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1 Corinthians 15 The Voice (VOICE)

15 Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I preached to you when we first met. It’s the essential message that you have taken to heart, the central story you now base your life on; and through this gospel, you are liberated—unless, of course, your faith has come to nothing. 3-4 For I passed down to you the crux of it all which I had also received from others, that the Anointed One, the Liberating King, died for our sins and was buried and raised from the dead on the third day. All this happened to fulfill the Scriptures; it was the perfect climax to God’s covenant story. Afterward He appeared alive to Cephas[a] (you may know him as Simon Peter), then to the rest of the twelve. If that were not amazing enough, on one occasion, He appeared to more than 500 believers at one time. Many of those brothers and sisters are still around to tell the story, though some have fallen asleep[b] in Jesus. Soon He appeared to James, His brother and the leader of the Jerusalem church, and then to all the rest of the emissaries[c] He Himself commissioned.[d] Last of all, He appeared to me;[e] I was like a child snatched from his mother’s womb. You see, I am the least of all His emissaries, not fit to be called His emissary because I hunted down and persecuted God’s church. 10 Today I am who I am because of God’s grace, and I have made sure that the grace He offered me has not been wasted. I have worked harder, longer, and smarter than all the rest; but I realize it is not me—it is God’s grace with me that has made the difference. 11 In the end, it doesn’t matter whether it was I or the other witnesses who brought you the message. What matters is that we keep preaching and that you have faith in this message.

12 Now if we have told you about the Anointed One (how He has risen from the dead and appeared to us fully alive), then how can you stand there and say there is no such thing as resurrection from death? 13 Friends, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then even the Anointed hasn’t been raised; 14 if that is so, then all our preaching has been for nothing and your faith in the message is worthless. 15 And what’s worse, all of us who have been preaching the gospel are now guilty of misrepresenting God because we have been spreading the news that He raised the Anointed One from the dead (which must be a lie if what you are saying about the dead not being raised is the truth). 16 Please listen. If you say, “the dead are not raised,” then what you are telling me is that the Anointed One has not been raised. Friends, 17 if the Anointed has not been raised from the dead, then your faith is worth less than yesterday’s garbage, you are all doomed in your sins, 18 and all the dearly departed who trusted in His liberation are left decaying in the ground. 19 If what we have hoped for in the Anointed doesn’t take us beyond this life, then we are world-class fools, deserving everyone’s pity.

20 But the Anointed One was raised from death’s slumber and is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. 21 For since death entered this world by a man, it took another man to make the resurrection of the dead our new reality. 22 Look at it this way: through Adam all of us die, but through the Anointed One all of us can live again. 23 But this is how it will happen: the Anointed’s awakening is the firstfruits. It will be followed by the resurrection of all those who belong to Him at His coming, 24 and then the end will come. After He has conquered His enemies and shut down every rule and authority vying for power, He will hand over the Kingdom to God, the Father of all that is. 25 And He must reign as King until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last hostile power to be destroyed is death itself. 27 All this will happen to fulfill the Scripture that says, “You placed everything on earth beneath His feet.”[f] (Although it says “everything,” it is clear that this does not also pertain to God, who created everything and made it all subject to Him.) 28 Then, when all creation has taken its rightful place beneath God’s sovereign reign, the Son will follow, subject to the Father who exalted Him over all created things; then God will be God over all.

Resurrection is central to the gospel. In fact, without the bodily resurrection of Jesus there is no good news at all. For in Jesus, God personifies His redeeming work and demonstrates the scope of that redemption. He is a God who brings life from death, peace from war, prosperity from adversity, and bounty from famine. The resurrection of Jesus marks a new era of God’s dealing with the world. He intends nothing less than the total reclamation of His good creation damaged by human folly, sin, and death.

29 You have probably heard that some people are undergoing ritual cleansings of baptism[g] for the dead. Why are they doing that? If the dead are not going to be raised, then why are people being baptized for them? 30 Why are we putting our lives on the line all the time if there’s no resurrection? 31 I die every day! I swear that it’s true! That’s something you take pride in, brothers and sisters, as I do in Jesus the Anointed, our Lord. 32 But if I have fought against the wild beasts in Ephesus for some human cause, then what good has that done me? If the dead are not raised, then there’s nothing more to do than—as the saying goes—eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.[h]

33 But don’t be so naïve—there’s another saying you know well—Bad company corrupts good habits. 34 Come to your senses, live justly, and stop sinning. It’s true that some have no knowledge of God. I am saying this to shame you into better habits.

35 Now I know what some of you are thinking: “Just how are the dead going to be raised? What kind of bodies will they have when they come back to life?” 36 Don’t be a fool! The seed you plant doesn’t produce life unless it dies. Right? 37 The seed doesn’t have the same look, the same body, if you will, of what it will have once it starts to grow. It starts out a single, naked seed—whether wheat or some other grain, it doesn’t matter 38 and God gives to that seed a body just as He has desired. For each of the different kinds of seeds God prepares a unique body. 39 Or look at it this way: not all flesh is the same. Right? There is skin flesh on humans, furry flesh on animals, feathery flesh on birds, and scaly flesh on fish. 40 Likewise there are bodies made for the heavens and bodies made for the earth. The heavenly bodies have a different kind of glory or luminescence compared to bodies below. 41 Even among the heavenly bodies, there is a different level of brilliance: the sun shines differently than the moon, the moon differently than the stars, and the stars themselves differ in their brightness.

42 It’s like this with the resurrection of those who have died. The body planted in the earth decays. But the body raised from the earth cannot decay. 43 The body is planted in disgrace and weakness. But the body is raised in splendor and power. 44 The body planted in the earth was animated by the physical, material realm. But the body raised from the earth will be animated by the spiritual. Since there is a physical, material body, there will also be a spiritual body. 45 That’s why it was written, “The first man Adam became a living soul”; the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. 46 Everything has an order. The body is not animated first by the spiritual but the physical; then the spiritual becomes its life-giving source. 47 The first man, Adam, came from the earth and was made from dust; the second man, Jesus, has come from heaven. 48 The earth man shares his earth nature with all those made of earth; likewise the heavenly man shares His heavenly nature with all those made of heaven. 49 Just as we have carried the image of the earth man in our bodies, we will[i] also carry the image of the heavenly man in our new bodies at the resurrection.

Redemption is not merely forgiveness of sin’s guilt so our souls can go to heaven someday. Our true hope is to be free from physical death just as Jesus was raised from the dead. Accordingly, this hope of bodily resurrection stands against the expectation that souls escape from their mortal bodies (as if your soul is the real “you” and your body is a disposable external space suit) and merely float up to heaven. Rather, Paul presents resurrection as a new creation; and this restored bodily existence affirms and fulfills the original intent of creation. Believers don’t have to wait until the future to experience this Spirit-enabled life because living in obedience to God through the Spirit is a foretaste of the total experience that will come when all is restored later.

50 Now listen to this: brothers and sisters, this present body is not able to inherit the kingdom of God any more than decay can inherit that which lasts forever. 51 Stay close because I am going to tell you a mystery—something you may have trouble understanding: we will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed! 53 We’ll step out of our mortal clothes and slide into immortal bodies, replacing everything that is subject to death with eternal life. 54 And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says:

Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death.[j]
55 Hey, Death! What happened to your big win?
    Hey, Death! What happened to your sting?[k]

56 Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. 57 Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave.

58 My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:5 Luke 24:34
  2. 15:6 Literally, died
  3. 15:7 Literally, apostles
  4. 15:7 Acts 1:3–4
  5. 15:8 Acts 9:3–6
  6. 15:27 Psalm 8:6
  7. 15:29 Literally, immersions, to show repentance
  8. 15:32 Isaiah 22:13
  9. 15:49 Other manuscripts read “so let us.”
  10. 15:54 Isaiah 25:8
  11. 15:55 Hosea 13:14
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

1 Corinthians 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve 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 to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die.”[d]

33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”[e] 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant 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 will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 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.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[g] bear the image of the heavenly man.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

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

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:3 Or you at the first
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:5 That is, Peter
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:27 Psalm 8:6
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:32 Isaiah 22:13
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:33 From the Greek poet Menander
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:45 Gen. 2:7
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:49 Some early manuscripts so let us
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:54 Isaiah 25:8
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:55 Hosea 13:14
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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