1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the good news which I preached to you. You received it; you are standing firm in it; 2 [and] you have been saved by it also, if you hold on to it firmly [i.e., continue believing and practicing it]. For if you do not [hold on to it firmly], you will have believed [it] all for nothing. 3 For I passed on to you the [following] main principles that I received [i.e., by revelation]: Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; 4 He was buried; He was raised [from the dead] on the third day, according to the Scriptures; 5 and He appeared to Cephas [i.e., Peter. See Luke 24:34], and then to the twelve apostles. [See Luke 24:33]. 6 After that He appeared to over five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, but some have died. 7 Then He appeared to James [Note: This was probably Jesus' half-brother. See Acts 12:17; Gal. 1:19], and then to all of the apostles. [See John 20:26]. 8 Then last of all, He appeared to me also, as someone born abnormally. [Note: This probably refers to Paul being converted later than the rest of the apostles].
9 For I am the least [significant] of the apostles, and am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But I am whatever I am because of God's unearned favor, and the favor He showed me was not for nothing [i.e., Paul made the most of his conversion by being extra diligent in his service to God]. But I worked harder than all the other apostles, yet it was not I, but God's favor on me [that accomplished it]. 11 So, whether it was I, or the other apostles [who did the work], this is [the message] that we have preached, and that you people have received.
12 Now if it is preached that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some people among you say that people will not be raised from the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection from the dead, [then] Christ has not been raised up either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised up, then our preaching is for nothing, and your faith is for nothing too. 15 And also, we are found to be false witnesses about God because we testified that God raised up Christ [from the dead], when [in reality] He did not raise Him up if, in fact, the dead are not raised up. 16 For if dead people are not raised up, [then] neither has Christ been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised up, [then] your faith is for nothing; you are still condemned by your sins. 18 Then [also], those who have died in [fellowship with] Christ are lost. 19 If we have placed our hope in Christ while in this life only, we are to be pitied more than all [other] people.
20 But now Christ has been raised up from the dead; [He is] the firstfruits of those who have died. [Note: By "firstfruits" is meant the first installment of the crop which promises the entire harvest eventually]. 21 For since death happened to a man [i.e., Adam], the resurrection from the dead also happened to a man [i.e., Christ]. 22 For as all people die [physically] in [their relationship to] Adam, so also will all people be made alive [physically] in [their relationship to] Christ. [Note: However, some view "made alive" as referring to the new spiritual life given to believers]. 23 But each one [is raised up] in his own turn: Christ as the firstfruits [See verse 20]; then those who are Christ's [i.e., believers], when He returns. 24 Then [i.e., at Christ's return] the end [of the world] will occur, when He will turn over the kingdom to God, the Father, after He has abolished all [hostile] dominion, authority and power. 25 For Christ must [continue to] rule [over His kingdom, the church] until God has put all of His enemies under Christ's feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He [i.e., God] placed everything in subjection under His [i.e., Christ's] feet. But when God said, "Everything is in subjection [to Him]," it is clear that this did not include God [Himself], who placed everything in subjection to Him [i.e., Christ]. 28 And after everything [else] has been subjected to Christ, then the Son Himself will also be subjected [i.e., He will subject Himself] to God, who subjected everything to Christ, so that God may rule over everything.
29 Otherwise [i.e., if there were no resurrection], what do people accomplish by being immersed for those who have [already] died? If dead people are not raised up at all, why then are people immersed on their behalf? [Note: The foregoing rendition is the most commonly held one of over 30 interpretations given to this very difficult verse. Other possibilities are: a) "immersed in view of (being raised from) the dead," b) "immersed in view of being dead (to sin)," c) "immersed in view of (having to suffer) death," d) "immersed in view of (someday joining) the dead"]. 30 Why do we also risk danger every hour [i.e., if there were no resurrection]? 31 I face death every day, I assure you brothers, as surely as I boast of [fellowship with] you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 What benefit was it to me, from a human standpoint, if I fought wild animals in Ephesus, and [yet] the dead are not raised? [Note: This probably refers to Paul facing ferocious opposition from people there in Ephesus]. We should [just] eat and drink, for tomorrow we [may] die. 33 Do not be fooled; bad company ruins good moral behavior. 34 Come to your senses; do what is right and stop sinning. Some of you do not know God [i.e., in a personal way]. I am saying this to make you ashamed.
35 But someone will ask, "How are dead people raised up?" and "What kind of a body will they have?" 36 You foolish person. The seed you plant does not come to life [i.e., grow] unless it dies. 37 And what you yourself sow is not the plant that will [eventually] come up, but simply a seed. It may be a grain of wheat or something else. 38 But God gives it the [kind of] body He wants [it to have], so each seed gets its own plant. 39 All flesh is not the same [Note: The word "flesh" here refers to the material composition of matter, and in no way suggests anything sinful, as it does in many other places in Paul's writings]. But mankind has one [kind of] flesh; animals have another kind; birds have another; and fish [still] another. 40 Also, there are heavenly bodies [i.e., stars and planets] and earthly bodies [i.e., men and animals]. But the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one [kind], and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another [kind]. 41 The sun has one [kind] of splendor, and the moon has another [kind], and the stars [still] another. For [even] one star's splendor is different from another's. 42 It is the same way with the resurrection of dead people. [A person's body] is buried [only] to decay; it is raised up never to decay again. 43 It is buried in dishonor; it is raised up in splendor. It is buried in weakness; it is raised up in power. 44 It is buried as a physical body; it is raised up as a spiritual body. If there is [such a thing as] a physical body, [then] there is also a spiritual body. 45 So, it is also written [Gen. 2:7], "The first man, Adam, became a living being." The last Adam [i.e., Christ], became the Spirit who gives [never ending] life. [See John 5:21]. 46 However, the spiritual [body] does not come first, but the physical [body does]; then the spiritual [body comes].
47 The first man [i.e., Adam] came from the dust of the ground [See Gen. 2:7]; the second man [i.e., Christ] came from heaven. 48 Just as earthly people are like the man who came from dust; so heavenly people are like the man who came from heaven. 49 And just as we [now] appear [in both a physical and spiritual body] like the man who came from dust [i.e., Adam]; we will also [someday] appear [in both a physical(?) and spiritual body] like the man who came from heaven [i.e., Christ].
50 Now this is what I am saying, brothers; flesh and blood [i.e., physical bodies] cannot possess the kingdom of God [i.e., the heavenly realm]; neither can [bodies that] decay possess [a place] which does not decay. 51 Look, I am telling you a secret truth: We will not all die, but we will all be changed [i.e., physically and spiritually] 52 in a split second, as quickly as the twinkle of an eye, when the last trumpet blows. For the trumpet will blow and dead people [i.e., believers] will be raised up, never to decay again, and [the living] will be changed [i.e., physically and spiritually]. 53 For this [body] that can decay must be clothed with [a body] which cannot decay. And this [body] that can die must be clothed with [a body] which cannot die. 54 But when this [body] that can decay has been clothed with one which cannot decay, and this [body] that can die has been clothed with one which cannot die, then the Scriptural saying will be fulfilled [Isa. 25:8], "Death has been swallowed up [i.e., eliminated] by victory." [Note: The reference here is to the time when believers will experience victory over death by being resurrected or taken directly to be with God]. 55 [Hos. 13:14 says], "Death, where is your victory [over people]? Death, where is your [harmful] sting?" 56 The [harmful] sting that causes [physical] death is sin [See Rom. 5:12]; and the power of sin [to do this] comes from the law. [See Rom. 8:2]. 57 But I thank God for giving us victory [i.e., over sin and death] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dearly loved brothers, stand firm [in the faith]; do not be moved [from your commitment]. Always do your best to work for the Lord, since you know that your labor in the Lord's [service] is not for nothing.