Study Sheet for I Corinthians 15:1-11 (click here for Study Notes)
Now, brothers, 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: 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 Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers 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. 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. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. (NIV)
Paul summarizes his history with the Corinthians and refreshes their memories about how he became Christ's apostle.
1. What is the gospel Paul preached to them as mentioned in v. 1? (Romans 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; 2:8; Acts 2:22-24; 17:18; 29-31; 18:4; Gal. 1:6-9)
2. "By this gospel you are saved," Paul says in v. 2, "if you hold firmly to the word I preachedOtherwise, you have believed in vain." Is Paul suggesting one can lose salvation by not holding firm? (see Romans 11:22,23; Col. 1:22,23; Hebrews 3:6, 12-15; John 15:1-6; Hebrews 6:19; 2 Peter 3:17; Matt. 13:3-9; 24-29; John 10:28; Acts 16:31; 1 Cor. 1:21)
3. What did Paul "receive", and from whom? (Isaiah 40:9; Gal. 1:12; I Cor. 2:10; 11:2)
"Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures" Paul proclaims. (v. 3)
1. Why is Christ's death of central importance? (see Gal. 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 9:22; Romans 3:22-26; 5:6-9; Eph. 1:7)
2. What are the "Scriptures" Paul mentions? (Is. 53:5; Matt. 26:24; Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 26:22-23)
3. Why is it important that Christ's death was "according to Scriptures"?
"he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," Paul continues.
1. Why is the fact of Jesus' burial significant? (see Matt. 27:66; Mark 16:4; Acts 13:29)
2. If Jesus' death "paid" for the problem of sin, why is his resurrection so significant? (see John 2:22; 11:25; Acts 2:24; Romans 1:4: 5:10; 6:5, 8; 8:11; I Cor. 15:13-15; Hebrews 7:23-25; 1 Peter 3:21-22)
Paul lists individuals and groups of people to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection.
1. Why does Paul attach such significance to the fact that Jesus appeared to so many people after his resurrection? (see Matt. 28:8-10; Mark 16:7, 14; Luke 24:13-49; Acts 1:3,4; 6-11)
2. Who was James in v. 7, how did he change, and what significant position did he eventually hold? (Matt. 13:55; Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12; John 7:5; Acts 1:13,14; 12:17; 15:13; 21:17; James 1:1)
3. Why do you think God called Paul even though he was not one of the original apostles? (see Acts 9:3-9; 10-17; Gal. 1:16; 2:7,8; I Cor. 9:1,2; 13-17; I Tim. 1:12-14; Romans 15:15,16)
4. What similarities and differences can you see between James and Paul?
Paul inserts a personal disclaimer and restates that God called him and changed him, commissioning him to preach.
1. Paul frequently compared himself unfavorably with other Christ-followers and apostles. Do you think this self-deprecation was somehow self-serving? Why or why not? (see 2 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 3:8; I Tim. 1:15; Acts 8:3)
2. What did Paul discover? (Romans 3:24; 12:3 2 Cor. 11:23; Col. 1:29; Phil. 2:13)
3. Pre-conversion Paul (Greek name that corresponded to the Hebrew word Saul) was energetic and goal-oriented. So was post-conversion Paul. Besides being different in outcome, how were these two parts of Paul's life different? (Romans 15:15-22; Phil. 3:4-11; 2 Cor. 11:3-18; 12:7-10; 2 Thes. 3:16; Romans 15:32-33)
As Christ-followers we are called to live exclusively for Jesus.
1. What person(s) have you seen transformed by grace, and how has grace changed them?
2. In what way(s) has/have a born-again believer(s) ministered to you?
3. Are there ways in which being in the presence of Spirit-filled Christ-followers makes you uncomfortable?
4. Do you feel ambivalent about certain areas of your life? What are they, and what questions or convictions are you struggling with?
1. What dream or goal do you have that you have not surrendered to Jesus? Why?
2. What outcome do you suspect/fear if you surrendered that dream or goal to Him?
3. In what areas of your life do you not feel peace?
4. Ask God to glorify himself in your life. Ask him to reveal to you
what you need to submit to him and to make you willing to receive his peace
and grace in the place where you have been clinging to your particular dream(s).
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised August 22, 2000.