Cure For What Ails-
What it Is
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
This week we return to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. In chapter 15 he writes a detailed instruction on the doctrine of resurrection, beginning with the resurrection of Jesus- the event that launched the church and is the anchor to our faith. Paul begins this section by reminding the Corinthians of something he had previously taught them- something that had been taught to him as well. In verses 3-8 Paul presents what is the essence of the Gospel- Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he was raised from the dead, and he appeared to many eyewitnesses. Many biblical scholars have proposed that these words were not original to Paul, but were an organized statement or creed that dates back to the early days of the church. Where did Paul receive this information, and how can we know it is true?
Using Paul’s statements from both 1 Corinthians and Galatians, a timeline can be developed that traces the early evidence of a resurrection creed. 1 Corinthians was likely written around AD 55-56. Paul stated that he had taught this creed to the Corinthians before (he first visited in AD 52). We also know that Paul was already telling people this information when he planted the Galatian churches in AD 48-49. According to Paul’s description in Galatians 1-2, he visited with Peter and James 3 years after his conversion in Damascus and 14 years before his visit to Galatia, around AD 35. Since the date for the death and resurrection of Jesus is usually placed between AD 28-32, there exists an historical statement about the resurrection, verified by multiple witnesses, only a handful of years after the event took place!
By the time Paul wrote the Corinthian passage, the resurrection had been widely accepted to the point that it had been summarized and included in a creed for the church. Paul’s words are evidence that people in Jerusalem, who saw Jesus die, believed he rose from the dead. Paul’s words also prove the resurrection of Jesus was not a product of decades of oral transmission. Finally, Paul’s words verify that belief in the resurrection was documented while eyewitnesses were still “eye witnessing!”
Jesus died for our sins and was buried He rose from the dead and was seen
- Have you ever given serious thought to the validity of Jesus’ resurrection? If so, what were your conclusions?
- How important do you think it is for individual believers to investigate difficult areas of faith on their own (in other words, what’s the balance between faith and investigation)?
- How can evidence of the resurrection increase your trust in other areas of the Christian faith?