Bart Ehrman: One of the Most Misread Passages in All of the New Testament

Bart D. Ehrman, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), 177.

Undoubtedly the most important passage for Paul’s view of the future resurrection is 1 Corinthians 15. The chapter, in fact, is often called “the resurrection chapter.” It is also one of the most misread passages in all of the New Testament. Many casual readers have thought Paul wrote it in order to prove that Jesus was raised from the dead. But that is not right. The chapter assumes Jesus was raised, as both Paul and Corinthian readers know. It uses this assumption in order to build the case Paul wants to make for the naysayers among his readers: there will be a future resurrection for Jesus’s followers, a resurrection like Jesus’s own. Dead bodies will come back to life, but not in the state in which they were buried. They will be completely transformed and made into immortal, spiritual bodies. They will still be bodies. But they will be glorified. Just as Jesus’ body was.

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