by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

The Resurrection (10 of 10)
Series: Beautiful Mess
Joe Alain
1 Corinthians 15:1-19


1. The Facts of the Resurrection (15:1-11)
2. The Importance of the Resurrection (15:12-19)


The Greeks had a vague conception of the continuing existence of the soul after death. But they had no conception of the resurrection of the body, an idea that was repugnant to Greek philosophers. When Paul delivered his sermon at Mar’s Hill in Athens he found no trouble until the subject of the resurrection came up. ''And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter'' (Acts 17:32).

The same skepticism prevailed in Corinth and even in the church there was much confusion about the doctrine of the resurrection. Keep in mind that the Corinthians were Greeks and were influenced by certain Greek philosophies, especially the view which became known in the broad sense as ''Gnosticism.''

Defined: Gnostics believed that knowledge was the way to salvation. They accepted the Greek idea of a radical dualism between God (spirit) and the world (matter). For them material was evil and spirit was good. This thinking led to two errors (false teachings) and two extremes:

(1) Extreme Indulgence. Eat, drink, and be merry. Since I am a spirit being it does not matter what I do with my body. In fact, if my excess kills my body, that will be good because my spirit will be released from the prison of the body.

(2) Extreme Asceticism. Since my body is evil, I have to deny myself and every bodily pleasure.

Some in the church doubted the resurrection while others downplayed its significance. These problems were reported to Paul and he responded with perhaps the greatest treatise on the subject of the resurrection in the Bible, here in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

Upon two events all Christian doctrine is built, the crucifixion and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The RSV reads in vers ...

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