1 Corinthians 15:56 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 15:56, NIV: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56, ESV: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56, KJV: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56, NASB: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law;

1 Corinthians 15:56, NLT: For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

1 Corinthians 15:56, CSB: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

What does 1 Corinthians 15:56 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The previous few verses described the moment when death will be swallowed up in victory as the dead in Christ are resurrected with new, glorified bodies. At that same moment, those in Christ who are still living will be changed, as well. All will be translated into eternal, powerful, imperishable new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42–44). Paul has even used Hosea's words to taunt death, saying "O death, where is your sting?" (Hosea 13:14).

He now follows this train of thought to show what is ultimately responsible for human death. It is not God or Satan. It is sin. "Death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). Sin is the bringer of death.

How did sin become so powerful? Paul is clear: The power of sin—it's ability to bring death—comes from the law. By the law, Paul is referring both to the Law of Moses given to Israel, but also to the nature of humanity to rebel against God that revealed itself for the first time when Adam and Eve sinned against God's command in the garden (Genesis 3:17–19).

It's not that the law creates sin in people. The law reveals sin by demonstrating that humans are not capable of obeying God. Given any command from God, our nature is to rebel, to sin. In this way, all are shown to be sinful (Romans 3:23), and all are shown to deserve death (Romans 6:23). Praise God that is not the end of the story, as the following verse reveals.