1 Corinthians 15:3 - 4
ESV - 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. 4 That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
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If the citation in the question was meant to be 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (rather than 1 Corinthians 3:4), I would say that Paul was indicating that Jesus' death and resurrection took place in order to fulfill prophetic Scriptures (contained in what we today call the Old Testament) that had been recorded hundreds of years earlier, and that foreshadowed or predicted events that later took place in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. (Such prophecies would have specifically included passages such as Psalm 16:10; Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 16, 18; and Isaiah 53. In addition, Jesus Himself indicated in Matthew 12:40 that the amount of time He would remain in the grave between His death and resurrection was prophetically foreshadowed by the experience of Jonah as noted in Jonah 1:17 and Jonah 2:10.)
I believe what Paul may be referring to as the Scriptures, could in fact, be the gospel accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. It is quite possible that the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were already in general circulation among the Christian churches, when Paul was writing his first letter to the Corinthian church. Paul had also met with the leaders of the church in Jerusalem and spent time with the apostles. Paul would have received the testimony of Peter, John, James and the other eyewitnesses. His statements in verses 3-7 have a clear ring of personal conversation with the people he is referring to. I don’t think Paul was referring to the Old Testament scriptures in the quoted verse, because the Gentile members of the church wouldn’t know these teachings or understand what he meant. However, for the Jewish believers, they would understand that all this eyewitness testimony is completely in agreement with all the prophecies about Jesus' life, suffering, death and resurrection contained in the scriptures of the Old Testament.
Great question, Venkatesan! The phrase, “according to the Scriptures,” can be found here twice, in the following translations: 1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV) 1 Corinthians 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV) https://biblehub.com/topical/s/scriptures.htm When Paul wrote “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3) he was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. Much of the sacrificial system in the Old Testament pointed to the sacrifice of Christ as our substitute and Savior. The annual day of Atonement (Lev. 16) and prophecies like Isaiah 53 would also come to mind. But where does the Old Testament declare His resurrection on the third day? Jesus pointed to the experience of Jonah (Matt. 12:38-41). Paul also compared Christ’s resurrection to the “firstfruits,” and the firstfruits were presented to God on the day following the Sabbath after Passover (Lev. 23:9-14; 1 Cor. 15:23). Since the Sabbath must always be the seventh day, the day after Sabbath must be the first day of the week, or Sunday, the day of our Lord’s resurrection. This covers 3 days on the Jewish calendar. Apart from the Feast of Firstfruits, there were other prophecies of Messiah’s resurrection in the Old Testament: Psalm 16:8-11 (see Acts 2:25-28); Isaiah 53:10-12. Tim mentioned Psalm 16:10 and Isaiah 53. https://bethelchurchmuncie.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/wiersbe-commentary-new-testament.pdf
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