"Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?" (I Corinthians 15:29 ASV).
From Queries and Answers
by David Lipscomb, pages 49-50.
To determine the meaning of a sentence, we must look at its connection, purpose, and scope. This is one of a number of arguments to prove the resurrection from the dead. After giving other arguments, he asks: 'Else [if the dead rise not] what shall they do which are baptized for [in view of their resurrection from] the dead, if the dead rise not?' He was giving reasons why they should believe in the resurrection. We are baptized and enter into Christ because we must die, and in order that we may be fitted to be raised in him and live with him forever. Why are we baptized in order to die, if the dead rise not? If the dead rise not, what shall they do who are baptized in view of the resurrection from the dead? In view of their dying, they are baptized; so are baptized in order for their well-being after death. If they are not to be raised, why are they baptized to fit them for the resurrection? This is Paul's argument. Verse 30 is similar. Why do we stand in jeopardy of life every hour, if there be no resurrection and future judgment?"