I was a journalism major in college, but I spent time with a lot of engineering majors. While my friends were staying up until 4 a.m. working on differential equations, I was learning what a blog was. While they were cramming for test questions with actual objective answers, I was leafing through magazines counting how many times a certain company was advertised. While they were sitting in lectures about organic chemistry, I was looking at my professor’s vacation pictures in my North American Geography class.
Needless to say, my journalism major was pretty easy. But there was one trump card I had over my engineering friends: it was called the “Medill F.” In any class in the Medill School of Journalism, on any assignment, if your article contained any factual error, it was an automatic “F,” regardless of how good the writing or reporting was. The most common error that would warrant a Medill “F” was misspelling someone’s name, so this inevitably led to some pretty amusing interviews conducted by some pretty frightened students. The first question was always the same, no matter who we were interviewing: How do you spell your name?
The Medill “F” may have been a little over the top, but it served an important purpose; after all, if you can’t be bothered to spell your source’s name right, why should anyone believe that the other things you’re writing are true? If you mess up the foundational information, it doesn’t matter what you do after that.
1 Corinthians chapter 15 focuses on getting the foundational information right. In Paul’s words, the teaching in this chapter is “of first importance.” Paul reminds us all, whether you’re a lifelong Christian or just starting out on your journey, the most important message of the Bible is: the resurrection of the dead.
The focus in this plan will be on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. This is the teaching Paul describes as “of first importance.” In the following days, we will break the 11 verses down into shorter sections.
This passage is gloriously simple. It’s Paul, very directly and straightforwardly, telling the Corinthians, “This is the heart of the message that I preached to you. Jesus rose from the dead. You need to get this.” But to understand the depth of this message, we’re going to explore two questions. First, what happened in the gospel? And second, what happened to the gospel?