1 Corinthians, Lesson 25: The Gospel, the Church, the Scriptures, and the Body’s Resurrection

Jesus Resurrection (610x351)Paul had shut down speaking in tongues, at least as the Corinthians had practiced it, when they spoke unintelligible sounds from their mouths. Paul viewed real speaking in tongues as something good, which was speaking in a way that increased understanding, not decreased it (think of Acts chapter 2). After all, Paul said this about real speaking in tongues: “I want all to speak in tongues.” But then he said, “But the one who prophesies builds up the congregation” (1 Corinthians 14:4). 

That was the main thrust of chapter 14: that prophecy was something better than speaking in tongues. And so, after making the point, Paul now does that—he prophesies. That’s the content of chapter 15. But Paul also deals with a heresy that had gained some ground in the Corinthian congregation. Some held that there was no resurrection of the body (1 Corinthians 15:12).


The Gospel Word

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

  • Of what does Paul remind the Corinthians Christians (the implication of which means what)?


  • What does the Gospel do?


“by which you are being saved”: passive, present-continuative verb. The passive voice shows that “being saved” is not something that they achieve. It is done to them—and the Gospel is that which saves them. The present-tenseness of the verb shows that every time the Gospel comes to them, it is doing its saving work, saving them in the present tense. Thus, salvation is not simply a past-time event (I was saved), but also a present-tense event (I am saved; I am being saved).

  • And yet, Paul adds an “if,” “if you hold fast to the Word.” What does this mean about salvation?


“hold fast”: Greek, katecho. This is the same verb that Paul used to praise the Corinthians for “maintaining” (ESV for katecho) the traditions that he had “traditioned” to them. Here, it has the same meaning: to possess, have, and hold. Paul is saying that they are being saved IF they are having and holding (active, present-tense verb) the Gospel that he has preached to them. If they let go of this Gospel or walk away from it, then they are no longer having and holding it; they are no longer “being saved.” They, then, are outside the Church and have “lost” their salvation.

However, their holding on to the Gospel does not, in itself, save them; after all, they are “being saved,” the passive verb denoting that the Gospel is saving them. But they can stop holding and having the Gospel. That’s the point of Paul using “if.” Losing salvation is one’s own doing; gaining salvation is God’s doing through the Gospel. 

Read 1 Corinthians 15:3a

  • Did Paul originate the Gospel?


  • What does Paul’s actions show us about what it means to be in the Church?


Lesson 25, Delivering What We Have Received


Read 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

  • What is the essence of the Gospel?


  • Who or what is the vehicle for the Gospel, and what does that Gospel conform to?


  • What, then, are the twin pillars that God uses to preserve and convey this the Gospel?


Lesson 25, The Church and Scripture


Read 1 Corinthians 15:5-9

  • During Paul’s day, who had seen the risen Christ?


“untimely born”: Greek, ektroma. The Greek medical term for a premature birth, including stillbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. In the same way that a miscarriage is not a normal physical birth, Paul’s spiritual birth was not normal. The normal way God gives spiritual birth is for the Gospel Word to come to someone through His Church. For Paul, God came to him directly, which is not normal.

  • How was it helpful to the Corinthians that many people had seen the resurrected Jesus?


Read 1 Corinthians 15:10-11

  • Why was Paul what He was?


“grace”: Greek, charis. God’s undeserved love, favor, and kindness expressed toward someone.


Lesson 25, I worked... but it was the grace of God


The Resurrection of the Dead

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12

Romans 6:3-5: Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were, therefore, buried with Him through baptism into His death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too may walk in new life.

  • Simply because Jesus rose from the dead does not have to mean that we will rise from the dead, as well. But that’s what Paul says. Why?


Paul now surmises what it means if there isn’t the resurrection of the body.

1 Corinthian 15:13-19

  • If Christ isn’t risen from the dead, what does that mean about the truth claims of Christianity?


  • If Christ isn’t risen from the dead, what is your eternal fate? (vs.17)


Paul now delved further into what it means that Jesus has risen from the dead.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:20

“firstfruits”: Greek, aparcha. In the Old Covenant, the Law required every Jewish man to bring the first harvest sheaf of grain and a cake from the first batch of new dough to the priest. This was a token of gratitude that the entire harvest was a gift from the Lord (See Leviticus 23:10-14). That one sheaf of grain represented the entire harvest. So, the firstfruits represented what was to follow. The day prescribed for this Old-Covenant rite was the sixteenth of the month of Nisan, which happened to be that day that Jesus rose from the dead! (Coincidence? I think not!)

  • If Jesus is the “firstfruits” of the resurrection from the dead, what does that mean for us?


Read 1 Corinthians 15:21-23


Lesson 25, Adam and Jesus