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1 Cor 15 29 34

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1 Corinthians 15:29-34
29. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30. And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31. I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.


INTRODUCTION: The fourth argument for the resurrection of the dead is religious observances and personal sacrifice. If there is not to be a resurrection, then there is absolutely no need to live a religious life nor to sacrificially deny ourselves for Christ. If there is to be no resurrection, then our religious worship and personal sacrifice are empty and meaningless.

1. Think and ask yourself: If there is no resurrection, then why practice religious observances and rituals? (v.29)

2. Think and ask yourself: Why should we put ourselves in jeopardy? (v.30-32)

3. Watch being deceived: evil associations corrupt behavior (v.33)

4. Awaken, sober up, do not sin: some do not know God (v.34).

This sermon is taken from the 1 & 2 Corinthians volume of the Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible. To purchase this volume please visit

1. (15:29) Resurrection, Believers:
Think and ask yourself—if there is no resurrection, why practice religious observances and rituals? The particular ritual mentioned here is baptism, but the question is applicable to all religious practices and rituals. Why worship, why be baptized, why observe the Lord’s Supper, why pray, why read the Bible if there is no resurrection of the dead? All religious worship and rituals are empty; they are meaningless and profit nothing if there is no resurrection. This is the meaning of this particular point and it is easily understood. However, the particular practice or form of baptism to which Paul refers is not so easily understood. What does he mean by the phrase, being "baptized for the dead." Who is baptized, and who is dead? Someone is being baptized for someone who is dead. Who are the baptized persons, and who is the dead person or persons? ! Has the church ever practiced baptism for the dead, that is, allowed a living believer to be baptized for a loved one who had died before he or she could be baptized? The practice did take place in the second century, but as Morris points out it was apparently by heretics (Leon Morris. The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians . "Tyndale Bible Commentaries," p.219). Is it possible that the practice had begun as early as the early church and had seeped into the Corinthian church? Some think so, and some think this is the only possible explanation of the words. Others argue that this could not possibly be the meaning (see Charles Hodge, p. 337 for a more detailed discussion of this position and the arguments against it)...

• because it is superstitious and a misunderstanding of what baptism is.
• because there is no other record of the practice until the second century and then it is apparently only practiced by heretical groups.
• because it has always been condemned as heresy by the main body of believers.
• because Paul would never refer to the practice without condemning it.
(Charles Hodge. An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973, p.337.)

However, those who hold that the practice had seeped into the early church argue the following:

-- Paul does separate himself from the practice. Note the verse: Paul says "they," not "we." He disassociates himself.
-- Paul does sometimes differ with a practice, and yet uses the practice in an argument. (For example, he discusses the practice of attending a social function in the temple of an idol. He used the practice to argue his position without denouncing it, but he thought it was wrong, 1 Cor. 8:10.)

Just what Paul means is not known, and it is extremely difficult to know, for there are over thirty different positions (A.T. Robertson. Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 4, p.192).

Note what could be two significant points.

-- When reading 1 Cor. 15:29 and 1 Cor. 15:30 together, there does seem to be a sharp contrast between "they" (1 Cor. 15:29) and "we" (1 Cor. 15:30). Paul does seem to be saying "they": they who oppose me; they who deny the resurrection; they who are in error.
-- When comparing 1 Cor. 15:30-34 with 1 Cor. 15:29, there does seem to be a sharp contrast. 1 Cor. 15:29 uses the word "they"; 1 Cor. 15:30 "we"; and 1 Cor. 15:31, 33-34 "you" and "your." This strongly suggests that "they" stand in opposition to Paul and the mainline believers of the church.

In light of the details of the Scripture itself, it seems best to say that "they" are...

• the persons who opposed Paul so strongly.
• the false teachers and persons who were denying the resurrection.
• the false teachers and persons who were allowing their followers to be baptized for their loved ones who had failed to be baptized before they died.

Following this interpretation, Paul is saying: if they agree that the dead do not rise, then...

• what shall they do who are being baptized for their dead?
• why are they being baptized for the dead? What they are doing is useless, empty, futile, meaningless. If they do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, they are practicing a ritual that will do them absolutely no good.

The entire Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible is available on CD Software. Click here to learn more about this invaluable Bible study resource.

2. (15:30-32) Resurrection, Believers: Think and ask yourself—if there is no resurrection, why should we put ourselves in jeopardy every hour? The point is clear: the believer shall suffer persecution from the world. The true believer...

• separates and lives a different life-style than the world, and he witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ and His demand for righteousness and godliness.

The life and witness of the true believer is contrary to the world, and it convicts the world; therefore, the world opposes, ridicules, abuses, and tries to hush and get rid of the believer—as much as the law, neighborhood, and workplace will allow.

Why would a believer ever jeopardize himself—his life, job, position, friends, acceptance—if there is no resurrection?

Paul uses his own experience to strike the point home.

1. If there is no resurrection, why would he face danger to witness, to joy and rejoice over the conversion of people? Why would he seek to reach people for Christ and to stir joy and rejoicing in them if there is no resurrection? The price—risking one’s life and exposing oneself to persecution—is not worth it if there is no resurrection. Paul is saying, "I would not be jeopardizing my life if there was no resurrection of the dead."

2. If there is no resurrection, why would he suffer threats, abuse, and ill treatment? This is the same argument, except Paul actually refers to some savage threat he experienced.

3. If there is no resurrection, why would he not eat, drink, and live in pleasure? He may as well, for there would be nothing after death. This life would be all there is.

"And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die" (Isaiah 22:13).

"And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:19-21).

"But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Tim. 5:6).

"And [they] shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices" (2 Peter 2:13-14).

3. (15:33) Deception—Worldliness: Watch being deceived—evil associations corrupt behavior.

Are you interested in learning more about the Greek words used in our sermon outlines? Click here to get more information on Practical Word Studies in the New Testament.

1. The phrase "be not deceived" (me planasthe) means do not be led astray, led in the error of such a false teaching. There is to be a resurrection of the dead. "They"—those who deny the resurrection—are wrong. Do not be deceived by their error. It is an utterly false teaching and it is corrupting.

2. The word "communications" does mean conversation, but it also means the communion among companions and associates.

The point is this: we should not associate with those who hold to error and false teaching. If we associate with them—accept them as friends and companions—they will influence us and corrupt our behavior, lead us into sin and error.

Thought 1. Our companions do influence us. If they do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, in the glorious life to come, then their beliefs, ideas, morals, speech, and behavior will...

• influence us
• loosen us
• weaken us
• pollute us
• mislead us

"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators" (1 Cor. 5:9).

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (1 Cor. 5:11).

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14).

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:17-18).

"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).

"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed" (2 John 10).

"Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment" (Exodus 23:2).

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" (Psalm 1:1).

"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men" (Proverbs 4:14).

"Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them" (Proverbs 24:1).

This sermon is taken from the 1 & 2 Corinthians volume of the Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible. To purchase this volume please visit

4. (15:34) Awaken—Resurrection: Awaken, sober up, sin not; for some do not know God. Note three points.

1. The word "awake" (eknepsate) means to become sober; to arouse out of a drunken, sleepy state. Some in the Corinthian church were following the false teachers as though they were drunken and senseless, in a stupor, in a stupid state. They desperately needed to awaken to righteousness—to sin not. The denial of a resurrection is totally wrong; it is sin. There is to be a resurrection of the dead. To deny it is to put oneself in a drunken, senseless, unthinking state of mind.

2. The phrase "some have not the knowledge of God" refers to those in error, the persons who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.

3. The words, "I speak this to your shame" mean that the church should be ashamed for allowing the error in their midst. The very fact that the church would accept men who deny one of the cardinal doctrines is a shame. The church should be ashamed, for a person who does not believe in the resurrection of the dead (a cardinal doctrine) does not have "the knowledge of God."

"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame" (1 Cor. 15:34).

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephes. 5:14).

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).

"Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil" (Isaiah 1:16).

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