Study Sheet for I Corinthians 15:35-58 (click here for Study Notes)
But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own bod6y. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being", the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)
Paul attempts to describe the phenomenon of the resurrection by using seed planting and animate and inanimate creation as analogies.
1. Why do you think Paul refers to people who question the nature of the resurrection body as "foolish"? (see Ezekiel 37:3; John 12:24; Luke 11:49; 12:20)
2. What is Paul's point about each created thing having a unique body, including the sun and the moon?
3. What comparison and metaphor does Paul use when he says, "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead," and what is his point? (see Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43)
4. When Paul compares the death and resurrection of the body with the planting and sprouting of a seed, what is he suggesting about the body? (verse 37; 42-44)
Paul takes great pains to explain that the resurrection body is "spiritual" unlike our "natural" bodies now.
1. What does it mean that our new bodies will be "imperishable" and glorious? (see v. 50, 53, 54; Philippians 3:21; Col. 3:4; Romans 8:29)
2. If our resurrection bodies will be substantially different from our current bodies, what ensures that the resurrected people will really be "us" and not simply clones or new creations? (1 Thess. 4:14; Phil. 1:22-24; Romans 8:35; John 11:26; 2 Peter 1:13,14)
3. What is the difference between a "natural" and a "spiritual" body?
Paul develops a comparison between Adam and Jesus.
1. How is Adam a prototype of Jesus when Adam introduced sin into the world, and Jesus brought sinlessness? (see verse 22; Romans 5:14)
2. Paul states that Adam "became a living being", but Jesus, the last Adam, was "a life-giving spirit." Compare and contrast these two descriptions. (see Gen. 2:7; Is. 42:5; Acts 17:25; Job 12:10; Job 32:8; Ezekiel 37:5; John 5:21; 6:57, 58; 11:25; Romans 4:17; Romans 8:11; 2 Cor. 1:9)
3. "The first man was of the dust of the earth," Paul continues; "the second man from heaven." If we bear "the likeness of the earthly man," how will we then bear "the likeness of the man from heaven"? (see Gen. 5:3; Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Philippians 3:20, 21; 1 John 3:2)
4. We are both the sons and daughters of Adam and the sons and daughters of God. What implications does this dual heritage have for us?
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," Paul asserts.
1. What is the kingdom of God? (see Matthew 3:2; 5:3, 10, 19; 11:12; 12:28; 19:14; 21:31; 25:34)
2. What does Paul mean when he say "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and why can't it? (see Eph. 6:12; Heb. 2:14)
3. If the kingdom of heaven has already come, how are we to inherit it while we're still in our flesh and blood?
Both the living and the dead "will all be changed""at the last trumpet".
1. What is the "last trumpet"? (see Matthew 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 8:2; 10:7; 11:15)
2. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (v. 26) What actually will happen when "death has been swallowed up in victory"? (see Is. 25:8; Hebrews 2:14; Rev. 20:14; Romans 5:12; 6:23)
3. "The sting of death is sin," Paul says, "and the power of sin is the law." Over what, then, does he thank God for giving us the victory? (see v. 54-55; 56; Romans 4:25; 8:36,37; Hebrews 2:14,15)
4. After this discussion of the resurrection, Paul ends with, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm" in the "work of the Lord". "Therefore" ties the previous discussion to his admonition to stay firm. How is our work for the Lord related to the discussion of the resurrection?
1. What has frightened you most about death?
2. What hope or reassurance to you find in the Bible's teaching of the resurrection?
3. Do you think of death differently now, and if so, how?
1. What fear do you still carry concerning death, either for yourself or for loved ones?
2. Whom do you love that you need to release to Jesus, letting go of your fear of losing them or of your fear of what will happen in the event of death?
3. What relationship do you need to bring before God, asking him to heal it and to bring peace and resolution between you?
4. Praise God for his promises, and ask him to fill your heart with peace,
hope, and confidence for the future he has planned for you.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised October 8, 2000.