1 Corinthians 15:29
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

King James Bible
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Darby Bible Translation
Since what shall the baptised for the dead do if [those that are] dead rise not at all? why also are they baptised for them?

World English Bible
Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren't raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead?

Young's Literal Translation
Seeing what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? why also are they baptized for the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:29 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead - This is certainly the most difficult verse in the New Testament; for, notwithstanding the greatest and wisest men have labored to explain it, there are to this day nearly as many different interpretations of it as there are interpreters. I shall not employ my time, nor that of my reader, with a vast number of discordant and conflicting opinions; I shall make a few remarks:

1. The doctrine of the resurrection of our Lord was a grand doctrine among the apostles; they considered and preached this as the demonstration of the truth of the Gospel.

2. The multitudes who embraced Christianity became converts on the evidence of this resurrection.

3. This resurrection was considered the pledge and proof of the resurrection of all believers in Christ to the possession of the same glory into which he had entered.

4. The baptism which they received they considered as an emblem of their natural death and resurrection. This doctrine St. Paul most pointedly preaches, Romans 6:3-5 : Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, even so we also should walk in newness of life: for, if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in his resurrection.

5. It is evident from this that all who died in the faith of Christ died in the faith of the resurrection; and therefore cheerfully gave up their lives to death, as they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance, Hebrews 10:34.

6. As is the body, so are the members; those who were properly instructed, and embraced Christianity, believed that as all who had died in the faith of Christ should rise again, so they were baptized in the same faith.

7. As so many of the primitive followers of Christ sealed the truth with their blood, and Satan and his followers continued unchanged, every man who took on him the profession of Christianity, which was done by receiving baptism, considered himself as exposing his life to the most imminent hazard, and offering his life with those who had already offered and laid down theirs.

8. He was therefore baptized in reference to this martyrdom; and, having a regard to those dead, he cheerfully received baptism, that, whether he were taken off by a natural or violent death, he might be raised in the likeness of Jesus Christ's resurrection, and that of his illustrious martyrs.

9. As martyrdom and baptism were thus so closely and intimately connected, βαπτιζεσθαι, to be baptized, was used to express being put to a violent death by the hands of persecutors. So Matthew 20:22, Matthew 20:23 : "But Jesus answered and said, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of? etc." (Can ye go through my sufferings?) "They say unto him, We are able. He saith unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of my cup," (ye shall bear your part of the afflictions of the Gospel), "and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with (that is, ye shall suffer martyrdom.) See also Mark 10:38. So Luke 12:50; "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" That is, I must die a violent death for the salvation of men.

10. The sum of the apostle's meaning appears to be this: If there be no resurrection of the dead, those who, in becoming Christians, expose themselves to all manner of privations, crosses, severe sufferings, and a violent death, can have no compensation, nor any motive sufficient to induce them to expose themselves to such miseries. But as they receive baptism as an emblem of death in voluntarily going under the water, so they receive it as an emblem of the resurrection unto eternal life, in coming up out of the water; thus they are baptized for the dead, in perfect faith of the resurrection. The three following verses seem to confirm this sense.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

what.

1 Corinthians 15:16,32 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised...

Romans 6:3,4 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death...

Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of...

Library
The Image of the Earthly and the Heavenly
Eversley, Easter Day, 1871. 1 Cor. xv. 49. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." This season of Easter is the most joyful of all the year. It is the most comfortable time, in the true old sense of that word; for it is the season which ought to comfort us most--that is, it gives us strength; strength to live like men, and strength to die like men, when our time comes. Strength to live like men. Strength to fight against the temptation which
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

Fifth Sunday after Easter
Text: First Corinthians 15, 51-58. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Paul's Estimate of Himself
'By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.'--1 COR. xv. 10. The Apostle was, all his life, under the hateful necessity of vindicating his character and Apostleship. Thus here, though his main purpose in the context is simply to declare the Gospel which he preached, he is obliged to turn aside in order to assert, and to back up his assertion, that there was no sort of difference between him and the other recognised teachers of Christian truth. He
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

The Unity of Apostolic Teaching
Whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.'--1 COR. xv. 11. Party spirit and faction were the curses of Greek civic life, and they had crept into at least one of the Greek churches--that in the luxurious and powerful city of Corinth. We know that there was a very considerable body of antagonists to Paul, who ranked themselves under the banner of Apollos or of Cephas i.e. Peter. Therefore, Paul, keenly conscious that he was speaking to some unfriendly critics, hastens in the
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Cross References
Matthew 3:6
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

1 Corinthians 15:28
When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 15:30
And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?

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