1 Corinthians 15, continues to be a battleground of eschatological turf. The major issues here are whether the text focuses on physical or sin-death, and whether it is about a past or future event. What one decides about the chapter depends largely upon the first step to interpreting it. Hence we ask, “Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, Where Did You Start?
For many, this is not even a question to be entertained. The answer seems so logical to them that they would not even ask the question. In other words, it is to them a foregone conclusion that the apostles is and can only be referring to physical bodies rising from biological death. Why would anyone think otherwise?
This is where study and exegesis (interpretation) comes into play. Why would anyone suggest that the text teaches something different? We say, it all begins with the starting point. Do we start with an assumption or long held tradition or do we start where Paul started? Where did he start? With the Old Testament Scriptures. Yes, I know it is a novel idea, but bear with me for a moment.
Paul’s Gospel Is Based On the Old Testament
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3)
Now, this being the major premise of Paul’s discussion on the resurrection, it mertis that we spend some time understanding his point of origin so we don’t get lost along the way to our destination. Paul quotes a text very well known to his audience. The key reference is Christ’s resurrection on the third day. This would take us back to Hosea, chapter 6. An analysis of that text leaves us without doubt of the nature of Paul’s arguments on the resurrection.
It is sometimes necessary to begin the context of a chapter at places other then the arbitary chapter divisions. While we will focus on Hosea 6, we benefit greatly by reading the last few verses of chapter 5. Ephraim, (the ten tribes of the northern kingdom) were “wounded” because of idolatry (sin) and carried into Assyrian capitivity. They wanted deliverance, sought it through King Jareb, but he could not heal them of their captive wound. (5:13).
The reason was because God would be as a lion to them and tear their flesh. Likewise he would do the same to Judah, sending them into Babylonian captivity and also for sin and idolatry. They would remain their until they acknowledged or confessed their “offense” i.e. their sins. At that time, they would seek God whose face was hidden from them (Isaiah 59:1-2). These verses contain very strong clues to Paul’s analysis of 1 Corinthians 15. See more on this in our next post.
Need more clarity on the last days’ studies. Many comment on how this little book has helped them getter a much clearer understanding.