Misunderstanding the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15 is a passage discussed in most works on apologetics. But often the apologist’s concern for providing evidence skews their grasp of the passage. John Frame clarifies:

I have often asked students to paraphrase Paul’s argument for the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. They often mentioned the post-Resurrection appearances, especially the five hundred eyewitnesses, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote (v. 6). But they almost always miss the main thrust of the apostle’s argument. The main thrust perfectly clear from the structure and content of the passage: you should believe in the resurrection because it is part of the apostolic preaching! Note verses 1-2: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” And verse 11: “Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”

Paul is telling the Corinthians that they came to faith through his preaching, which included the preaching of the Resurrection. He warns them not to cast doubt on the resurrection, for if Christ has not been raised, their faith will be in vain. If the Resurrection is subject to doubt, all the rest of the message will also be subject to doubt, and then “we are to be pitied more than all men” (v. 19; see also vv. 14 – 18).

The ultimate proof, the ultimate evidence, is the word of God. Eyewitnesses are important, but they die, and the memories of them fade. Only if their testimony is preserved in God’s written word will that testimony have continuing value down through the history of the world.

-John M. Frame, Apologetics, to the Glory of God: An Introduction, 58

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Posted on September 12, 2012, in Apostle Paul, John Frame, Presuppositional apologetics, Resurrection and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Joe, since the witnesses mentioned in 1 Cor. 15 are dead is there value for us today for Paul appealing to them?

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