An Exemplary Exegesis for Preaching the Essence of the Gospel based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-4


Hwang, Byung-Bae

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How can we preach the essence of the Gospel in terms of the biblical and evangelical perspective? This paper gives an exemplary exegesis for preaching the essence of the Gospel, particularly based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Some of the Corinthian believers were questioning the truth of Jesus' resurrection, as well as his death. Paul responds in chapter fifteen, which has come to be the classic chapter on the resurrection. In it, Paul deals with a whole range of questions regarding the resurrection from the dead. This paper focuses primarily on the essence of the Gospel as it is set forth in 15:1-4. These verses, which tell of the resurrection of Christ, occupy a crucial place not only in this chapter but also in the whole Bible, because they encapsulate the essence of the Gospel (vv. 3b-4). In vv. 1-3, Paul calls the Gospel: the good news that I proclaimed to you (v. 1a); the message that I proclaimed to you (v. 2a); and [that which] I handed on to you as of first importance (v. 3a). So then, what is the Gospel that Paul proclaimed to them? What is the essence of the Gospel that Paul handed on to them with such enthusiasm? Paul responds that it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (vv. 3b-4). Jesus died as a vicarious sacrifice for our sins, to propitiate for God's anger because of humanity's sinfulness, and to manifest God's love for humankind. Jesus was buried, which is evidence of the reality of his death. While he was in the grave, he descended into hades (a/{dh") to proclaim to the disobedient spirits in prison his Messiahship, and thereby achieving overwhelming victory over the demonic powers. Jesus' death and burial were complete; however, the Gospel would have stayed incomplete without the resurrection. The resurrection of Christ opened the way for our justification; it provided for us the new life we called to live with the risen Christ in this world; and it gives us an inextinguishable hope for our bodily resurrection in the future. These are the essential elements of the Gospel, which Jesus Christ fulfilled (Jn. 3:19; 5:19; 10:18) through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11; Acts 10:38, 40) for our salvation, given by God the Father (Eph. 1:20).


I. Introduction
 II. Christ's Death
  1. Propitiation for God's Anger
  2. Vicarious Sacrifice for Our Redemption
  3. God's Love for Us
 III. Christ's Burial
  1. The Evidence for Christ's Death
  2. Descent into the Nether World
  3. Between Death and Resurrection
 IV. Christ's Resurrection
  1. Ground for Justification
  2. Basis of a New Spiritual Fellowship
  3. Seal of Our Resurrection
 V. Conclusion


  • Hwang, Byung-Bae Professor of Hyupsung University


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