Lesson 112: 1 Corinthians 15:30–16:24

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

Paul continued to teach the Saints in Corinth about the Resurrection. He rejoiced in Jesus Christ’s victory over death. Paul also encouraged Church members in Corinth to give donations for the poor Saints in Jerusalem.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Corinthians 15:30–52

Paul teaches about the Resurrection

Before class, write the following question on the board: How might people choose to live if they didn’t believe they would live again after they died?

At the beginning of class, invite students to respond to the question written on the board.

Summarize 1 Corinthians 15:30–34 by explaining that Paul asked the Corinthian Saints (some of whom incorrectly believed that there would be no resurrection) to consider why someone who believed in Jesus Christ would endure persecution and risk death if there were no resurrection of the dead.

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:32 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what attitude Paul suggested some people might have if there were no resurrection of the dead.

  • According to verse 32, what attitude did Paul suggest some people might have if they did not believe in the Resurrection?

  • Since the Resurrection is a reality, why might this attitude be dangerous to adopt?

Invite students to look for truths as they study the remainder of 1 Corinthians 15 that can help them understand how having a knowledge of the Resurrection can influence their choices in mortality. (Note: As truths are identified, write them on the board.)

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:35 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for questions people might have about the Resurrection. Invite students to report what they find.

Summarize 1 Corinthians 15:36–38 by explaining that Paul helped answer these questions by using a seed to represent the mortal body, which after death and burial in the ground will come forth in the Resurrection.

Display (or draw on the board) pictures of the sun, the moon, and some stars.

drawing, sun, moon, stars
  • From our perspective here on earth, how does the light of the sun compare with the light of the moon?

  • How does the light of the moon compare with the light of the stars?

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:39–42 aloud. Make sure he or she also reads the Joseph Smith Translation of 1 Corinthians 15:40, located in footnote a. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Paul used the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars to explain the differences in resurrected bodies. Explain that in this context the word glory can refer to light, splendor, or brilliance.

  • What did Paul compare to the glory of the sun, moon, and stars? (The glory of resurrected bodies.)

  • What can these differences in light or glory teach us about resurrected bodies? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following doctrine: There are different degrees of glory for resurrected bodies.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith. Ask the class to listen for how the various glories of resurrected bodies will differ from each other. Before the student reads, explain that when President Smith referred to “celestial bodies,” he meant those who obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 131:1–4).

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“In the resurrection there will be different kinds of bodies; they will not all be alike. The body a man receives will determine his place hereafter. There will be celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, and telestial bodies. …

“… Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase. These bodies will shine like the sun as our Savior’s does. … Those who enter the terrestrial kingdom will have terrestrial bodies, and they will not shine like the sun, but they will be more glorious than the bodies of those who receive the telestial glory” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:286, 287).

  • How will the various glories of resurrected bodies differ from each other?

Label the drawing of the sun on the board with the word Celestial, the moon with Terrestrial, and the stars with Telestial. Under each of the drawings or pictures, draw a simple depiction of a body, with the celestial body appearing to have more glory than the terrestrial and the terrestrial appearing to have more glory than the telestial.

drawing, sun, moon, stars, stick figures
  • According to President Smith, what will the body or glory a person receives in the Resurrection determine?

  • According to President Smith, what will those who receive celestial bodies in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom receive as part of their glory that those with non-celestial bodies will not? (Write Powers of exaltation and eternal increase under the drawing of the celestial body.)

Explain that the “powers of exaltation” include the ability to live the kind of life God lives and “eternal increase” is the ability to continue having children in the eternities. These blessings are available only to those who are exalted in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 131:1–4; 132:19–20).

To help students understand what we must do to receive a celestial body in the Resurrection, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:21–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we must do to receive a celestial body.

  • What must we do to receive a celestial body? (Explain that to “abide the law of [the] celestial kingdom” [verse 22] means to receive all of the ordinances and to make and keep all of the covenants necessary to enter the celestial kingdom.)

  • How can knowing about the glory and blessings available only to resurrected beings in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom affect a person’s choices in mortality?

Summarize 1 Corinthians 15:42–52 by explaining that Paul further clarified what a resurrected body would be like. He referred to a mortal body as “natural” (verses 44, 46) and corruptible and to a resurrected body as “spiritual” (verses 44, 46) and “incorruptible” (verse 52), meaning immortal or not subject to death.

1 Corinthians 15:53–58

Paul rejoices in Jesus Christ’s victory over death

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:53 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the doctrine Paul taught about the state of our bodies when we are resurrected.

  • According to verse 53, what will be the state of our bodies after the Resurrection? (Students should identify a doctrine similar to the following: We will be resurrected in an incorruptible and immortal state.)

  • In what ways will our resurrected bodies be incorruptible? (They will no longer be subject to decay or death.)

  • How might knowing that each of us will have our resurrected body and experience its corresponding degree of glory for eternity influence the decisions we make in mortality?

To prepare students to study the remainder of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, invite them to raise their hands if they have ever been stung by an insect.

  • How would you describe the experience of being stung?

Invite students to read 1 Corinthians 15:54–55 silently, looking for what Paul said no longer has a sting.

  • What did Paul say no longer has a sting? (Physical death.)

  • In what ways can physical death “sting” (verse 55), or seem to be victorious over us?

  • How has physical death been “swallowed up in victory” through Jesus Christ (verse 54)?

  • What truth can we learn from Paul’s teachings about why physical death no longer has a permanent sting or any victory over us? (Make sure that students identify a truth similar to the following: Physical death has no victory over us, because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.)

Explain that although the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has removed the sting that comes from physical death, there is another sting in death that can still remain. Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:56 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the sting that can still remain when we die.

  • What sting can still remain when we die?

Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 15:57–58 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught can remove the sting of death that comes from sin.

  • What did Paul teach can remove the sting of death that comes from sin?

  • According to verse 58, what did Paul invite his readers to do because of Jesus Christ’s victory over death?

  • What principle can we identify from verses 56–58 about what we need to do to avoid the sting of death that comes from sin? (Help students identify a principle similar to the following: If we are steadfast and immovable in living the gospel, the sting of death that comes from sin is removed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

  • What does it mean to be steadfast and immovable in living the gospel?

  • What role does repentance have in being steadfast and immovable?

To help students feel the importance of the truths they have learned, refer to the truths listed on the board and invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals their responses to the following question: What truths about the Resurrection have you learned that can help you want to live righteously? After sufficient time, invite a few students to share with the class what they wrote.

Invite students to set a goal regarding something they can do today to be more steadfast and immovable in living the gospel.

1 Corinthians 16

Paul organizes a collection for the poor living in Jerusalem

Summarize 1 Corinthians 16:1–24 by explaining that Paul instructed the Corinthian Saints to help care for the poor in Jerusalem, “stand fast in the faith” (verse 13), and do all things “with charity” (verse 14).

Testify of the truths students have identified in this lesson.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery—1 Corinthians 15:40–42

Invite two students to come to the front of the class with their scriptures. Ask them to pretend that you are an investigator and they are missionary companions teaching you about the plan of salvation. Ask them to explain what they know about death and the Resurrection, using both of the scripture mastery passages in 1 Corinthians 15 and any others that may be helpful. Ask the class to share anything else they might want to explain about death and the Resurrection to an investigator.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Corinthians 15:44–46. “It is raised a spiritual body”

President Howard W. Hunter taught the following about resurrected bodies:

“There is a separation of the spirit and the body at the time of death. The resurrection will again unite the spirit with the body, and the body becomes a spiritual body, one of flesh and bones but quickened by the spirit instead of blood. Thus, our bodies after the resurrection, quickened by the spirit, shall become immortal and never die. This is the meaning of the statements of Paul that ‘there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body’ and ‘that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ The natural body is flesh and blood, but quickened by the spirit instead of blood, it can and will enter the kingdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 138).

1 Corinthians 15:45, 49–53. “The first man Adam” and “the last Adam”

“Adam, ‘the first man’ (1 Corinthians 15:45; D&C 84:16), was the first to receive a physical body. Jesus Christ, ‘the last Adam’ or ‘second man’ (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47), was the first to be quickened (resurrected) and receive a glorified body (see John 5:21; D&C 88:17). The actions of Adam (with the Fall) and Jesus Christ (with the Atonement and Resurrection) were both necessary for our salvation (see the commentary for Romans 5:12–21)” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 388).

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following:

“An infinite atonement was required to redeem Adam, Eve, and all of their posterity. That atonement must enable our physical bodies to be resurrected and changed [see 1 Corinthians 15:51–53; 3 Nephi 28:8] to a bloodless form, no longer liable to disease, deterioration, or death” (“Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34).

1 Corinthians 15:51–52. “In the twinkling of an eye”

In 1 Corinthians 15:51 we read that Paul said he would show the Corinthian Saints a mystery related to the Resurrection. Years earlier, while writing to the Saints in Thessalonica, Paul had taught that when the Resurrection of the dead occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, all of the faithful then living on earth will be “caught up … to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Paul added another detail to his description of events related to the Second Coming that is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:52. Paul taught that those who are alive when Jesus Christ returns will continue to live mortal lives but will not “sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:51) in the grave when they die during the Millennium. Instead, they will be resurrected quickly, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). (See also D&C 63:50–51.)

1 Corinthians 15:55. “O death, where is thy sting?”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ can help remove the sting of physical death and suffering:

“The gift of immortality to all mankind through the reality of the Resurrection is so powerful a promise that our rejoicing in these great and generous gifts should drown out any sorrow, assuage any grief, conquer any mood, dissolve any despair, and tame any tragedy” (“All Hell Is Moved” [Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 8, 1977], 7, speeches.byu.edu).

President Ezra Taft Benson testified of the reality of the Resurrection and our need to prepare for it:

“The literal resurrection of every soul who has lived and died on earth is a certainty, and surely one should make careful preparation for this event. A glorious resurrection should be the goal of every man and woman, for resurrection will be a reality” (“The Meaning of Easter,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 2).