Paul stresses the absolute importance of Christ's literal bodily resurrection from the dead. He then describes the resurrection of believers, and the nature of our resurrection bodies which will be like that of Jesus.
Importance of the Resurrection (v1-34)
In verses 1 to 11, Paul stresses that the literal death and resurrection of Jesus are of first importance. Christians must hold firmly to these, or their faith is in vain.

In verses 12 to 22, Paul makes clear that our hope of a resurrection is absolutely dependent upon Christ's resurrection. If Christ did not rise, neither will we, and our Christian faith is worthless. But since Christ has been raised, so also will we rise.

In verses 23 to 28, Paul gives an order of events in relation to the resurrection:
-Jesus rose as the firstfruits of the resurrection (v23)
-those who belong to Jesus will rise when he comes (v23)
-then comes the end when Jesus hands the kingdom to God the Father (v24)

The 'end' in verse 24 appears to be the end of the Millennium. At his coming, Jesus receives all rule, authority and power from God the Father (Daniel 7:13-14). With that, he must reign until all his enemies are under his feet, including the last enemy which is death (v25). At the end of the Millennium when death is finally destroyed (Revelation 20:13-14), Jesus will then subject himself to God the Father (v28). As the Roman centurion recognised in Matthew 8:9, Jesus will always exercise authority because he is under God's authority.

The Resurrection Body (v35-58)
Paul tells us that our mortal body is like a seed that must die and be buried in the ground (v36-37). Our mortal body is:
-perishable (v42)
-sown in dishonour and weakness (v43)
-natural (v44)
-make from the earth like Adam's body (v47-49)

By contrast, our resurrection body will be different in nature. It will be:
-imperishable (v42)
-raised in glory and power (v43)
-spiritual (v44)
-of heavenly composition, like Christ's resurrected body (v47-49). See also Philippians 3:20-21.

At the last trumpet, in a moment of time like in the blinking of an eye, our mortals bodies will be transformed into our resurrection bodies (v51-52). The dead in Christ (v23) will be raised first, and then those who are still alive will be transformed (v52). Paul gives the same order of events in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 when he describes the resurrection of dead believers followed by the rapture of living believers. For us, death will then have been swallowed in victory (v54-55). However, the unsaved will remain in their mortal bodies and for them, death will continue until the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:14).
Symbols: Seed
Tags: Death and resurrection of Jesus, Resurrection of the dead, Resurrection of the righteous, Resurrection body, Rapture
Christ’s Resurrection
15 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand,
2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
3 For I passed on 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 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
11 Whether then it was I or they, this is the way we preach and this is the way you believed.

No Resurrection?
12 Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty.
15 Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.
18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.
19 For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man.
22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him.
24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be eliminated is death.
27 For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him.
28 And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they baptized for them?
30 Why too are we in danger every hour?
31 Every day I am in danger of death! This is as sure as my boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord.
32 If from a human point of view I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what did it benefit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
34 Sober up as you should, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God – I say this to your shame!

The Resurrection Body
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”
36 Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies.
37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed – perhaps of wheat or something else.
38 But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
39 All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another.
40 And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory.
42 It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.
43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual.
47 The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven.
48 Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly.
49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50 Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed –
52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
58 So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.