Unit 23, Day 1: 1 Corinthians 15:1–29

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

The Apostle Paul learned that some of the Church members in Corinth were teaching that there was no Resurrection of the dead. He testified that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and explained what the Resurrection means for all of Heavenly Father’s children.

1 Corinthians 15:1–10

Paul gives evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

President Thomas S. Monson

Read the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson: “My brothers and sisters, we laugh, we cry, we work, we play, we love, we live. And then we die. Death is our universal heritage. All must pass its portals. Death claims the aged, the weary and worn. It visits the youth in the bloom of hope and the glory of expectation. Nor are little children kept beyond its grasp. In the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘It is appointed unto men once to die’ [Hebrews 9:27]” (“I Know That My Redeemer Lives!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 24).

Reflect on thoughts or feelings you have experienced when someone you know died.

As you study 1 Corinthians 15:1–29, look for principles that can help you when someone you know dies.

As the Apostle Paul concluded his epistle to the Saints in Corinth, he addressed a false belief that had been taught by some Church members. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12, looking for what false belief had been taught.

Why do you think Paul was concerned about this false belief? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read 1 Corinthians 15:3–8, looking for what Paul wrote to help Church members understand the reality of the Savior’s Resurrection. (Note that Cephas is another name for the Apostle Peter.)

We can learn from these verses that Apostles testify that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead. (You may want to mark or note this truth in your scriptures.)

President Thomas S. Monson

President Monson shared the following testimony: “With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. ‘Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”’ [“I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” Hymns, no. 136]. May the whole world know it and live by that knowledge” (“I Know That My Redeemer Lives!” 25).

Ponder how the Apostles’ testimonies of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection have helped strengthen your faith in the Savior and His Resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:11–29

Paul expounds the doctrine of the Resurrection

As recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:11–15, the Apostle Paul questioned why the Corinthian Saints had begun to doubt the reality of the Resurrection. He reasoned that if there was not a Resurrection of the dead, then Jesus Christ was not resurrected. And if Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, then all the witnesses of His Resurrection were false and there would be no purpose in preaching the gospel.

Prophet Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 49; appendages are additions to something or parts that are joined to something larger).

  1. journal icon1.

    Copy the accompanying chart in your scripture study journal. Then read the scripture passages referenced in the left column of the chart, looking for how you would complete the corresponding sentences in the right column. Then complete the sentences in your scripture study journal.

    Note that the word firstfruits in 1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to the first crop that is harvested by a farmer. Just as these fruits of the harvest are the first of many to be harvested, Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected. (Note that 1 Corinthians 15:20–22 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)

    1 Corinthians 15:16–19

    If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then …

    1 Corinthians 15:20–22

    Since Jesus did rise from the dead, then …

Refer to Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” One truth we can learn from Paul’s testimony in verses 20–22 is that because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can have hope.

  1. journal icon2.

    In your scripture study journal, write how the Resurrection of Jesus Christ can bring hope to you when someone you know dies or when you are fearful about your own eventual death.

  2. journal icon3.

    Respond to one or both of the following assignments in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Write your testimony of the reality of the Resurrection and its importance in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. Consider sharing your testimony of the Resurrection with another person.

    2. b.

      Ask a parent, friend, or Church leader to share with you his or her testimony of the Resurrection. Write about what you learned and felt as you listened to that testimony.

As recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:23–24, Paul taught that there will be an order to the Resurrection. Jesus Christ rose first, and His faithful followers will rise next. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that these faithful followers will inherit celestial glory (see D&C 76:50–70; 88:97–98). Those who are not valiant in their testimony of Jesus Christ and those who are wicked will be resurrected later (see D&C 76:71–86; 88:99–101). Paul also taught that at “the end” (during the Millennium), Jesus Christ will “[deliver] up the kingdom” to Heavenly Father after ending all forms of earthly (or worldly) “authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24).

Read 1 Corinthians 15:25–26, looking for what Paul taught will happen to Jesus Christ’s enemies during the Millennium.

Note the last enemy that Jesus Christ will destroy. Why could death be considered an enemy to Jesus Christ and to Heavenly Father’s plan? (See Moses 1:39.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read 1 Corinthians 15:29, looking for the ordinance the Corinthian Saints had been performing.

In your own words, summarize what Paul asked the Saints concerning their participation in baptisms for the dead: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Payson Utah Temple

Payson Utah Temple

One truth we learn from 1 Corinthians 15:29 is that those who have died without baptism may receive this essential ordinance.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that temples stand as a symbol of our belief in the Resurrection: “Every temple, be it large or small, old or new, is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and certain as is mortality. There would be no need for temples if the human spirit and soul were not eternal. Every ordinance performed in these sacred houses is everlasting in its consequences” (“This Peaceful House of God,” Ensign, May 1993, 74).

If you live near a temple, think about a time when you performed baptisms for the dead or prepared names of your ancestors to take to the temple. What feelings did you have as you prepared names or performed work for them in the temple? If you do not live near a temple, consider what you could do to assist in the work of salvation for the dead.

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What can you do to participate more fully in family history and temple work, and how do you think your participation can help strengthen your testimony of the Resurrection?

On a piece of paper, write a personal goal regarding how you can better participate in family history and temple work. Put the paper in a place where it will remind you to work on your goal.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery—1 Corinthians 15:20–22

  1. journal icon5.

    Memorizing this scripture mastery passage (1 Corinthians 15:20–22) will help you have the words and understanding to help you teach the doctrine of the Resurrection to others. Spend a few moments memorizing verse 22, and then recite it without looking at your scriptures. Do the same with verse 21, reciting verses 21–22; and then verse 20, reciting all three of the verses in order. Finally, try writing the whole scripture mastery passage from memory in your scripture study journal.

  2. journal icon6.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied 1 Corinthians 15:1–29 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: