The Resurrection of Christ
15 Dear friends,[a] let me give you clearly the heart of the gospel that I’ve preached to you—the good news that you have heartily received and on which you stand. 2 For it is through the revelation of the gospel that you are being saved, if you fasten your life firmly to the message I’ve taught you, unless you have believed in vain. 3 For I have shared with you what I have received and what is of utmost importance:
The Messiah died for our sins,
fulfilling the prophecies of the Scriptures.
4 He was buried in a tomb
and was raised from the dead after three days,
as foretold in the Scriptures.[b]
5 Then he appeared to Peter the Rock[c]
and to the twelve apostles.[d]
6 He also appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at the same time, most of whom are still alive as I write this, though a few have passed away.[e] 7 Then he appeared to Jacob[f] and to all the apostles. 8 Last of all he appeared in front of me, like one born prematurely, ripped from the womb.[g] 9 Yes, I am the most insignificant of all the apostles, unworthy even to be called an apostle, because I hunted down believers and persecuted God’s church. 10 But God’s amazing grace has made me who I am![h] And his grace to me was not fruitless. In fact, I worked harder than all the rest,[i] yet not in my own strength but God’s, for his empowering grace is poured out upon me. 11 So this is what we all have taught you, and whether it was through me or someone else, you have now believed the gospel.
The Importance of the Resurrection
12 The message we preach is Christ, who has been raised from the dead. So how could any of you possibly say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.[j] 14 And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preaching has been for nothing and your faith is useless. 15 Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead, if in reality he didn’t.
16 If the dead aren’t raised up,[k] that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. 17 And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy. 18 It would also mean that those believers in Christ who have passed away[l] have simply perished. 19 If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others![m]
20 But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the firstfruit[n] of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a man, Adam,[o] it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ. 22 Even as all who are in Adam die, so also all who are in Christ will be made alive. 23 But each one in his proper order: Christ, the firstfruits, then those who belong to Christ in his presence.[p]
24 Then the final stage of completion comes, when he will bring to an end every other rulership, authority, and power, and he will hand over his kingdom to Father God. 25 Until then he is destined to reign[q] as King until all hostility has been subdued and placed under his feet.[r] 26 And the last enemy to be subdued and eliminated is death itself.[s]
27 The Father has placed all things in subjection under the feet of Christ.[t] Yet when it says, “all things,” it is understood that the Father does not include himself, for he is the one who placed all things in subjection to Christ. 28 However, when everything is subdued and in submission to him, then the Son himself will be subject to the Father, who put all things under his feet.[u] This is so that Father God will be everything in everyone!
Implications of the Resurrection
29 If there is no resurrection, what do these people think they’re doing when they are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren’t raised, why be baptized for them?[v] 30 And why would we be risking our lives every day?
31 My brothers and sisters, I continually face death.[w] This is as sure as my boasting of you[x] and our co-union together in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives me confidence to share my experiences with you. 32 Tell me, why did I fight “wild beasts”[y] in Ephesus if my hope is in this life only? What was the point of that? If the dead do not rise, then
Let’s party all night, for tomorrow we die![z]
33 So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.[aa] 34 Come back to your right senses and awaken to what is right. Repent from your sinful ways.[ab] For some have no knowledge of God’s wonderful love.[ac] You should be ashamed that you make me write this way to you![ad]
Our Resurrection Body
35 I can almost hear someone saying, “How can the dead come back to life? And what kind of body will they have when they are resurrected?” 36 Foolish man! Don’t you know that what you sow in the ground doesn’t germinate unless it dies? 37 And what you sow is not the body that will come into being, but the bare seed. And it’s hard to tell whether it’s wheat or some other seed. 38 But when it dies, God gives it a new form, a body to fulfill his purpose, and he sees to it that each seed gets a new body of its own and becomes the plant he designed it to be.[ae]
39 All flesh is not identical. Animals have one flesh and human beings another. Birds have their distinct flesh and fish another. 40 In the same way there are earthly bodies and heavenly bodies. There is a splendor of the celestial body and a different one for the earthly. 41 There is the radiance of the sun and differing radiance for the moon and for the stars. Even the stars differ in their shining. 42 And that’s how it will be with the resurrection of the dead.
43 The body is “sown” in decay, but will be raised in immortality. It is “sown” in humiliation, but will be raised in glorification.[af] 44 It is “sown” in weakness but will be raised in power. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 For it is written:
The first man, Adam, became a living soul.[ag]
The last Adam[ah] became the life-giving Spirit. 46 However, the spiritual didn’t come first. The natural precedes the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the dust of the earth; the second Man is the Lord Jehovah,[ai] from the realm of heaven.[aj] 48 The first one, made from dust, has a race of people just like him, who are also made from dust. The One sent from heaven has a race of heavenly people who are just like him. 49 Once we carried the likeness of the man of dust, but now let us[ak] carry the likeness of the Man of heaven.[al]
50 Now, I tell you this, my brothers and sisters, flesh and blood are not able to inherit God’s kingdom realm, and neither will that which is decaying be able to inherit what is incorruptible.
51 Listen, and I will tell you a divine mystery: not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will happen in an instant[am]—in the twinkling of his eye. For when the last trumpet is sounded, the dead will come back to life. We will be indestructible and we will be transformed. 53 For we will discard our mortal “clothes” and slip into a body that is imperishable. What is mortal now will be exchanged for immortality. 54 And when that which is mortal puts on immortality, and what now decays is exchanged for what will never decay, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says:
Death is swallowed up by a triumphant victory![an]
55 So death, tell me, where is your victory?
Tell me death, where is your sting?[ao]
56 It is sin that gives death its sting and the law that gives sin its power.[ap] 57 But we thank God[aq] for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.[ar] 58 So now, beloved ones,[as] stand firm and secure. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord,[at] because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures.[au]