Now I want to remind you about the good news I announced to you. You accepted it, and you have stood firm for it. It is through this good news that you are saved if you hold on to the message that I gave you. Otherwise you trusted for nothing! I passed on to you what I myself had also received, a message of vital importance: that Christ died for our sins, according to Scripture; he was buried and was raised from the dead on the third day, again in accordance with Scripture. He appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still alive today, though some have died. He appeared to James, then all the apostles. Last of all, he also appeared to me, someone born as it were at the wrong time. For I'm the least important apostle of all, not even fit to be called an apostle since I persecuted God's church. 10 But by God's grace I am what I am, and his grace given to me wasn't wasted. On the contrary I've worked harder than all of themthough not me, but God's grace working through me. 11 So whether it's I or them, this is the message we shared with you that brought you to trust in God.
12 Now if the message declares that Christ has been raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say there's no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there's no resurrection of the dead then Christ hasn't been raised either. 14 And if Christ isn't raised, then our message we shared with you is pointless, and your trust in God is pointless too. 15 In addition, we would be shown to be false witnesses of God when we testified that God raised Christ from the dead. But God didn't raise Christ from the dead if it's true that there's no resurrection. 16 If the dead are not raised, then Christ hasn't been raised either, 17 and if Christ hasn't been raised, then your trust in God is useless, and you are still in your sins. 18 This also means that those who died in Christ are lost. 19 If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we're the most pitiful people of all!
20 But Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits* of the harvest from those who have died. 21 Just as death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead came through a man. 22 Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in their own turn: Christ the firstfruits, then those who belong to Christ when he comes. 24 After this comes the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having destroyed all rulers, authorities, and powers. 25 Christ has to rule until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 As Scripture says, “He put everything under his feet.”§ (Of course when it sayseverythingis put under him it's obvious this doesn't refer to God who placed everything under Christ's authority.) 28 When everything has been placed under Christ's authority, then the Son will also place himself under God's authority, so that God who gave the Son authority over everything may be all in all.*
29 Otherwise what will those people do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then would people be baptized for them? 30 As for us, why do we place ourselves in danger hour after hour? 31 I die every daylet me say it bluntly, my brothers and sisters. This is just as sure as the pride I have for what Christ Jesus has done in you. 32 Humanly speaking, what would I gain by fighting with those people in Ephesus who were like wild animals, if the dead are not raised? If the dead are not raised, “let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”!
33 Don't be fooled: “bad company ruins good character.” 34 Come to your senses as you should, and stop sinning! Some of you don't know God. I tell you this to shame you.
35 Of course somebody will ask, “How exactly are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! What you sow doesn't sprout into life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you don't sow the plant it will grow into, just the bare seed, whether wheat or whatever you're planting. 38 God makes the plant grow into the form he has chosen, and different seeds produce different plants with different forms. 39 What living things are made from is not the same. Human beings have one kind of body tissue, while animals have another, birds another, and fish another. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. Heavenly bodies have one kind of beauty, earthly bodies another. 41 The sun shines in one way, and the moon another, while the stars are different again, with each one shining in a different way.
42 It's the same with the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in decay; it is raised to last forever. 43 It is sown in shame; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown as a natural body; it is raised as a spiritual body. Just as there are natural bodies there are spiritual bodies. 45 As Scripture says, “The first man, Adam, became a living being;”§ but the last Adam a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the naturalthe spiritual came after that. 47 The first man is from the dust of the earth; the second man is from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the man made from the earth; heavenly people are like the man from heaven. 49 Just as we bore the likeness of the earthly man so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50 However, I tell you this, my brothers and sisters: our present bodies* cannot inherit the kingdom of God. These decaying bodies cannot inherit what lasts forever.
51 Listen, I'm going to reveal a mystery! Not all of us will diebut we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised never to die again, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must be clothed with a body that never perishes. This mortal life must be clothed with immortality. 54 When this perishable body has been clothed with a body that never perishes, and this mortal life has been clothed with immortality, then the Scripture will come true that says, “Death has been totally conquered and destroyed. 55 Death—where's your victory? Death—where's your sting?” 56 The sting that causes death is sin; and the power of sin is the law; 57 but praise God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So my dear brothers and sisters: be strong, stand firm, doing everything you can for the Lord's work, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord is wasted.
* 15:20 The word “firstfruits” refers to the first sample of a harvest that was given as an offering to God, also seen as a guarantee of a successful harvest. Christ as the firstfruits therefore means he is both the initial harvest from the dead and the guarantee of their resurrection. 15:24 Destroyed in the sense of ending their power. 15:25 Meaning they have been conquered and humbled. § 15:27 Quoting Psalms 8:6. * 15:28 “All in all.” Various explanations have been given for this phrase. It is obviously referring to the completeness of God's rulership in the Universe, and is perhaps best translated literally from the original as “all in all.” 15:29 The theological meaning of this verse is much debated. However, the actual words are translated simply enough. 15:32 Quoting Isaiah 22:13. § 15:45 Quoting Genesis 2:7. * 15:50 Literally, “flesh and blood.” 15:55 Referencing Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14.