Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith]. By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].
For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, and last of all, as to one untimely (prematurely, traumatically) born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I [at one time] fiercely oppressed and violently persecuted the church of God. But by the [remarkable] grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. In fact, I worked harder than all of the apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing which was] with me. So whether it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed and trusted in and relied on with confidence.
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, amounting to nothing], and your faith is also vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]. We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.
But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] by a man that death came [into the world], it is also by a Man that the resurrection of the dead has come. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected with incorruptible, immortal bodies] at His coming. After that comes the end (completion), when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after He has made inoperative and abolished every ruler and every authority and power. For Christ must reign [as King] until He has put all His enemies under His feet.