We have been studying Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and we come here in our final lesson to chapter 16, which is a very practical chapter. It almost seems anti-climactic after his focus on matters such as the Resurrection, spiritual gifts, and Christian love. Here he begins to talk about Christian giving, as well as some personal matters concerning his relationship to Timothy, and Apollos, and some of the people from Corinth. Finally, there are some greetings and some encouraging statements at the end. I do not think of the chapter as an anti-climax, however. If we do that, we are really betraying an imbalance in the Christian life, because we are saying that all that really matters in Christianity is theology or doctrine.

When Hollywood makes movies about the life of Christ, they are often very good up to the point of the Resurrection. I saw one of those films, and in it, at the scene of the Resurrection, the disciples were there, but Jesus was nowhere to be seen. Finally towards the end, there was a sort of mystical, cloudy head up in the sky, just floating away.

I once did a study of what Paul had to say about death in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians. I found it interesting that he mentions death even more than he mentions the resurrection. The word death or dying or dead occurs twenty-five times in the chapter. And the word resurrection or raised, or anything related to that, occurs twenty-four times - just about equal, but actually the words for death occur more often. There are other terms that are related to it that increase those totals even more. That is interesting because when you talk about a victory, the greatness of your victory depends upon the greatness of your enemy.

Now, in chapter 15, verse 35 and following, Paul was likely addressing those who acknowledged that the Resurrection is true. This audience believed that Jesus rose from the dead, and as a result of their union with him, they would rise too. Nevertheless, this group still had questions about the resurrection of the body. They could not understand how, if we will be in heaven with new bodies, that will really be any different from life here on this earth. That is a very legitimate kind of question to ask, especially by those who were not deeply informed by the teaching of Scripture. So, that is what Paul is answering here.

Here in this portion of 1 Corinthians, Paul deals primarily with this matter of the resurrection body, that is, the nature of the kind of body that we are going to have in the resurrection. He did that, presumably, because that was the chief question in the minds of the Greek people here to whom he was writing. I mentioned in an earlier study of Paul’s epistle how this difficulty with the resurrection grew naturally out of Greek philosophical thought. Every culture has its own way of thinking about ultimate things, though not always articulately.