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The Resurrection of Christ October 7, 2011

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.

Summary: Paul begins by proclaiming the Gospel to the Corinthians; he notes that:

  • he has already preached it to them
  • they have already received it from him
  • they have already professed it.

Now by the Gospel they are not under condemnation – provided that they persevere in their faith and hold to the Gospel itself; otherwise their faith is worthless. They should hold to the Gospel because Christ has already revealed the following facts to Paul concerning it:

  • most importantly, Christ was sacrificed for their sins, as revealed in the Old Testament
  • then, He was buried and rose again on the third day, and the Old Testament predicted these events
  • next, He appeared to Peter, and then to the Eleven and their companions
  • after that, He appeared to more than five hundred believers at once; most of them were still alive at the time of the writing of this letter
  • then, He appeared to James – His brother – and to the Twelve
  • finally, He appeared to Paul, who had a rather low opinion of himself.

Indeed, Paul considers himself to be the most unworthy apostle, and he cannot consider himself worthy to be called an apostle – since he formerly persecuted believers. Yet the Holy Spirit has changed him for the better and has enabled him to work harder than all of the other apostles combined. Paul concludes by returning to his main point, asserting that all of the apostles preach the above-mentioned facts concerning Christ’s death and resurrection – and the Corinthians have already accepted these facts.

Thoughts: In verse 6, Paul asserts that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred believers at once after His resurrection. Hodge offers some insights on this point:

There is no distinct record of this event in the Gospels. It may have taken place on the occasion when Christ met his disciples in Galilee…Others think that this appearance took place at Jerusalem, where in addition to the 120 who constituted the nucleus of the church in the holy city, there were probably many disciples gathered from all parts of Judea for the Passover.

Although the details of this event cannot be found in the Scriptures – as Hodge notes above – the fact that Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote this passage lends credence to its historicity. Moreover, most secular historians concur that a large number of believers claimed to have seen Jesus after His resurrection – of course, people continue to question the veracity of their stories. Since Paul notes that many of these believers were still alive at the time of the writing of this letter, perhaps the Corinthians could have interviewed them to resolve any doubts that they still entertained regarding the resurrection.

In verse 10, Paul notes that he worked more than all of the other apostles combined. Hodge offers some thoughts on this seemingly outrageous statement:

It serves more to exalt the grace of God, to which Paul attributes everything good; and it is historically true, if the New Testament record is to be our guide.

The second part of Hodge’s quote helped me come to terms with Paul’s assertion. Indeed, Paul is generally regarded as having written thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, including Romans – arguably the high point of the entire Bible. It is amazing how God was able to take Paul’s zeal for persecution and mold it into a fire for spreading the Gospel, enabling him to make an impact in diverse locales including Rome, Thessalonica and Ephesus.

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