you get the spirit-animated one later. 47 The first man is from the ground, and is made of earth; the second man is from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the man of earth; heavenly people are like the man from heaven. 49 We have borne the image of the man made of earth; we shall also bear the image of the man from heaven.

The Mystery and the Victory

50 This is what I’m saying, my dear family. Flesh and blood can’t inherit God’s kingdom; decay can’t inherit undecaying life. 51 Look! I’m telling you a mystery. We won’t all sleep; we’re all going to be changed – 52 in a flash, at the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. This is how it will be, you see: the trumpet’s going to sound, the dead will be raised undecaying, and we’re going to be changed. 53 This decaying body must put on the undecaying one; this dying body must put on deathlessness. 54 When the decaying puts on the undecaying, and the dying puts on the undying, then the saying that has been written will come true:

Death is swallowed up in victory!
55 Death, where’s your victory gone?
Death, where’s your sting gone?

56 The ‘sting’ of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thank God! He gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

58 So, my dear family, be firmly fixed, unshakeable, always full to overflowing with the Lord’s work. In the Lord, as you know, the work you’re doing will not be worthless.

The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel(A) I preached to you,(B) which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved,(C) if you hold firmly(D) to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received(E) I passed on to you(F) as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins(G) according to the Scriptures,(H) that he was buried,(I) that he was raised(J) on the third day(K) according to the Scriptures,(L) and that he appeared to Cephas,[b](M) and then to the Twelve.(N) 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.(O) Then he appeared to James,(P) then to all the apostles,(Q) and last of all he appeared to me also,(R) as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles(S) and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted(T) the church of God.(U) 10 But by the grace(V) of God I am what I am, and his grace to me(W) was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them(X)—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.(Y) 11 Whether, then, it is I or they,(Z) this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead,(AA) how can some of you say that there is no resurrection(AB) of the dead?(AC) 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised,(AD) our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 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.(AE) But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.(AF) 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep(AG) in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.(AH)

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,(AI) the firstfruits(AJ) of those who have fallen asleep.(AK) 21 For since death came through a man,(AL) the resurrection of the dead(AM) comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.(AN) 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits;(AO) then, when he comes,(AP) those who belong to him.(AQ) 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom(AR) to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.(AS) 25 For he must reign(AT) until he has put all his enemies under his feet.(AU) 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.(AV) 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c](AW) 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.(AX) 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him,(AY) so that God may be all in all.(AZ)

29 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? 30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?(BA) 31 I face death every day(BB)—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts(BC) in Ephesus(BD) 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.”[d](BE)

33 Do not be misled:(BF) “Bad company corrupts good character.”[e](BG) 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God(BH)—I say this to your shame.(BI)

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask,(BJ) “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”(BK) 36 How foolish!(BL) What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.(BM) 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.(BN) 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor,(BO) the moon another and the stars another;(BP) and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be(BQ) with the resurrection of the dead.(BR) The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;(BS) 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;(BT) it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.(BU)

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f];(BV) the last Adam,(BW) a life-giving spirit.(BX) 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.(BY) 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth;(BZ) the second man is of heaven.(CA) 48 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.(CB) 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man,(CC) so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.(CD)

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood(CE) cannot inherit the kingdom of God,(CF) nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.(CG) 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery:(CH) We will not all sleep,(CI) but we will all be changed(CJ) 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,(CK) the dead(CL) will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable(CM) must clothe itself with the imperishable,(CN) and the mortal with immortality. 54 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.”[h](CO)

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i](CP)

56 The sting of death is sin,(CQ) and the power of sin is the law.(CR) 57 But thanks be to God!(CS) He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.(CT)

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

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:3 Or you at the first
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:5 That is, Peter
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:27 Psalm 8:6
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:32 Isaiah 22:13
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:33 From the Greek poet Menander
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:45 Gen. 2:7
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:49 Some early manuscripts so let us
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:54 Isaiah 25:8
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:55 Hosea 13:14

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