- 1 Corinthians 15:1-10
- 1 Cor 15:1 (KJV)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
Now that Paul has laid to rest some of the problems in the Corinthian
church, he is now turning to the greatest part of the Christian faith, and
that is the resurrection of our bodies on the last day. This is the great
truth that separates Christianity from world religions. Some religions want
to bring us back in a reincarnated state. Some claim that there is nothing
on the other side. Some claim that we experience soul sleep. The reality is
that none of these worldly religions give any hope to their adherents. The
Bible is replete with hope for the believer. This chapter is probably the
most revered among Christians since it details the great hope that we have
in Christ Jesus, eternal life in our glorified bodies. Paul is now declaring
to them the gospel which contains the finality of the resurrection unto
eternal life which means that death is only a temporary state in which the
bodies of the believers will be rejoined to their souls on the last day.
Paul also states that it is in the Gospel that we stand, which means in
which we are established or are firm.
1 Cor 15:2 (KJV)
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached
unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
It is the gospel plus nothing which that saves us. Paul is not telling them
that a requirement for salvation is to keep in memory all the teachings,
instead he is informing them that they are to stand or remain firm in the
message of the gospel. If they do not stand firm in the gospel, then Paul is
saying that they have believed in vain. This is not to say the gospel is
vain, it means those who embrace it in an empty profession will soon show
this by falling away under the slightest problems. This may have happened at
the Corinthian church since it seemed so many problems had cropped up in
that church which they were unable to handle without outside intervention by
the Apostle Paul. This is why it seemed their belief was in vain since they
were sidetracked by the most minute problems. The word “vain” means “without
purpose or cause.”
1 Cor 15:3 (KJV)
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
The first part of this verse gives us the message that we are to proclaim.
The Apostle Paul has relayed to this church what he received. This is
important as we live in a day when many people are making up new gospels and
creating new teachings which are derailing many Christians in their belief
systems. The Apostle Paul received this gospel by divine revelation.
(Gal 1:12 KJV) For I neither received it of
man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Today we do not receive direct revelation but we have the Word of God in our
King James Bible and it is that we are to study, teach, and train the next
generation of Christians and that method has never changed nor will it until
the last generation is reached which will usher in the last day.
Then Paul gives the message of the Gospel. First, he starts out teaching us
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. If you notice, he
states that Christ died for “our” sins. He is telling us that Christ did not
die for the sins of the entire world, if He did, then the entire world would
be saved. (Mat 1:21 KJV) And she shall
bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his
people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 tells us that
Christ came to save “His” people from their sins and not those of the whole
world. (John 13:1 KJV) Now before the
feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should
depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in
the world, he loved them unto the end. If you
notice in John 13:1, it states that Jesus loved “his own” and not everyone
in the entire world. So Paul is enunciating a great Scriptural truth that
Christ died for the sins of the Elect and not for the sins of the whole
Then he states that Christ died according to the Scriptures.
(Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the
earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Even before the world existed the Lord Jesus Christ was already slain in
principle and would complete God’s salvation plan on Calvary thousands of
years later. We see many prophecies of the Lord’s sacrifice for His children
in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah 53, Numbers 24, Micah 5, etc. The
sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was carefully planned by God the Father for the
salvation of His Elect. This was not a result of an angry mob who wanted Him
dead, it was planned and executed. (Isa
53:10 KJV) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:
when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he
shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his
hand. The Lord was pleased to bruise Him, which in
the above passage speaks of the Father but look at the result in the next
verse. (Luke 12:32 KJV) Fear not, little
flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
The sacrifice of Christ on behalf of His Elect, gave the Father pleasure in
giving the Kingdom of Christ to the redeemed.
1 Cor 15:4 (KJV)
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day
according to the scriptures:
The fact that Christ was dead was enhanced by the fact that He was laid in a
tomb. There are many theories which have risen from unbelievers over the
years claiming that Christ did not really die but instead just passed out on
the cross and he was revived in the coolness of the tomb. How ridiculous is
that! If He only passed out, then to escape from the tomb, He would have had
to unbind Himself from the burial cloths, move the heavy stone by himself,
and then battle the Roman guards at the site, and then if He did all that to
escape. Keep in mind the terrible physical condition His body was in from
the beating and crucifixion. No, He died on that cross and He was buried in
a tomb. Death could not hold the King of Kings which means it cannot hold
His redeemed either. As His death was prophesied by the Scriptures, so was
His resurrection. Look at Isaiah 53:10-12; Genesis 3:15; Psalm 16:10; Psalm
68:18 and Hosea 6:2. The death, burial, and resurrection was all planned in
eternity and completed on earth in the exact timing of God.
1 Cor 15:5 (KJV)
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
Now Paul introduces the legal aspect of the acceptance of the resurrection
of Christ. (Deu 17:6 KJV) At the mouth
of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be
put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Under the law, anyone who was sentenced to death, had to be witnessed
against by at least two or three. One person could not be a witness because
their witness may be tainted for the purpose of personal gain by means of
being a false witness. So here Paul is stating that the risen Christ was
seen by Peter, then He was seen by the twelve disciples. (John 20:19 & 26)
This would constitute thirteen witnesses.
- 1 Cor 15:6 (KJV)
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.
Now Paul gives the greatest witness of the risen Christ. He was seen by
about five hundred brethren at one time, of which most were alive at the
writing of 1 Corinthians which would be about 54 AD., 21 years after the
resurrection. This would put the witness total up to 513. If a prosecutor in
a court of law had 513 witnesses against a person for a crime, he surely
would have no problem in obtaining a guilty verdict. Do you notice how Paul
describes death for the believer? He speaks of it as sleep. When people
sleep, what do they normally do after a while? They wake up!
1 Cor 15:7 (KJV)
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
Here we have James, which was his half-brother mentioned and then all of the
Apostles. This was probably the time that he brought all of them out to the
Mount of Olives to witness His ascension, which was the last appearance to
His disciples after His resurrection.
- 1 Cor 15:8 (KJV)
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due
Then lastly, the Apostle Paul mentions himself as he saw the Lord Jesus on
the road to Damascus. The words “due time” carry with it the meaning of
“miscarriage.” It is the word “ektroma” which literally means “out of
trauma.” The apostle Paul is accounting his meeting with the Lord Jesus as
being very quick and unexpected. In one meeting, he went from being a
persecutor of the brethren to an Apostle for the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as
a miscarriage comes on a woman without warning, so did Paul’s meeting with
the Lord Jesus. He was expecting to persecute the church in Damascus,
instead, without warning, he became part of the greater church. The
term "last of all" is important because after Paul, there were no more
Apostles. Therefore, there are no more Apostles, especially in today's
- 1 Cor 15:9 (KJV)
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an
apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
He speaks of himself as being the least, or the most unimportant, of the
Apostles because those who followed the Lord were with Him from his earliest
ministry and went through all the journeys with Him. Since he persecuted the
Christians, he felt that he was not fit to be called an apostle. The
Apostles were building the church while Paul, as Saul, was trying to destroy
it and that is why he felt he didn’t belong as one of the Apostles, but at
the point of his salvation, he did not know what the Lord Jesus had planned
for him. Every Christian prior to salvation, in some way, has mocked the
church and has mocked the Lord Jesus. How many of us, prior to salvation,
took the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in vain without even concerning
ourselves with who He is? When we treated His name as common, we were
treating Him as common.
- 1 Cor 15:10 (KJV)
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.
Though Paul considered himself the least of the Apostles, he was not going
to dwell upon his past as persecutor of the brethren.
(Phil 3:13 KJV) Brethren, I count not myself to
have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Paul was now proclaiming that by the grace of God, he is what he is. He was
transformed into a new person and he will now live as that new person and
will not live in what he did in the past. When a person of questionable
character is saved, they are not to bask in their past life, but are to live
fully unto the Lord Jesus Christ, in the new life. Paul is stating that the
grace of God was not given to him in vain, because he began to build on it
which resulted in much fruit in hardship over the years. There are
Christians who go from town to town speaking about their life before Christ,
and it seems people are not coming to hear about what Christ has done in
their life, rather they come to hear all the juicy details of a sinful life.
This is why testimony ministries can be very carnal. Paul gives all glory to
God for the grace which under girds all that he has done and will do for the
Kingdom of Christ. Once we realize that it is not us that accomplishes
things for God, it is His grace which works through us creating fruit in our
ministries, we will not be so easily discouraged or derailed from our goal.