“The Empty Tomb”
FIRST CORINTHIANS CHAPTER FIFTEEN
1 Brothers, let me remind you now of what
The gospel really is I preached to you,
Which you received and take your stand on. 2 By
This gospel you are saved, if you hold fast
Onto the word I preached to you. If not,
You have believed in vain. 3 For what I have
Received I passed on to you as of first
Import: that Christ died for our sins just as
The Scriptures said he would, 4 that he was buried,
That he was raised on the third day just as
The Scriptures said he would, 5 and that he showed
Himself to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
6 After that, he was seen by more than five
Hundred brothers at the same time, and most
Of them are still alive, although some have
Fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James,
And then to all of the apostles, and
8 Then last of all I saw him too, long after
The others, as though I had almost been
Untimely born. 9 Because I am the least
Worthy of the apostles and I don’t
Even deserve to be called an apostle,
For I abused the church of God, 10 but by
The grace of God I am what I am, and
His grace to me was not without effect.
No, I worked harder than them all−yet not
I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11 It makes no difference who worked hardest, I
Or they, for the important thing is we
Preached the good news to you, and you believed.
12 But tell me this: Since you believe what we
Have preached, that Christ was resurrected, why
Are some of you declaring that the dead
Do not come back to life? 13 For if there is
No resurrection of the dead, then not
Even Christ has been raised. 14 If Christ has not
Been raised, our preaching is in vain, as is
Your faith; 15 and we are then false witnesses
As to the Lord, for we have testified
As to the Lord that he has raised up Christ
Out of the dead. But if in fact the dead
Cannot be raised, then he did not raise Christ.
16 For if the dead cannot be raised, then Christ
Is dead yet, 17 and if Christ has not been raised,
Your faith is futile; you’re still in your sins.
18 Then all the Christians who have died are lost.
19 If only for this life we have our hope
In Christ, we are most miserable than all,
20 But Christ indeed did rise out of the dead,
The firstfruits of the ones who fell asleep.
21 For death came in the world because of what
One man did, and the resurrection of
The dead came through one man too. 22 For as in
Adam all die, in Christ all will be made
Alive– 23 but each one in his own turn: Christ
Rose first, and then, when he returns, those who
Belong to him. 24 Then comes the end, when he’ll
Deliver up to Father God the kingdom
After he has destroyed all rule and all
Authority and power. 25 For he must
Reign ‘til he has put all his enemies
Under his feet, 26 and the last enemy
To be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put
Everything underneath his feet.” Now when
It says that “everything” is under him,
It’s plain that this does not include the Lord
Himself, who did put all things under Christ.
28 When he has done this, then the Son himself
Will be beneath the one who put all things
Under him, so God may be all in all.
29 Now if there is no resurrection, what
Will those do who are baptized for the dead?
For if the dead aren’t raised at all, why are
Some people baptized for them? 30 As for us,
Why do we jeopardize ourselves each hour?
31 I die each day−I mean that, brothers−just
As surely as I glory over you
In Jesus Christ our Lord. 32 If I fought beasts
In Ephesus for merely human reasons,
What have I gained? And if the dead are not
Raised, “Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow
We die.” 33 Don’t be misled: “Bad company
Corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your
Right mind, and quit your sinning; for there are
Some who are ignorant of God−I say
This to your shame. 35 But someone may ask, “How
Are the dead raised? What kind of bodies will
They have?” 36 How foolish! What you plant does not
Spring up to life unless it dies. 37 When you
Plant, you don’t plant the body that will be,
But just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of
Another plant. 38 But God gives it a body
Just as he has determined, and each kind
Of seed he gives a body of its own.
39 All flesh is not the same: there is one kind
Of flesh for men, while animals and birds
And fish each have a different kind of flesh.
40 There are celestial bodies and there are
Earthly bodies; the splendor of celestial
Bodies is one kind, and the splendor of
The earthly bodies is another. 41 For
The glory of the sun is one kind, and
The glory of the moon is yet another,
And that of stars another; and each star
Differs from other stars in glory. 42 So
Will it be with the resurrection of
The dead. The body that is planted will
Die and decay, and when it’s raised it will
Never die; 43 it is planted in dishonor,
And it is raised in glory; it is planted
In weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it
Is planted as a fleshly body, and
It’s raised a body that is spiritual.
If there’s a fleshly body, there will be
A body that is spiritual, too. 45 So
It’s written that “the first man Adam was
Made as a living soul”; and the last Adam,
A spirit that gave life. 46 The spiritual
Did not come first, instead, the fleshly was
The first, and after that the spiritual.
47 The first man was made out of earth, a man
Of dust; the second man came out of heaven.
48 As was the earthly man, so are those who
Are of the earth; and as the man from heaven
Is, so are those of heaven. 49 And just as
We’ve borne the image of the man of dust,
So also shall we bear the image of
The man from heaven. 50 I will tell you this,
Brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit
God’s kingdom, and the perishable won’t
Inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen,
And I’ll tell you a secret: We won’t all
Sleep, but we’ll all be changed– 52 like lightning, in
The twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
Because the trumpet will blast forth, the dead
Will be raised up imperishable, and
We will be changed, 53 because the perishable
Must clothe itself with the imperishable,
The mortal with an immortality.
54 And when the perishable has been clothed
With the imperishable, and the mortal
With immortality, then will the Scripture
At last come true which sets forth: “Death has been
Swallowed in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is
Your victory? O Death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin; the strength of sin
Is law. 57 But thanks be to the Lord! He gives
Us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 So, my dear brothers, stand firm, and let nothing
Move you, and always fully give yourselves
To God’s work, for you know the truth remains:
Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
(Rendered in blank verse by Day Williams.)