1 Corinthians 15:46 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 15:46, NIV: The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:46, ESV: But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:46, KJV: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:46, NASB: However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:46, NLT: What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.

1 Corinthians 15:46, CSB: However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.

What does 1 Corinthians 15:46 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

To combat doubts about the resurrection of believers (1 Corinthians 15:12; 35), Paul has been describing ways in which the resurrected body will be different from natural-born earthly bodies. In short, they will be made of different stuff. The natural body made from earth, originally (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:47). The resurrection body is made of heavenly material. One is designed for life on earth and the other is designed for the life to come (1 Corinthians 15:48).

Paul now emphasizes once more that these bodies are different, but they are also connected. Earlier, he used the analogy of a seed which dies in order to produce the new plant (1 Corinthians 15:37). The natural body must come first, and die, so the spiritual body will come into existence at the resurrection, when Christ returns for those who belong to Him. This process makes sense in that God is not putting us into our "better" forms now; those are reserved for eternity, instead.