1 Corinthians 15:1-28

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These small group studies of 1 Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

1 Corinthians 15:1-28 Inductive Bible Study and Discussion Questions

Outline:

  1. The central point of the gospel: Christ’s Resurrection (1-11)
  2. a)Paul had already shared this gospel with them before (1-2)
  3. b)Christ’s death and resurrection is the central theme to the gospel (3-4)
  4. c)Eyewitnesses prove His resurrection (5-7)
  5. d)Paul himself saw Christ (8)
  6. e)Paul considered himself to be least of the apostles (9)
  7. f)Paul worked even harder than the others (10)
  8. g)They all preached the same thing (11)
  9. Christ’s Resurrection is Tied to Ours: He is our Only Hope (12-19)
  10. a)Our Resurrection and Christ’s are linked (12-13)
  11. b)If Christ is not raised, preaching is a waste of time (14)
  12. c)If Christ is not raised, believing is useless (14)
  13. d)If Christ is not raised, all those who share about Him are liars (15)
  14. e)If Christ is not raised, neither will we be (16)
  15. f)If Christ is not raised, their faith is worthless (17)
  16. g)If Christ is not raised, we are still living in sin (18)
  17. h)If Christ is not raised, we are the most pitiful humans on earth (19)

III.              BUT, Christ is raised, and is the foundation of our hope (20-28)

  1. a)Christ is raised and is proof that believers will be too (20)
  2. b)Through one man death entered, and through one man death will be banished (21-22)
  3. c)Christ first, believers later (23)
  4. d)Jesus will reign in a physical kingdom and finally destroy death (24-26)
  5. e)Jesus will reign over everything, except the Father (27-28)

Discussion Questions-

What is the theme in this chapter? (Since Christ is raised, so will we be.)

What is Paul reminding them of in the first two verses?

What is the central point of the gospel?

What is left of the gospel without Christ’s resurrection?

List some of the reasons Paul gives why we can have confidence that Jesus really did arrive?

Based on the Bible, how many eye-witnesses are necessary to confirm something?

How many did Jesus have of His resurrection?

What are the implications for us of Jesus’ resurrection?

Why did Paul call himself the least of the apostles?

Because he was least, did he just give up trying to accomplish as much as the others?

What did all of the apostles have in common (the same gospel, verse 11)?

What is the resurrection of the dead?

What implications does it have for us?

What is the connection between the resurrection of the dead and the resurrection of Christ?

List all of the implications for us, if Christ did not raise from the dead?

Is Christianity worthwhile if all that is left is good morals?

Is it beneficial to have faith in Christ, if He did not rise from the dead?

Is it even a neutral thing where it doesn’t hurt?

What does it make us if Christ did not rise from the dead?

What important word can you find in verse 20? (But)

What does it mean “first fruits”?

How was Adam a type of Christ?

What “end” is referred to in verse 24?

What is referred to in verses 25-27?

When is the resurrection of the dead?

Cross-References

1 Corinthians 1:23-24, 1 Corinthians 2:2-7 – Paul preached Christ to them.

Galatians 1:6-10 – Be wary of a different gospel.

Luke 8:13, John 8:31-32, James 2:19 – It is possible to have a surface belief, but have no root, later reject it, and not really be saved.

Romans 4:25 – Delivered to die for our sins and raised for our justification.

1 Peter 2:24 – Took our sins in his own body on the tree.

Romans 6:4 – In baptism, we are also symbolically “buried with Him” as we identify with Him, die to our sins, and receive new life.

John 20:18-31 – Some recordings of Jesus’ appearing and His interaction with Thomas.

Acts 23:6-7, Acts 24:21 – Paul claimed to be on trial for the resurrection of the dead.

Daniel 12:2 – OT passage on the resurrection of the dead, some to life, some to eternal death.

Revelation 19:15 – Christ will rule with a rod of iron.

Revelation 20 – The millennium and final rebellion.

2 Timothy 1:10 – Christ has destroyed death.

Teaching Points: The importance of the resurrection for our faith and our future.

Evidently, the Corinthians had begun doubting the physical resurrection of believers. It wasn’t a popular belief at the time. Sadducees didn’t believe it and neither did most Greeks, who would have considered the idea abhorrent. Nonetheless it is a foundational teaching throughout the Bible and is directly connected to Christ’s resurrection. Without one, there is not the other.

  1. Verses 1-11

Here Paul is refreshing their memory and reminding of the gospel. It is not a new teaching. They have heard it before. But apparently they were wavering in their faith. See Galatians 1:6-10.

For us, we need to remember that belief in God is not a one-time thing where we can make a decision, raise our hand, or pray a prayer and be set for the rest of our lives. See Luke 8:13, John 8:31-32, James 2:19. We have to always be alert towards “false gospels” coming our way and not be seduced by them, no matter how attractive they sound or how energetic or visionary the teacher is. How can you prevent this? Know the truth. Always compare what you hear with the Word of God to see if it is correct or not.

3-11 – Do not be deceived. The gospel is Christ, the cross, and the resurrection. This is the core of the gospel and the core of our faith. Love, mercy, following God, forgiveness, etc. all sound great. But all of them are dependent on the resurrection. What is so important about the resurrection?

It proves that Jesus is the Son of God. It proves He has the power to take away our sins. And it proves that we too will be raised one day. Without it, Jesus was at best a good man with good intentions, and at worst He was a liar and hypocrite who purposely misled people.

What are the implications of the resurrection for us?

  1. We must believe it. It does us no good whatsoever if we take some morals or principles out of the Bible, but don’t believe in the resurrection. It does us no good if we go to church or study and feel good when we hear singing if we don’t believe the resurrection. Believing it is the most important decision we will ever make.
  2. Don’t water down the gospel when we share to unbelievers. Jesus’ resurrection was a physical one, not a spiritual one. It is not a symbol. It is not a parable. It is a fact. Don’t try to make the gospel easier to believe than it is. That won’t help anybody.

III.              Christ is alive. He is the king, the ruler. We must not only believe it, but we must submit our lives to the risen Christ.

  1. We have great hope for the future. Since Christ is risen, so will we be.
  2. We must live our lives, knowing that the life we have now is not the end for us. That means whatever we do has eternal significance and all of our actions are extremely important.
  3. It means that God’s Word is true. Jesus Himself said He would arise and He did. If He could pull that one off, He has the power to do everything He said. All prophesy and promises are true so we must believe them.

What are the evidences of Christ’s resurrection?

  1. The rapid growth of the church (1-2)
  2. The Scriptures (3-4)

III.  Eye-witnesses (5-7)

  1. The apostles’ affirmation (8)
  2. The empty tomb
  3. The paid soldiers

VII.  The dramatic life-change of the disciples

VIII.  The disciples’ martyrdom

What are the evidences against the resurrection?

  1. Only the assumption that miracles are impossible and God doesn’t exist.

9-10 Paul was the last of the apostles and considered himself to be the least of them. However, he didn’t use this as an excuse to sit around and do nothing. He once persecuted Christ. But He didn’t live in self-pity and depression over his past wrongs. Once he believed, he diligently worked the rest of his life to promote the truth. Just like we learned in 1 Corinthians 12, even if you think your gifting is less than others, you still have a role and need to work at it.

12-19 These verses teach us what situation Christians would be in if Christ did not raise from the dead. I’ve heard a lot of times from many people that faith is good. Religion is good. Belief is good. People say this irrespective of what belief it is. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe it. Islam is OK. Hindu is OK. Buddha is OK. Christianity is OK. It’s all the same. It will give you peace and comfort and meaning to live. This is often used as a cop-out by those who don’t really want to exam the claims of a belief. You have your belief. I have mine. It’s all equal. This is also the same as universalism, which teaches that there are many roads to heaven, you just need to be sincere.

Paul crushes this idea to the ground and hopefully helps us realize that believing in Christ is a serious matter. It affects every area of our life. It is not just a whim we can embrace for the sake of feeling better about ourselves. What is the situation of Christians if Jesus did not arise from the dead?

  1. If Christ is not raised, preaching is a waste of time (14)
  2. If Christ is not raised, believing is useless (14)
  3. If Christ is not raised, all those who share about Him are liars (15)
  4. If Christ is not raised, neither will we be (16)
  5. If Christ is not raised, their faith is worthless (17)
  6. If Christ is not raised, we are still living in sin (18)
  7. If Christ is not raised, we are the most pitiful humans on earth (19)

If Christ did not raise from the dead, is this a good thing? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the most pitiful human on earth. If Christ didn’t raise, I waste every Sunday, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, most Wednesday afternoons, most mornings when I read the Word and listen to sermons, the money I have given to the church, etc. etc. It is a huge waste. If it is not true, I can live my life merrily and care-free, having a good time and partying to my heart’s content. All of us need to ask ourselves if we really believe in the resurrection. If you believe it, live out God’s Word in your lives. If you don’t, do not deceive yourself into thinking you are OK.

If Jesus did not arise from the dead, that is bad bad news for all of us. However, the next word is pretty important.

20-28 BUT. That one word is very reassuring. Jesus did in fact arise from the dead. He is in fact the Son of God. He is in fact proof that all believers will one day be resurrected. When will this resurrection occur? Actually there will be at least three resurrections.

  1. For believers from the church period at the rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
  2. Believers from OT and tribulation before the millennium. Daniel 12:2
  3. For all unbelievers after the millennium at the great white throne before the final state. Revelation 20:11-15

In fact, every person will be raised. But our faith or lack thereof now will affect which resurrection we will take part in. Christ was the first and the proof of what was coming after. This is very reassuring for us. Death is not the end. This world is not all there is. One day our sin will be gone. One day death will be gone. Pain and sickness and war and strife will all be gone. Our imperfect bodies with diseases and bad health will be gone. We will have perfect bodies and be in perfect paradise in the presence of our perfect Lord forever! If you want this, hold fast, stand firm.

Discuss the millennium with cross-references.

Main Points: Each has a negative and a positive.

  1. Don’t be a “wishy-washy” Sunday Christian who enjoys the music or good feelings when he goes to church. Don’t just pick out the parts/morals you like out of the Bible and disregard the other things in it. Believe in Christ and His resurrection from the core of your being and let this guide your life.
  2. Don’t candy-coat the gospel and try to make it easier to accept than it really is. Tell it like it is without glossing over the miraculous elements.
  3. Don’t pity yourself as a poor persecuted Christian who has to make sacrifices with seemingly no end in sight. Instead rejoice in the future hope that you have. Remember that this life is not the end. All of those sacrifices will one day be rewarded. We have eternal life and will one day be raised forever with a perfect body into paradise. That will wipe out all the memories of the difficulties and persecutions you faced and will make it all worthwhile.
Study 1 Corinthians 15:29-58

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