St Paul proves his credentials before moving into the beautiful deep waters of the resurrection!

This to me is one of the most wonderful chapters in the whole Bible.  You might ask why, and I can explain why;

 Jesus rose from the dead with a resurrected body and the day will come that we will also have resurrected bodies.  You might ask the question; Why is the body important after we are dead?  

If you are without a body but have a soul and spirit it sounds good enough.  My friends, it is not enough!  How do I know your identity if I cannot see you face?

We all have gestures and we all speak words, and this is the wonderful thing about a body.  This chapter is wonderful because Paul goes into great detail to explain to us why the resurrection is so important.  I am not an expert in the resurrection, but I hope by the end of this commentary we will all have a certain amount of expertise that we can share. I will just go through a basic commentary for the first eleven verses and then I will look at some of the technical stuff afterwards to make it more interesting.  

1 Corinthians chapter 151-11 The first 11 verses set the scene and is a summary for the  preaching of the Gospel that they heard; It is also a summary of what the essence of the Gospel is in a nut shell.  He starts from the foundational beliefs before moving into the deeper things that make being a Christian a worthwhile thing.
Verse 1
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, NASB    

This is a reminder to them of the gospel they believed in.  They stand in these basic teachings;
  Verse 2
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. NASB  

The Apostles were those who were sent by Jesus and we need to take their words very seriously.  St Paul was also an Apostle and he was validated by the other Apostles.  If the Corinthians reject St Paul, then they reject the Lord Jesus Christ.   

As I was reading this section, I found it interesting that John Calvin mentioned the Sadducees.  Obviously, they had a problem with the resurrection.  If we mirror read the text, there must have been some who were saying things contrary to the Apostles.  Even if we cannot prove that it was the Sadducees there were those who just would not agree with the resurrection; At that juncture John Calvin is surely right. From https://biblehub.com/commentaries/calvin/1_corinthians/15.htm    

Verses 3-8
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.  NASB      

Here Paul sums up the series of events (verses 3-8) from the death and resurrection of Christ all the way to when he got his Apostleship. So, let us sequence it out;  

1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
2. Christ was buried
3. Christ was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures
4. Christ appeared to Peter
5. Christ appeared to the other disciples
6. Christ appeared to more than 500
7. Christ Appeared to James
8. Christ appeared to all the Apostles
9. Christ appeared to St Paul  

This list is very important because it shows solid eyewitness account to the resurrection.  Look at how many times he uses the word appeared in the text.  A historian who reads this bit which is one of the oldest letters in the whole New Testament sees a heavy weight of evidence for the resurrection.  Before Paul even goes into the subject of the resurrection, he shows them the evidence.  This evidence cannot be refuted by the Corinthians and it ought not be refuted by us.  We need to take this seriously and to fall on our knees and worship God for everything he has done for us in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  This is really exciting stuff.    

Verse 9-11

9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. NASB    

Paul calls himself the least of the Apostles.  We see from the Book of Acts and Galatians that Paul was a persecutor of the church.  At the time he was happy at the martyrdom of Stephen, but something happened.  Jesus Met Paul and he was chosen to be an Apostle out of time.  When Jesus was going on about his itinerary around Palestine for those 3 years Paul was not there. Yet as far as the Apostles were concerned after his conversion he was accepted as an Apostle.  God works in mysterious ways and his plans are beyond our plans.   

So, let us dig a little deeper here in these verses and find out a little more about Paul the Man and look at the facts;

1. Paul did not see himself fit to be called an Apostle
2. Paul  persecuted the church and he was forgiven
3. Paul was chosen by Jesus, literally out of the blue and Paul was converted.
4. Paul had to work harder than all the other Apostles  

We can see that indeed Paul did work harder than all of the other Apostles and if tradition is correct, he was rewarded by being beheaded in Rome.  He truly repented of his sins and sold himself completely to the service of Christ; He suffered, was ostracized, laughed at, mocked, stoned and left for dead!  There are people that mock Paul even today, but we can see from the evidence that he was one of the Apostles.  He was an Apostle because Jesus chose Paul to work tirelessly for the gentiles.  In Galatians; How could Paul stand up to St Peters hypocrisy if he was not an Apostle? The Corinthians accepted him as an Apostle and as Christians we accept him as an Apostle.  The Apostolic Hand on this scripture in this chapter is seriously important for us today and we can be assured that we are in safe hands when trying to understand the resurrection that will also happen to us one day.          

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