1 Corinthians 15:15 We are even found being false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.

Paul continues to show both the positive value of the Corinthians’ faith in Jesus’ resurrection and the futility of believing that there is no bodily resurrection. Paul is building in this verse on his relationship with the church. He was the founder of it and had a special authority over it as an apostle. Although it appears that the Corinthians challenged this authority (see ch. 4), they must have recognized it to some degree in that they–or at least some of them–sent Paul a letter and sought advice about their situation, which is what prompted Paul to write this letter. Paul attempts to steer them away from their false assumptions while at the same time reminding them of the core doctrines by building on his relationship with them. They need to make a decision about whether or not Paul has been a true witness from God. If Paul’s words are true, then they will need to change their thinking about resurrection.

Paul will use many methods in this chapter to get them to agree with his interpretation. In this verse, he attaches his teaching to God. God is Paul’s witness of the validity of the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Paul next needs to make the logical connection between Jesus’ resurrection and the resurrection of people. The logic in this verse is simple: Paul’s witness of Jesus’ resurrection is true (verified by over 500 other people), therefore, God raises people from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection was not a one time special situation but is the promised paradigm for all who put their faith in him. The opposite logic would be true if the first part is true: if Jesus was not raised, then no one else will be raised. However, Paul is doing his best to prove that the first statement is false, invalidating the second part. This doctrine of resurrection is not peripheral to Christian faith but at the core of it. It was the topic of the earliest Christian preaching recorded in Acts.

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