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|1 Corinthians 15|
chapter 16 ->
1 Corinthians 7:33-8:4 in Papyrus 15, written in the 3rd century
|Book||First Epistle to the Corinthians|
|Christian Bible part||New Testament|
|Order in the Christian part||7|
1 Corinthians 15 is the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes in Ephesus. The first eleven verses contain the earliest account of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in the New Testament. The rest of the chapter stresses the primacy of the resurrection for Christianity.
Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:
Soon after his death, Jesus' followers believed he was raised from death by God and exalted to divine status as Lord (Kyrios) "at God's 'right hand'," which "associates him in astonishing ways with God."[note 1] According to Larry Hurtado, powerful religious experiences were an indispensable factor in the emergence of this Christ-devotion. Those experiences "seem to have included visions of (and/or ascents to) God's heaven, in which the glorified Christ was seen in an exalted position."[note 2] Those experiences were interpreted in the framework of God's redemptive purposes, as reflected in the scriptures, in a "dynamic interaction between devout, prayerful searching for, and pondering over, scriptural texts and continuing powerful religious experiences." This initiated a "new devotional pattern unprecedented in Jewish monotheism," that is, the worship of Jesus next to God, giving a central place to Jesus because his ministry, and its consequences, had a strong impact on his early followers. Revelations, including those visions, but also inspired and spontaneous utterances, and "charismatic exegesis" of the Jewish scriptures, convinced them that this devotion was commanded by God.
In the Jerusalem ekkl?sia, from which Paul received this creed, the phrase "died for our sins" probably was an apologetic rationale for the death of Jesus as being part of God's plan and purpose, as evidenced in the scriptures. The phrase "died for our sins" was derived from Isaiah, especially ,[note 3] and Maccabees 4, especially .[web 1]
 Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
 By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
 They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
 Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
 Be merciful to your people, and let our punishment suffice for them.
 Make my blood their purification, and take my life in exchange for theirs.
According to Geza Vermes, for Paul 1 Corinthians 15:3 may have referred to (NRSV), narrating the Binding of Isaac, in which Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, obeying to the will of God.
"Raised on the third day" is derived from :
Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him."[note 4]
The account of the resurrection appearances of Jesus in verses 3-7 appears to be an early pre-Pauline creedal statement. Verses 3-5 (plus possible additional verses) may be one of the earliest creeds about Jesus' death and resurrection. Most biblical scholars note the antiquity of the creed, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community. The antiquity of the creed has been placed to no more than five years after Jesus' death by most biblical scholars. The linguistic analysis suggests that the version received by Paul seems to have included verses 3b-6a and 7. The creed has been deemed to be historically reliable and is claimed to preserve a unique and verifiable testimony of the time.
Geza Vermes is representative of the common understanding of the origins of this creed in The Resurrection, stating that the words of Paul are "a tradition he has inherited from his seniors in the faith concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus".Gary R. Habermas argues, "Essentially all critical scholars today agree that in Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul records an ancient oral tradition(s) that summarizes the content of the Christian gospel," in which Paul "uses the explicit language of oral transmission," according to Donald Hagner. In other words, Paul's account has been described by scholars as "the very early tradition that was common to all Christians", as "a sacred tradition", and contained in "the oldest strata of tradition".
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles - only James, the Lord's brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
Moreover, even skeptical scholars agree that the creed in 1 Corinthians 15 is not an interpolation but was a creed formulated and taught at a very early date after Jesus' death. Gerd Lüdemann, a skeptic scholar, maintains that "the elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus... not later than three years..."Michael Goulder, another skeptic scholar, states that it "goes back at least to what Paul was taught when he was converted, a couple of years after the crucifixion".
 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But 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.  Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
In verses 12-19, St Paul, in response to some expressed doubts of the Corinthian congregation, whom he is addressing in the letter, adduces the fundamental importance of the resurrection as a Christian doctrine. Through those verses, Paul is stressing the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and its relevance to the core of Christianity. Paul rebukes the Corinth Church by saying if Jesus did not resurrect after the crucifixion, then there is no point in the Christianity faith (1 Cor 15:12-19 ESV).
In verses 20-28, Paul states that Christ will return in power and put his "enemies under his feet" (25) and even death, "the last enemy", shall be destroyed:
Verse 29 suggests that there existed a practice at Corinth whereby a living person would be baptized instead of some convert who had recently died. Teignmouth Shore, writing in Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers, notes that among the "numerous and ingenious conjectures" about this passage, the only tenable interpretation is that there existed a practice of baptising a living person to substitute those who had died before that sacrament could have been administered in Corinth, as also existed among the Marcionites in the second century, or still earlier than that, among a sect called "the Corinthians". The Jerusalem Bible states that "What this practice was is unknown. Paul does not say if he approved of it or not: he uses it merely for an ad hominem argument".
The Latter Day Saint movement interprets this passage to support the practice of baptism for the dead. This principle of vicarious work for the dead is an important work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the dispensation of the fulness of times. This interpretation is rejected by other denominations of Christianity.
33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.-- 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NKJV
Verse 33 contains a quotation from classical Greek literature. According to the church historian Socrates of Constantinople it is taken from a Greek tragedy of Euripides, but modern scholarship, following Jerome attributes it to the comedy Tha?s by Menander, or Menander quoting Euripides. It might not have been a direct quote by Paul: "This saying was widely known as a familiar quotation."
The chapter closes with an account of the nature of the resurrection, that in the Last Judgement the dead will be raised and both the living and the dead transformed into "spiritual bodies" (verse 44):
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.-- 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NKJV
Hence, through the power of Jesus Christ "Death is swallowed up in victory" (verse 54). Referring to a verse in the Book of Hosea, Paul asks: "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?" (verse 55), thus, equating sin with death and the Judaic Law which have now been conquered and superseded by the victory of Christ.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to 1 Corinthians 15:
FATHER, [...] this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 1 God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved 3 than the name of JESUS.
Readings from the text are used at funerals in the Catholic Church, where mourners are assured of the "sure and certain expectation of the resurrection to a better life".
In the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, the inscription on the headstone of Harry Potter's parents has the engraving of the words: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death". This is taken from the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 15:26.