Letters of Paul

1 Corinthians

The Meaning of Resurrection – Discussion Questions

Questions for Further Study:
1. How do you think Paul’s reminder of the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection relates to what he says about the resurrection of believers? Looking at it from the other direction, does what Paul says about the resurrection of believers give us any clues to his understanding of Jesus’ resurrection?

2. Notice the way in which Paul uses analogies from nature (vss. 36-42) to try to explain his view of the resurrected body. Do you find such arguments helpful here? Where are other places where we might look at the relationship between the natural world and the world of faith?

3. Paul never writes down a systematic discussion of the relationship of Jesus to God in his letters. If you had only this chapter, how might you describe Jesus’ role in God’s plan. Look at the material on Adam in vv.45 ff and about the consummation of history in vv. 24-28.

Questions for Discussion:

1. David Bartlett once preached an Easter sermon on this text where he tried to sound very much like Paul, saying that what the Corinthians seemed to think was that Jesus had risen from the dead but that none of the later Christians would do so. A very wise member of the congregation came up afterwards and said: “That’s exactly what I believe.” How would Paul respond to this? How would you?

2. In Christian funerals and memorial services we often hear that the person who has died has “gone to be with God.” Or is “in heaven with the saints.” There are some New Testament passages that might suggest such a hope, but there is no such claim in 1 Corinthians 15. Does it make any difference whether Paul’s view of death and resurrection is right or whether the more common view reflected in our funerals is right?

3. Look at the way Paul ends the chapter: “Therefore,mybeloved,be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” How do these exhortations follow from all that he’s been saying about resurrection? Or is this just like the parental PS “Don’t forget to finish your final paper before you come home for Christmas”?

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One Note

  1. Adrian Bruder

    Questions for Further Study:
    1. How do you think Paul’s reminder of the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection relates to what he says about the resurrection of believers? Looking at it from the other direction, does what Paul says about the resurrection of believers give us any clues to his understanding of Jesus’ resurrection?

    I see Paul telling the Corinthian Church that their resurrection requires a prerequisite of CHRIST’S resurrection to be a possibility. He points to prophetic word as his guidepost. “As it is written” so he says. Going as far to say that CHRIST’S resurrection is the firstfruits, our resurrections will come later.

    2. Notice the way in which Paul uses analogies from nature (vss. 36-42) to try to explain his view of the resurrected body. Do you find such arguments helpful here? Where are other places where we might look at the relationship between the natural world and the world of faith?

    Paul is saying that the resurrection will be neither of soul or of “natural” bodies but of spirit. There is a distinction here between soul and spirit.

    Let’s go to Hebrews 4:12;

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Why would GOD need to divide the soul from the spirit? This spirit that is being spoken of, can it be measured? Can it be weighed?

    3. Paul never writes down a systematic discussion of the relationship of Jesus to God in his letters. If you had only this chapter, how might you describe Jesus’ role in God’s plan. Look at the material on Adam in vv.45 ff and about the consummation of history in vv. 24-28.

    Looking at this chapter an this chapter only Paul is presenting the hierarchy of

    GOD the FATHER–>JESUS subject to GOD–>us and ultimately all things subjected to JESUS

    Zooming out a little bit though…

    JESUS is GOD, but also fully man. GOD has never been man, I think JESUS became fully man because there are things GOD can’t do being only GOD. JESUS always put himself under GOD’S authority. John 5:43 says, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me,” and in John 8:54 “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, “HE is our GOD”.”

    I interpret this as Jesus coming to fulfill the scriptures, begin the process of eliminating the chaos that the the first man invited into this world, begin the process of reconciling man to GOD through HIM of which HE HIMSELF subjects HIMSELF to by eventually “destroying every rule and every authority and power” that the first man has invited.

    HE tells us after his resurrection that HE is leaving and going to the FATHER who is greater than him (his words according to John), the Holy Spirit is coming in his place, and the that ruler of this world who has no authority over HIM is coming too; JESUS is acting on the FATHER’S will.

    Questions for Discussion:

    1. David Bartlett once preached an Easter sermon on this text where he tried to sound very much like Paul, saying that what the Corinthians seemed to think was that Jesus had risen from the dead but that none of the later Christians would do so. A very wise member of the congregation came up afterwards and said: “That’s exactly what I believe.” How would Paul respond to this? How would you?

    I see Paul is straddling two ideals. He wants to make it clear that the resurrection will be something of substance, something that can be definitely pointed to and marked in history, but it will not be the bodies we have today; we aren’t going to rise out of our graves looking the way we went into them. I feel he is saying in a very Pauline way, “You’re both wrong.”

    2. In Christian funerals and memorial services we often hear that the person who has died has “gone to be with God.” Or is “in heaven with the saints.” There are some New Testament passages that might suggest such a hope, but there is no such claim in 1 Corinthians 15. Does it make any difference whether Paul’s view of death and resurrection is right or whether the more common view reflected in our funerals is right?

    Paul is always talking about death as being “sleep” or suspended. I have been recently introduced to the concept of paradise vs heaven. I was raised in the belief that you are with the Father at death until heaven is established. I don’t have a very strong basis or conviction for one or the other. From my understanding Jewish faith was more focused on generational blessings from GOD on this Earth building up as you please HIM. I don’t believe the dead are in heaven because heaven hasn’t been established yet from my understanding. Heaven will be on Earth from my understanding.

    3. Look at the way Paul ends the chapter: “Therefore,mybeloved,be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” How do these exhortations follow from all that he’s been saying about resurrection? Or is this just like the parental PS “Don’t forget to finish your final paper before you come home for Christmas”?

    I feel he is closing his letter and trying to tie it all together. You’re worldly yokes might be broken in Christ but it’s not wise to do whatever you want because you are a free man; the governing darkness is still very much your enemy. Don’t get sloppy, JESUS is coming, is what I get from this letter.