The Apostle 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 generous donations for the needy Saints living in Jerusalem.
Have you ever thought about how your life would be different if you did not believe in life after death? How might people choose to live if they did not believe they would live again after they died?
In 1 Corinthians 15:1–29 we learn that the Apostle Paul corrected the false belief of some Corinthian Saints that there would be no resurrection of the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:30–34 we read that Paul asked the Saints to consider why someone who believed in Jesus Christ would endure persecution and risk death if there were no resurrection. He also warned the Saints not to be deceived by the attitude of people who say, “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32), which expresses the false belief that we can do what we want because there is no life after death and, therefore, no divine judgment.
Since the Resurrection is a reality, why might accepting this attitude be dangerous?
As you study the remainder of 1 Corinthians 15, look for truths that can help you understand how having a knowledge of the Resurrection can influence your choices in mortality.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35, looking for questions people might have about the Resurrection.
In 1 Corinthians 15:36–38 we learn 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.
Consider how you would describe the difference between the amount of light the sun produces compared to the amount of light from the moon. How does the light of the moon compare with the light of the stars?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:39–42, looking for how Paul used the brightness of the sun, the moon, and the stars to explain the differences in resurrected bodies. Also read the Joseph Smith Translation of 1 Corinthians 15:40 (in 1 Corinthians 15:40, footnote a). In this context the word glory can refer to light, splendor, or brilliance. (Note that 1 Corinthians 15:40–42 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
One truth the Apostle Paul teaches in these verses is that there are different degrees of glory for resurrected bodies. In other words, some resurrected bodies will have much more brilliance and splendor than others.
Read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, looking for how the various glories of resurrected bodies will differ from each other. (When President Smith referred to “celestial bodies,” he meant those who obtain the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom [see D&C 131:1–4].)
“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], 2:286–87).
Notice that President Smith explained that the glory or body we receive in the Resurrection will determine the kingdom in which we will live.
The “powers of exaltation” President Smith referred to 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).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 88:21–22, looking for what we must do to receive a celestial body when we are resurrected. 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.
In your scripture study journal, write how knowing about the glory and blessings available only to resurrected beings in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom can affect the choices a person makes in mortality.
As recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:42–52, Paul further clarified what a resurrected body would be like. He referred to a mortal body as “natural” (verses 44, 46) and corruptible, and he referred to a resurrected body as “spiritual” (verses 44, 46) and “incorruptible” (verse 52).
Teach what you have learned about the differences between resurrected bodies to a family member or friend. Use this scripture mastery passage (1 Corinthians 15:40–42) as you teach. After you teach, ask the person you taught to share anything he or she might add to what you taught. Share your testimony of the Resurrection with the person you taught. In your scripture study journal, record what you learned from your experience.
Circle the following conditions that you would like to experience:
Read 1 Corinthians 15:53, looking for the doctrine Paul taught about the state of our bodies when we are resurrected.
From this verse we learn that we will be resurrected in an incorruptible and immortal state. Our resurrected bodies will be incorruptible, meaning they will never die or experience disease, sickness, or pain. This knowledge helps us understand that our worries about death can be “swallowed up” (1 Corinthians 15:54) in the hope of a glorious resurrection.
Think of a time when you or someone you know was stung by an insect. What do you think is the most painful kind of sting?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:54–55, looking for what Paul said no longer has a sting.
In what ways can physical death “sting,” or seem to be victorious over us?
How has the sting of physical death been “swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54) through Jesus Christ?
One truth we can learn from these verses is that physical death has no victory over us because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:56, looking for the sting that can still remain when we die.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:57–58, looking for what Paul taught can remove the sting of death.
Jesus Christ’s victory is His Atonement, through which He overcame both sin and physical death. According to verse 58, what did Paul invite his readers to do because of Jesus Christ’s victory over death?
One truth we can learn from 1 Corinthians 15:56–58 is 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.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What does it mean to be steadfast and immovable in living the gospel?
What role does repentance have in being steadfast and immovable?
In 1 Corinthians 15:30–58 we read the Apostle Paul’s teachings on the Resurrection and his argument against the philosophy of those who taught that there is no resurrection. They believed that we can do whatever we want because “tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32), and because they believed there was no resurrection, they believed there would be no judgment. In your scripture study journal, use what you have learned in this lesson to explain why this philosophy is false.
Consider what you will do to live more righteously so that the sting of your death can be removed and you can receive a glorious resurrection in the future. Write a goal regarding something you can do to be more steadfast and immovable in living the gospel. Consider sharing what you wrote with someone who you think would benefit from hearing your testimony.
In 1 Corinthians 16:1–24 we read that the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthian Saints to help care for the poor who were in Jerusalem, to “stand fast in the faith” (verse 13), and to do all things “with charity” (verse 14).
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Corinthians 15:30–16:24 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: