1 Corinthians 15:35-58 - The Resurrection of the Body

1. What practical problem makes it difficult for some people to believe in resurrection of the body? (Verse 35)

A: The type of body that one will have. A young body? A crippled body? A diseased body? What color skin? What kind of hair? Needing eyeglasses?

2. As a teenager, what did you like least about your body? Did you do anything to try to change it? As an adult, what do you fear about your changing body?

3. What three analogies does Paul use in discussing the nature of resurrection? (Verses 36-41)

A: Paul compares it to plant life (vv. 36-38), to fleshly beings such as animals, birds, and fish (vs 39), and to celestial bodies such as the stars and planets (vv. 40-41). His bottom line is that God gives everything a body as he has chosen.

4. What do these analogies teach you about your resurrected body? (vv. 42-44, 49)

A: It probably won’t be anything like your current physical body. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be a physical body, in fact, in verse 49 Paul says we will bear the likeness of Christ. More important, Paul says that God will take a perishable, dishonorable, weak, and sinful body—a natural body—and in the resurrection make it an imperishable, glorious, powerful body. A “spiritual body” does not mean a non-material body, but rather a radically different physical body. So we see that there is continuity, but also change.

5. Who is “the last Adam” in Verse 45? (John 3:13, 31, Philippians 3:20-21)

A: Christ
John 3:13 - No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

John 3:31 - The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.

Philippians 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

6. In Verses 45 to 49, Paul compares the natural body of Adam—and us—to the spiritual body of Christ—and to our resurrected bodies. What can we say about this spiritual body? (Matthew 28:9, Mark 16:9, 12, Luke 24:15-16, 36-37, 41-43, John 20:26)

A: We’ve already seen that it will be impreishable, glorious, honorable, and powerful (vv 42-44). It will be a body similar to Christ’s resurrected, glorified, physical body, probably with various powers that we can’t even contemplate. It will be a body suitable for living with God forever.

Matthew 28:9 - Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Mark 16:9, 12 - When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.

Luke 24:15-16 - As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

Luke 24:36-37 - While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.

Luke 24:41-43 - And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

John 20:26 - A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"

7. In Verses 51-52, Paul writes, “we will all be changed—in a flash.. .” Does he mean the moment of your death or some other time? (Matthew 24:31, Revelation 11:15, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 20:4-6)

A: “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” refers to the last trumpet call which will take place before Christ’s—and our—return to earth. In Revelation 20:5, this is also called “the first resurrection.”

Matthew 24:31 - And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Revelation 11:15 - The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

1 Thessalonians 4:16 - For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Revelation 20:4-6 - I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

8. Have you ever heard the words of Verses 51-54 in a well-known musical piece?

A: They are found in the bass recitative (res - i - ta - tive) of Handel’s Messiah.

9. Paul paraphrases Verse 55 from where? (Hosea 13:14)

A: Hosea 13:14, which says, “where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea is telling the people of Israel that God is angry at them for their broken relationship with God under Kings Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea. It’s not really a parallel situation, but it is a powerful quote.

10. Explain Verse 56.

A: The sting of death is sin. It was sin that brought us under death’s power—it was Adam’s sin that brought his death and ultimately ours. The power of sin is the law. The law of God gives sin its power, for it reveals our sin and condemns us because of our sin.

11. What motivates you to push on with the Christian life: A) the hope of resurrection, B) the fear of judgment, C) the knowledge that God will reward faithfulness, D) peer pressure, E) Something else. Explain your answer.

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