“What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 15:29?”
1 Corinthians 15:29
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
Paul was making a defense for the resurrection because some people in the church in Corinth didn’t believe in the resurrection as seen in verse 12 which says, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
The people were being deceived by false teachers that were telling them that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead so Paul wrote this letter to prove to them that without the resurrection there is no salvation as seen in 1 Corinthians 15: 13-14 which says, “13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Since Paul addressed and brought it up, it would be plausible to conclude, not that he agreed with it, that some group of people that they probably knew and agreed with their practices of baptizing themselves for the dead. He was making the point that what good would that do them if there was no resurrection of the dead. Basically, how could they be alright with baptism for the dead for resurrection and then turn around and reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Paul wasn’t teaching baptism of the dead as a doctrine to practice but using them as an example. I say this because it isn’t taught in the whole Bible as a practice for believers, not even a single verse. The scripture is clear that when a person dies, he/she will go to their final destination. See below.
2 Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
To be away from the body is death and those who are in Christ will be at home after death with the Lord.
Luke 16:19-31 is a story which I personally believe really happened because it wasn’t introduced as a parable by Jesus because the passage mentions the patriarch Abraham, making Lazarus by default a real person. The rich man after his death went to Hades and started to burn in the fire, while Lazarus was taken by an angel to paradise where one of the patriarchs was at. Right after they died they went to their eternal destination according to their choice regarding God.