New Defender's Study Bible Notes
15:1 gospel. This passage (I Corinthians 15:1-4) is often considered the defining verse of the gospel of Christ, by which men alone can be saved, receiving it, believing it, and standing on it. Significantly, of the 105 times where this word (Greek euaggelion) or its correlative words appear in the New Testament as presently organized, this occurrence is the middle one (52 before, 52 after).
15:3 according to the scriptures. Although the central focus of the gospel is certainly on the death and resurrection of Christ for our sins and salvation, the phrase “according to the Scriptures” is interjected twice in this passage, indicating that the other 104 Scriptures on the “gospel” are also important. The first occurrence of the word is in Matthew 4:23 (“the gospel of the kingdom”), looking forward to the coming kingdom, when Christ shall be acknowledged as King of kings. The last occurrence is in Revelation 14:6-7, where it is called “the everlasting gospel,” calling on men to worship Him as Creator of all things. Thus “the gospel” embraces the person and work of Christ in its entirety, from creation to consummation, eternity to eternity. Its foundation is the Creation; its consummation is His eternal kingdom; its centrality and power is His substitutionary death and bodily resurrection. To reject or neglect any component of this is to leave us with “another gospel: Which is not another,” but one which “would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). Only the true gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).
15:4 buried. The bodily burial of Christ is included as a part of the gospel, or “good news” concerning Christ, no doubt in order to emphasize that His resurrection was a bodily resurrection. Note Romans 10:9.
15:6 five hundred brethren. The remarkable parade of eye-witnesses of the resurrected Christ, most of whom were still living when Paul wrote and could have denied the story if it were not true, is part of the overwhelming body of evidence (“many infallible proofs”—Acts 1:3) that makes this greatest event in history since the creation probably the most certain fact of history. Jesus Christ has, indeed, conquered death itself, thereby demonstrating that He was the Creator of life and the only possible Savior from sin and death.