First Corinthians 15 is one giant meditation on Christ’s glorious resurrection. Verses 1–11 speak of the resurrection’s centrality in the gospel; verses 12–19 explain the necessity of the resurrection; and now in verses 20–34 we find how the resurrection of Christ applies to us.
In what follows you can find discussion questions about Sunday’s sermon and a few resources that may help you better understand the beauty and goodness of being raised to life with Christ. Sermon notes can be found here.
1 Corinthians 15:20–34
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every 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 “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? 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 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
- What is the flow of the argument in 1 Corinthians 15 so far? What is Paul answering in vv. 20–28, that he has not answered yet (hint: personal application of resurrection life)? What is the relationship between vv. 20–28 and vv. 29–34?
- In theological terms, what part does the resurrection play in the gospel (vv. 1–11)? What does its place in apologetics (vv. 12–19)? What part does the resurrection play in theology—Christology, eschatology, and soteriology (or Christ, last things, salvation)?
- Why must the resurrection always motivate holiness and hope? How does the resurrection motivate holiness and hope? (Hint: 1 John 3:1–3 — beholding Christ and hoping in his return makes us like him and prepares us for him).
- What two verses does Paul cite in vv. 25, 27? Why do these matter? Read Psalm 8 and Psalm 110: How do these Psalms help us understand Christ’s enthronement today?
- Read vv. 27–28. What does it mean that their are two gifts being exchanged in these verses? Who is the gift? What does it mean that you—if you are in Christ—are given from the Father to the Son, and from the Son to the Father? How might this comfort someone who is battling depression or questions their identity?
- What three ways does the resurrection impact us? How does it impact our ministry, willingness to risk, and put sin to death?
- What other truths encouraged or challenged you? How has this section on 1 Corinthians taught you to think differently about the resurrection?
For Further Study
- D-Day and VE-Day by Fred Zaspel — The illustration of D-Day and V-Day was famously inaugurated by New Testament scholar Oscar Cullmann. In this article Reformed Baptist Fred Zaspel explains its powerful explanatory value.
- George Eldon Ladd on the ‘Kingdom and the Church” — Ladd is one of the most important biblical theologians of the twentieth century. This post highlights his already but not yet view of the kingdom and the church.
- Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church by Benjamin Gladd and Matthew Harmon — Written by two New Testament scholars who agree on inaugurated eschatology but disagree on the timing of the millennium, this book gives a helpful treatment of eschatology’s place in the local church. Book Review by Oren Martin
- Christ, the Firstfruits of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
- Baptism and the Resurrection: Looking Again at 1 Corinthians 15:29 and ‘Baptism for the Dead’
- By Faith, Not by Sight by Richard Gaffin
- Resurrection and Redemption by Richard Gaffin
Soli Deo Gloria, ds