What does being baptized for the dead mean?
In this chapter, Paul is making an argument for the resurrection. In verses 12 through14, he shows that if Christ was not raised, then Christianity is vain or worthless. We are baptized in hope of a resurrection. We are baptized into Christ that we may live in him, die in him and finally be justified and saved in him.
If there is no resurrection, why be baptized in order for our well being after death? If we are not to be raised from the dead, why be baptized to fit us for the resurrection? The meaning is what is to become of those who on being baptized do so knowing it may cost them their physical life if the dead rise not. It would make no sense at all for them to take a chance on losing their physical life by being baptized . Yet many of them did lose their life. This would be absurd if there is no resurrection.
By Larry Snell