Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

Chapter 15

By Christ's resurrection, 1-11, Paul proves the necessity of our resurrection against all those who deny the resurrection of the body, 12-20. The fruit, 21-34, and the manner thereof, 35-50; and of the changing of those who shall be found alive at the last day, 51-58.

1 Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received and in which you stand, 2 By which you are also saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, 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 by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 And last of all, he was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy 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 labored more abundantly than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, that is what we preach and that is what you believed.

12 Now if Christ is preached that he rose from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain. 15 And indeed we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified concerning God that he raised up Christ, whom he did not raise, if in truth the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain. You are yet in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead and has become the first-fruits of those who slept. 21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterward, those who are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then the end comes when he has delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he has put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For "he has put all things under his feet." But when he says, "All things are put under him," it is manifest that he is excepted who put all things under him. 28 And when all things are subdued to him, then the Son himself shall also be subject to him who put all things under him so that God may be all in all.

29 Or else, what will those do who are baptized for the dead if the dead do not rise at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the rejoicing in you 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 advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." 33 Do not be deceived. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." 34 Awake to righteousness and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

35 But some man will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come?" 36 You fool, that which you sow is not vivified unless it dies. 37 And that which you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but bare grain—it may be of wheat, or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed its 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 fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies, but the glory of the celestial is one and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differs from another star in glory.

42 Thus also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, 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 vivifying spirit. 46 However, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward, that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are those also who are earthy, and as is the heavenly, such are those also who 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, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show 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 trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, 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 has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, the saying that is written shall be brought to pass:

"Death is swallowed up in victory."

55 "O death, where is your sting?/
O grave, where is your victory?

56 The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Corinthians, Chapter 15[➚]


[v.3] - "according to the Scriptures" - Reference, Genesis 3:15; Daniel 9:24; Isaiah 53:5.

[v.4] - "according to the Scriptures" - Reference, Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 6:2.

[v.5] - Reference, Mark 16:14; Luke 24:34-36; John 20:19.

[v.6a] - From John Gill's Exposition: "Not at, or near Jerusalem, for the number of the disciples that were together there, made but about an hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15 but in Galilee, where Christ, in the days of his flesh, had most chiefly conversed, most frequently preached and wrought his miracles, and where the number of his disciples and followers were very large: here he promised his disciples to go before them, and show himself to them after his resurrection, as he accordingly did, Matthew 26:32. And this being signified by the apostles to the brethren there, it is no wonder that there was such a number of them gathered on that occasion."

[v.6b] - "seen by more than five hundred" - Matthew Henry intimates this to have been recorded in Matthew 28:10.

[v.7a] - "James" - From John Gill's Exposition: "[This is] James the son of Alphaeus, and brother of our Lord, a man of great fame and credit with the Jews, and still living, and therefore a proper and pertinent evidence. This appearance was made unto him when alone; and though the Scripture elsewhere makes no mention of it, there is no room to doubt it, since the apostle here affirms it."

[v.7b] - "James" - Properly, Jacob. Greek: Ἰακώβῳ

[v.7c] - "then by all the apostles" - Reference, Luke 24:50.

[v.8] - Reference, Acts 9:3-7.

[v.20] - "first-fruits" - Reference, Leviticus 23:10.

[v.25] - Reference, Psalm 110:1.

[v.27] - Quoting Psalm 8:6.

[v.27] - "it is manifest that he is excepted who put all things under him" - To clarify what is being said by Paul here, I will rephrase the statement: "it is apparent that He (God) is not included Who put all things under Him (Christ)."

[v.32] - Quoting Isaiah 22:13 (LXX).

[v.33] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "As nothing is easier than to glide into profane speculation, under the pretext of inquiring, he meets this danger, by warning them that evil communications have more effect than we might suppose, in polluting our minds and corrupting our morals. To show this, he makes use of a quotation from the poet Menander, as we are at liberty to borrow from every quarter everything that has come forth from God. And as all truth is from God, there is no doubt that the Lord has put into the mouth of the wicked themselves, whatever contains true and salutary doctrine. I prefer, however, that, for the handling of this subject, recourse should be had to Basil's Oration to the Young. Paul, then, being aware that this proverb was in common use among the Greeks, chose rather to make use of it, that it might make its way into their minds more readily, than to express the same thing in his own words. For they would more readily receive what they had been accustomed to—as we have experience of in proverbs with which we are familiar."

[v.45] - Quoting Genesis 2:7 (LXX—paraphrased). Even though the English rendering of Genesis 2:7 does not specifically say, "Adam," the Hebrew word for man is, אדם (aw-dawm'), which means, ruddy i.e. A human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.). It is also used as the name, Adam, the first man. So, Paul likely inserts "Adam" here by implication to apply meaning to the passage from Genesis.

[v.54] - Quoting Isaiah 25:8.

[v.55] - Quoting Hosea 13:14 (LXX—paraphrased).