The city of Corinth was located on the Isthmus of Corinth. That was a narrow strip of land, about five miles wide, that connected upper Greece with the Peloponnesian Peninsula to the south. This allowed Corinth to prosper as a trade center for goods coming from the Eastern Roman Empire across the Aegean Sea to the Gulf of Corinth on their way to Italy and Rome (and vice versa). Corinth became a large, wealthy city made up of a business class, workers, and -- sadly -- slaves. The city attracted entrepreneurs from around the empire, giving the city a cosmopolitan culture and a mix of religions.
The apostle Paul's first visit to the city of Corinth turned into a stay of 18 months in the early AD 50's (Acts 18:11). That was some two decades after the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul ended up planting a church of considerable diversity in Corinth, including Gentiles from many different religious backgrounds and Jews (Acts 18:8). After Paul's departure, the Corinthian church endured many self-inflicted problems (examples: 1 Corinthians 3:3-4; 5:1-2; 7:1-16). He wrote his first letter to the church in Corinth in AD 56 to address these issues.
Perhaps the most serious of the Corinthians' problems was a misunderstanding of the nature and significance of the resurrection of Jesus. Paul understood that the resurrection could not be neglected; there could be no compromise about it. This issue is dealt with more completely in 1 Corinthians 15 than anywhere else in the Bible. For this reason, the chapter is often called the Resurrection Chapter.
Normally, we discuss the lesson during our Sunday School class. Please take some time to think about and reflect on each question. If you are reading the lesson with someone else, discuss your thoughts together. If you would like to, you may post some of your thoughts and answers below.
What favorite memory-recall technique can you share with a fellow Christian to help him or her stay strong in the faith during trying times? In what way does 1 Peter 3:15 help form your response? Explain.
In what situations should your personal testimony be included in a gospel presentation and in what situations should it not? Why? What biblical examples can you list for each of the two scenarios?
Given culture's growing secularism, what are some ways you can remind yourself continually of the true of verses 13 and 14? When/how have you seen secular culture cause the most damage in denying Christ's resurrection?
In what area of study do you feel most deficient: on the significance of resurrection in general, or the significance of Christ's resurrection in particular? What plan will you form to correct this?
What additional steps can your church take in transforming people from being less like Adam and more like Christ? What could be your part in this plan?
Before and during the first century AD, there were instances of the miraculous restoration to life of a dead person (examples: 2 Kings 4:32-35; 2 Kings 13:21; Luke 7:11-17). But those people eventually died again. Jesus' resurrection, however, was different. He rose from the dead never to die again. Because he lives, we can be confident that we will live with him in resurrected bodies, never again to face death (Romans 8:2).
Paul's Corinthian readers had produced fruit and would continue to do so as long as they remained faithful. However, their faith was endangered by the choices some had made to abandon the doctrine of the resurrection -- and so the danger is with us. We should join Paul therefore in seeing resurrection as victory over humanity's greatest enemy: death. On the glorious day of Christ's return, we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52). As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, let us anticipate the promise of our own resurrection.
Father God, we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, made possible by your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
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