1Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,2by which also you are being kept safe, if you hold fast that Word which I preached to you; unless you believe in vain.3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures,5and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until the present time, but some have fallen asleep.7After that He was seen by Jacob, then by each of the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one of untimely birth. 9For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than every one of them, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.11Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believe.12Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised.14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain.15Yes, and we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up; if in fact the dead are not raised.16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.18Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.21For since through man came death, through Man also came the resurrection of the dead.22For as in Adam everyone dies, even so in Christ everyone shall be made alive.23But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.24Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.25For it is necessary for Him to reign till He has put every enemy under His feet.26The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.27For He has subjected everything under His feet. But when He says everything is subjected, it is evident that He who subjected everything under Him is exempt.28Now when everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who subjected everything under Him, that God may be everything in all things.29Otherwise, what will they do who are immersed for the dead, if the dead are not truly raised? Why then are they immersed for the dead?30And why are we in danger every hour?31I affirm, by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die throughout the day.32If like other men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what profit is it to me, if the dead are not raised? Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!33Do not be led astray: Evil company corrupts good character.34Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak to your shame.35But someone will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?36Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.37And what you sow, you do not sow the body that shall be, but mere grain; perhaps wheat or something else.38But God gives it a body as He purposed, and to each seed its own body.39Not every flesh is the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the brightness of the heavenly is one, and the brightness of the earthly is another.41There is one brightness of the sun, another brightness of the moon, and another brightness of the stars; for one star differs from another star in brightness.42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.45And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam a life-giving Spirit.46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.47The first man was out of the earth, of dust; the second Man is the Lord out of Heaven.48As is the man of dust, so also are those of dust; and as is the Man from Heaven, so also are those of Heaven.49And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of Heaven.50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed;52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53For this corruptible needs to put on incorruption, and this mortal needs to put on immortality.54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.55O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?56The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law.57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Matthew Henry - Concise Commentary 1
The word resurrection, usually points out our existence beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died. 12
Having shown that Christ was risen, the apostle answers those who said there would be no resurrection. There had been no justification, or salvation, if Christ had not risen. And must not faith in Christ be vain, and of no use, if he is still among the dead? The proof of the resurrection of the body is the resurrection of our Lord. Even those who died in the faith, had perished in their sins, if Christ had not risen. All who believe in Christ, have hope in him, as a Redeemer; hope for redemption and salvation by him; but if there is no resurrection, or future recompence, their hope in him can only be as to this life. And they must be in a worse condition than the rest of mankind, especially at the time, and under the circumstances, in which the apostles wrote; for then Christians were hated and persecuted by all men. But it is not so; they, of all men, enjoy solid comforts amidst all their difficulties and trials, even in the times of the sharpest persecution. 20
All that are by faith united to Christ, are by his resurrection assured of their own. As through the sin of the first Adam, all men became mortal, because all had from him the same sinful nature, so, through the resurrection of Christ, shall all who are made to partake of the Spirit, and the spiritual nature, revive, and live for ever. There will be an order in the resurrection. Christ himself has been the first-fruits; at his coming, his redeemed people will be raised before others; at the last the wicked will rise also. Then will be the end of this present state of things. Would we triumph in that solemn and important season, we must now submit to his rule, accept his salvation, and live to his glory. Then shall we rejoice in the completion of his undertaking, that God may receive the whole glory of our salvation, that we may for ever serve him, and enjoy his favour. What shall those do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Perhaps baptism is used here in a figure, for afflictions, sufferings, and martyrdom, as Matt 20:22
, Matt 20:23
. What is, or will become of those who have suffered many and great injuries, and have even lost their lives, for this doctrine of the resurrection, if the dead rise not at all? Whatever the meaning may be, doubtless the apostle's argument was understood by the Corinthians. And it is as plain to us that Christianity would be a foolish profession, if it proposed advantage to themselves by their faithfulness to God; and to have our fruit to holiness, that our end may be everlasting life. But we must not live like beasts, as we do not die like them. It must be ignorance of God that leads any to disbelieve the resurrection and future life. Those who own a God and a providence, and observe how unequal things are in the present life, how frequently the best men fare worst, cannot doubt as to an after-state, where every thing will be set to rights. Let us not be joined with ungodly men; but warn all around us, especially children and young persons, to shun them as a pestilence. Let us awake to righteousness, and not sin. 35
1. How are the dead raised up? that is, by what means? How can they be raised? 2. As to the bodies which shall rise. Will it be with the like shape, and form, and stature, and members, and qualities? The former objection is that of those who opposed the doctrine, the latter of curious doubters. To the first the answer is, This was to be brought about by Divine power; that power which all may see does somewhat like it, year after year, in the death and revival of the corn. It is foolish to question the Almighty power of God to raise the dead, when we see it every day quickening and reviving things that are dead. To the second inquiry; The grain undergoes a great change; and so will the dead, when they rise and live again. The seed dies, though a part of it springs into new life, though how it is we cannot fully understand. The works of creation and providence daily teach us to be humble, as well as to admire the Creator's wisdom and goodness. There is a great variety among other bodies, as there is among plants. There is a variety of glory among heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly bodies. The bodies of the dead, when they rise, will be fitted for the heavenly state; and there will be a variety of glories among them. Burying the dead, is like committing seed to the earth, that it may spring out of it again. Nothing is more loathsome than a dead body. But believers shall at the resurrection have bodies, made fit to be for ever united with spirits made perfect. To God all things are possible. He is the Author and Source of spiritual life and holiness, unto all his people, by the supply of his Holy Spirit to the soul; and he will also quicken and change the body by his Spirit. The dead in Christ shall not only rise, but shall rise thus gloriously changed. The bodies of the saints, when they rise again, will be changed. They will be then glorious and spiritual bodies, fitted to the heavenly world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell. The human body in its present form, and with its wants and weaknesses, cannot enter or enjoy the kingdom of God. Then let us not sow to the flesh, of which we can only reap corruption. And the body follows the state of the soul. He, therefore, who neglects the life of the soul, casts away his present good; he who refuses to live to God, squanders all he has. 51
All the saints should not die, but all would be changed. In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are made known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In 1Cor 15:58
, we have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant.