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Not all who became Christians in the first century C.E. found it easy to accept the resurrection hope. Some who found it difficult were associated with the congregation in Corinth. To them Paul wrote: “I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures.” Paul then attested to this truth by stating that the resurrected Christ had “appeared to upward of five hundred brothers,” most of whom, added Paul, were still alive. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) He further reasoned: “If Christ is being preached that he has been raised up from the dead, how is it some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If, indeed, there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised up. But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain.”—1 Corinthians 15:12-14. 8 Yes, so fundamental is the teaching of the resurrection that the Christian faith is in vain if the resurrection is not accepted as a reality. Indeed, the correct understanding of the resurrection sets true Christians apart from the false. (Genesis 3:4; Ezekiel 18:4) Thus, Paul includes the teaching of the resurrection in “the primary doctrine” of Christianity.
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