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The Resurrection of Christ


Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.

3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit 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 has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

30 And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? 31I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters, as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,

for tomorrow we die.”

33 Do not be deceived:

“Bad company ruins good morals.”

34 Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”


“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

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

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


32. If according to the manner of men He brings forward a notable instance of death, from which it might be clearly seen that he would have been worse than a fool, if there were not a better life in reserve for us beyond death; for it was an ignominious kind of death to which he was exposed. “To what purpose were it,” says he, “for me to incur infamy in connection with a most cruel death, if all my hopes were confined to this world?” According to the manner of men, means in this passage, in respect of human life, so that we obtain a reward in this world.

Now by those that fought with beasts, are meant, not those that were thrown to wild beasts, as Erasmus mistakingly imagined, but those that were condemned to be set to fight with wild beasts — to furnish an amusement to the people. There were, then, two kinds of punishment, that were totally different — to be thrown to wild beasts, and to fight with wild beasts. For those that were thrown to wild beasts were straightway torn in pieces; but those that fought with wild beasts went forth armed into the arena, that if they were endued with strength, courage, and agility, they might effect their escape by dispatching the wild beasts. Nay more, there was a game in which those who fought with wild beasts were trained, like the gladiators 8181     “Et mesme comme il y auoit le ieu de l’escrime pour duire des gens h combatre les vns contre les nutres, pour donner passetemps au peuple, aussi il y auoit vn ieu auquel on faconnoit des gens a combatre contre les bestes es spectacles publiques;” — “Nay more, as there was a game of fencing for training persons for fighting with each other, to afford amusement to the people, so there was a game in which they made persons fight with wild beasts in the public shows.” Usually, however, very few escaped, because the man who had dispatched one wild beast, was required to fight with a second, 8282     “N’ estoit pas quitte, mais il luy faloit retourner au combat contre la seconde.” — “He was not let go, but had to return to fight with a second.” until the cruelty of the spectators was satiated, or rather was melted into pity; and yet there were found men so abandoned and desperate, as to hire themselves out for this! 8383     “Sometimes freemen, of desperate circumstances, sought a precarious subsistence by hazarding their lives in this profession; but it was chiefly exercised by slaves, and prisoners of war, whom their masters or conquerors devoted to it; or by condemned persons, to whom was thus afforded an uncertain prolongation of existence, dependent upon their own prowess, activity, or skill.”Illustrated Commentary.Ed. And this, I may remark by the way, is that kind of hunting that is punished so severely by the ancient canons, as even civil laws brand it with a mark of infamy. 8484     “What was called venatio,“ (hunting,) ”or the fighting of wild beasts with one another, or with men called bestiarii, (fighters with wild beasts,) who were either forced to this by way of punishment, as the primitive Christians often were; or fought voluntarily, either from a natural ferocity of disposition, or induced by hire, (auctoramento,) Cic. Tusc. Quaest. it. 17. Faro. 7:1., Off. it. 16., Vat. 17. An incredible number of animals of various kinds were brought from all quarters, for the entertainment of the people, and at an immense expense. Cic. Faro. 8:2, 4, 6. They were kept in inclosures, called vivaria, till the day of exhibition. Pompey in his second consulship exhibited at once 500 lions, who were all dispatched in five days; also 18 elephants. Dio. 39. 38. Plin. 8.7.“ Adam’s Roman Antiquities, (Edin. 1792,). — Ed.

I return to Paul. 8585     “Ie retourne maintenant a parler de Sainct Paul;” — “I now return to speak of St. Paul.” We see what an extremity God allowed his servant to come to, and how wonderfully, too, he rescued him. Luke, 8686     “Sainct Luc aux Actes;” — “St. Luke in the Acts.” however, makes no mention of this fight. Hence we may infer that he endured many things that have not been committed to writing.

Let us eat and drink This is a saying of the Epicureans, who reckon man’s highest good as consisting in present enjoyment. Isaiah also testifies that it is a saying made use of by profligate persons, (Isaiah 22:13,) who, when the Prophets of God threaten them with ruin, 8787     “De ruine et perdition;” — “With ruin and perdition.” with the view of calling them to repentance, making sport of those threatenings, encourage themselves in wantonness and unbridled mirth, and in order to show more openly their obstinacy, say, “Since die we must, let us meanwhile enjoy the time, and not torment ourselves before the time with empty fears.” As to what a certain General said to his army, 8888     “Car quant a ce qui on trouue entre les histoires ancicnnes que quelqu’vn disoit aux soldats;” — “For as to its being recorded in ancient histories, that one said to his soldiers.” “My fellowsoldiers, let us dine heartily, for we shall sup to-day in the regions below,” 8989     The allusion is to Leonidas, king of Sparta, when addressing 300 Spartans, at the Pass of Thermopyhe, who “by an act of intrepidity, rarely paralleled in history, set themselves to defend that Pass, in opposition to 20,000 Persian troops, and during the night spread dreadful havoc and consternation among the Persians, but the morning light at length discovering their small number, they were immediately surrounded and slaughtered.” — Robertson’s History of Greece, page 151.Ed. that was an exhortation to meet death with intrepidity, and has nothing to do with this subject. I am of opinion, that Paul made use of a jest in common use among abandoned and desperately wicked persons, or (to express it shortly) a common proverb among the Epicureans to the following purpose: “If death is the end of man, there is nothing better than that he should indulge in pleasure, free from care, so long as life lasts.” Sentiments of this kind are to be met with frequently in Horace. 9090     The following instances may be quoted as a specimen: —
   “O beate Sesti!
Vitae summa brevis nos vetat inchoare longam,
Jam to premet nox, fabulaeque Manes
Et domus exilis Plutonia

   O happy Sestius! the brief span of human life forbids us to indulge a distant hope. Soon will night descend upon thee, and the fabulous Manes, and the shadowy mansion of Pluto.” — Hor. Carm. I. 4, 13-17.

   “Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
Spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
Aetas. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

   Be wise; rack off your wines; and abridge your distant hopes in adaptation to the brevity of life. While we speak, envious age has been flying. Seize the present day, depending as little as possible on any future one.” — Hor. Carre. I. 11.6-8.

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