In this lesson we continue to study Paul’s defense of the resurrection of the dead. In the first part of the discourse, Paul reminded the believers how the doctrine of the resurrection is central to the gospel of salvation. Having defended vigorously the fact of the resurrection, Paul now addresses the question of how resurrection is even possible. The last chapter of the epistle includes instructions on the collection for the saints, Paul’s travel plans, remarks on specific individuals, and final greetings.
Did You Know...?
The collection for the saints (16:1): Part of Paul’s ministry included collecting material contributions from churches outside of Judea and sending relief to the brethren in Jerusalem who were in need (cf. Acts 11:27–30, 24:17; Rom 15:25–28;
- The Resurrection (15:35–58)
- The resurrected body (15:35–49)
- Description of the resurrection event (15:50–57)
- Exhortations in view of the resurrection (15:58)
- Closing Words (16:1–24)
- The collection for the saints (16:1–4)
- Paul’s travel plans (16:5–9)
- Support for Timothy (16:10–11)
- About Apollos (16:12)
- Exhortations (16:13–14)
- About Stephanus and others (16:15–18)
- Final greetings (16:19–24)
From the questions Paul seeks to address, what do you think is the underlying objection to the resurrection?Hide Answer
The questions about how the dead are raised and with what kind of body the dead come imply that those who doubted the resurrection found it difficult to fathom how resurrection from the dead is even possible.
What analogies does Paul use to explain how resurrection is possible?Hide Answer
1. Sowing of seeds (vv. 36-38)
2. Different kinds of flesh (v. 39)
3. Different heavenly bodies and their different glories (vv. 40-41)
What kinds of transformation will occur when the dead are raised to life?Hide Answer
• The perishable will become imperishable (v. 42)
• What is in dishonor will be in glory (v. 43)
• What is in weakness will be in power (v. 43)
• The natural body will become a spiritual body (v. 44)
• The image of dust will become the image of the man of heaven (vv. 47-49)
What is Paul’s purpose for comparing Adam and Christ?Hide Answer
Both Adam and Christ serve as prototypes for believers. Just as Adam was a natural living being and made of dust, in our present existence we are also natural living beings and made of dust. We shall all return to dust (cf. Gen 2:7, 3:19). In contrast to Adam, Christ was a life-giving Spirit (cf. Jn 6:63) and He was from heaven (cf. Jn 3:13, 6:38, 41, 58). We who belong to Christ will be transformed into spiritual bodies and bear the image of Christ at the resurrection (cf. Php 3:21;
1 Jn 3:2).
Why must our bodies transform at the resurrection?Hide Answer
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (v. 50).
How will the resurrection be a victory?Hide Answer
Death is considered an enemy (v. 26). No one has power over the day of death (Ecc 8:8). When we die, we perish along with all our hopes and everything we have worked for (Ecc 9:4–6). Death, in turn, is the result of sin (Rom 5:12, 6:23). The salvation that our Lord Jesus Christ has brought to us promises to deliver us from sin and death. This glorious promise had been foretold even in the Old Testament (Isa 25:8; Hos 13:14). Our Lord Jesus Christ had become flesh so that through His own death He may destroy the one who has the power of death and deliver all those who through fear are subject to lifelong slavery (Heb 2:14–16). As believers, even though we still die physically, we will resurrect on the last day (Jn 11:25–26;
1 Thess 4:16). We look forward to that glorious day when our bodies are redeemed and we finally obtain the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:19–23). The resurrection is the victory over sin and death because our perishable and mortal bodies will be transformed to imperishable and immortal bodies. There will be no more sin and death (1 Cor 15:54–56).
How does faith in the resurrection motivate you to do what Paul exhorts the believers to do here?Hide Answer
Our hope in our glorious future enables us to remain steadfast and immovable even in suffering (cf. Heb 12:1–2;
1 Pet 1:3–9). Knowing that the gospel we have believed indeed offers us such a great salvation, we would stand fast and hold on to the word we have received and not be so easily deceived by other doctrines (cf. 1 Cor 15:1–2). Paul also reminds believers that the glory that awaits us is a vivid testimony of the love of God in Christ Jesus. This love makes us more than conquerors in the face of everything that may oppose us in our faith and in our ministry (cf. Rom 8:31–39).
Finally, we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain because the Lord shall reward us at the resurrection of the just (cf. Lk 14:13–14). Not only so, serving the Lord is not in vain because we are serving with gratitude the Lord who loves us and died for us (2 Cor 5:14–15). This conviction motivates us to abound in the work of the Lord and not be indolent or discouraged.
Why do Paul’s instructions for believers to put aside offerings every first day of the week not lend support to changing the Sabbath day to Sunday?Hide Answer
Paul mentions nothing about meeting or worshipping on the first day of the week in this passage. He simply instructs the Corinthians to put aside and store up what they planned to offer to the saints who were in need on the first day of the week. The reason has nothing to do with the Lord’s resurrection, but as Paul states, “so that there will be no collecting when I come.” If the Corinthians did not do so regularly, they may not have enough to offer when Paul comes and collects last-minute. To use this passage to argue that the Sabbath commandment had been abolished and that Christians of the early church worshipped on Sundays would be reading far too much into Paul’s words. Such an interpretation is often an attempt to justify the long-held tradition of Sunday worship in Christendom.
What are some good ways for the church to help brothers and sisters who are lacking materially?(The answer is empty)Hide Answer
In what situations would the exhortation in verse 13 be particularly helpful?Hide Answer
We may be deceived or tempted for various reasons. For one, we may enter into temptation because our flesh is weak and we are not able to resist our desires. That is why the Lord urged His disciples to watch and pray (Mt 26:41). Another cause of our spiritual slumber is secular influence from people who are carnally minded (1 Cor 15:32–34). Likewise, the Lord also spoke about the cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches, which hinder our spiritual growth (Mk 4:18–19). Just as destructive are false doctrines that are aimed at deceiving us and leading us astray (cf.
2 Jn 1:7). For all of the above reasons, we need to be watchful.
The call to stand firm, to act like men, and be strong, is likewise applicable in view of deceiving doctrines (cf. Gal 5:1;
2 Thess 2:15). In fact, our adversary the devil is on a constant mission to fool us with his trickery and with his opposing forces. Resisting him requires courage, endurance, and help from God (Eph 6:10–18; 1 Pet 5:8–9). Practicing God’s word also often involves hardship. Only by being steadfast and strong can we persist in obeying God’s will.
How does the exhortation of verse 14 complement the exhortation in verse 13?Hide Answer
At first glance, the exhortation to be firm, manly, and strong, seems to be the opposite of doing all things in love, a quality that suggests kindness and gentleness. However, being firm, manly, and strong spiritually is not the same as having a strong opinion or being inconsiderate. Rather, being firm, manly, and strong involves standing resolutely in the truth and withstanding the test of hardship or temptation. While we develop a strong spiritual character, we should not become callous, but need to still have a tender heart for others. In fact, strength and love go hand in hand because true love for others makes us endure in our labor of love and not be discouraged.
Why is it important for us to be subject to those who labor in the Lord?Hide Answer
It is to our own good that we be subject to those who labor in the Lord because these servants of the Lord diligently guide us and keep watch over our souls (Heb 13:17). If what they teach us to do is right in the eyes of the Lord, we should by all means submit to their teachings because we would in turn please the Lord. Furthermore, the Lord taught that whoever receives a prophet or a righteous person will receive the prophet’s or righteous person’s reward (Mt 10:40–41). If we interpret the act of receiving someone to include accepting their instructions and submitting to them, then being subject to those who labor in the Lord enables us to also share in their reward.