1 Corinthians 15:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 15:36, NIV: How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

1 Corinthians 15:36, ESV: You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

1 Corinthians 15:36, KJV: Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

1 Corinthians 15:36, NASB: You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;

1 Corinthians 15:36, NLT: What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn't grow into a plant unless it dies first.

1 Corinthians 15:36, CSB: You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

What does 1 Corinthians 15:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is responding harshly to questions posed in the prior verse. This suggests that he's encountered these before, and knows they are not asked in sincerity. These are challenges he anticipates from those among the Corinthians who disbelieved in resurrection from the dead for believers in Jesus. These questions, like ones Jesus' critics posed (Mark 12:18–24) are meant to ridicule a belief, not inquire about it. These objectors simply could not imagine what the experience of a resurrected body might be like.

Paul calls the imaginary objector "foolish." This uses the same term Christ applied to a short-sighted man in a parable (Luke 12:20). The critic imagined here is rejecting belief in the resurrection because of a simple lack of understanding about how God might accomplish such a thing. Paul will more directly answer these questions later, but for now he starts with an analogy from nature: what is sown—or planted, like a seed in a field—does not come to life unless the seed dies first. Paul will go on to show that the resurrected body is similar in the sense that the pre-death body is merely the seed to the much better body God has planned for us.