1 Corinthians 15–16: So We Preached & So You Believed

Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 16: Sunday

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel
which I preached to you,
which also you received,
in which also you stand,
by which also you are saved,
if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2

Today’s Bible reading 1 Corinthians 15–16. As Paul brings his letter to the church at Corinth to a close, he gives us a chapter of assurance, hope, and triumph, as he bears witness to the Gospel and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Pray and ask God to teach you and stir your heart in trust and gratitude to Him as you read these chapters.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
1 Corinthians 15:3–8

My children memorized 1 Corinthians 15:3–4 when they were little. I’ve heard passages from 1 Corin­thians 15 read on Easter Sunday and at funeral services. Paul lays out the Gospel and assures us of our hope in Christ—death is not the end, in Christ we will be made alive!

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:20–22

I also hear the trumpet of Handel’s Messiah as I read.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51–57

The chapter ends with Paul’s charge to us who belong to Jesus.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

The Therefore looks back to what he has just written: Death is swallowed up in victorythanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we can have courage and encouragement to be: steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Notice Paul gives us yet more encouragement at the end of the verse: knowing your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

In the chapter 16, Paul gives greetings and in addition to specific instructions to the church, this charge for us all.

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13–14

Look at the commands in 1 Corinthians 15:58 and 1 Corinthians 16:13–14. These are not once and done commands. The verb form in the Greek tells us they “are to be commitments to a long term way of doing something;” each is a “command to keep on doing an action as one’s general habit or life-style.”1

In gratitude with love for God, let us persevere.


Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Trumpet: PJ, background cropped by EWikist. GFDL-1.2-or-later (CC BY-SA 3.0). Click the photo to enlarge.
Video: Teddy Tahu Rhodes sings ‘The trumpet shall sound’ from Handel’s Messiah with Leanne Sullivan on baroque trumpet, the Orchestra of the Antipodes and conductor Antony Walker.
1Gary Hill, Gleason L. Archer, consulting ed. The Discovery Bible (Moody Press, Chicago:1987) 354–355, xvi.

*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.

Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter

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