Thursday, October 23, 2014

Williams New Testament translation of 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

"Now let me remind you, brothers, of the essence1 of the good news which I proclaimed to you, which you accepted, on which you now are standing, and through which you are to be saved,2 unless your faith at first was spurious.3 For I passed on to you, among the primary principles of the good news,4 what I had received, that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that on the third day He was raised from the dead, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, and then by the Twelve." (Charles B. Williams, The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People [Chicago: Moody Press, 1950], pages 386-387, footnotes his.)

FOOTNOTES:

1 Implied in phrase, among the primary principles.

2 At last.

3 Lit., in vain.

4 Grk., among the first things; good news implied.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Living Bible Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

"Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed—it is the same Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is squarely built upon this wonderful message; 2 and it is this Good News that saves you if you still firmly believe it, unless of course you never really believed it in the first place. 3 I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, 4 and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. 5 He was seen by Peter and later by the rest of 'the Twelve.'" (1 Corinthians 15:1-5, TLB)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dr. David Jeremiah's Study Notes on the Gospel

"[1 Corinthians] 15:3-7 Here is the standard by which every definition of the gospel must be measured. It must include four elements: Christ's death, burial, and resurrection as well as the testimony of the witnesses to the Resurrection. The gospel cannot be preached the way it should be without proclaiming all four truths." (Dr. David Jeremiah, The Jeremiah Study Bible [Worthy Publishing, 2013], pg. 1592.)

Monday, July 14, 2014

"DEFINING THE GOSPEL" - A Devotional by David Jeremiah

Dr. David Jeremiah shares the following story in a daily devotional titled "DEFINING THE GOSPEL":

"Duncan McNeil, the Scottish evangelist, once said that in school he had a seminary professor who insisted on opening his theology classes with a question. No one could ever anticipate what the question would be. One day he said to his students, 'Gentleman, can someone give me a definition of the gospel?'

A student rose and read John 3:16: 'For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'

The professor said, 'That is a good gospel text, but it is not a definition of the gospel.' Another student read 1 Timothy 1:15: 'How true it is, and how I long that everyone should know it, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - and I was the greatest of them all.' Again the professor declined to accept it; he waited for what he wanted. Finally, a student stood and read 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, much to the professor's delight. It was evident that he had the reply he desired; he said, 'Gentlemen, that is the gospel. Believe it, live it, preach it, and die for it if necessary.'"

(David Jeremiah, Sanctuary: Finding Moments of Refuge in the Presence of God [Nashville: Integrity Publishers, 2002], pg. 277.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Strongest Definition of the Gospel Message

The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Zondervan: 2001) is a good layman's resource that I have found very helpful in personal study. It has improved on the original Strong's Concordance in a number of ways. For example, The Strongest Strong's has updated and expanded some of the Hebrew and Greek definitions of the original. In the introduction (page x) it says, "Our dictionaries are based on the latest dictionaries, lexicons, and word study books, reflecting great advances in Biblical scholarship."

One update that I have found very helpful in The Strongest Strong's is the expanded definition of the Greek word euangelizo. The Strongest Strong's gives this excellent definition of euangelizo

"to preach (bring) the good news (gospel), often with a focus on the content of the message which is brought. In the NT it always refers to the death, burial, resurrection, and witness about Jesus Christ, including its implications for humankind's relationship to God" (see page 1613, number 2097 euangelizo).

The word euangelizo is used in both Acts 13:32 and 1 Corinthians 15:1 to describe the gospel preached by the apostle Paul - a gospel which according to both texts includes Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and appearances to witnesses (see Acts 13:28-31 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5). This is the Strongest definition of the gospel message!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Gospel Message


1 Corinthians 15:1-11

     The gospel is very simple. Even a child can comprehend its content and respond to its message. The apostle Paul encompassed the heart of the gospel in just twenty-eight words - "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and . . . He was buried, and . . . He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and . . . He was seen" (vv. 3-5). Paul was not ashamed of that gospel (Rom. 1:16) and proclaimed it wherever he traveled, assuring his readers in Rome that he had, up to the time of his writing, "fully preached the gospel of Christ" from Jerusalem all the way to the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea (Rom. 15:19). In his heart, this first century missionary had determined that wherever he engaged with unregenerate men he would preach "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (2:2). The church at Corinth was reminded of Paul's burden "to preach the gospel in the regions beyond [them]" (2 Cor. 10:16).
     "The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:8) "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16). It was the gospel that Paul preached to the Corinthians (Acts 18), knowing that only through that message would they be saved (v. 2). The good news of Christ, the crucified One, was the very foundation of their salvation. Paul delivered the message he had received (v. 3), and God did a work of grace in their hearts as they responded favorably, in faith. The "light of the glorious gospel of Christ" had penetrated their darkened hearts and given "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4, 6). Has that light pierced the gloom of your heart? Christ died for sinners - trust Him today!

(Excerpted from the Fundamental Evangelistic Association's FEATURE Bible Study Guide, April - June 2014, page 15. Used by permission.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Division in the Ranks at Grace Biblical Seminary

“For there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident.” (1 Corinthians 11:19, NET)


There is doctrinal division among the staff at Grace Biblical Seminary (formerly Free Grace Seminary), and the disagreement concerns an issue of first importance - the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Rick Whitmire and Tom Stegall are both on staff at Grace Biblical Seminary in McDonough, Georgia. But surprisingly, they actually disagree on exactly what is the gospel? Rich Whitmire is Vice President and Dean of Online Education, as well as Professor of Evangelism, Biblical and Theological Studies. Tom Stegall is Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies.

The school’s stated mission is “to advance the cause of Christ by presenting the gospel of God’s amazing grace” 1 – yet, strangely enough, these men actually disagree on that very gospel! Notice the following public statements these men have made in regards to the gospel, and how their statements are at odds with each other. 

Rick Whitmire's Statement on the Gospel:

“Romans 1:16 – ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the (Gentiles).’…

The Apostle Paul Defines the Gospel: 

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ DIED for our sins according to the scriptures: And that He was BURIED, and that He ROSE again the third day according to the scripture: And that He was SEEN...’

The Apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ.

a. This is the one place where the historical elements of the gospel are clearly defined. Our responsibility is to make the gospel clear and Biblical. But in order to do so, we must have a clear understanding of what the gospel means in the New Testament. These verses, give us the heart of the gospel. Note the four clauses introduced in verses 3-5.

b. The Apostles [sic] Paul in defining the gospel uses four verbs: 1). Christ Died.... 2). Christ was Buried.… 3). Christ Rose.… 4). Christ was Seen.” 2


Tom Stegall's Statements on the Gospel:

“[The Apostle] Paul did not consider the burial and appearances to be part of ‘the gospel’” 3

"the burial and post-resurrection appearances of Christ are not technically part of the gospel” 4

"the cross and resurrection are elements of the gospel in distinction to the burial and appearances" 5

"The interpretation that views the four clauses in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 as...all being necessary components of the gospel, is at odds with the entire pattern of the New Testament." 6

“only the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ are elements of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, in contrast to the burial and appearances” 7


"How can two walk together unless they are agreed?" 
(Amos 3:3, NKJV)

I trust that Grace Biblical Seminary will address this division over the Gospel and hold Tom Stegall accountable for his false teaching so that the school can move forward in spirit and in truth, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).


ENDNOTES:

1 http://www.gracebiblicalseminary.org/about-us/our-mission-purpose-vision/

2 Whitmire, “The Facts Presentation,” GO TELL EVANGELISM, CHAPTER 2, OUR WITNESS FOR CHRIST (dated “07-15-03”), underlining, capitalization, and second ellipsis his, http://tgcministry.com/gotell/gts_2.htm (accessed April 5, 2012). NOTE: In the original article much of Whitmire’s statement is in bold print.

3 Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ (Milwaukee, Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 579.

4 Ibid., p. 578.

5 Ibid., p. 579.

6 Ibid., p. 588.

7 Ibid., p. 585.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dr. William Lane Craig upholds "the four essentials of the Gospel"

Dr. William Lane Craig is a strong defender of the Christian faith and one of the foremost Christian apologist's of our time. He is well-respected in the Christian community and among his peers in academic circles.1

Notice what Dr. Craig says in his lecture titled "The Work of Christ - His Resurrection" - he points us to 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 and highlights "the four essentials of the Gospel":

"For our Scriptural data on this subject, I want to turn to just two central passages in the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is the first Scripture that we want to turn to....What does Paul say? He says in verse 3, 'For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,' and now comes this four line formula: 'that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,' or Peter, that is the Aramaic word for 'Peter,' the name for him, 'then to the Twelve.' So notice here [in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5] that Paul lists as part of the four essentials of the Gospel the death of Christ for our sins, his burial, his resurrection on the third day, and then his postmortem appearances to various individuals and groups."2

Dr. Craig's analysis is in agreement with my basic premise that the Gospel emphasizes Christ's death and resurrection without excluding His burial and appearances. All four of these facts are part of the Gospel.


ENDNOTES:

1 Reasonable Faith Reviews and Endorsements, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/rf-tools/reviews (accessed March 24, 2014).

William Lane Craig, "Doctrine of Christ (Part 14), The Work of Christ - His Resurrection," Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig website, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/defenders-2-podcast/transcript/s6-14 (accessed March 24, 2014).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sharing the Gospel on Crosstalk Radio

Recently my friend Peter had a desire to share the gospel on the radio in order to encourage Christians to keep sharing Jesus with the lost because "the time is short" (1 Corinthians 7:29, NKJV) and the Rapture "is near" (Revelation 1:3, cf. 22:20). Specifically, Peter wanted to share a comment on VCY Christian radio - on a program called Crosstalk, which is "a nationwide call-in program discussing issues that have an effect on our families, our communities, our churches, our nation, and our world." Crosstalk provides an opportunity for people to call-in and voice their concerns for biblical principles.

Since Peter wasn't able to personally call-in to Crosstalk because of his work schedule, he asked me if I'd be able to help him get his comment on the air. I was excited about the opportunity, and so we decided to team up (see Ecclesiastes 4:9) in order to share the gospel on Crosstalk.

Our plan was simple. Peter would write down a short comment on paper and I would call-in to Crosstalk and read it on the radio. We prayed for the Lord's guidance and decided on the exact wording of the comment to be read.

The Lord answered our prayers in an amazing and mighty way - "far more abundantly" (Ephesians 3:20, ESV) than we thought! For instance, we didn't know this ahead of time, but come to find out, the day I called-in to Crosstalk the topic of discussion was about the upcoming Creation vs. Evolution debate between Dr. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye "The Science Guy". (More information on this debate is available at www.debatelive.org.) To illustrate the importance of this debate, my pastor said it's probably going to be the biggest Creation-Evolution debate since the Scopes Trial of 1925! So I was calling-in to Crosstalk on the very day they "just so happened" to be discussing one of the most important debates in the last 100 years! This Crosstalk program turned out to be the most popular Crosstalk program of the week and could possibly be the most popular one of the entire year! Of course, none of this happened by accident! God was working behind the scenes to bring it all together according to His plan. The Bible says, "The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

As I waited to share my comment on the radio, I listened with interest as Jim Schneider of Crosstalk interviewed Dr. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. Dr. Ken Ham spoke about the upcoming debate and made two statements about the gospel that I thought were really good. He said:

"I stand on the authority of God's Word and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ."

"We want our [human] family to hear the gospel and be saved."

After the interview with Dr. Ken Ham, Jim Schneider interviewed another creation scientist named Dr. Danny Faulkner. It was during this second interview that Jim opened up the phone lines for people to call-in and voice their comments. (Peter had told me beforehand to call-in right away after they opened up the phone lines so that I would be sure to get on the air.) So I quickly dialed the toll-free number and it wasn't long before I was on the air! Here is the transcript of the comment I shared on the radio:

Jim Schneider: "Jonathan in Greenfield, you're on the air."

Jonathan Perreault: "Thanks for taking my call. I just wanted to share an encouragement, because I think one thing we need to keep in mind as a church is that no matter what's going on in our society that the Rapture could happen at any moment and we just need to keep sharing Jesus Christ with the lost, in particular that He died for our sins, that He was buried, raised on the third day, and He appeared to His twelve disciples - like the Bible says in First Corinthians 15 verses 3-5. Like Ken Ham was saying too, we want our human family to hear the gospel and be saved. And I'm just gonna be praying for him, and for the debate, in that regard."

Jim Schneider: "Thank you so much."

Almost immediately after I got off the radio my phone rang. It was my friend Jerry from church calling to tell me he just heard me on Crosstalk! I hadn't even told him I'd be on the radio so it was really encouraging to know that my comment had been heard and was already "bear[ing] fruit for God" (Romans 7:4b).

The gospel message that was shared on the radio continues to "bear much fruit" (John 15:5, 8) to the glory of God. "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth" (Psalm 115:1). Peter pointed out to me some of the positive ripple effects of sharing the gospel over the radio:

1. The radio can spread the gospel farther.
2. The radio multiplies the effect of one's witness.
3. The radio gives an opportunity for more people to hear.

For more information on the "Creation vs. Evolution Debate" Crosstalk program, please click here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Is Free Grace "Too Cheap"?

During the noon hour, a preacher of the gospel had gone down into a coal mine to tell the miners of the good news of salvation which comes through Jesus Christ. After telling them the simple story of God's love to sinners and God's remedy for their sins in His offer of a full and free salvation, their lunch break was over. As the men went back to work, the preacher came back to the elevator shaft to ride up to the top. Meeting the foreman, he asked him what he thought of God's way of salvation.

The foreman replied, "Oh, it's too cheap! I can't believe in a religion like that!"

Without commenting on his remark, the preacher asked, "How do you get out of this place?"

"Just get into the elevator cage and ride to the top" was the foreman's reply.

"Does it take long to get to the top?"

"No...only a few seconds!"

"That certainly sounds pretty easy and simple. But don't I need to help raise myself?" asked the preacher.

"Of course not!" replied the foreman. "All you have to do is get in the elevator cage, and it carries you to the top."

"Tell me about the company who opened the shaft and worked out all the details. Was there much planning, labor and expense to make it all work?"

"Oh yes, there was much calculating before they actually began sinking the shaft. The shaft is eighteen hundred feet deep, and it was completed at great cost to the company who owns the mine. It is our only way out, and without it we couldn't get to the surface," the foreman explained.

"That's exactly my point!" said the preacher. "When God's Word tells us that anyone who believes on the Son of God has everlasting life [Jn. 3:16, 3:36, etc.], you say, 'Too cheap!' You forget that God's work to bring you and others out of the pit of destruction and death was planned in divine detail and accomplished at a great expense. The cost was the suffering and death of His beloved Son on the cross! Now all that's left for you to do is believe."

You are "not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19).

"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

People talk about God helping them with their salvation; they say, "If I do my part, God will do His." They disregard the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ by Himself removed our sins and that their part is only to believe and accept what He has already done - all they have to do is "step into the elevator cage!"

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).

"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

_______________________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Rest of the [Gospel] Story


The well-known radio broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) would often close his daily radio program with a segment called The Rest of the Story. It consisted of presenting "little-known or forgotten facts"1 of important events on a variety of subjects.

If I was Paul Harvey for a day, I think I'd like to share The Rest of the Story in regards to the gospel. Oftentimes people conclude the gospel by placing an artificial period at the end of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 so that it reads this way: "I declare unto you the gospel...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures." (Notice the artificial period after the word Scriptures in the previous sentence.) But in reality, the gospel story doesn't end there! There is no period at the end of 1 Corinthians 15:4 in the Biblical text. Instead, there is a comma at the end of 1 Corinthians 15:4, and then 1 Corinthians 15:5 begins with the linking word "and". In other words, the gospel story includes 1 Corinthians 15:5: "and that He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve." So according to the Bible, the gospel story not only includes Christ's death, burial, and resurrection - it also includes Christ's manifestation to His disciples (see 1 Corinthians 15:5; also see John 20:19-21:14). To put it more concisely, the gospel story includes Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and manifestation (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-5).

To quote Paul Harvey: "And now you know the rest of the story!"

1 "The Rest of the Story," Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rest_of_the_Story.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nothing But The Blood

By Peter Hann

Robert Lowry starts an old hymn with the question, "What can wash away my sin?" The other part of the hymn lyrics read, "nothing but the blood". What does "nothing but the blood" mean?

In the Old Testament the children of Israel had to sacrifice the blood of bulls, goats, and other animals to cover their sins like a temporary band-aid.

In Exodus chapter 12, in preparation for the Passover, the children of Israel were commanded by God to place the blood of the slain lamb on the sides and posts of their door frames, so that the LORD would not allow the destroyer to come into their homes, and bring death.

The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22, "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (forgiveness) of sins." That's humanity's problem, we have sin. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The glory of God is His holy standard of perfection.

The Bible also says, "the wages of sin is death" (eternal separation from God in Hell), "but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The only way to be saved from sin and Hell is to focus on "nothing but the blood" of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is not praying, good works, water baptism, church membership, sorrow, or sincerity - nothing but the blood, the blood, the blood! You must place all your trust in Christ's shed blood on the cross!

"In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). When you trust the precious blood of Christ, your sin is washed away like dirt on clothes is washed away. A detergent is required for cleaning things. Jesus' blood cleans our souls. [See: Isaiah 1:18; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Revelation 7:14.]

The solution is to trust Jesus Christ's death for your sins on the cross. He died, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures to show that God (the Father) accepted Christ's payment for our sins. [See: Acts 10:39-41, NKJV; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.]

Trust that shed blood today, and nothing but the blood, and eternal life is yours!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Still True to the Gospel After 100 Years

Although some today are using systematic theology to redefine the gospel,1 such is not the case with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). All the way back in 1913 B. H. Carroll, the founder and first president of the institution, affirmed that "the gospel" in 1 Corinthians 15 includes the following four facts: 

1) Christ's death for our sins, 
2) His burial in a tomb, 
3) His resurrection on the third day, and 
4) His appearances to His disciples.2

Now, 100 years later, the school is still preaching that old, old story of Jesus and His love (Romans 5:8). In an article titled "We Should Study Systematic Theology for the Gospel," SWBTS faculty member Thomas White writes: "1 Corinthians 15:3-5 provides a short summary of the Gospel: 1 Cor. 15:3-5, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."3

May I say, that's a theological insight and a biblical insight!


ENDNOTES:

1 For an example of this see the article "The Strange Beliefs of Stegall's System".

2 B. H. Carrol writes: “This chapter [1 Corinthians 15] commences with the statement of the facts which constitute the gospel. The first fact, ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.’ Three ideas are involved in that fact: 1. Christ actually died. It was not a mere trance; it was actual death. 2. It was a vicarious, substitutionary, expiatory death. ‘He died for our sins.’ 3. He died for our sins ‘according to the Scriptures’ – that the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament up to the time of his crucifixion clearly foretold his actual, substitutionary, and expiatory death. The second fact in the gospel is that he was buried – he was dead and buried – and that was according to the Scriptures. The Scriptures testified that he would be buried. The third fact is that on the third day, according to the Scriptures, he rose from the dead; and the fourth fact of the gospel is, that risen, he was visible to men, recognized by men, and identified by men.” (Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973], 17 Vols., Vol. 13, pp. 246-247. Note: This book was originally published by the Fleming H. Revell company in 1913.)

3 White, "We Should Study Systematic Theology for the Gospel (cont.)," Theological Matters blog, April 12, 2013, italics his.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Biblical Repentance: Lost in Translation?

Recently a non-Free Grace pastor warned me that I would be disciplined by the church if I tried to explain the right and wrong definitions of repentance to people in the congregation. He didn't want me to clarify the word repentance because he thought it might offend someone. But the Bible says:

"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth..." (2 Timothy 4:2-4a) 
I'm convinced there’s a great need in the evangelical church to clearly explain exactly what biblical repentance is and also what it’s not. This need exists because the word repentance in our English New Testament is really not the best translation of the original Greek word metanoia. Many Bible teachers affirm this is true. For example, notice the following statements:

  • “The problem is not preaching repentance; it is giving a wrong definition to the word. Down through the centuries ‘repent’ has come to mean a far different thing than when it was spoken by John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, the Apostle John, and Jesus Christ Himself.…If you look up the Greek word translated ‘repent’ in the King James Bible and used by Jesus, Paul, John and others in the New Testament, you will find that the [Greek] word metanoeo means to think differently or afterwards, that is, to change the mind.” (Curtis Hutson, Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach? [Murfreesboro: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1986], pp. 3-4.) 
  • “Modern [Bible] translators…generally translate metanoia as repentance. While this is an improvement over the Latin translation ‘penance,’ it is in most cases, as we shall now see, a poor reflection of its meaning in the NT.” (Bob Wilkin, “New Testament Repentance: Lexical Considerations,” http://bible.org/seriespage/new-testament-repentance-lexical-considerations.) 
  • “…the English word repentance derives from the Latin and does not express the exact meaning of  [the Greek word] metanoia.” (Wendell G. Johnston, “Repentance,” Don Campbell, Wendell Johnston, John Walvoord, John Witmer, The Theological Wordbook [Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000], p. 296.) 
  • “The word ‘repentance’ is not the best translation [of metanoia]. A better translation would have been ‘to change your mind.’” (James A. Scudder, Forever With God [Lake Zurich: Victory in Grace Ministries, 2010], p. 40.) 
  • "In the English Bible the word [metanoia] is translated ‘repentance,’ but this rendering hardly does justice to the original, since it gives undue prominence to the emotional element." (Louis Berkoff, Systematic Theology [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996], p. 480.) 
  • "'Repentance' suggests primarily sorrow for sin; metanoia suggests a change of mind". (George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993], p. 36.)
  • "…the rendering found in many of our [Bible] translations, namely, ‘Repent’ - thus A.V., A.R.V., R.S.V., etc. - is probably not the best.” (William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973], p. 196.)
  • "It is evident that repentance is a mistranslation of Metanoia. This fact was never more apparent than during the English and American revisions of the King James version of our Bible. Frequent debate centered around this word and it was the opinion of many that a suitable English equivalent should be sought for the Greek expression. It was agreed, however, that no one English word was sufficient to convey all that lay in the Greek. And, although it was admitted that the translation was poor, it was felt that the common term should be retained in the hope that it would come to convey all that its Greek derivative expressed." (William Walden Howard, "Is Faith Enough to Save? Part 3," Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 99 [January 1942]: p. 96.)
  • “Repent (metanoeite). Broadus used to say that this is the worst translation in the New Testament. The trouble is that the English word ‘repent’ means ‘to be sorry again’ from the Latin repoenitet (impersonal). John [the Baptist] did not call on the people to be sorry, but to change (think afterwards) their mental attitudes (metanoeite) and conduct. The Vulgate has it ‘do penance’ and Wycliff has followed that. The Old Syriac has it better: ‘Turn ye.’ The French (Geneva) has it “Amendez vous.” This is John’s great word (Bruce) and it has been hopelessly mistranslated. The tragedy of it is that we have no one English word that reproduces exactly the meaning and atmosphere of the Greek word.” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament, commentary on Matthew 3:2.) 
  • “It is a linguistic and theological tragedy that we have to go on using ‘repentance’ for metanoia. But observe that the ‘sorrow’ has led to ‘repentance’ and was not itself the repentance.” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, commentary on 2 Corinthians 7:9.) 
  • “It is unfortunate that [the Greek word] metanoeo is translated ‘repent’ in the English Bible, for the English etymology denotes more the idea of penitence as sorrow, or worse, the [Roman] Catholic doctrine of penance, than it does the more accurate ‘change of mind.’” (Charlie Bing, Lordship Salvation [Xulon Press, 2010], p. 69.)
  • "Here, now, we come upon the practical and all-important point of this inquiry. For, putting these words, Metanoia and Repentance, side by side, is there not, on the contrary [to what some say], a most radical divergency between them?....At the best [the word Repentance] can only hang on the skirts of the great Greek expression [Metanoia]....How did such an extraordinary mistranslation get into our New Testament?...We feel prepared, at least, to say, with regard to the present subject, that the necessary employment of a paraphrase should not be an occasion for hesitation in making so important an alteration. We can leave it to the candid reader to judge which is the most [or least] objectionable; a resort to a paraphrase which really translates, or the preference for a technical word, to say nothing of an uncertain one, which is always in need of translation. Better, even, were the bald phrase 'change of mind,' with an explanation which would give it fulness and dignity, than the misleading rendering we have to put up with now." (Treadwell Walden, "THE GREAT MEANING OF THE WORD METANOIA: LOST IN THE OLD VERSION, UNRECOVERED IN THE NEW," The American Church Review, Vol. 35 [July 1881]: pp. 148, 149, 153, 155; cf. Walden, The Great Meaning of Metanoia [New York: Whittaker, 1896], pp. 14, 15, 24, 29.)

In conclusion, it can be said that the word repentance does not exactly express the meaning of metanoia. Therefore, in order to "accurately handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) it's necessary to explain the meaning of repentance - much like Ezra and the Levitical priests explained the Pentateuch to Israel: "And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading." (Nehemiah 8:8, NASB)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

God's Home Run

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16, NKJV)

Recently I thought of an illustration to show how vital and important each part of the gospel is to the whole. Think of the Gospel as God's home run - "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, the gospel of salvation has four action words (notice the four verbs in bold print):

1. Christ DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures... (1 Cor. 15:3)

2. He was BURIED... (1 Cor. 15:4a)

3. He was RAISED on the third day according to the Scriptures... (1 Cor. 15:4b)

4.  He APPEARED... (1 Cor. 15:5)

God hit a home run when Christ died, buried, raised, and appeared. If a preacher removes the resurrection appearances from the gospel it would be like a baseball player hitting a home run and stopping at third base! MLB official rules say that when a batter hits a home run he has to physically step on all four bases. If the player doesn't tag all four bases the home run doesn't count. This is why all the teammates wait at home plate to congratulate the runner. Only after the runner tags home plate can the team put the run on the scoreboard. The Scriptures tell us that after Christ was raised on the third day He appeared to His disciples. In baseball terms, Jesus rounded third and tagged home. Not only did Christ hit "the walk-off home run" (the game-winning home run) - He tagged all the bases and scored it!

So to recap the baseball illustration:

1. Christ DIED for our sins - Jesus hit our sins out of the ballpark (John 19:30) and rounded 1st base,

2. Christ BURIED in a tomb - Jesus rounded 2nd base,

3. Christ RAISED on the third day - Jesus rounded 3rd base,

4. Christ APPEARED to His disciples - Jesus physically tagged home plate in the presence of His teammates (John 20:30-31) and scored the winning run!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Saved By Grace - The Testimony of Jonathan Perreault

I was born December 27, 1978 to Bruce and Marjorie Perreault in Brookfield, Wisconsin. My parents were both active Christians – my Dad was in charge of a short-term missionary training course at Elmbrook Church called Man-to-Missions, and both my Dad and my Mom led several home Bible studies. I can remember my sister and I playing in the basement with some other kids as my Dad was upstairs leading a weekly Bible study in our home. I also remember coming home from school and my Mom would be finishing up a ladies Bible study around our dining room table. 

My family's Christian heritage goes back to my great-grandpa on my Dad’s side of the family. We all called him Grandpa Storz – that was his last name, but his first name was Bill. He grew up in a Lutheran home, and when he was about 17 years old he became a Christian and as a result his family kicked him out of the house. He lived a godly life and went to be with the Lord at the ripe old age of 92, in about 1987. I still have a pocket sized Gideon’s New Testament that he and great-Grandma Storz gave me for my birthday one year. 

My parents dedicated me to the Lord on May 31, 1981. I still have a small New Testament that my Grandma and Grandpa Perreault gave me for the occasion. Just to be clear: my dedication isn’t when I got saved, it’s just when my parents took me up in front of the church and prayed to bring me up “in the training and admonition of the Lord,” like it says in Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV). I’m sure they prayed that I would get saved at an early age and grow up to be a godly man. I’m just guessing about those details since I haven’t actually asked my parents about the specifics, but that’s pretty much what happens at children’s dedications in evangelical churches. 

Like I said, when I was young my parents were pretty involved at Elmbrook Church, and I remember sometimes they would take me with them into the grown-up service to hear Stuart Briscoe preach. I liked it when they did that. He was a good preacher and I would sit next to my Dad and squirm around. He would tell me to sit still. Sometimes I would go to the children’s Sunday school instead of the grown-up service, and there were some nice teachers in there too. 

My Mom says that when I was about 4 years old she explained John 3:16 to me as we were driving somewhere in the car. She says that I was sitting in the back seat and after she explained John 3:16 to me, she looked in the rear view mirror and saw me praying. For a while I thought that’s when I got saved, even though I don’t really remember the incident. I think I might remember it, but I wonder if it’s just because she told it to me since I was young. Anyway, I always used to tell people that’s when I got saved, except I had my doubts. I was kind of embarrassed not to really know for sure. 

At the time we lived out in Delafield, and my best friend lived next door. His name was Brian Gott. He came from a broken home - his parents were divorced, and he was a rambunctious little kid. When my parents would take me and my sister to church on Wednesday nights to go to AWANAS, they would bring Brian along too. I believe that my parents’ ministry to Brian yielded a great harvest of spiritual fruit. Brian got saved and grew up to be a mighty witness for Christ before he died in a car accident after his senior year of high school. Over 1,000 people came to his funeral and testified to his spiritual impact on their lives. That rambunctious little kid grew up to be a firecracker for Christ – his short life burned brightly for His Savior. I hope by God’s grace to be like him. I admire Brian so much and I want to be on fire for Christ like he was. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (NASB) 

My family eventually moved away from Delafield so that my sister and I could be closer to a Christian elementary school. The school was in West Allis, and my parents rented a house only a couple blocks away so that my sister and I could walk to school every day. I always enjoyed the Bible classes, especially in High School because my Bible teacher was a Baptist pastor who had moved down from Alaska and he always used to read us grizzly bear stories on test day after everyone had completed their tests. He gave us a good foundation in the Bible too. 

During my growing up years I had the opportunity to go on several short-term mission projects. Actually, when I was only about 2 years old my parents took me on a couple summer mission trips to Alaska, but I don’t really remember them except for a few incidents like when I threw my sister’s pail of freshly picked blueberries out the window of my Dad’s pickup truck! When I was in second grade my family had the opportunity to go to Brazil on a two week missions trip to help some New Tribes missionaries with a building project. That was a great experience and I remember a lot of things from that trip. Like when I shook up a can of soda and sprayed it all over the wall. My Dad wasn’t too happy but everyone else laughed. I remember other stuff too, like the prime rib dinner that only cost $2.00! And the missionary’s pet bird that pooped on his shoulder. And the Brazilian woman who I helped to learn English. And going to Rio de Janeiro and seeing the Jesus statue on Sugar Loaf Mountain. And riding in the back of an old VW van as we went down the bumpy Brazilian roads. And the flowering trees. And flying to Annapolis in a small Cessna aircraft to visit the missionary school. And buying cool stuff at the local markets. And kissing the missionary's daughter under the bed. 

I was able to go on other mission trips too. My Grandpa Perreault had a cabin in Canada, and often our family would go up there in the summer for vacation. My older brother would take me and my sister fishing, and he knew all the best places to catch fish, even better than Grandpa! There was a Baptist missionary up there who we always used to help. We would go to his church on Sunday, and give him stuff. We would volunteer at his summer youth camps too. 

It was during these growing up years that I had nagging doubts about my salvation. I never really had assurance about it. I always wondered if I was really saved or not. I can remember hearing preachers on the radio give invitations for salvation, and they would say things like: “If you want to be saved, pray this prayer after me.” I would always pray the prayer but it never really seemed to do anything. It never really seemed to settle the issue. I lacked peace about my eternal destiny. 

Then my Dad started taking us to a small church called Good News Messengers that met in the basement of a bank in Waukesha. At first we would go there after the service at Elmbrook. Then we stopped going to Elmbrook and just went to Good News Messengers. My experience at Good News Messengers was really cool – everybody treated each other like family. We spent practically the whole Sunday morning together from 8 a.m. – noon. We would sing, share prayer requests, pray, eat a meal together, and study God’s Word verse-by-verse. And during the week we would go out onto the street corners of downtown Milwaukee and share the gospel with people and pass out gospel tracts. And Wednesday nights we would meet in what we called “the ministry house” to study the Bible and pray. Later I would come to find out that this church was an offshoot of Waukesha Bible Church, and it was deeply influenced by graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary in the grace teachings of Lewis Sperry Chafer, the Seminary’s founder and first president. One thing I remember about Good News Messengers is that they explained the gospel more clearly that I had heard before. It seemed like every Sunday the pastor would turn to the dry erase board behind him and sketch out the cross and the empty tomb. He explained how Christ shed His blood on the cross to pay the complete penalty for our sins, and was buried, and rose from the grave on the third day. This is the message that the apostle Paul explains in First Corinthians chapter 15, when he writes: “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…For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared…” (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-5, NET). This message of the gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). 

I remember one Sunday as the pastor was explaining this to us, it was like a light went on in my mind. It was like I realized something for the first time. I turned to my Mom who was sitting next to me in church and I said, “So it’s the blood! It’s the blood that saves us?!” I felt kind of stupid for asking her this because I felt like I should have known it before. (I’m guessing I was about 10 years old.) But my Mom just smiled and nodded her head in agreement. Looking back on this incident it reminds me of the Bible verse that says: “For it is…God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NKJV). What I realized is that Jesus died for me - for my sins. He shed His blood to save me (Ephesians 1:7). He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20, NASB). As the saying goes: “Believing Christ died – that’s history. Believing He died for me – that’s salvation!” 

After that time I can honestly say that I never doubted my salvation as before. I had come to realize that salvation is not based on what I do; salvation is based on what Jesus has done (see for example: Isaiah 64:6; Romans 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7). I’d like to quote Ephesians 2:8-9. It says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (NASB) 

If you have never trusted in Christ alone for salvation, I urge you to do it today. The Bible says: “behold, now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ behold, now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION’” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NASB). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31, NKJV).

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Double-Talk of Duluth Bible Church

2 Corinthians 11:3-4, NKJV
“[Overseers and deacons] must be men of dignity, not double-tongued...” (First Timothy 3:8, NASB)


The word “double-tongued” (1 Tim. 3:8) is the Greek word dilogos which means “speaking double”.1 Similar to John Bunyan’s Parson Mr. Two-Tongues,2 Duluth Bible Church (D.B.C) is two-tongued in regards to the most important subject in this world and the next - the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

D.B.C. DOUBLE-TALK EXAMPLE #1: The Gospel INCLUDES and EXCLUDES Christ’s burial and appearances.

  • The Gospel INCLUDES Christ’s burial and appearances: “Hearing the Gospel…the truth of the Gospel began to sink in and make sense to me. Sometime in early August of that year, I understood the Gospel. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) Saved By God’s Grace I truly became saved! So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)”3
  • The Gospel EXCLUDES Christ’s burial and appearances: “Paul did not consider the burial and appearances to be part of ‘the gospel;”4 “only the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection of Christ are elements of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, in contrast to the burial and appearances”.5

D.B.C. DOUBLE-TALK EXAMPLE #2: The Gospel INCLUDES and EXCLUDES Christ’s burial.

  • The Gospel INCLUDES Christ’s burial: “What is ‘the Gospel’? GOSPEL = ‘GOOD NEWS’ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4…Believe the Gospel and eternal life is yours today!”6JESUS WAS BURIED Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb as stated in the Gospel (The Good News) “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4).”7
  • The Gospel EXCLUDES Christ’s burial: “the empirical proof of [Christ’s] death was that ‘He was buried’ [1 Cor. 15:4] – which isn’t the gospel but the proof of the gospel”.8

D.B.C. DOUBLE-TALK EXAMPLE #3: The content of saving faith INCLUDES and EXCLUDES Christ’s burial.

  • The content of saving faith INCLUDES Christ’s burial: “SOLE CONDITION FOR SALVATION We believe the only response to the Gospel of grace which saves a soul from Hell is faith alone in Christ alone, whereby the lost sinner believes that Jesus Christ died for all his sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead (Jn. 1:12; 3:15-18, 5:24, 6:32-40, 8:24; Acts 16:30-31; 1 Cor. 15:1-4, 17).”9
  • The content of saving faith EXCLUDES Christ’s burial: “There are several slight changes within this [doctrinal] statement which you should note: ...The proposed change does not make belief in the historical fact of Christ’s burial a condition upon which a person’s eternal destiny rests…it is therefore not absolutely essential for someone to know about it and believe it in order to go to heaven, as the original statement seemed to indicate.”10

Dear reader, don’t be deceived by the double-talk gospel! For what does the apostle Paul say? “But as God is faithful [reliable, trustworthy], our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you…was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.” (2 Corinthians 1:18-19, NASB) 


ENDNOTES:

1 See the translator’s note (tn #12) on 1 Timothy 3:8 in the NET Bible. SCRIPTURE QUOTED BY PERMISSION. QUOTATIONS DESIGNATED (NET) ARE FROM THE NET BIBLE® COPYRIGHT © 2005 BY BIBLICAL STUDIES PRESS, L.L.C. www.bible.org ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2 See A. T. Robertson, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:8". Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Broadman Press 1932, 1933, Renewal 1960.

3 Wendy Stromberg, “God’s Grace to a Searching Agnostic,” Dennis Rokser, Editor, Trophies Of God’s Grace – Personal Testimonies of God’s Gift of Salvation #1 (Duluth: Duluth Bible Church, 2006), pp. 21-22, bold and italics original, ellipsis added. NOTE: Dennis Rokser is the senior pastor of Duluth Bible Church in Duluth, Minnesota.

4 Tom Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ
(Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 579, italics original.  NOTE: Tom Stegall is the former pastor of Word of Grace Bible Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Word of Grace Bible Church is a church-plant of Duluth Bible Church.) He is currently on staff at Duluth Bible Church.

5 Ibid., p. 585.

6 This statement is printed on the back cover of a gospel tract from Stegall’s former church (Word of Grace Bible Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin). The tract is titled “CHRIST HAS BRIDGED THE GULF”. Bold and caps original, ellipsis added.

7 Dennis Rokser, GOOD NEWS! – Unfolding The Answer To Life’s Greatest Puzzle! (Duluth: Duluth Bible Church, no date), p. 5, bold, caps, italics, and ellipsis original.

8 Dennis Rokser, “Is The Resurrection An Essential Part Of The Gospel?, Pt 2” [time stamp (approx.): 22 min. 30 sec.], Duluth Bible Church midweek service, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, bold added.

9 Word of Grace Bible Church Constitution, Article 3: Doctrinal Statement, “SOLE CONDITION FOR SALVATION” (dated: “September 7, 2003”), p. 5, second bold added.

10 Tom Stegall, "Proposed Change” to the “SOLE CONDITION FOR SALVATION,” Word of Grace Bible Church handout (circa 2007), n.p., bold and italics original.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Q & A on the Gospel with Dr. George Meisinger

Dr. George Meisinger is the current President of Chafer Theological Seminary (CTS) - "a non-crossless Free Grace school".1 Meisinger is also on the Board of Reference for the Free Grace Alliance (FGA). I appreciate this dear brother in Christ and the stand he takes for the gospel of grace.

In a CTS newsletter article titled "LETTER FROM THE CTS PRESIDENT," Meisinger writes:

"Supporters of CTS often ask me, What is my stand regarding the gospel? I follow the revelation from Paul: I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according the the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve (1 Cor. 15:3-5). This message - particularly that He died for our sin - is very good news indeed. Thus, Paul put Jesus' death on the Cross in a primary position as he evangelized; he resolved to make known nothing among the Corinthians except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). Paul's example of doing evangelism is a pattern we should follow, not minimize."2


ENDNOTES:

1 Tom Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ (Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 577. NOTE: It's necessary to point out that Stegall disagrees with the traditional Free Grace interpretation of the gospel. For more information see the article "The Strange Beliefs of Stegall's System" by Jonathan Perreault.

2 George Meisinger, "Letter from the President," EQUIPPING THE SAINTS, A newsletter from Chafer Theological Seminary, Volume 3, Issue 2 (December 2007): p. 4, italics his. For further discussion see the article "The Gospel Paul Preached: A Church Age Model of Evangelistic Content" by George Meisinger.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Types of the Empty Tomb

1 Corinthians 15:4

On the third day according to the Scriptures… 

• Isaac received back his life "as a type" (Gen. 22:4; cf. Heb. 11:17-19)

• Dinah received back her life (Gen. 34:25)

• Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer received back his life (Gen. 40:20)

• Joseph’s brothers received back their lives (Gen. 42:17-18)

• the Israelites at Mt. Sinai received back their lives (Ex. 19:10-25; cf. Deut. 5:24)

• the unclean Israelites received back their lives (Num. 19:12-13, 19, 31:19)

• the Israelite spies received back their lives (Josh. 2:15-24)

• the Gibeonites received back their lives (Josh. 9:16-17)

• the Israelites apart from Benjamin received back their lives (Judges 20:30-35)

• David received back his life (1 Sam. 20:5, 12)

• Abigail and the village of Ziklag received back their lives (1 Sam. 30:1-20)

• an Egyptian received back his life (1 Sam. 30:11-15)

• an Amalekite received back his life (2 Sam. 1:1-2)

• the people of Jerusalem received back their lives (2 Sam. 24:10-25)

• Hezekiah received back his life (2 Kings 20:5)

• the Jewish temple received back it's life (Ezra 6:15; cf. Jn. 2:19-22)

• Esther received back her life (Esther 5:1-2; cf. Esther 4:11)

• the nation of Israel will receive back her life (Hosea 6:2)

• Jonah received back his life (Jonah 1:17-2:10; cf. Matt. 12:38-40)

Jesus received back His life! (1 Cor. 15:4; cf. Lk. 18:31-33, 24:44-48; Acts 10:40)
_____________

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2, NIV)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tom Stegall's Sinful Savior Gospel

In his book The Gospel of the Christ, Tom Stegall presents a fictitious case study about a man named Joe who doesn't believe that Christ "was raised on the third day" (1 Cor. 15:4). Stegall writes: "Even though Joe believes wholeheartedly in Christ's substitutionary death and bodily resurrection and salvation by God's grace, he is vociferously denying the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:4 that Christ's resurrection occurred on 'the third day.' So, again, we must ask, is Joe saved or lost?"1

Stegall goes on to say that "a person is saved by believing the gospel (1 Cor. 4:14; 2 Thess. 1:8-10)".2 But what is the gospel according to Tom Stegall? Apparently a gospel without any mention of "the third day" (1 Cor. 15:4). Amazingly, Stegall goes on to label Christ's "three day interment"3 (i.e. three day burial): "more than the gospel",4 and he makes it clear that in his opinion "a person does not have to believe [this] detail"!5

Notice that Stegall is using a completely hypothetical case study to redefine the gospel. That's a glaring problem (see Gal. 1:8-9)! Furthermore, besides the fact that the mention of "the third day" (1 Cor. 15:4) is included in the content of Paul's gospel (notice the hoti content clause in verse 4: "...that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...") - the other glaring problem with Stegall's reductionist reasoning is that Christ said He would rise from the dead on "the third day" according to the Scriptures (Lk. 18:31-33; 24:44-48; Jn. 2:19-22; cf. Gal. 1:11-12). Thus, fictional Joe's denial of Christ's resurrection on "the third day" (1 Cor. 15:4) calls into question the veracity of Christ! If Joe is "vociferously denying the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:4 that Christ's resurrection occurred on 'the third day'"6 as Stegall asserts, then Joe is not trusting in the sinless Savior of the Scriptures. Concerning Him, the apostle Paul writes:  

"As God is faithful, our message to you is not 'Yes and no.' For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us...did not become 'Yes and no'; on the contrary, a final 'Yes' has come in Him. For every one of God’s promises is 'Yes' in Him. Therefore, the 'Amen' is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory. (2 Cor. 1:18-20, HCSB)7 

Sadly, Joe is trusting in a sinful savior - one that is (unfortunately) "Yes and no". As such, Joe is trusting in a "false Christ" (Matt. 24:24; cf. Matt. 24:4-5) and in "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:4) - neither of which can save.


ENDNOTES:

1 Tom Stegall, The Gospel of the Christ (Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2009), p. 563, bold added, italics his.

2 Ibid., p. 563.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Bold, italics, and ellipsis added.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Want the Whole Gospel Too


James MacDonald of Walk in the Word Ministries has just written a blog article titled "I Want the Whole Gospel" - and it's excellent! The article is written like a heartfelt prayer to God. The opening sentence, which is especially good, reads:

"I want the whole gospel: Every single ounce of truth; give it to me straight just like it is in the Bible."

Please click on the link above to read the whole article!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shipwrecked on Zane Hodges' Deserted Island, Parts 1-10


The Strange Similarities of Zane Hodges' "Deserted Island Scenario"
& Tom Stegall's "Galatians-Only Scenario"


Part 1:
INTRODUCTION









Part 10:
STRANGE SIMILARITY # 9


Editor's Note: This series was previously titled "Lost in the Deserted Islands".

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Brief History of the Biblical Gospel

From Paul to Present Day 
(To view the PDF of this article, click here.)


Paul of Tarsus (55 A.D.)

Apostle of Jesus Christ

     “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, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, NET1


Ambrose of Milan (390)

Bishop of Milan, Italy

“Paul said thus: I have delivered unto you, especially how that Christ died according to the Scriptures and that he was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures and is seen of Cephas. I Cor. 15, 3-5”2 


Augustine of Hippo (400) 

Bishop of Hippo Regius, North Africa 

“What have we got in the gospel? That Christ rose again in the same body as was buried; that he was seen, that he was touched and handled, that to the disciples who thought he was a spirit he said, Feel and see, that a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you can see that I have (Lk 24:39). What does the apostle [Paul] oppose to this?”3

“Is it at this day a thing incredible, that the Body of the Lord rose again from the sepulchre? The whole cleansed world has believed it; whoso has not believed it, has remained in his uncleanness. Yet at that time it was incredible: and persuasion was addressed not to the eyes only, but to the hands also, that by the bodily senses faith might descend into their heart, and that faith so descending into their heart might be preached throughout the world to them who neither saw nor touched, and yet without doubting believed. ‘Have ye,’ saith He, ‘anything to eat?’ How much doeth the good Builder still to build up the edifice of faith? He did not hunger, yet He asked to eat. And He ate by an act of His power, not through necessity. So then let the disciples acknowledge the verity of His body, which the world has acknowledged at their preaching. 
     If haply there be any heretics who still in their hearts maintain that Christ exhibited Himself to sight, but that Christ’s was not very flesh; let them now lay aside that error, and let the Gospel persuade them. We do but blame them for entertaining this conceit: He will damn them if they shall persevere in it….Hear Him: He loves thee, let Him not condemn thee. Hear Him speaking: lo, He speaks to thee, thou unhappy one, He speaks to thee, ‘Why art thou troubled, and why do thoughts ascend into thine heart?’ ‘See,’ saith He, ‘My hands and My feet. Handle and see, because a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have.’ This spake the Truth, and did He deceive? It was a body then, it was flesh; that which had been buried, appeared. Let doubting perish, and meet praise ensue.”4


John Cassian (400) 

Deacon of Constantinople, Byzantium 

“But ‘doctrine’ unfolds the simple course of historical exposition, under which is contained no more secret sense, but what is declared by the very words: as in this passage: ‘For I delivered unto you first of all what I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day, and that he was seen of Cephas;’ I Cor. 15.3-5.’”5


The Venerable Bede (710) 

Monk of Saint Peter’s Monastery at Monkwearmouth and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, Northumbria

 “So of all the men the first the Lord appeared to is Peter, out of all that we have such only as the four evangelists [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] and Paul the apostle on record. For he speaks of the Lord, Paul to the Corinthians, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and afterwards eleven.”6 


Atto of Vercelli (960)

Bishop of Vercelli, Italy 

“If, therefore, [Paul] only preached Christ crucified, how is it below that he says: ‘I have delivered unto you first of which I also received, that the Lord Jesus died according to the Scriptures, and that he rose again, and that he was seen of Cephas? And of the rest (1 Cor. xv. 3-5).”7 


Peter Lombard (1140) 

Bishop of Paris, France 

‘But now my brethren I make known unto you the gospel,’ of the resurrection of the dead, ‘which was preached unto you’. It is not a new one, ‘and that ye have received,’ that is to say have judged worthy of acceptation….‘For I delivered this for you in the first place,’ that is to say one of the largest, and still, ‘I hand over that [which] I have received’ from the Holy Spirit and not feigned. ‘How that Christ died,’ not for his necessity, but ‘for our sins’. And I say this, ‘according to the scriptures,’ the Old Testament. The death of Christ foretold [in] the future. Hence, Isaiah [says], ‘he was led as a sheep to the slaughter’. And also, ‘they shall take away his life from the earth, for the iniquities of my people he was led to the death,’ and, even, I have delivered ‘that he was buried,’ and this is similarly ‘according to the scriptures’. For Isaiah says, ‘shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death’: and again, ‘there will be’ (he says) ‘the tomb of his glorious’. And also I have delivered ‘that he rose again,’ proof of a real death, and this so soon: ‘on the third day,’ to show how we can raise up. And I have said this, according to what the scriptures [say]. Hosea, he said in fact, ‘revive us after two days, and we shall rise again on the third day, and thou shalt live in his sight’. Now if he died, was buried and rose again, do not doubt [that] the dead and buried rise again. And, I even delivered, ‘that he was seen,’ after the resurrection, ‘by Cephas,’ that is Peter, before other men, which appearance we read in the gospel. Otherwise, it would be contrary to the women, which is the first appearance read. And after this, he was seen of, ‘the eleven,’ the apostles in the room. Another text, it has ‘the twelve,’ by synecdoche [i.e. a figure of speech in which the part is exchanged for the whole or the whole for the part] that is taken. For where the greater or more important part is named, understand that to the very word it does not pertain: in what way it has been said, ‘Have not I chosen you the twelve,’ Judas, however, he was not of the elect: and in such a way is said here. For the Greek manuscripts have this number with the article [i.e. ‘the twelve’], they may not whoever has [just] ‘12’. But in the understanding of that number they are bound: some manuscripts [i.e. the Latin Vulgate manuscripts] have ‘eleven,’ I believe that men have rectified this disorder, neither of which, however, contradicts the truth.”8 


Thomas Aquinas (1250)

Regent Master in Theology at the University of Paris, France, and at the Stadium Generale in Naples, Italy

     “The things [Paul] received and delivered [in 1 Cor. 15:3ff] are four, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearance of Christ.
     …‘Whether then it was I or they, so we preach’. Here he shows the agreement of the preachers; and this can be read in two ways: first, as confirming what has been said. As if one were to say: You preach thus, but we do not believe you alone, because you are the least of the Apostles. Therefore, the Apostle says in reply: Indeed you should believe me, because I do not preach other things; whether it was I or the other apostles you saw, they preached that Christ rose and was seen, and you also believed, just as I and those who preached, namely, that Christ rose and was seen: ‘Since we have the same spirit of faith’ (2 Cor 4:13).
     Secondly, it can be read so that the efficacy of preaching comes to the apostles from one source, i.e., from the grace of God.”9 


John Wycliffe (1375) 

Professor of Divinity at Oxford, Rector of Lutterworth Parish, and the “Morning Star of the Reformation” 

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, etc. 1 Cor. 15. In this epistle Paul teaches by many reasons how his gospel is to be praised of true men, for the fruit of bliss that cometh thereof; and the word evangele, or gospel, means good tidings of bliss…. [The] reason that Paul giveth of the praising of this gospel is, that it is a nigh mean [i.e. it is excellent and effective] to save men in bliss of heaven. And Paul boasteth not here of this gospel for his person, but by reason of his God, of whom this gospel sprung by grace. And this should move true men to take this gospel and leave fables. And Paul telleth hereafter of this gospel how men should last therein. For else his travail thereabout were idle and without fruit. For the praising of God’s word, and holding thereof in man’s mind, should be to produce belief in men, and thereby bring forth good works….And thus saith Paul, For what reason should I have preached thus to you, and ye should have holden this lore, but for coming of this end? And if this end come not, ye have believed here in vain. I betook first to you lore that I have taken of God, that Christ was dead for our sins, after the witness of holy writ; and better witness may none be, for then must God witness it. Christ died not for his own sin, as thieves die for their sin; but Christ, our brother, that might not sin, died for sin that others have done. And both righteousness of God and grace, and saving of men, moved Christ to die thus. And not only sin of men, for then Christ had died for nought and idly without cause. I told you more of belief, how that Christ was after buried, and how he rose on the third day, by the witness of holy writ. And that this belief was written in the book of life, and men’s souls, and also dead bodies.
     Paul calls it many scriptures; and Paul tells of six degrees [of appearances], by which Christ was seen to live after that he was dead. And this faith should be believed in.”10 

     “‘I make known unto you the gospel which I preached to you.’ I Cor. 15:1...."Paul delivered to the Corinthians the faith which he received from the Lord, the faith should be the source of meritorious works that follow. The four articles of the faith of Christ preached to the Corinthians which presupposes the incarnation of Christ and the birth. For he taught them first that Christ died for our sins not for His own (as is clear from Isaiah [53]:5); was buried to prove the truth of his death more miraculous (as is clear in Matthew 27); third He rose again the third day according to the first day and ultimately a synecdoche of the fourth [day], beginning the natural day from the middle of the night; fourth He appeared to Peter and others (the end of Matthew). 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 5."11 


Isaac Habert (1647) 

Bishop of Vabres, France 

“The faith of the gospel is presented, and it’s deeds, the words, are recognized as sincerely true. Such faith is commended for justification and for salvation from the mouth of Christ Himself: ‘Every one that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die forever. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him: ‘Yea, Lord I have believed that you are Christ, the Son of the living God, who comes into this world.’ Again, Christ to the Father. ‘This is eternal life that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.’ [Also] Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapter [10]. ‘If you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ And 1 Cor. 15. Several other historical objects of true and justifying faith pile up/heap together. ‘Be it known unto you, the gospel which I preached and that you have received, and wherein you stand, through which we are saved,’ and so on. ‘For I delivered unto you first of which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas,’ and so on. Certainly, all these things are historical, and of faith make up the Creed, the gospel therefore of them believed saves.”12 


John Bunyan (1656) 

Pastor of St. John’s Church, Bedford, England 

“Now, friend, faith is that which layeth hold of, or believeth the gospel. And that this is the meaning read the next verse: That (saith he) ‘if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ So that it is clear that the word of faith is to believe assuredly from the very heart, that God hath raised up Jesus from the dead, out of the grave into which he was laid by Joseph; and that he was raised again for [or ‘because of’] my justification, Rom. iv. 25. As it is written, I Cor. xv. ‘Moreover, brethren, (saith he), I declared unto you the gospel which I preached unto you at the first, which also you have received, and wherein you stand, by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory, or assuredly believe, what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain:’ but what was that gospel you preached? Why, saith he, ver. 3. ‘I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scripture; and that he was seen of the brethren after his resurrection,’ etc.”13 

“Pray, who was he that rose out of the ground, The third day after He for Sin did die? Luke xxiv. 34. I Cor. xv. 3-5.”14 


Samuel Clarke (1731) 

Rector of St. James’s Westminster 

the Gospel of St. Luke was only a Transcript of St. Paul’s Preaching: St. Paul himself plainly refers to it, I Cor. xv. 5, where declaring unto the Corinthians the Gospel which he had before Preached, he puts them in mind how that Christ rose from the Dead according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen of Cephas, &c., which appearance of our Saviour to Peter, is no where mentioned but in St. Luke’s Gospel, Luke xxiv. 34.”15 


Christopher Dean (1854) 

Agent for the Massachusetts Sunday-School Society 

“Beautiful summaries of the gospel are given, Acts 13:16-49; John 3:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 1:15.”16


Heinrich Theile (1861)

Abbot of Riddagshausen Monastery, Germany 

“For as the great saving acts of God have been accomplished, which constitute the main contents of the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-5.): Christ’s death and burial, his resurrection and the first proclamation and rendering; those salvation acts, in their faithful acquiring the Christian world from all nations and languages”.17 


Michael F. Sadler (1865, 1892) 

Rector of Honiton Parish, Prebendary of Wells Cathedral, Vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Bedford, England 

“St. Paul in 1 Cor. xv. sets forth his Gospel to be mainly the evidences of the Lord’s Resurrection, and the first of these mentioned by him is an appearance to Cephas: ‘He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.”18

“The only sermon of the Apostle St. Paul on record (in Acts xiii.)…is a call to repentance and faith, grounded on the death, burial (which is especially mentioned), resurrection, and appearances after His resurrection, of the Son of David.”19


Thomas D. Bernard (1869)

Rector of Walcot Parish, Canon and Chancellor of Wells Cathedral, England 

“The Gospel which the Apostles preached was a combination of historic facts with their spiritual interpretations; and the expression, ‘Gospel which I preached,’ is used by St. Paul in different places with more immediate reference to the one or the other of these elements. In the passages from the Epistle to the Corinthians he speaks of the first and fundamental part of his preaching, referring expressly to the publication of historic facts: - Christ died – he was buried – he rose again – he was seen of Cephas, &c.”20 


D. L. Moody (1876, 1895) 

Founder of Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute, Chicago

     “Paul says in the 15th chapter of the 1st of Corinthians what the gospel is. He says, ‘I declare unto you the gospel.’ And the first thing he states in the declaration to these Corinthians is this: ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.’ That was the old-fashioned gospel. I hope we never will get away from it. I don’t want anything but that old, old story. Some people have itching ears for something new. Bear in mind there is no new gospel. Christ died for our sins. If He did not, how are we going to get rid of them? Would you insult the Almighty by offering the fruits of this frail body to atone for sin? If Christ did not die for our sins, what is going to become of our souls? And then he goes on to tell that Christ was buried, and that Christ rose again.
     He burst asunder the bands of death. Death could not hold Him. I can imagine, when they laid Him in Joseph’s sepulcher, if our eyes could have been there, we should have seen Death sitting over that sepulcher, saying, ‘I have Him; He is my victim. He said He was the resurrection and the life. Now I have hold of Him in my cold embrace. Look at Him. There He is; He has had to pay tribute to me. Some thought He was never going to die. Some thought I would not get Him. But He is mine.’ But look again. The glorious morning comes, and the Son of Man burst asunder the bands of death, and came out of the sepulcher. We do not worship a dead God, but a Saviour who still lives. Yes; He rose from the grave; and then they saw Him ascend. That is what Paul calls the gospel.”21 

“I believe that the nearer we keep to the apostles’ way of presenting the gospel, the more success we will have.”22 


Otto Pfleiderer (1877)

Professor of Theology at the University of Jena, Germany 

“What Paul says about the origin of faith quite agrees with the above. Owing to the historical nature of the object of faith, faith can only come [ex akoes], Rom. x. 17, from hearing the announcement of the gospel. It is so far dependent on being handed down by men ([pōs akousōsi chōris kerussontos]; ibid. ver. 14); just as the Apostle himself in preaching the gospel first of all delivered what he himself had received (from [God and] men) – the facts of the death, burial, resurrection and appearances of Christ (1 Cor. xv. 3 f.).”23 


Charles H. Spurgeon (1879) 

Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London 

Jesus Christ is the essence of the gospel….Everything is brought out as a matter of fact arising from the actual life and death of the Saviour, and I am free to confess that I greatly admire this way of preaching the gospel. How does Paul put it? What was the gospel to him? Hear him: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.’ Thus, you see, Paul’s body of divinity was the life and death of that only embodied divinity, the Lord Jesus. My brethren, always set forth the gospel in close connection with your Lord, fetching it, as it were, out of him.”24 


James Quinter (1883) 

German Brethren Pastor, President of Juniata College 

“In view of the important relation that Christ’s resurrection has to the conversion and regeneration of sinners, his resurrection was made an important part in apostolic preaching….Paul’s language to the Corinthians shows what use was made of Christ’s resurrection by the apostles in establishing Christianity, and in the conversion of sinners. He says, ‘I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve,’ &c. 1 Cor. 15:3, 5. The fact of Christ’s resurrection was among the first things preached to people to win them to Christ.”25 


Gotthard Victor Lechler (1886) 

Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Leipzig, Germany 

“[Paul’s discourse in Acts 13] certainly corresponds to the primitive Christian preaching, Paul himself in 1 Cor. xv. 3, etc., giving prominence to the redemptive death of Christ, His burial, resurrection on the third day, with the appearances of the Risen One, as facts in the history of salvation, which he announces in common with the other apostles.”26 


B. F. Westcost (1889) 

Bishop of Durham, England, and editor of the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament 

“In one place (I Cor. xv. 3-11), St. Paul has given an outline of ‘the gospel’ by which men ‘were saved.’ Nothing can be more simply historic than this passage. What we call the miraculous facts are placed beside the others without any difference. The resurrection of the Lord, and His appearances after the resurrection, are taught as events of the same kind essentially, and to be received in the same way as His death and burial. Together they formed ‘the gospel,’ and in this respect, whether it was ‘the Three’ [a reference to Peter, James, and John] or St. Paul who preached, the substance of their preaching was the same.”27 


C. H. Mackintosh (1889) 

Plymouth Brethren Preacher and Bible Expositor 

“GLAD tidings were announced to Abraham when it was said to him, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed.’ Glad tidings were also announced when the angel proclaimed to the watching shepherds the birth of a Saviour, Christ the Lord, and the praises of the heavenly host rang through the heavens: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ In a fuller way still, glad tidings were preached after Jesus died, and rose, and ascended, as we have it in 1 Corinthians xv.: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you….for I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve,’ &c.”28 


Arthur T. Pierson (1893) 

Pastor of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle, London 

“Christianity rests on four facts – the death, burial, rising, and appearing of Christ. This constitutes the essence of the Gospel. Upon a cross and an empty tomb our faith is built.”29 


William Alexander (1893) 

Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland 

“If the Corinthians remembered with what argument [Paul] had preached the Gospel to them, if they did not make their act of faith with a light fanaticism, four great facts were deeply stamped upon their souls – Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, manifestation. [apethanen], [etaphe], [egegertai], [ophthe], 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4, 5.”30 


James Denney (1895, 1908) 

Professor of New Testament Language, Literature, and Theology, and Professor of Systematic Theology at United Free Church College, Glasgow, Scotland 

“When St. Paul defends his gospel to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv. 3 ff.), he reminds them that he delivered to them imprimis what he had also received, viz., that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and after some further particulars sums up thus: Whether therefore it be I or they – i.e. whether it be the apostle to the Gentiles or the apostles of the circumcision – this is how we preach, and this is how you believed. In other words, there was no gospel known in the primitive church, or in any part of it, which had not this as its foundation – that God forgives our sins because Christ died for them.”31 

“For what Paul taught in Corinth was the common Christian tradition (ver. 3 ff.); he had been taught it himself when he became a Christian, and in his turn he transmitted it to others. But Paul became a Christian not very long after the death of Christ – according to Harnack one year after, to Ramsay three or four, to Lightfoot perhaps six or seven. At a date so close to the alleged events we find that the fundamental facts of Christianity as taught in the primitive circle were these – that Christ died for our sins; that He was buried; that He rose again on the third day and remains in the state of exaltation; and that He appeared to certain persons. The mention of the burial is important in this connexion as defining what is meant by the rising. We see from it that it would have conveyed no meaning to Paul or to any member of the original Christian circle to say that it was the spirit of Christ which rose into new life, or that He rose again in the faith of His devoted followers, who could not bear the thought that for Him death should end all. The rising is relative to the grave and the burial, and if we cannot speak of a bodily resurrection we should not speak of resurrection at all. In the same connexion also we should notice the specification of the third day. This is perfectly definite, and it is perfectly guaranteed. The third day was the first day of the week, and every Sunday as it comes round is a new argument for the resurrection. The decisive event in the inauguration of the new religion took place on that day – an event so decisive and so sure that it displaced even the Sabbath, and made not the last but the first day of the week that which Christians celebrated as holy to the Lord.”32 


Ely V. Zollars (1895) 

President and Professor of Moral Science and Biblical Literature, Hiram College 

“The gospel of Jesus Christ consists in the first place of certain facts to be believed. This necessarily leads to certain commands which are to be obeyed, and this is followed by certain promises to be enjoyed. We are left in no doubt as to what the facts of the gospel are. Paul gives us a clear and explicit statement in the following language: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you, which also ye have received and wherein ye stand; by which, also, ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve . . .” (I Cor. xv. 1-5).”33 


Frederick Edward Warren (1897) 

Rector of Bardwell, Suffolk, Honorary Canon of Ely, Former Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford 

“St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said –
     ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
     And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:
     And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.’ [A footnote cites: ‘I Cor. xv. 3-5.’]

     Here the quotation introduced by ‘that’ ([hoti]) ends. It seems to be a portion of a confession of faith which St. Paul says that he received.”34 


H. A. Ironside (1897) 

Pastor of Moody Church, Chicago 

Paul’s Statement of the Real Gospel

     Commencing at the first verse of this precious and wondrous portion of Scripture [i.e. 1 Corinthians 15:1], we read: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures’ (see Isa. Liii. 5, 6); ‘and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas,’ etc.…we have here a statement of the gospel – the gospel which Paul preached; and it is dangerous to preach any other, as we find from Gal. i. 8, 9 that the person who does so, though it be an angel from heaven, is under a curse, or devoted to judgment….see how the true gospel can be put:

1. Christ died [1 Cor. 15:3];
2. Christ was buried [1 Cor. 15:4a];
3. Christ has been raised again [1 Cor. 15:4b];
4. Christ is the object for the hearts of His own [1 Cor. 15:5].”35 


Sabine Baring-Gould (1897) 

Rector, East Mersea, Essex, England, Parson, Lew Trenchard Parish, Devon, England, and writer of the well-known Christian hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” 

“In 1 Cor. xv. 1-5 [Paul] declares to the Corinthians what his Gospel was – ‘That Christ died for our sins….and that He was buried, and that He rose again….and that He was seen.’ &c. It is the same still, a record of facts.”36 


James Jeffrey (1899) 

Pastor, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Pollokshields, Glasgow, Scotland 

     “In what form, then, had Paul preached the gospel to the men of Corinth? They, too, like the Athenians, boasted of their wisdom. It was a common saying that no one could walk the streets of Corinth without encountering a sage. Did he then seek to recommend his gospel in the polished phrases of a fine rhetoric? Did he present it in a manner likely to tickle the ears and intellects of his learned hearers? By no means…He told his story simply, and let it produce its own effect. He did not trust to the words of his own wisdom, but to the inherent power of the truth, and to the accompanying influence of the Spirit of God. Well he knew that his own countrymen would stumble at his story, and that the Greeks would ridicule it. For it was the story of the Cross; it was Jesus Christ and Him crucified that he made the leading subject of his preaching. ‘And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the mystery of God. For I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’ (I. [Cor.] ii. 1, 2). And he defines his gospel more fully and explains the preaching of the Cross. ‘Now I make known unto you the gospel which I preached unto you. . . . For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve’ (I. [Cor.] xv. 1-5). That gospel, which to many of them was foolishness, had proved itself the power of God to salvation to not a few who had been delivered thereby from the pollution of heathenism and had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…His gospel to the Corinthians was therefore a gospel of salvation from sin by the death of Jesus; the same gospel preached by Peter and John and the other Apostles.”37 


Thomas Patton (1901) 

Pastor, Coldenham Church, Coldenham, New York 

“Christianity rests on four facts: Christ’s death, burial, rising and appearing. Paul calls these four facts things that are ‘first of all’ – central doctrines, 1 Cor. 15:3-5.”38 


Robert Rainy (1902) 

Principal, New College, Edinburgh, Scotland 

“The Apostle Paul sums up his gospel in such passages as 1 Cor. xv. 3-5”.39 


John Owen Farquhar Murray (1905) 

Fellow and Dean of Emmanuel College, Warden of St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge 

     “The cardinal passage [about the Resurrection] is of course 1 Cor. xv. In this passage St Paul is preparing the way for an argument on the general resurrection of the dead. He is going to treat the truth of a general resurrection, which some of the Corinthians were denying, as an inevitable deduction from the fact of our Lord’s Resurrection, which had been an article of Faith among them from the beginning. He prefaces his argument therefore by recalling the primary articles of the Christian Creed as he had delivered them when he founded the Church in Corinth four or five years before. He begins with the Death ‘for our sins according to the Scriptures,’ and the Burial. He is not engaged in considering the dogmatic significance of these articles, so that the reference to them must, it would seem (if he is not quoting mechanically from a stereotyped formula), be meant to lay stress on the fact that Christ had entered completely into the human experience of death.
     In any case the separate reference to the burial, in so concise a passage, is remarkable.
     He then passes on to the Resurrection on the third day, this also being ‘according to the Scriptures,’ and to the appearances to Cephas and to ‘the Twelve.’
     The other appearances in the list, ‘upwards of five hundred brethren at once, to James, to all the Apostles,’ and ‘last of all’ to St Paul himself, may or may not have formed part of the early preaching. St Paul does not expressly include them in it.”40 


William Bramley-Moore (1906) 

Vicar of Gerrard’s Cross, Buchkinghamshire, England 

“For example, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is founded upon incontrovertible facts: ‘That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve’ (I Cor. xv. 3-5). A firm superstructure of Christian doctrine must rest upon these facts, as its basis, for ‘other foundation can no man lay’ (I Cor. iii. 11), and the spiritual must be founded upon the literal.”41 


Henry Barclay Swete (1907) 

Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

“When…Saul went up to Jerusalem ‘to visit Cephas,’ [Gal. i. 18] who can doubt that the conversation turned upon the appearances of the risen Lord; or that while Saul had much to say of his experiences on the Damascus road, S. Peter told how the Master had appeared to himself on the very day of the Resurrection? ‘He appeared to Cephas’ [1 Cor. 15:5] was thenceforth a prominent feature in the Gospel which S. Paul delivered to the Gentile churches. I Cor. xv. 3 ff.”42


Thomas Carter (1908)

Professor of Greek, Tulane University, Professor of New Testament Exegesis, Vanderbilt University 

“What do we mean by the Gospel? Certainly sufficient references have been given to show that it is a well-defined and well-known thing – thoroughly objective. It is not a theory nor a guess. It is not a thing gradually forming. It meets our gaze full and fair from the very first. It is just as clear in its content in First Thessalonians as it is in Second Timothy. Can we discover what this content is from Paul’s standpoint? As to phraseology, he calls it ‘God’s’ Gospel, ‘Christ’s’ Gospel, ‘my’ Gospel, ‘our’ Gospel, and preeminently ‘the’ Gospel. We have at times other references more descriptive. In Acts xx. 24, Paul calls it the Gospel of the Grace of God; later, in writing to the Ephesians, he calls it the Gospel of their Salvation; and in the same Epistle he calls it the Gospel of Peace. But the fullest statement of the fundamental contents of the Gospel is that given in First Corinthians xv. I, where he says:

I make known unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which ye also received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you. For I delivered unto you that which I also received; first, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; secondly, that he was buried; thirdly, that he hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; fourthly, that he appeared.

Certainly it is a very perverse criticism that sees any obscuring of the issue here. The very wording of the passage, and indeed the whole context, shows that the apostle is surprised, if not shocked, that the Corinthians especially should show ignorance of what the Gospel message was.”43


Joseph Tixeront (1909)

Professor of Ancient Christian Literature, Catholic University of Lyons, France 

“The Gospel is neither a science nor a wisdom: it is a catechesis, a teaching: for ‘the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto the gentiles, foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.’ (I Cor., I, 22-24); and that teaching St. Paul has not created out of his own mind; he has received it through revelation and tradition: “I delivered unto you, first of all, which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas and then by the twelve.” (I Cor., XV, 3-5.) This is St. Paul’s catechesis. And now, some are bold enough to despise that teaching, to deny it; some strive to bring back to Judaism the Christian neophytes; this cannot be. True Christians must withdraw from the company of those who depart from the received teaching (Rom., XVI, 17) and thus cause divisions and scandals; they must be firm and keep the instructions that have been given them either by word of mouth or by letter (II Thessal., II, 14). “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach to you a gospel besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.” (Gal., I, 8, 9.) “We pull down every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and we bring into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ” (II Cor., X, 5).”44


B. H. Carroll (1913) 

Founder and first President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary 

     “This chapter [1 Corinthians 15] commences with the statement of the facts which constitute the gospel. The first fact, ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.’ Three ideas are involved in that fact:
     1. Christ actually died. It was not a mere trance; it was actual death.
     2. It was a vicarious, substitutionary, expiatory death. ‘He died for our sins.’
     3. He died for our sins ‘according to the Scriptures’ – that the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament up to the time of his crucifixion clearly foretold his actual, substitutionary, and expiatory death.
     The second fact in the gospel is that he was buried – he was dead and buried – and that was according to the Scriptures. The Scriptures testified that he would be buried. The third fact is that on the third day, according to the Scriptures, he rose from the dead; and the fourth fact of the gospel is, that risen, he was visible to men, recognized by men, and identified by men.”45


Alfred Loisy (1914) 

Lecturer in the Department of Religious Sciences, the University of Paris, Sorbonne, Honorary Professor in the College of France 

“It is not quite certain, [but] it is very likely that at least the foundation of a Christian community at Antioch is Hellenistic [i.e. Greek] before the conversion of Paul. This is significant because these preachers were Jews like Paul of origin, and they acted independently of him. A miracle had not been necessary to bring them to Christ and to the idea to evangelize the pagans [as it had been for Paul on the road to Damascus]. This is because all of these Hellenistic Jews were more open-minded than Paul [was] before they adopted faith in Christ, and prior to him they had accommodated to a religious ideal broader than that of Pharisaic Judaism. It is to them [i.e. the Hellenistic Jewish Christians] that Paul came up against, it is against them that at first he rebelled, it was their gospel he finally rallied, except in interpreting he had had his way, just as they had themselves interpreted the apostolic message. It is their gospel that Paul has received, he admits to having received and summarizes it in the first Epistle to the Corinthians when he writes about the resurrection: ‘I delivered to you first what I was taught myself, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas’, etc. I COR. xv, 3-5.”46


John Mackintosh Shaw (1918)

Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Presbyterian College, Halifax, Nova Scotia

“St. Paul’s conception of the nature of the fact [of the Resurrection] is plainly indicated by the more explicit reference in 1 Co 15, written about the year A.D. 55 (see Sanday, in EBi i. 904), i.e., about twenty-five years after the Resurrection. Here St. Paul reminds the Corinthians of the fundamental facts of his preaching and of their faith – ‘the gospel which I preached unto you…by which also ye are saved’ (v. 1f.). In this earliest extant narrative of the facts, which is therefore the primary document in regard to the Resurrection, St. Paul’s words are: ‘For I delivered unto you first of all ([en protois], ‘first and foremost’ [Moffatt]) that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas,’ etc. (v. 3ff.)….We have, accordingly, in documents which all reasonable critics admit, the clearest evidence as to what the fundamental facts of Christianity were, as taught in the primitive community, within the first decade of the event, by those who were primary witnesses of the Resurrection. These were that ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures,’ that ‘he was buried,’ that ‘on the third day he was raised from the dead according to the scriptures,’ and that ‘he appeared’ to His disciples. If St. Paul’s testimony, therefore, proves anything, it proves that the earliest apostolic witness included not only the fact of the appearances of the Risen Christ, but the empty grave and the Resurrection on the third day.”47


Arthur S. Peake (1920)

Rylands Professor of Biblical Exegesis, University of Manchester, England 

“The Gospel consists of certain facts and their interpretation, received from others, handed on by [Paul] to [the Corinthians]: Christ’s death on account of sins as set forth in Scripture, the burial (explicitly mentioned, not merely to guarantee the fact of death, but to indicate that the next clause speaks of what happened to the body), the resurrection on the third day also in harmony with prophecy, the appearances mentioned as a fact distinct from the resurrection.”48


William H. Norton (1921) 

Director of the Moody Bible Institute’s Bible Institute Colportage Association

“‘THE GOSPEL’ 
1 Cor. 15:1-4 

1. A Message concerning a Person – Christ.

2. A Declaration of His Work:

(a) He died. Atonement a fact.
(b) He was buried. The proof of death.
(c) He rose. The proof of acceptance.
(d) He was seen. The evidence of acceptance.

3. An Exalting of the Scriptures. ‘According to the Scriptures’: no mere after thought or contrivance.

4. An Unveiling of Man. A sinner, with many sins. Sins deserving death.

5. The Position of a Saved Man.

(a) He stands.
(b) He has not believed in vain.

Where are you found? 
Have YOU believed in Christ?”49 


Gwilym O. Griffith (1925)

Pastor of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York 

“For ‘brothers, I would have you know the gospel I once preached to you, the gospel you received, the gospel in which you have your footing, the gospel by which you are saved – provided you adhere to my statement of it – unless indeed your faith was all haphazard. First and foremost I passed on to you what I had myself received, namely that Christ died for our sins as the Scriptures had said, that He was buried, that He rose on the third day as the Scriptures had said; and that He was seen…’ (I Cor. xv. 1-5 : Moffatt). This is Paul’s gospel. In itself nothing could be clearer, more objective, less mystical, more insistent in its emphasis upon external and attested fact.”50


Charles R. Erdman (1928)

Professor of Practical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“In establishing the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, Paul rests his whole argument upon the undisputed fact of the resurrection of Christ. He tells the Corinthian Christians that he is to remind them of this fact and also is to intimate its relation to other great truths of the Christian faith and specifically to that of the resurrection of the body. These truths he declares to be essential elements of the gospel he had preached, which they had received, which they still hold, and upon which, if it is a valid gospel, their salvation depends. Chief among these facts which he had received, either by tradition or revelation, were these: the death of Christ for our sins, as the Scriptures had predicted; his burial; his resurrection on the third day as predicted; and his visible appearances to his chosen witnesses.”51


A. T. Robertson (1931)

Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

     “[I Cor. 15] 3. First of all (en prōtois). Among first things. In primis. Not to time, but to importance. Which I also received (ho kai parelabon). Direct revelation claimed as about the institution of the Lord’s Supper (11:23) and same verbs used (paredōka, parelabon). Four items given by Paul in explaining ‘the gospel’ which Paul preached….The four items are presents by four verbs (died, apethanen, was buried, etaphē, hath been raised, egēgertai, appeared, ōphthē). Christ died (Christos apethanen). Historical fact and crucial event. For our sins (huper tōn hamartiōn hēmōn). Huper means literally over, in behalf, even instead of (Gal. 3:13), where used of persons. But here much in the sense of peri (Gal. 1:14) as is common in Koine. In I Peter 3:18 we have peri hamartiōn, huper adikōn. According to the Scriptures (kata tas graphas). As Jesus showed (Luke 22:37; 24:25) and as Peter pointed out (Acts 2:25-27; 3:35) and as Paul had done (Acts 13:24f.; 17:3). Cf. Ro 1:2ff.
     [I Cor. 15:] 4. And that he was buried (kai hoti etaphē). Note hoti repeated before each of the four verbs as a separate item. Second aorist passive indicative of thaptō, old verb, to bury. This item is an important detail as the Gospels show. And that he hath been raised (kai hoti egēgertai). Perfect passive indicative, not ēgerthē like rose of the King James’ Version. There is reason for this sudden change of tense. Paul wishes to emphasize the permanence of the resurrection of Jesus. He is still risen. On the third day (tēi hēmerāi tēi tritēi). Locative case of time. Whether Paul had seen either of the Gospels we do not know, but this item is closely identified with the fact of Christ’s resurrection. We have it in Peter’s speech (Acts 10:40) and Jesus points it out as part of prophecy (Luke 24:46). The other expression occasionally found ‘after three days’ (Mark 10:34) is merely free vernacular for the same idea and not even Matt. 12:40 disturbs it. See on Luke 24:1 for record of the empty tomb on the first day of the week (the third day).
     [I Cor. 15:] 5. And that he appeared to Cephas (kai hoti ōphthē Kēphāi). First aorist passive indicative of the defective verb horaō, to see. Paul means not a mere ‘vision,’ but actual appearance. John uses ephanerōthē (John 21:14) from phaneroō, to make manifest, of Christ’s appearance to the seven by the Sea of Galilee. Peter was listed first (prōtos) among the Apostles (Matt. 10:2). Jesus had sent a special message to him (Mark 16:7) after his resurrection. This special appearance to Peter is made the determining factor in the joyful faith of the disciples (Luke 24:34), though mentioned incidentally here. Paul had told all these four facts to the Corinthians in his preaching.”52


Alfred Edward John Rawlinson (1932)

Bishop of Derby, University Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Oxford University

     “GOSPEL denotes primarily the ‘good news’ of Christianity (O. Eng. godspel, i.e., good news, corresponding to Lat. euangelium, Gr. [euaggelion]. See CHRISTIANITY. In the Greek New Testament ‘evangel’ and ‘evangelize’ are used especially in the Pauline and Lucan writings (‘evangel’ also in certain passages in Mark) to denote the preaching or the message of Christianity, and would seem therefore at a very early date to have become technical terms in the vocabulary of the Gentile Christian Mission…According to Paul, the ‘Gospel’ received by him and handed on to his converts included ‘first of all’ the assertions that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas: then to the twelve’ (I Cor. xv. 1-5).”53


C. H. Dodd (1936)

Yates Lecturer of New Testament at Oxford University, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, Professor Emeritus of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, and Director for the translation of the New English Bible 

“To begin with, Paul himself was conscious of a distinction between the fundamental content of the Gospel and the teaching which he based upon it. In I Cor. i. 23, ii. 2-6, he recalls that at Corinth he had preached ‘Christ and Him crucified.’ He would now like to go on to ‘speak wisdom among mature persons,’ and regrets that the Corinthians do now show themselves ready for it.
     Again, in I Cor. iii. 10 sqq., he distinguishes between the ‘foundation’ which he laid, and the superstructure which he and other build upon it. The reference is no doubt to the ‘building up’ of the life of the Church in all its aspects. But a study of the context will show that what was most particularly in his mind was just this distinction between the fundamental Gospel and the higher wisdom (not to be confused with ‘the wisdom of men’) which can be imparted to those whose apprehension of the Gospel is sufficiently firm. The ‘foundation’ is Christ, or, may we no say, it is the Gospel of ‘Christ and Him crucified.’ Paul himself, Apollos, and others developed this fundamental Gospel in various ways. The epistles represent for the most part this development, or superstructure. But Paul was well aware that what gave authority to his teaching was the Gospel which underlay it all.
     In I Cor. xv. I sqq. he cites in explicit terms that which he had preached at Corinth:

‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
and that He was buried;
and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures;
and that He was seen of Cephas…’

     ‘It was thus,’ he adds emphatically, ‘that we preached and thus that you believed.’ He then goes on to draw out certain implications of these fundamental beliefs”.54


Nathaniel Micklem (1936)

Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, England

“Most important of all, when in writing to the Corinthians Church [Paul] makes a synopsis of ‘the gospel which I preached unto you,’ he begins it in these words, ‘I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas…” (I Cor. xv. 1-5). Here we have the innermost core of the Christian creed in a form that must go back to the very first period of the Church’s history before the conversion of St. Paul himself. It is quite certain that St. Paul neither founded the Church nor invented the creed.”55


William R. Newell (1938)

Pastor of the Bethesda Congregational Church, Chicago, and Assistant Superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute

     “[Romans Chapter 1] Verses 3 and 4: Concerning His Son – Specifically (a) that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (b) that He was buried, (c) that He hath been raised the third day according to the Scriptures, (d) that He appeared to various witnesses. The good news Paul preached is therefore scientifically specific, and must be held in our minds in its accuracy, as it lay in that of the apostle. (See I Cor. 15.3-8.)
     These great facts concerning Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are the beginning of the gospel; as Paul says: ‘I delivered unto you (these) first of all.
     The gospel is all about Christ. Apart from Him, there is no news from heaven but that of coming woe! Read that passage in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5: ‘I make known unto you the gospel which I preached unto you: that Christ died, Christ was buried; Christ hath been raised; Christ was seen.’ It is all about the Son of God!”56

“[Romans Chapter 1] Verse 16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel…For it is the power of God unto salvation – The second ‘For’ gives the reason for Paul’s boldness: this good news concerning Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearing, ‘is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth.’ There is no fact for a preacher or teach to hold more consistently in his mind than this.”57

     “Again we repeat that it is of the very first and final importance that the preacher or teacher of the gospel believe in the bottom of his soul that the simple story, Christ died for our sins, was buried, hath been raised from the dead the third day, and was seen, IS THE POWER OF GOD to salvation to every one who rests in it – who believes!58

“Paul’s preaching was not, as is so much today, general disquisition on some subject, but definite statements about the crucified One, as he himself so insistently tells us in I Corinthians 15. 3-5.”59

“This story of Christ’s dying for our sins, buried, raised, manifested, is the great wire along which runs God’s mighty current of saving power. Beware lest you be putting up some little wire of your own, unconnected with the Divine throne, and therefore non-saving to those to whom you speak.”60

“Therefore, in this good news, (1) Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (2) He was buried, (3) He hath been raised the third day according to the Scriptures, (4) He was manifested (I Cor. 15:3 ff), - in this good news there is revealed, now openly for the first time, God’s righteousness on the principle of faith. We simply hear and believe: and, as we shall find, God reckons us righteous; our guilt having been put away by the blood of Christ forever, and we ourselves declared to be the righteousness of God in Him!”61


Michael Ramsey (1946)

Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, Bishop of Durham, Archbishop of York, and the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury

“Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth to remind them of what he had originally taught them, and he hastened to say that his teaching did not originate with himself: he had ‘received’ the form of it, handed down from an earlier tradition:

‘How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures: and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’ (I Cor. xv. 3-5.)”62

“The Gospel was that Christ died, was buried, was raised and appeared; it implies the empty tomb. But the most prominent part of the evidence was the appearances: for it was the appearances that brought to the Apostles not only evidence but more than evidence in the thrilling consciousness of Christ Himself, glorified and victorious.

 ‘He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’ 

Those were the experiences that mattered intensely to the Apostles, as evidence and as far more. But for the generations to come there was need for greater recourse to that part of the evidence that was not bound up with the particular experiences of the disciples and that spoke plainly of the event that lay behind. It is this evidence which the evangelists set out when they include the narratives of the empty tomb; and in so doing they make complete for all time their witness to the Gospel:

‘How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
and that he was buried,
and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures:
and that he appeared…’”63


W. Graham Scroggie (1948)

Pastor of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle, London

“Paul summarizes the true gospel when he says that ‘Christ died for our sins…and was buried, and rose again the third day…and was seen…’ (I Cor. xv. 3-5).”64


Chester E. Tulga (1950)

President of the Conservative Baptist Fellowship of Northern Baptists

     “The Apostle Paul, called and anointed to be a missionary to the Gentile world and filled with the Holy Spirit, gives us an official definition of the gospel, which he preached and by which men were saved, in I Corinthians 15:1-5, ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve….’ If Paul did not speak by the Holy Spirit in this declaration, if his word, therefore, is not authoritative, then let no one today think that he ever does speak by the Holy Spirit, and let him not use the rest of this fifteenth chapter, which reveals the fact and the nature of the resurrection, or any other of Paul’s words.”65


Philip Carrington (1952)

7th Bishop of Quebec and 11th Metropolitan of Canada 

     “In I Cor. Paul states that he was sent by Christ to ‘preach the gospel’ (i. 17). This reads as if it were meant to be understood of general evangelistic activity. His subject-matter was ‘Christ crucified’ (i. 23), or ‘Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (ii. 2). At the end of the epistle, however, he reverts to the same subject, and there is a question of a formula which he had received and which he had delivered to the Corinthians.
     Now I make known unto you, brethren [he says in xv. I], the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand…in what words [tini logo] I preached it unto you….For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received,

     How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
     And that he was buried;
     And that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures;
     And that he appeared to Cephas, etc.                (I Cor. xv. I-5)

We are here in the realm of fixed oral documents of an authoritative character, and what is more we seem to get a good idea of the formulae with which they were ‘announced’ or ‘proclaimed’ or ‘delivered’.”66


Walter C. Wright (1954)

Author of several Christian books and Bible commentaries published by Moody Press

     “Turn over to the apostolic Scriptures. The discourses of the apostles were historical, for the apostles were Israelites, and the Gospel was a fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers. Stephen makes his defense; it is a recital of history (Acts 7). Paul preaches at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:14-31); the discourse is historical. Christianity is a historical faith; it rests back upon historical facts. And so the Gospel is announced in historical terms.
     For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen…. (I Cor. 15:3-5).

And so history becomes basic to revelation. We know what God is by what He is doing, by what He has done. God reveals Himself in action, but how unspeakably sacred, how mightily potent, His actions can be!”67


W. D. Davies (1956)

Professor of New Testament Studies at Yorkshire United College, Professor of Biblical Theology and later George Washington Ivey Professor of Advanced Studies and Research in Christian Origins at Duke University Divinity School, Professor of New Testament at Princeton University, and Edward Robinson Professor of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary

“The first, I Cor. xv. 1-5, presents the Gospel in what is probably a kind of ‘credal’ summary of it”.68


Vincent Taylor (1956, 1959)

Ferens Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Principal of Wesley College, Bristol, and Examiner in Biblical Theology at London University, London 

     “Moreover, [Paul] had already made a confession of his faith, in which emphasis was laid on the fact that Christ died for sins and was raised according to the Scriptures, and that afterwards He had been seen by the first disciples (I Cor. xv. 3-5). With this confession ringing in his ears it was not difficult for him to relate the stages in the act of baptism to the events recalled.”69

“In view of the intimate connexion between the body and the soul or spirit in Jewish thought there can be little doubt that, when in the earliest preaching it was affirmed that God raised up Jesus from the dead (Ac. ii. 24, 31 f., iii. 15, etc.), an empty tomb was implied, and, further, that the same implication underlies the words of St. Paul in I Cor. xv. 3-5: ‘Christ died…he was buried…he hath been raised…he appeared’.”70


John M. Aeby (1959)

Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Grace Theological Seminary

“In whom…ye believed” (v. 13 [of Ephesians chapter 1]). We were not saved by being good because none of us were good. We were not saved by character because in God’s sight we haven’t any. But we are saved because we have ‘heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation’ (I Cor. 15:3-5) and have believed God’s message and trusted God’s Son (see Phil. 1:29).”71

“If we have believed the Gospel (I Cor. 15:3-5), if we have come to Christ by faith (John 6:37), then we are ‘in Christ.’ This means that certain things are declared to be true of us in God’s Word. Our trouble is that due to a lack of reading and understanding of God’s Word, we often fail to recognize these great facts about ourselves.”72


Robert H. Mounce (1960)

Chairman of the Department of Biblical Studies at Bethel College, President Emeritus of Whitworth College, and a member of the translation teams for the NIV, NLT, and ESV 

“I Cor. 15:3-5 sets forth with crystal clarity the message of primitive Christianity.”73

     “There are two sources for the determination of the primitive proclamation. Of primary importance are the fragments of pre-Pauline tradition that lie embedded in the writings of the apostle. These segments can be uncovered by the judicious application of certain literary and formal criteria. While at least one purports to be the actual terms in which the gospel was preached (I Cor. 15:3-5), others take the form of early Christian hymns (e.g., Phil. 2:6-11), summaries of the message (e.g., Rom. 10:9), or creedal formulae (I Cor. 12:3; I Tim. 3:16).
     A second source is the early Petrine speeches in Acts….”74


E. Glenn Hinson (1962)

Professor of Church History at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Professor of Spirituality and John F. Loftis Professor of Church History at Baptist Theological Seminary 

“But there were longer statements [than Rom. 10:9] too, like 1 Cor. 15:3-5, where Paul mentioned explicitly that he had taught a tradition (paradosis). In the latter passage beats the heart of the gospel with its simple and confident rhythm:

‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures’
‘He was buried’
‘He hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures.’
‘He appeared to Cephas’
‘Then to the Twelve’

     This simple Christian theology must have constituted an essential part of the didache (teaching), as it did for the kerygma (preaching).”75


S. Lewis Johnson (1962, 1971, 2007)

Professor of Hebrew, Greek, and Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a member of the translation committee for the NIV

“First of all (lit., among the first things) refers to importance, not time. The substance of Paul’s message is contained in the four that’s following received, and it includes Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances. These things make up the Gospel.”76

“The apostle does not set forth [in Romans 1:16] the details of his ‘gospel.’ The interpreter, however, is upon reasonably safe ground in assuming that they are found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. The gospel is the good news of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances, together with the apostolic explanation of the doctrinal significance of these great facts.”77

“There is a harmony in the apostolic band they together agreed on these great facts of the gospel. And notice, too, that these great facts of the gospel are the things that we are to proclaim today. He died as an atoning sacrifice. He was buried. He was raised and was seen. He is the living Lord Jesus Christ through whom if sins are forgiven, they must be forgiven. The appeal of the cross is complete, total, and final.”78


F. F. Bruce (1963, 1976)

Professor of Greek at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England 

“Paul was but repeating what he had received from those who were in Christ before him when he delivered to the people of Corinth ‘as of first importance’ the good news of Christ’s death, burial, and variously attested resurrection. 1 Cor. xv. 3 ff.”79

“The things of first importance are four in number: (a) Christ died, (b) he was buried, (c) he was raised, (d) he appeared in resurrection to many. Whatever differences there might be in primitive Christian faith and preaching, there was evidently unanimity on these fundamental data.”80


Merrill C. Tenney (1963)

Professor of New Testament and Greek at Gordon College, Dean of the Graduate School at Wheaton College, and a member of the original translation team for the New American Standard Bible 

“The cardinal tenets of Christian doctrine which Paul himself illustrated or stressed belonged to the comprehensive body of truth which the church proclaimed. His letters include occasional references to the substance of the message which he preached in pioneer territory. Paul epitomized the substance of his message in his first letter to the Corinthians church. ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared…’ (I Cor. 15:3-5a). He concluded this capsule statement with the words ‘So we preach, and so ye believed’ (15:11). He claimed that his gospel was accepted by the entire church (Gal. 2:6-10) and that there was no distinction between him and the other preachers, except that his ministry was directed chiefly to the Gentiles, whereas theirs was for the Jews.”81

“Paul, writing to the Galatian churches, stated that Christ gave Himself for our sins that He might free us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4). He summarized the essence of the gospel for the Corinthian Christians by saying, ‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;…he was buried;…he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and…he appeared…’ (I Cor. 15:3-5). The apostle emphasized the theological significance of Christ’s death, stating that He ‘who knew no sin he [God] made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him’ (II Cor. 5:21).”82


Herbert Lockyear (1966)

Pastor of Leeds Road Baptist Church, Bradford, England, a leader in the Keswick Higher Life Movement, and a guest lecturer at the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago

“First of all, Paul states the sum and substance of the sublime yet simple Gospel with which he accomplished mighty victories. Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised, and appeared to His saints. If, as one early leader wrote, there are shallows in this very full and potent Gospel where a little lamb may wade, there are depths where an elephant must swim.”83


George E. Ladd (1970)

Professor of Greek and Head of the Department of New Testament at Gordon College and Divinity School, and Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary 

“This tradition embodied the apostolic kerygma or euangelion. Paul delivered ([paredoka]) to the Corinthians the gospel which he also received ([parelabon]), that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he rose on the third day, that he appeared to his disciples (1 Cor. 15:1-5). It is generally accepted that verses 3b-5 embody a primitive piece of pre-Pauline kerygma which Paul has received as a tradition from [Christ and also from] those who were apostles before him….Probably the appearances mentioned in vv. 6-8 were added by Paul to the tradition he received.”84


I. Howard Marshall (1970, 1996) 

Chair of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research, President of the British New Testament Society, Chair of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis and Honorary Research Professor of New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland 

“I Cor. 15:3-5 is used by Paul as part of his argument concerning what is of primary importance in the Christian faith. But this passage too is an extract from primitive tradition. It consists of plain statements concerning what Jesus did. They are theological statements, for they speak of death ‘for our sins’ and assert that Christ ‘was raised,’ namely by the Father, but at the same time they are historical statements for they speak about death, burial and resurrection ‘on the third day.’ There is also reference to the Easter appearances of Jesus. It has been argued that Paul is not here attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact, since the resurrection of Jesus appears to have been accepted by his audience; it was the theological deductions which were to be drawn from it which were in question. Whether or not this is true of Paul’s use of the passage, it is not the case with the primitive use of the passage, for it is expressly stated to be part of the message to non-Christians. It is, however, likely that even Paul was incidentally ‘piling up the evidence’ for the resurrection, since, if the quotation concludes at the end of verse 5, Paul nevertheless continues to cite various other appearances of the risen Christ.”85

“[In] reference to 1 Cor 15:3-5, a passage in which Paul summarizes the gospel he has received and now preaches. It is a gospel that is concerned with the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of Jesus.”86 


Colin Brown (1971) 

Vice-Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, England, Visiting Professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, and at Regent College, Vancouver 

“To the Corinthians [Paul] could insist that his teaching on the Lord’s Supper was no innovation: ‘For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread’ (1 Cor. 11:23). But the element of tradition also extended to the content of Paul’s kerygma: ‘Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel [to euangelion ho euēngelisamen], which you received [parelabete], in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered [paredōka] to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve’ (1 Cor. 15:1-5). The term ‘the gospel’ also occurs in Rom. 2:16; 16:25; Gal. 2:2; cf. 1 Cor. 15:1). Paul speaks of ‘the preaching [kērygma]’ and the ‘preaching of Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 16:25), not in the sense of the activity of preaching but in that of its content.”87


Ronald James Sider (1977)

Founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, and Guest Lecturer at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University

“There is no reason for limiting the traditional element to [1 Corinthians 15] vv. 3-4 as does HERING. Since the series of [hoti] clauses depending on [paredoka] continues through verse 5, vv. 3-5 would seem to be the minimum which can be designated with certainty as part of that which Paul had received. The traditio, then, included a citation of at least some of the eyewitnesses….The verification of Jesus’ resurrection by the citation of the carefully preserved tradition of eyewitnesses is, accordingly, a significant part of the Gospel which Paul considers of ‘first importance’….There are four clauses introduced in the same way with [hoti], and the latter three are connected in an identical fashion with [kai]: [hoti…apethanen]…[kai hoti epaphe], [kai hoti egegertai]…[kai hoti ophthe].”88


Don Stewart (1980) 

Best-selling and award-winning Christian author 

“According to the apostle Paul, the resurrection of Jesus is one of the four pillars of the gospel message. He wrote.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and that he appeared to…(1 Corinthians 15:3-5).

These four pillars are:

1. Christ died.
2. Christ was buried.
3. Christ was raised.
4. Christ appeared.”89


William M. Ramsay (1981) 

Professor of Religion and Philosphy who taught for many years at Bethel College, McKenzie, Tennessee 

     “First Corinthians 13 is best loved, but for the historian of Christian doctrine, 1 Corinthians 15 is the most revealing….somehow the resurrection had been brought into question. Paul again begins his answer with the words ‘delivered’ and ‘received,’ apparently reminding them of a kind of creed he had been taught at his own conversion. Here, then, is the gospel of the very first Christians:

     …Christ died for our sins
        in accordance with the scriptures,…
     he was buried,…
     he was raised on the third day
        in accordance with the scriptures,…
     he appeared to Cephas,
        then to the twelve.                             (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)”90


John Reed (1982)

Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Director Emeritus of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Dallas Theological Seminary

“Throughout the history of the church the biblical definition of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 has been the accepted view.”91

“The biblical gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-5….”92


Warren Wiersbe (1982, 1988, 1992)

Pastor of Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary 

First of all means ‘of first importance.’ The gospel is the most important message that the church ever proclaims. While it is good to be involved in social action and the betterment of mankind, there is no reason why these ministries should preempt the gospel. ‘Christ died…he was buried…he rose again…he was seen’ are the basic historical facts on which the gospel stands (1 Cor. 15:3-5). ‘Christ died for our sins’ is the theological explanation of the historical facts. Many people were crucified by the Romans, but only one ‘victim’ ever died for the sins of the world.”93

     “The shoes of peace have to do with the Christian soldier’s standing. Good sandals, usually with hobnails on the soles, were important to the Roman soldier, for they gave him a firm footing as he faced the enemy. What gives us our firm footing? The gospel of Jesus Christ. (See 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 5:1-2; Gal. 5:1.) Because we know where we stand, we are able to face the enemy and not run away. Because we have ‘peace with God,’ we are not afraid to declare war.”94

“The burial of Jesus Christ is as much a part of the gospel as is His death (1 Cor. 15:1-5), for the burial is proof that He actually died.”95

“We should test everything by the truth of the Gospel. What is the Gospel? Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. He was seen alive by many witnesses. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. (See I Corinthians 15.)”96

“The good news of the Gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ, ‘…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen…’ (1 Cor. 15:3-5).”97


John MacArthur (1983)

Pastor of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA, President of The Master’s College and Seminary, and author of the MacArthur Study Bible 

     “A person does not have to comprehend the full knowledge and understanding of the doctrine of salvation before he can be saved, but he does need the gospel truth (1 Cor. 15:1-5) that he is lost in sin and needs the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He must know the gospel. The idea of ‘blind faith’ sounds spiritual, but it is not biblical.”98


Mark McCloskey (1985)

Director for the Center for Transformational Leadership at Bethel Seminary, St., Paul, Minnesota, and a staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ since 1974. 

The Gospel: 
A Precise Message 

Paul concisely and precisely states the terms of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5: ‘Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’”99

“As we learned from Paul’s definitive statement of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, the death of Christ for sin is the focal point of God’s redemptive plan from ages past.”100


Gordon Fee (1987)

Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Regent College and a member of the Committee on Bible Translation for the NIV and TNIV

“Among all the things [Paul] proclaimed and taught while he was with [the Corinthians], these are the matters of ‘first importance.’ Here is the ‘bare bones’ content of the gospel that saves.
     3b-5 Even though the material in vv. 6-7 is ‘traditional’ by its very nature, and therefore probably belongs to ‘what Paul received and passed on’ to them, it seems unlikely that it also belonged to the ‘gospel I preached to you.’ For this reason, plus the balanced structure of vv. 3b-5, most scholars consider these verses to be an expression of a very early Christian creed, while vv. 6-7 represent further traditions that Paul adds at the end to fill out his personal concerns.
     As to the creed itself….In it’s present form it has four lines, each introduced with a hoti (‘that’), thus emphasizing the content of each line….Thus:

     1) that Christ died for our sins
                                 according to the Scriptures;
     2) and that    he was buried;
     3) and that    he was raised on the third day,
                                 according to the Scriptures;
     4) and that    he was seen by Cephas [and] the Twelve.”

     …Thus [Paul] concludes all these matters (literally): ‘Therefore, whether I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.’....With these words, therefore, he is not simply identifying the gospel they believed with the creed of vv. 3-5, but he is also tying it both to his own apostleship and to the common preaching of all the apostles – and therefore by implication suggesting that this is the gospel held in common by all who believe in Christ.”101


Ralph P. Martin (1988)

Professor of New Testament, Director of Graduate Studies, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University, and Logos Evangelical Seminary

“The most celebrated creedal passage that contains the crystallization of apostolic teaching on the basic elements of the gospel is 1 Cor. 15:3-5.”102 


Charles Ryrie (1989) 

Professor of Systematic Theology and dean of doctoral studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and President of what is now Philadelphia Biblical University 

“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? 

And the angel said to them, 'Fear not: for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all people.' Luke 2:10 

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen…. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5”103 


Norman Geisler (1989, 1991, 1998, 2004, 2005) 

Professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Co-Founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary, and Founder of Veritas Evangelical Seminary 

The problem of salvation. The New Testament teaches that belief in the bodily Resurrection of Christ is a condition for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). It is part of the essence of the gospel itself (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”104

“The physical resurrection of Christ’s body is just as much a part of the gospel as His death (1 Cor. 15:1-5)….there are soteriological problems with denying the material resurrection of Christ. As noted earlier, the New Testament teaches that belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ is essential for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). It is part of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”105

“Without Christ’s physical resurrection there is no salvation (Rom. 10:9), for the Resurrection is at the very heart of the gospel by which we are saved (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”106

“The NT belief in the resurrection is a condition of salvation (Rom. 10:9; 1 Thess. 4:14) and places it at the heart of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”107

Jesus’ Burial Was According to the Gospel. Paul used Jesus’ burial as part of the Gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15. Burial is an essential part of the ‘gospel’ since Paul defined the ‘gospel’ as involving death, burial, and resurrection appearances. Burial is the seal of death and resurrection is proof that death is not final (cf. Rom. 4:25; 2 Tim. 1:10). Hence, burial is a significant symbol since it portrays a crucial part of the gospel.”108

“…the full content of the New Testament gospel – including the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ….”109

“First of all, the empty tomb is found in the earliest Christian documents on which critics and non-critics agree. 1 Corinthians was written by A.D 55-56, and it affirms that Christ was “buried” [in a grave] and that he was “raised” from this grave…all the ‘core’ truths of the gospel, namely, Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances are in these early documents. So, even if there were later literary enhancements, they would not affect the core truths of Christianity which include a bodily resurrection leaving an empty tomb behind.”110 


Miles J. Stanford (1990) 

Christian author and Pauline Dispensationalist 

“Paul’s Gospel is, ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen…’ (1 Cor. 15:3-5).

The heavenly Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ begins with His death; not with His earthly life, as Covenant theology teaches. ‘Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 12:24).

‘But I make known to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 1:11,12).”111 

Heavenly Gospel -- The Gospel for the Church, the Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul’s Gospel, is not mentioned in the Scriptures until 1 Corinthians 15:3–5. ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received [from Christ in glory], that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen…’”112 


Renald Showers (1990) 

Christian author on staff with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, and a member of the faculties of Moody Bible Institute, Philadelphia Biblical University, and Lancaster Bible College 

Jesus gave two distinct gospels to His disciples to preach. The content of the first gospel was, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Mt. 10:7; cf. 9:35; Mk. 1:14-15).
     Paul defined the second gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 when he said: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…By which also ye are saved,…that Christ died for our sins…And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day…and that he was seen.’”113 


Earl Radmacher (1990, 2000) 

Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus and President Emeritus at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, and editor of The Nelson Study Bible 

“Hodges puts it simply: ‘What faith really is in biblical language, is receiving the testimony of God. It is the inward conviction that what God says to us in the gospel is true. That – and that alone – is saving faith.’ This is the faith that saves from eternal destruction because it has the gospel as its object (cf. 1 Cor. 1:21; 15:1-5). It would be even more consistent to talk about faith in the saving gospel rather than about saving faith.”114 

“What was the content of the good news that especially Paul was commissioned to present? He stated this clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-5: ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel [euangelion]…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.’”115 


Robert Lightner (1991) 

Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary 

“The bodily resurrection of Christ is absolutely indispensable to the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-5) and to the whole Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:1-19). There simply is no salvation apart from it (Rom. 4:25; 10:9). Satan was not defeated and man is without hope if the Savior did not rise from the dead as He said He would. The Savior’s physical and bodily resurrection three days after He was crucified was the fulfillment of His own predictions that He would die and rise from the dead (John 2:19; Matt. 12:40; 17:9).”116 


Peter Stuhlmacher (1994) 

Professor of New Testament at the University of Tubingen, Germany 

     “Hence, from the beginning, the Pauline gospel of Christ was disputed. But together with the elder apostles from Jerusalem, Paul preached the gospel of Jesus’ atoning death, burial, resurrection on the third day, and his Easter appearances before Peter and the Twelve (1 Cor. 15:3-5, 11).”117 


C. K. Barrett (1994) 

Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, England

“The first stage [of faith] is hearing the Gospel; the next is being obedient, that is, hearing with faith…It is important that faith is response to a preached, proclaimed message. This leads to a further consequence. Because the preaching has a specific content (e.g. 1 Cor 15:3-5, 11) faith also has a specific content and can be expressed in a confession of faith which is specifically related to the eschatological event of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. In Romans 10:9 (‘If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’) there is the confession of faith which, from the believer’s responsive side, corresponds to the proclamation summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

CHRIST CRUCIFIED 

From this point we may proceed at once to the next main division of the substantive presentation of Paul’s thought. Paul sums up the Christian proclamation in traditional terms in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Here it is asserted that Christ died for our sins; that he was buried; that he was raised up to life; and that he appeared to Cephas and a number of others. The subject of every verb is Christ. The content of the proclamation, which is the ground of Christian existence (15:1, 2) is the historical event of Jesus Christ.”118 


Gary Habermas (1996, 2003, 2008) 

Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Theology, Liberty University 

“Few conclusions in current study are more widely held by scholars than that, in 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul records a very ancient tradition that actually predates his book, probably by a couple of decades. It could very well predate even Paul's conversion to Christianity. After explaining that he received this from others, Paul succinctly reports the Gospel that was preached in early Christianity: Christ died for our sins and was buried. Afterwards, he was raised from the dead and appeared to many witnesses….The bottom line was that Paul's Gospel teaching, which included the resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15:1-5), was approved by the other three apostles.”119

"Most recent scholars seem to agree that, while Paul does not explicitly mention the empty tomb, the early tradition that this apostle reported to others in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 implies an empty tomb. The listing of the Gospel content moves from Jesus' death, to his burial, to his resurrection from the dead, to his appearances. This sequence strongly suggests that, however it may have been transformed, Jesus' body that died and was buried is the same one that was raised afterwards. Thus, what was placed in the ground is precisely what emerged. In short, what went down is what came up. Such a process would have resulted in the burial tomb being emptied. That Paul does not specifically mention the empty tomb keeps this from being as strong a point as it could have been. Still, to say so clearly that Jesus' dead body was buried, raised, and appeared would be a rather strange process unless the tomb had been vacated in the process."120

“1 Corinthians 15:3ff recounts the gospel facts of the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of Jesus Christ”.121

“Virtually all scholars agree that 1 Corinthians 15:3ff records an ancient oral tradition(s) that reports the Gospel data: Jesus Christ’s atoning death, burial, resurrection, and appearances to many persons.”122

“In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul starts the chapter by saying that he wants to remind them and make clear for them the gospel he had preached to them and on which they had taken their stand. He then states that he had delivered to them what he had also received (verse 3). These verbs are the equivalent Greek words for the technical rabbinic terms, which were used to describe the handing on of a formal, word of mouth, memorised [sic], formulaic teaching. This is what he had delivered to them and he said it was a matter ‘of first importance’. He then recites the credal statement, which is usually said to consist of two parallel sentences structured rhythmically as an aide memoire. It reads:

Christ died / for our sins / according to the scriptures / and was buried 
He was raised / on the third day / according to the scriptures / and appeared 
To Peter / and to the twelve. 
(1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

….While [Paul] does not refer to the tomb being empty, it is implicit in the creed. Firstly, the creed describes the progression ‘died…buried…raised…appeared’. Whilst modern people might be tempted to separate these meanings, a first century Jew would only have believed that the sentence implied a continuity. What was dead was buried, what was dead and buried was raised, and what was dead, buried and raised also appeared. The clear implication of this creed is that Jesus underwent a bodily resurrection.”123

"As long as these data stand, the earliest gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection appearances of Jesus also stands. This was the central message not only of Paul but also of James the brother of Jesus, Peter, John, and the other apostles."124 


Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. (1998) 

Charles Krahe Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary 

“With that said, however, it must also be noted that this center is not the person of Christ in the abstract but his person and work focused in his death and resurrection. ‘Of first importance’ (en protois) in the gospel tradition that Paul has received and passes on is ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve’ (1 Cor 15:3-5). Death and resurrection, not as isolated events but in their significance and as the fulfillment of Scripture (entailing revelatory, tradition-establishing appearances of the resurrected Christ to the apostles), are central to Paul's message.”125 


Paul Nadim Tarazi (1999) 

Professor of Old Testament, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York 

“As to the content of the gospel, it is defined by four main clauses of a single sentence: ‘(1) that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, (2) that he was buried, (3) that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and (4) that he appeared to Cephas.’ (vv. 3-5a) It is imperative here to notice that the appearance to Cephas (and the other apostles) is part and parcel of the gospel message regarding the resurrection of Christ, not separate or optional. In other words, there was not a resurrection followed by an appearance to the apostles as though one can sneak in behind the apostle’s back and independently contemplate Christ’s resurrection. Such imagination is, by the way, strictly ruled out, and thus forbidden, by the ‘resurrection’ accounts extant in the four canonical books we call gospels: at no point do we have a ‘report’ as to how Christ’s resurrection took place; rather, what we always have is either the ‘appearance’ of the resurrected Christ to his apostles or the confirmation of earlier appearances to others through later appearances to the apostles. Put otherwise, one cannot speak of Christ’s resurrection except in the way it was taught by the apostles in their apostolic word(s)…That is why, at the start of his discussion of the Corinthian problem, Paul does not say ‘Now if Christ is raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ but ‘Now if Christ is preached as (keryssetai hoti) raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ (v. 12) The point is that those who preach that Christ was raised from the dead, on whose witness our belief in that resurrection depends, do say that there is a resurrection from the dead.”126 


Anthony C. Thiselton (2000) 

Head of Theology at Nottingham University and Principal of both St. John’s College, Nottingham and St. John’s College, Durham 

“Murphy-O’Connor rightly appeals to the demonstrable convention of using [hoti] to denote quotation marks, with [kai] to add emphasis. He convincingly sees [1 Corinthians 15] vv. 3b-5 as a unit, with v. 6 performing the function of adding corroborative verification in the public domain….
     The content of this early declarative, self-involving, descriptive, and commissive creedal confession is now expressed by the four parallel components, each of which is introduced by [hoti] or [kai hoti], which effectively serve as the equivalent of quotation marks.”127 


Donald K. Campbell (2000) 

Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition and President Emeritus at Dallas Theological Seminary 

“The gospel message is simply that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve’ (1 Cor. 15:3-5). Paul said this was the gospel he preached to the Corinthians and it was the message by which they received salvation.”128 


A. Boyd Luter, Jr. (2000) 

Adjunct Online Professor of New Testament at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and contributor to the HCSB Study Bible 

“Just as it is very common for preachers to add unnecessary complexity to their presentations of the gospel, there is the opposite tendency to over-simplify. It should be remembered, though, that there is a bedrock historical basis for the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-5) that is true (and, hence, must be articulated and believed) or ‘our preaching is useless and so is your faith’ (v. 14).”129 


Dave Hunt (2001) 

Christian apologist and founder of The Berean Call 

“Paul declared that the gospel is ‘the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom 1:16). There is no clearer statement that salvation through being ‘born again’ into God’s family as His children comes only by believing what Paul called ‘the gospel of your salvation’ (Eph 1:13) and ‘the gospel…by which also ye are saved’ (1 Cor 15:1-2). Paul defined that gospel as ‘how that Christ died for our sins according to the [Old Testament] scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the [O.T.] scriptures; and that he was seen [alive by many]…’ (1 Cor 15:3-5).”130 


Roger Congdon (2002) 

Professor of Bible and Theology, Multnomah Bible College, Chairman of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greater Portland, and Founder of Bible Truth Forum 

“God proclaims the true gospel in I Cor. 15:1-5…The gospel includes four historical facts concerning the God-man Christ Jesus, the object of saving faith: 1. He died for our sins. 2. He was buried. 3. He rose again on the third day. 4. He was seen by many witnesses.”131 


Gary Gromacki (2002) 

Associate Professor of Bible and Homiletics, Baptist Bible Seminary 

“The gospel of Jesus Christ concerns the death, burial, resurrection and appearances of Jesus.”132 


William A. BeVier (2002) 

Instructor in Historical Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and President of Detroit Bible College 

     “When one reads John 3:16-18; 3:36; 5:24; Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9, and the sermons of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, nothing is seen referring us to the constellations of heaven in order to be reconciled to God and have our sins forgiven. The true Gospel is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 and how to save us from sins, but nothing is said about the heavenly constellations. Paul wrote to Timothy: ‘Preach the Word” (logon, God’s Word), not about the stars.”133

"The Work of Christ has to do with His death for sins, burial, resurrection, and appearances to witnesses. The Apostle Paul defines this as the Gospel (the ‘Good News’) in 1 Corinthians [1]5:1-5. He wrote: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and in which you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain [context that follows shows the issue was the reality of Christ’s resurrection – no salvation without it]. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve,…
     Paul also affirms there is only one Gospel and any other purported to be brings condemnation. See Galatians 1:6-9 where he wrote: I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him who called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach another gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [Greek: anathema]. As we said before, so say I now again, if any one preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed [anathema].
     Paul had no doubt there is only one true Gospel and any departure from it brings condemnation.
     A review of the book of Acts reveals the Gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-5ff is what the early church proclaimed. See Acts 1:22; 2:22-24, 30-32; 3:15-26; 4:1-2, 8-12, 33; 5:19-32; 10:38-43; 13:28-38; 17:2-3, 18-19, 31-34; 23:6-8; 24:14-21; 25:18-19; 26:6-8, 22-23. They preached no other message to unbelievers.
     The Work of Christ is His death for sins according to the Old Testament Scripture, e.g., Psa. 22; Isa. 53, His burial (proof of His death), His resurrection according to the Scripture, e.g., Psa. 16:10, then His appearances to witnesses, proof of His resurrection."134 


James D. G. Dunn (2003) 

Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham, England 

“Key texts [include]…1 Cor 15:3-5 because it is Paul’s fullest explicit statement of the gospel which he preached and on which his churches were founded”.135

“Paul’s gospel includes God’s raising of Jesus on the third day. Reference to the burial of Christ is included in the summary of the gospel quoted in 1 Cor. 15 to underlie the reality of his death and to confirm that the appearances of the risen Christ were neither hallucinations nor the mere revival of memories of Jesus before his death. The sequence ‘died’, ‘buried’, ‘raised’, ‘appeared’ implies that on the third day, the tomb was empty. The passive verb ‘was raised’ implies God’s involvement. As we have noted at several points, the gospel is God’s dynamic, salvific act through Christ.”136 


Rick Whitmire (2003) 

President of Go Tell Evangelism, and Co-Founder of the Free Grace Seminary in Hampton, Georgia 

“Romans 1:16 – ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the (Gentiles).’…

The Apostle Paul Defines the Gospel: 

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – ‘For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ DIED for our sins according to the scriptures: And that He was BURIED, and that He ROSE again the third day according to the scripture: And that He was SEEN...’

The Apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ.

     a. This is the one place where the historical elements of the gospel are clearly defined.

Our responsibility is to make the gospel clear and Biblical. But in order to do so, we must have a clear understanding of what the gospel means in the New Testament. These verses, give us the heart of the gospel. Note the four clauses introduced in verses 3-5.

     b. The Apostles [sic] Paul in defining the gospel uses four verbs:

         1). Christ Died. ...
         2). Christ was Buried. ...
         3). Christ Rose. ...
         4). Christ was Seen.”137 


Alan F. Johnson (2004) 

Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Christian Ethics and Emeritus Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics, Wheaton College 

     “In [1 Corinthians 15] verses 3-8 Paul succinctly sets forth the essential matters that are of first importance (‘foremost’ or ‘top priority’) that he himself received and passed on to the Corinthians. This is the earliest creedal formulation the church possesses (A.D. 53). Since it has been received by Paul, it is shared not just by Paul and the Corinthians but by all Christians. The Christian confessional statement contains four historical events: (1) Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (2) he was buried, (3) he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and (4) he appeared to Peter. All of these are historical events in time and space, and they are linked as if in a golden chain.”138 


Ray Pritchard (2004, 2005) 

President of Keep Believing Ministries 

“1 Corinthians 15:1-6 contains a concise summary of the gospel. Paul even says in verse 1, ‘I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you.’ Then he goes on to spell out the gospel in verses 4-5, ‘For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.’ Notice how clearly he lays out the gospel message:

     A) He was crucified
     B) He was buried
     C) He was raised on the third day
     D) He appeared

Or you might look at it in two parts:

     1. He was crucified. Proof: He was buried.
     2. He was raised. Proof: He was seen.

Either way the result is the same. Paul regarded the burial of Jesus as an essential part of the gospel message. When he preached the gospel, he included the burial of Jesus in his message.”139

     “First Corinthians 15:1-6 contains a concise summary of the gospel: ‘Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you’ (v. 1). Then he goes on to spell out the gospel in verses 3-5: ‘For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’ Notice how clearly he lays out the gospel message:

     • He was crucified.
     • He was buried.
     • He was raised on the third day.
     • He appeared.

Paul regarded the burial of Jesus as an essential part of the gospel message.140 


John Stott (2006) 

Rector Emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, England 

“When later in the same letter [Paul] wished to remind [the Corinthians] of his gospel which he had himself received and had handed on to them, which had become the foundation on which they were standing and the good news by which they were being saved, what was ‘of first importance’ (he said) was ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared’ (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”141 


Ken Daughters (2006) 

President of Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque, Iowa 

“I also suggest that we’re not allowed to change the message, which is the gospel itself. It’s taught to us in I Corinthians 15:3-5 that 'Christ died for us according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day and that He appeared.' It continues in passages such as Acts 17:30-31 where ‘God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent because He’s fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.’ Our response is summarized in Acts 16:31, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.’ This is the good news that we proclaim. We cannot change the message.”142 


Keith Krell (2007) 

Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Bible Fellowship, Olympia, Washington 

“In [1 Corinthians] 15:3-5, Paul is going to clearly and succinctly share the core elements of the gospel. He writes, ‘For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’.…Here are the facts of the gospel.

     Fact 1: ‘Christ died for our sins.’…. 
     Fact 2: ‘Christ was buried.’…. 
     Fact 3: ‘Christ was raised.’…. 
     Fact 4: ‘Christ was seen.’…. 

     Now that we have looked at the facts of faith, can I ask you a question? Do you know the gospel better than you know sports statistics, movie lines, and song lyrics? Could you preach the gospel message in your sleep? Are you that comfortable presenting the facts of faith? If not, you should be. There is no more important message in this world.”143 


Antonio da Rosa (2007) 

Host of the Free Grace Theology blog 

“In the 1st Corinthians passage, we have four co-ordinate clauses that make up Paul’s gospel message, all divided by the Greek ‘kai hoti’ (‘and that’)

1 Cor 15:3ff
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received:

THAT Christ died…
AND THAT He was buried
AND THAT He rose again…
AND THAT He was seen….

These 4 coordinate clauses…instruct us as to what Paul’s gospel was (in other words, the message which he couched the promise of eternal life in).”144


Steve Crouch (2007)

Pastor of Bay Area Seventh Day Baptist Church, Bay Area, California 

“Paul had an answer to bad theology, and that’s good theology. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul started out, ‘Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…’ Paul had been to Corinth before, and he had taught these people the Gospel of Jesus Christ – you can read about it in Acts 18. These people had heard the Gospel, had believed it, and were saved. But now Paul found out that some things weren’t going well in the Corinthians church. So in chapter 15, it’s back to square one, the basics of the Gospel. And you can sum it up in four main words: Christ died, he was buried, he was raised, and he appeared. That is more than four words, but in the original language, each of these verbs, these four things Christ did, is one word….we could call them ‘The Four Things Jesus Did.’ These are teachings that you can’t compromise – you can’t change them, and you can’t ignore them. If you remove these, you don’t have the Christian faith anymore – you have something completely different.”145 


Ralph Norwood (2008) 

Pastor of Calvary Church, Charlotte, North Carolina (in the 1970's)

“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? 1 Cor. 15:3-5 ‘For I delivered to you as of first importance what I received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.’
     1. There are 4 verbs.
         a. Christ DIED
         b. Christ was BURIED
         c. Christ was RAISED
         d. Christ APPEARED. [It is in the passive voice.]
     2. Note the subject of each is the same…. ‘CHRIST’
     3. Comments:
         a. Christ died: definite event…
         b. Christ was buried: definite event [in the aorist tense]
         c. Christ was raised: definite event [with a line following it…with lasting results].
            Why was the tense of the verb changed on the resurrection?
     4. NOTE THE COUPLETS.
        a. Christ died and how do you know he died? HE WAS BURIED.
        b. Christ was raised and how do you know He was raised? BECAUSE HE APPEARED….HE WAS SEEN.
     5. Only ONE of the 4 verbs has the phrase ‘FOR OUR SINS’ added to it… ‘FOR OUR SINS’ is not connected to the BURIAL, RESURRECTION OR APPEARANCE….It is connected only with HIS DEATH.
         a. His death dealt with our sins; The burial, resurrection and appearing did not. He was NOT raised for our sins…HE DIED FOR OUR SINS….
         b. He died FOR which means ON BEHALF OF our sins.”146 


Phil Johnson (2008) 

Pastor of the GraceLife fellowship group at Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California 

“Notice this phrase, ‘of first importance’ [in 1 Corinthians 15:3]….It’s speaking of the core gospel truths that are first in order of importance….These are the primary truths of the gospel. These are the most essential, fundamental, basic truths on which all other truths rest. And Paul enumerates them in four points. In fact, we’ll use those four points as our outline this morning. Here are four points of gospel truth that are foundational to every other truth of Christianity. These are the four basic, essential, first principles of gospel truth. They are the crucifixion, the burial, the resurrection, and the eyewitness evidence of the resurrection of Christ….And if you don’t believe in the literal, historical, biblical account of what occurred on that first Easter weekend, you haven’t really believed the gospel.”147 


George Meisinger (2009) 

President of Chafer Theological Seminary 

“Paul reveals in [in Corinthians 15] verses 3b-5 what he considered top priority gospel content. The gospel includes many truths, but 15:3b-5 are the crucial priority of the gospel, which he would preach if he preached nothing else. ‘The stress is on the centrality of these doctrines to the gospel message.’”148

“Now [1 Corinthians] 15:3b-5 forms a unit that answers the question, what is Paul’s priority gospel content…With four ‘that’ ([hoti]) clauses, the apostle boldly puts forth what he preached/delivered and what the Corinthians received/believed for eternal salvation.

First Aspect of the Priority Content: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (15:3b)….
Second Aspect of the Priority Content: He was buried (15:4a)….
Third Aspect of the Priority Content: He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (15:4b)….
Fourth Aspect of the Priority Content: Christ was seen by multiple eyewitnesses….

The Corinthians, as did all audiences to which the other apostles preached, believed/received the gospel in keeping with the priority content identified in [1 Corinthians] 15:3b-5. It is this content the Corinthians received/believed so that Paul may elsewhere say that they are sanctified in Christ Jesus (1:2, cf. 1:30), washed and justified (6:11), and forgiven (15:17)….1 Corinthians 15:3b-5 when received/believed results in forgiveness.”149

     “Paul plainly makes known a sufficient gospel. He received it (from Jesus Christ Himself, Galatians 1:11-12), preached/delivered it as did other apostles, and the Corinthians as thousands of others throughout the Roman Empire received/believed it. What did they preach and receive: Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, rose the third day according to the scriptures, and was seen by multiple eye-witnesses.”150 


John Piper (2009) 

Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

     “After saying in 1 Peter 1:23 that we are born again ‘through the living and abiding word of God,’ Peter says in verse 25, ‘This word is the good news that was preached to you.’ In other words, the word through which we are born again is ‘the good news that was preached to you.’ And what is that? What is that gospel or good news? It’s this:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:1-5)”151 


Allen P. Ross (2009) 

Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Beeson Divinity School 

“The theme of the book [of Romans] is the exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostle does not set out the details of the Gospel here; but we may gather from his other writings that the gospel is the good news of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances together with the apostolic explanation of the doctrinal significance of these great facts (1 Cor. 15:1-5).”152 


Scot McKnight (2009) 

Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University 

“The foundation for Christian orthodoxy is 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (most folks say 15:1-4, but I’m not sure that is the most natural of stopping points):

1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

I want to make a few observations….

First, the gospel is a narration of the saving events in the life of Jesus as they bring to fulfillment the Scriptures of Israel.

Second, the events in Jesus’ life are his life, his death, his burial, his resurrection and his appearances.

Third, this narrative forms the basis for salvation, understood here to include the forgiveness of sins. These events accomplish that salvation and the gospel therefore involves the appeal to believe in God’s redemption through these events.

Fourth, all of the early articulations of ‘orthodoxy’ — from the The Apostolic Tradition (Hippolytus of Rome) to Nicea to Chalcedon — are elaborations of this narrative.

Fifth, orthodoxy, then, in spite of the yacking of some today, is not speculative theology drawn simply from current philosophical debates but elaborations of the gospel, often in response to threats to that gospel.

Sixth, what is at stake in denying orthodoxy is not simply the ‘right ideas’ or ‘quaint’ ideas but the gospel itself. That which threatens the gospel is articulated by those who are most concerned with the gospel.

Seventh, theology that is done without the framing of the gospel narration of 1 Cor 15 is not gospel orthodoxy. In other words, orthodoxy is the faithful unfolding of that original gospel narrative of 1 Cor 15 and orthodoxy is faithfulness as well to the major unfolding of that gospel, including such things as the Apostles’ Creed, Nicea, Chalcedon, and the fundamental insights of the Reformation’s solas as they seek to elaborate the gospel narration.”153 


Darrell Bock (2010) 

Research Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor for Spiritual Development and Culture, Dallas Theological Seminary 

“In fact, only to speak of Jesus dying for sin – even to speak of Jesus dying for sin and rising again – is to give only about half of the gospel message….Paul in 1 Cor 15:3-5 summarizes the gospel as the fact that Jesus ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas.”154 


Andy Stanley (2010) 

Senior Pastor of Northpoint Community Church, Buckhead Church, and Browns Bridge Community Church, and Founder of North Point Ministries 

MOVING FORWARD
The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear: Christ died for our sins; he was buried; he was raised; he appeared. This is the foundational message behind the movement that continues today.

CHANGING YOUR MIND 
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 
1 Corinthians 15:3-5155

"And so [the apostle Paul] brings to us in no uncertain terms, those of us who don't have an Old Testament background, those of us who weren't raised to look for a Messiah, those of us who weren't well versed with the Scripture, he brings to us the bottom line - the thing you can't ignore. And here's what it is; it's four simple statements: 'Christ died for our sins', 'He was buried', 'He was raised', 'He appeared'. That's it. 'Christ died for our sins', 'He was buried', 'He was raised', 'He appeared'. Let's just say it together, say it with me. Ready? 'Christ died for our sins', 'He was buried', 'He was raised', 'He appeared'. Again: 'Christ died for our sins', 'He was buried', 'He was raised', 'He appeared'. Here's what [Paul] was saying; he was saying: 'Look, I know, you know it was seven literal days of creation and what happened to the dinosaurs - don't worry about that. Here's what you need to know: Christ died for your sins, He was buried, He was raised, He appeared.' [Someone might object:] 'I know, but all the - I was reading like in Revelation and there was like all these horses and fire and the world comes to an end...' It's like [Paul's] going: 'Okay, we'll get to that. Here's what you need to know: Christ died for your sin, and He was buried - that's how we know He really died, and He was raised, and He appeared, and the way we know that He really rose from the dead is because He appeared. He died on the cross for your sins, and He was buried, and He was raised, and He appeared.' And yeah you got a lot of questions. And yeah you have never read the whole Old Testament. And yeah you can't really put together the way that the - all the different accounts of the resurrection, and there's lots of questions and you don't understand certain verses of the Bible and some of it's so complicated, and you think you have to go to seminary, and sometimes, you know, everybody else is to where they need to be in the Bible and you haven't even found your Bible yet, and there's just so much information - and the apostle Paul says: 'Okay, okay, okay, okay, let me just, here's the thing you got to know; here's the irreducible minimum, here's the part you just can't ever lose sight of: Christ died for your sins, and He was buried; He was raised from the dead, and He was seen' - and that's the gospel; that's the starting point. That's not the point you get to after you get all your questions answered. That's the thing you wrestle with. If you want to wrestle with whether or not Christianity is true, don't look at the Christians who disappointed you; don't attend a church that puts you to sleep; don't worry about the fact that your parents brought you up to be a Christian and then got divorced and your Dad ran off with somebody else. [Paul] says: 'Look, all that stuff is a distraction. If you're going to wrestle with Christianity; if you're gonna wrestle with the truth of the gospel - wrestle with this one thing: Did Christ die for your sins? And was He buried? And was He raised from the dead? And was He seen? That's it. That's the starting point. That's the stopping point. That's the gospel. That's the foundation. That's what it's all about.'"156 


Rick Adams (2011) 

Pastor of Greater Portland Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon 

“No doubt we have all become familiar with the marketing of 4G technology by the telephone companies promoting their state of the art cell phone service. Have you ever thought about what exactly does 3G or 4G mean?

In the cell phone business the ‘G’ stands for generation…but the marketing relevance or the main difference is speed and the ability of a particular cell phone to use and transfer data!

Romans 1:16 tells us that the Gospel is ‘the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ The scriptural and spiritual relevance is obvious! The Gospel that has the power to save is now in our hands! …Our generation! Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20

The Apostle Paul understood this when he said, ‘For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17

Let us understand clearly just what the Gospel message involves! Again Paul defines that for us! ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:’ 1 Cor 15:1-5

‘The Gospel in 4G!’ is made up of four powerful components:

     • The Death of Jesus Christ – God’s Payment for Sin!
     • The Burial of Jesus Christ – God’s Proof of Sin Satisfied!
     • The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – God’s Promise Fulfilled!
     • The Witnesses of Jesus Christ – God’s Purpose Declared!”157 


George Zeller (2010) 

Assistant Pastor of Middletown Bible Church, Middletown, Connecticut 

“The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’ or ‘glad tidings.’ What is the good news according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-5:

HE _[DIED]_ FOR OUR _[SINS]_ according to the Scriptures (verse 3).
HE WAS _[BURIED]_ (verse 4).
HE _[ROSE]_ AGAIN according to the Scriptures (verse 4).
HE WAS _[SEEN]_ (verse 5) by many different people.

Do all four Gospels present the GOOD NEWS that Christ died, was buried, rose again and was seen alive? _[YES!]_”158 


“If I don’t like the message that Christ died for my sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, and that he was seen by eyewitnesses, can I just invent a new gospel?”159


ENDNOTES:

1 Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible. Copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org. All rights reserved. 

2 Ambrose, "LIBER DECIMUS, Expositio euangelii Lucae," Charles and Henry Schenkl, Editors, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, Vol. 32, Sancti Ambrossi Opera, Part 4, Expositio Euangelii Secundum Lucan (Vienna Austrian National Library: University of Caesarea Documents, 1902), pp. 522-523. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate. 

3 Augustine, Sermon 362, “On the Resurrection of the Dead,” Edmund Hill and John E. Rotelle, Editors, Augustinian Heritage Institute, The Works of Saint Augustine (New York: New City Press, 1995), 3 Parts, 10 Vols., Part 3, Vol. 10, p. 250.

4 Augustine, “Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament, Sermon LXVI,” Philip Schaff, Editor, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1888), Series 1, 14 Vols., Vol. 6, pp. 456-457, ellipsis added.

5 Cassian, “John Cassian, The Conferences, Part II. (xi. – xvii.),” Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Editors, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1894), Series 2, 14 Vols., Vol. 11, p. 438.

6 Bede, The Complete Works of Venerable Bede, J. A. Giles, Editor (London: Whittaker and Co., 1844), 8 Vols., Vol. 5, p. 382. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate.

7 Atto, “Expositio In Epistolas Paull – In Epist. 1 AD Cor.,” Jacques-Paul Migne, Editor, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Secunda (Paris: Apud Garnier Fratres, 1853), p. 305, cf. Ibid., pp. 395-397. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate. 

8 Lombard, In Omnes D. Pauli Apost. Epistolas Collectanea (Paris: Pro Haeredibus Iod. Badii Ascensii, 1535), p. 109, quotation marks, italics, and ellipsis added. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate. 

9 Aquinas, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, http://dhspriory.org/thomas/SS1Cor.htm#151, quotation marks added. 

10 Wycliffe, “Paul’s Preaching the Gospel,” Writings of the Reverend and Learned John Wickliff (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1831), p. 219, italics his, ellipsis added. NOTE: This sermon was originally written around 1375. 

11 Wycliffe, "Sermon XLV [1 Cor. 15:1-11]," Johann Loserth, Editor, Johannis Wyclif Sermones, Vol. 3 (London: Published for the Wyclif Society by Trubner and Co., 1889), p. 386, italics his. The reference to 1 Cor. 15: 3, 4, 5 is cited in the footnotes in the book. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate. 

12 P. Isaaci Haberti, Theologiae Graecorum Patrum Vindicatae Circa Universam Materiam Gratiae (Wirceburgi: Typis Et Sumptibus Stahelianis, 1843), pp. 433-434, quotation marks and italics added. Translated from the Latin with Google Translate. NOTE: This book was originally published in 1647. 

13 Bunyan, “A Vindication of Gospel Truths Opened,” Doctrinal Discourses (London: Thomas Ward and Co., no date), p. 133. NOTE: Bunyan’s Doctrinal Discourses was originally written in 1656. 

14 Bunyan, George Offor, Editor, Profitable Meditations (London: John Camden Hotten, Piccadilly, 1860), 35. NOTE: Bunyan’s Profitable Meditations was originally written in 1661 from Bedford Jail. 

15 Clarke, A Letter To Mr. Dodwell (London: the Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, 1731), p. 472. 

16 Dean, A Biblical and Theological Dictionary (Boston: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, 1854), p. 230. 

17 Thiele, Jerusalem, Seine Lage, Seine Heiligen Statten, und Seine Bewohner (Halle: Richard Muhlmann, 1861), pp. 29-30. Translated from German with Google Translate. 

18 Sadler, The Gospel According to St. Luke (London: George Bell and Sons, 1892), p. xi. 

19 Sadler, Church Doctrine, Bible Truth (London: Bell and Daldy, 1868), p. 8, ellipsis added. NOTE: This book was originally published in 1865. 

20 Bernard, The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1869), pp. 112-113. 

21 Moody, "WHAT 'THE GOSPEL' IS," Moody and Sankey; Their Lives and Labors (London: Ward, Lock, and Tyler, 1876), 2 Parts, Part 2, pp. 67-68. 

22 Moody, Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1895), p. 74. 

23 Otto Pfleiderer, Paulinism: A Contribution to the History of Primitive Christian Theology (Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, 1877), p. 166. 

24 Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermons Preached and Revised by C. H. Spurgeon During the Year 1879 (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1880), Vol. 25, pp. 524-525. 

25 Quinter, “The Relation of Christ’s Resurrection to the Christian’s Hope,” The Primitive Christian, Vol. 21, Num. 14 (April 3, 1883): p. 211. 

26 Lechler, The Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Times (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1886), 2 Vol., Vol. 1, pp. 321-322. 

27 B. F. Westcott, “THE TESTIMONY OF ST. PAUL,” H. D. M. Spence, Joseph S. Exell, Charles Neil, Editors, Thirty Thousand Thoughts: Christian Dogmatics (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, Publishers, 1889), p. 50; cf. Westcott, The Gospel of the Resurrection (London and Cambridge: Macmillan and Co., 1866), pp. 95-96. 

28 Mackintosh, “Glad Tidings of God.,” Things New and Old (London: G. Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square, 1889), Vol. 32, pp. 184-185. 

29 Pierson, “The Resurrection of Our Lord,” The Homiletic Review, Vol. 26 (July 1893): pp. 72-73. 

30 Alexander, Primary Convictions (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1893), p. 122, italics his. 

31 Denney, Studies In Theology (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1895), p. 104, italics his. 

32 Denney, Jesus and the Gospel (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908), pp. 113-114. 

33 Zollars, The Great Salvation (Cincinnati: The Standard Publishing Company, 1895), pp. 80-81. 

34 Warren, The Liturgy and Ritual of the Ante-Nicene Church (London: Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1897), p. 15, italics his. 

35 Ironside, The Mormon’s Mistake, or What Is The Gospel? (Cleveland: Utah Gospel Mission, 1896?), p. 3, bold his, ellipsis added. NOTE: This quote comes from the unabridged edition of Ironside’s booklet. It appears to have been published around 1896 by Utah Gospel Mission, Cleveland, Ohio. See the following link to read the unabridged edition: http://www.archive.org/details/mormonsmistakeor00iron. Many later editions are abridged and omit the reference to 1 Corinthians 15:5: “and that He was seen of Cephas” – a fact which Ironside specifically includes in “Paul’s Statement of the Real Gospel”. 

36 Baring-Gould, A Study of St. Paul (London: Isbister and Company Limited, 1897), p. 440, ellipsis his. 

37 Jeffrey, The Gospel of Paul, The Gospel of Jesus (Edinburgh and London: Oliphant, 1899), pp. 30-32. 

38 Patton, “Christ’s Resurrection,” A Family Paper (March 20, 1901): p. 33. 

39 Rainy, The Ancient Catholic Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902), p. 510. 

40 Murray, “The Spiritual and Historical Evidence for Miracles,” Henry Barclay Swete, Editor, Essays On Some Theological Questions of the Day (London: Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1905), p. 329. 

41 Bramley-Moore, Ancient Tyre and Modern England (London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.C., 1906), p. 265. 

42 Swete, The Appearances of Our Lord After the Passion: A Study in the Earliest Christian Tradition (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1915), pp. 14-15, ellipsis added. NOTE: This book was originally published in 1907. 

43 Thomas Carter, “Gospel or Gospels,” The Methodist Review Quarterly, Vol. 57, Issue 4 (October, 1908): pp. 632-633. 

44 Tixeront, Apologetical Studies (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917), pp. 81-82, italics his. NOTE: It appears that this book was originally published in 1909 in L’ Universite Catholique

45 Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), 17 Vols., Vol. 13, pp. 246-247. NOTE: This book was originally published by the Fleming H. Revell company in 1913. 

46 Alfred Loisy, Les Mysteres Paiens et le Mystere Chretien (Paris: Emile Nourry, 1914), pp. 327-328. Translated from the French with Google Translate. 

47 J. M. Shaw, "RESURRECTION OF CHRIST," James Hastings, John A. Selbie, John C. Lambert, Editors, Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918), 2 Vols., Vol. 2, pp. 332-334, first brackets and last ellipsis added; cf. Shaw, The Resurrection of Christ (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1920), pp. 17-22, 27-28. 

48 Arthur S. Peake, A Commentary on the Bible (New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1920), p. 846. 

49 Norton, “For Sermon and Scrap Book,” Moody Bible Institute Monthly (November 1921), p. 676. 

50 Griffith, St. Paul’s Life of Christ (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1925), pp. 165-166. 

51 Erdman, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1928), pp. 137-138. 

52 Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1931), 6 Vols., Vol. 4, pp. 186-187. 

53 Alfred Edward John Rawlinson (A. E. J. R.), “GOSPEL,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fourteenth Edition (London: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, Ltd., 1932), 24 Vols., Vol. 10, p. 536, bold and italics his, ellipsis added. 

54 Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching And Its Developments (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1962), pp. 9-10. NOTE: This book was originally published in London by Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1936. 

55 Micklem, “The Primitive Church,” Walter Robert Matthews, Editor, The Christian Faith: Essays in Explanation and Defense (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, Ltd., 1936), p. 171, italics and ellipsis his. 

56 Newell, Romans Verse-By-Verse (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1994), p. 6, bold his. NOTE: This book was originally published in Chicago by Moody Press, 1938. 

57 Ibid., pp. 18-19, bold his. 

58 Ibid., p. 19, capitalization and italics his. 

59 Ibid., p. 20, italics his. 

60 Ibid., p. 21. 

61 Ibid., p. 24. 

62 Ramsey, The Resurrection of Christ (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1946), p. 21. 

63 Ibid., pp. 73-74, italics and ellipsis his. 

64 Scroggie, A Guide To The Gospels (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1995), p. 548, ellipses his. NOTE: This book was originally published in London by Pickering and Inglis, 1948. 

65 Chester E. Tulga, The Foreign Missions Controversy in the Northern Baptist Convention (Chicago: Conservative Baptist Fellowship, 1950), pp. 148-149, ellipsis his. 

66 Carrington, The Primitive Christian Calendar: A Study in the Making of the Marcan Gospel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952), p. 19, brackets and ellipsis his. 

67 Wright, Ephesians (Chicago: Moody Press, 1954), p. 11, ellipsis and italics his. 

68 Davies, “Reflections on Archbishop Carrington’s ‘The Primitive Christian Calendar’,” W. D. Davies and D. Daube, Editors, The Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), p. 143. 

69 Taylor, Forgiveness and Reconciliation: A Study in New Testament Theology (New York: Macmillan, 1956), p. 136. 

70 Taylor, The Gospel According to St. Mark (London: Macmillan and Co., LTD, 1959), p. 606, ellipsis his. 

71 Aeby, “Walking with Christ through Ephesians,” The Brethren Missionary Herald, Vol. 21, Num. 32 (August 8, 1959), p. 504, ellipsis his. 

72 Aeby, “Living For Jesus,” The Brethren Missionary Herald, Vol. 21, Num. 46 (November 14, 1959), p. 711. 

73 Mounce, “GOSPEL,” Everett F. Harrison, Editor-in-Chief, Geoffrey W. Bromily, Associate Editor, Carl F. H. Henry, Consulting Editor, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), p. 256. 

74 Ibid., p. 256, ellipsis added. 

75 Hinson, “Christian Teaching in the Early Church,” Review and Expositor, Vol. 99 (Summer 2002): p. 383, italics his. NOTE: This article was originally published in Review and Expositor, Summer 1962; cf. A. M. Hunter, Paul and His Predecessors (London: Nicholson and Watson, Ltd., 1940), pp. 14-20; C. H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments (London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1936), pp. 10-12. 

76 Johnson, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), p. 1255, bold and italics his. 

77 Johnson, “The Gospel That Paul Preached,” Bibliotheca Sacra 128 (October 1971): p. 330. 

78 Johnson, “Easter Before Christmas? Why Not?” transcript (Dallas: Believer’s Chapel, 2007), p. 21. 

79 F. F. Bruce, “When is a Gospel Not a Gospel?” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 45.2 (March 1963): p. 324, http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/bjrl/gospel_bruce.pdf. NOTE: The reference to 1 Cor. 15:3ff is cited in the footnotes. 

80 Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians (London: Oliphants, 1976), p. 138, bold and italics his. 

81 Tenney, The Reality of the Resurrection (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963), pp. 68-69, ellipsis his. NOTE: This book was also published in Chicago by Moody Press, 1963.

82 Ibid., ellipsis and brackets his. 

83 Lockyear, All the Books and Chapters of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), pp. 259-260. 

84 Ladd, “Revelation and Tradition in Paul,” W. Ward Gasque and Ralph P. Martin, Editors, Apostolic History and the Gospel (Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1970), p. 225, italics his, ellipsis added; cf. Ladd, Donald A. Hagner, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993), p. 427. NOTE: Ladd’s Theology of the New Testament was originally published in 1974.

85 Marshall, Luke: Historian And Theologian (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980), pp. 50-51. NOTE: This book was originally published by The Paternoster Press in 1970.

86 Marshall, “Eschatology,” Richard N. Longnecker, Editor, The Road From Damascus (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), p. 49. NOTE: Marshall’s article (along with the other collection of essays in Longnecker’s book) were originally presented at the H. H. Bingham Colloquium in New Testament, McMaster Divinity College, second session, June 17-18, 1996.

87 Brown, “Proclamation, Preach, Kerygma,” Colin Brown, General Editor, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 4 Vols., Vol. 3, p. 61, italics his, first brackets added. NOTE: This book was originally published in German under the title THEOLOGISCHES BEGRIFFSLEXIKON ZUM NEUEN TESTAMENT in 1971.

88 Sider, “St. Paul’s Understanding of the Nature and Significance of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians XV 1-19,” Novum Testamentum 19 (April 1977): pp. 132-134, italics his, first and second ellipsis added. 

89 Stewart, “How Important Is the Resurrection to Christianity?,” http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=811, ellipsis his.

90 Ramsay, The Layman’s Guide to the New Testament (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981), pp. 129-130, first ellipsis added.

91 Reed, “The Pastor as a Theologian,” Donald K. Campbell, Editor, Walvoord: A Tribute (Chicago: Moody Press, 1982), p. 274.

92 Ibid., p. 279, ellipsis added. 

93 Wiersbe, Be Wise (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishing, 2010), p. 164, ellipsis and italics his. NOTE: This book was originally published in Wheaton by Victor Books, 1982. 

94 Wiersbe, A Gallery of Grace (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1988, 2002), pp. 122-123, italics his. NOTE: This book was previously titled So That’s What A Christian Is! 

95 Wiersbe, Be Comforted (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishing, 2009), p. 162. NOTE: This book was originally published in Wheaton by Victor Books, 1992. 

96 Wiersbe, “Sanctified By Correction,” 2ProphetU website, http://2prophetu.com/templates/_2prophetu2/details.asp?id=35585&PG=resources&CID=19387 (accessed November 9, 2011). 

97 Wiersbe, “J is for Jesus Part 1,” 2ProphetU website, ellipsis his, http://2prophetu.com/templates/_2prophetu2/details.asp?id=35585&PG=resources&CID=17639 (accessed November 12, 2011). 

98 John MacArthur, Hebrews: New Testament Commentary (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), p. 264. 

99 McCloskey, Tell It Often – Tell It Well (San Bernardion: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1988), p. 29, bold his. NOTE: This book was originally published in 1985.

100 Ibid., p. 31.

101 Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), pp. 722-723, 736, bold, italics, and second to last brackets his; ellipsis and other brackets added. 

102 R. P. Martin, “WORSHIP,” Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Editor, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988), 4 Vols., Vol. 4, p. 1127. 

103 Ryrie, So Great Salvation (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989), pp. 35-36, capitalization and ellipsis his. For further discussion see the article “Getting the Gospel Right,” pp. 35-36 (in the PDF file). 

104 Geisler, “The Battle for the Resurrection,” Fundamentalist Journal (March, 1989): p. 15, italics his. 

105 Geisler, “The Significance of Christ’s Physical Resurrection,” Bibliotheca Sacra 146 (April 1989): pp. 148, 169, ellipsis added. 

106 Geisler, “I Believe…in the Resurrection of the Flesh,” Christian Research Journal (Summer, 1989): p. 20 ff. 

107 Geisler, “In Defense of the Resurrection, A Reply to Criticisms, A Review Article,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34/2 (June 1991): p. 243. 

108 Norman L. Geisler and Douglas E. Potter, “Christian Burial: A Case for Burial,” Christian Research Institute website, dated April 14, 2009, http://www.equip.org/articles/christian-burial-a-case-for-burial/ (accessed June 7, 2012), bold his; cf. Norman L. Geisler and Douglas E. Potter, “FROM ASHES TO ASHES: IS BURIAL THE ONLY CHRISTIAN OPTION?,” Christian Research Institute website, http://www.equip.org/PDF/DC765.pdf (accessed June 7, 2012), bold his. NOTE: The aforementioned article first appeared in Christian Research Journal, volume 21, number 01 (1998). 

109 Geisler, Systematic Theology (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2004), 4 Vols., Vol. 3, p. 549, ellipsis added. 

110 Norman Geisler, A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005) edited by Robert Price and Jeffrey Lowder, brackets his, ellipsis added; cf. Geisler, "A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave," Christian Apologetics Journal CAJ 05:1 (Spring 2006).

111 Stanford, “The Dispensational Gospels,” underlining and ellipsis his, http://withchrist.org/mjs/gospels.htm (accessed June 14, 2012). 

112 Stanford, “Pauline Dispensationalism,” bold, underlining, brackets, and ellipsis his, http://withchrist.org/mjs/paulinedis.htm (accessed June 14, 2012). 

113 Showers, There Really Is A Difference (Belmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1990), p. 3, italics and ellipsis his. 

114 Radmacher, “First Response To ‘Faith According To The Apostle James’ By John F. MacArthur, Jr.,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 33 (March 1990): pp. 38-39, italics his. 

115 Radmacher, Salvation (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), p. 116, italics, brackets, and ellipsis his. 

116 Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation: the Theology of Everlasting Life (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1996), pp. 129-130. NOTE: This book was originally published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991. 

117 Stuhlmacher, Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1994), p. 23. 

118 Barrett, Paul: An Introduction to His Thought (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994), pp. 102-103, ellipsis added. 

119 Habermas, "The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus," 4truth.net website, ellipsis added, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbjesus.aspx?pageid=8589952867 (accessed April 1, 2012). 

120 Habermas, "The Empty Tomb of Jesus," 4truth.net website, http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbjesus.aspx?pageid=8589952861 (accessed April 1, 2012). 

121 Habermas, The Historical Jesus (Joplin: College Press, 1996), p. 117. 

122 Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), p. 17. 

123 Habermas, “The Resurrection of Jesus and the Witness of Paul,” Peter May, Editor, bethinking.org website, italics and last three ellipsis his, www.bethinking.org/bible-jesus/intermediate/the-resurrection-of-jesus-and-the-witness-of-paul.htm (accessed April 1, 2012). 

124 Habermas, "The Resurrection of Jesus and the Talpiot Tomb," Liberty University Faculty Publication and Presentations, Paper 158 (2008): p. 162, http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lts_fac_pubs/158/ (accessed April 1, 2012); cf. Ibid., p. 158. 

125 Gaffin, “‘Life-Giving Spirit’: Probing the Center of Paul’s Pneumatology,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41 (December 1998): p. 574, italics his. 

126 Paul Nadim Tarazi, The New Testament: An Introduction (Crestwood: SVS Press, 1999), 4 Vols., Vol. 1, pp. 73-74, italics his, ellipsis added. 

127 Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, NIGTC (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), p. 1189, italics his, brackets and transliteration added. 

128 Donald Campbell [DKC], Wendell Johnston, John Walvoord, John Witmer, “Gospel,” The Theological Wordbook (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), p. 142. 

129 Luter, Jr., “Homiletics and Mission,” A. Scott Moreau, General Editor, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), p. 454. 

130 Hunt, “Good Tidings of Great Joy…to All People,” The Berean Call website, www.thebereancall.org/node/5690, August 1, 2001, ellipsis and brackets his. 

131 Congdon, “The Gospel,” The Teaching Home website, http://teachinghome.com/about/gospel.cfm, ellipsis added. 

132 Gromacki, “The Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Part II),” The Journal of Ministry and Theology (Fall 2002): p. 44. 

133 BeVier, “Editorial,” The Discerner, Vol. 22, Num. 1 (January-March 2002): pp. 2-3, underlining his. 

134 BeVier, “WHAT MAKES A CULT A CULT?,” The Discerner, Vol. 22, Num. 3 (July-September 2002): p. 6, brackets, ellipsis, and underlining his. 

135 Dunn, “The History of the Tradition: New Testament,” Dunn and John William Rogerson, Editors, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), 959, ellipsis added.

136 Dunn, The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul (Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 178. 

137 Whitmire, “The Facts Presentation,” GO TELL EVANGELISM, CHAPTER 2, OUR WITNESS FOR CHRIST (dated “07-15-03”), underlining, capitalization, and second ellipsis his, http://tgcministry.com/gotell/gts_2.htm (accessed April 5, 2012). NOTE: In the original article much of Whitmire’s statement is in bold print. 

138 Johnson, 1 Corinthians, Grant R. Osborne, Series Editor, D. Stuart Briscoe and Haddon Robinson, Consulting Editors (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004), p. 284, italics his. 

139 Pritchard, “God’s Scapegoat: ‘Buried,’” Keep Believing Ministries blog, www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2004-03-28-Gods-Scapegoat-Buried/.

140 Prichard, Credo: Believing in Something to Die For (Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2005), p. 96, bold and italics his. 

141 Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2006), p. 41; cf. Ibid., pp. 232-233; Stott, Christian Basics (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), p. 70; Stott, Evangelical Truth (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1999), pp. 27-29. 

142 Daughters, “A Theology of Change,” Emmaus Bible College Journey Magazine (Fall 2006): p. 15. 

143 Krell, “The Facts of Faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-11),” bible.org website, http://bible.org/seriespage/facts-faith-1-corinthians-151-11, italics his, ellipsis added. NOTE: In the original much of Krell’s statement is in bold print. 

144 da Rosa, “Another Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3ff / the Pauline Gospel,” Unashamed of Grace blog, http://unashamedofgrace.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html (accessed June 4, 2008), last two ellipsis added. 

145 Crouch, “Things that can never be compromised,” One Eternal Day blog, http://www.one-eternal-day.com/2007/03/things-that-can-never-be-compromised.html, italics his, second ellipsis added (accessed August 6, 2008). 

146 Norwood, “THE PURE GOSPEL,” Bible Readings for Believers website, http://biblereadingsforbelievers.com/doctrine/232-the-pure-gospel-galatians-chapter-1.html (accessed August 21, 2011), emphasis, ellipsis, and brackets his. 

147 Johnson, “The Gospel in Four Simple Points, 1 Corinthians 15:1-5,” www.swordandtrowel.org/Sermons.aspx?code=2008-03-23-PJ. 

148 Meisinger, “The Gospel Paul Preached: A Church Age Model of Evangelistic Content,” Chafer Theological Seminary Journal (2009): p. 5.

149 Ibid., pp. 5-9, 12, emphasis his.

150 Ibid., p. 13. 

151 Piper, Finally Alive (Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 2009), pp. 112-113, italics his. 

152 Ross, “The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans,” The Christian Leadership Center website, www. Christianleadershipcenter.org/romans1.htm. NOTE: The same series of articles appears on the bible.org website as well. See: http://bible.org/seriespage/revelation-righteousness. 

153 McKnight, “The Gospel and Orthodoxy,” Jesus Creed blog, http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2009/02/the-gospel-and-orthodoxy.html, italics his, ellipsis added. Also see: http://www.patheos.com/community/jesuscreed/2009/02/05/the-gospel-and-orthodoxy/, February 5, 2009. 

154 Bock, Recovering the Real Lost Gospel: Reclaiming the Gospel as Good News (Nashville: B and H Publishing Group, 2010), p. 3, italics his, ellipsis added; cf. Bock, The Bible Knowledge Word Study: Acts – Ephesians (Colorado Springs: Cook Communications Ministries, 2006), pp. 310-311. 

155 Stanley, “Big Church #4: Big Audience,” Community Group Curriculm Guide, http://www.groupcurriculum.org/questions/questions.jsp?messageID=896, bold, capitalization, and italics his.

156 Andy Stanley, "Big Church, Part 4: Big Audience," sermon dated January 30, 2011, http://northpoint.org/messages/big-church/part-4, emphasis his. 

157 Adams, “The Gospel in 4G Series,” http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs047/1104029799920/archive/1105067929968.html, ellipsis his. 

158 Zeller, “Portraits of Christ, The Four Gospels,” Middletown Bible Church website, http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/newtesta/ntesta2.htm, brackets added; NOTE: This summary of the gospel on the Middletown Bible Church website was revised on November 18, 2010. It has been replaced with a new statement lacking the simple and straight-forward clarity of the original. Yet the original article can still be viewed in PDF format using the following link: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/newtesta/ntb02.pdf (accessed June 14, 2012).

159 James Utter, “Church For People Who Don’t Like Church!,” The Revelation Road website, http://therevelationroad.org/nochurch.htm, italics added. NOTE: This article also appears on the Middletown Bible Church website. See: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/lochurch/dontlike.htm.