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

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ 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 brothers at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep. After that, He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
For I am the least of the apostles, and not worthy 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 toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1 Corinthians 15:3–11 LSB

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 have fallen asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20–22 LSB

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 incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on the incorruptible, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible puts on the incorruptible, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the word that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” Now 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 LSB

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

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

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

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 Once more Paul underscores the centrality of love to the Corinthians, Let all that you do be done in love.

Beset as they are with problems, the Corinthian believers are his beloved children, Paul closes his letter with a prayer of blessing, and a reminder of his own love for them.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
1 Corinthians 16:23–24 LSB

In gratitude with love for God, let us take to heart Paul’s words and persevere.

Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
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.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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