There are those (including some Muslim scholars) who like to drive a wedge between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and those of Paul. ‘Paul,’ they say, ‘never mentions the empty tomb; therefore, he must have believed in a very different kind of resurrection – a ‘spiritual, rather than a physical kind’. This impression seems to be strengthened by Paul’s insistence that resurrection bodies (of both Christ and others) are ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘fleshly’.
It has been too readily assumed that when Paul says that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’ he is thereby denying bodily resurrection. But tt is important to note that, for Paul, the resurrection is of the ‘body’ (soma) but not of the ‘flesh’ (sarx).
With regard to the empty tomb, it is true that Paul never explicitly mentions it. This omission may be merely circumstantial, given the occasional nature of Paul’s writings. Stein, however, has suggested that the omission is connected with Paul’s own experience and his apologetic concerns: with regard to the resurrection, he could argue on equal terms with the other apostles, for although he had not seen the empty tomb, he had nevertheless seen the risen Lord. On the other hand, the empty tomb it is ‘almost certainly implied’ (Cranfield) by Paul’s mention of Christ’s having been buried after his death but before his resurrection (1 Cor 15:4; cf. Rom 6:4).
Furthermore, the empty tomb has much less apologetic force than the resurrection appearances. As Barrett puts it: ‘Faith…would be destroyed by the discovery of the dead body of Jesus, but it cannot be created simply by the discovery of an empty tomb’. Kreitzer concludes: ‘The reason that the empty tomb is not explicitly discussed in Paul should not be taken as evidence of its historical unreliability, but of its unimportance as a matter of Christian proclamation.’
The Book of Acts gives some prominence to the disagreement between the Pharisees and the Sadducees concerning the doctrine of a bodily resurrection (Acts 4:2; 23:6–8; 24:21; cf. Acts 26:6; 28:20). Now Paul, as a good Pharisee (Phil 3:5; cf. 23:6; 26:5) would certainly have conceived of the resurrection in material terms.
L.J. Kreitzer discusses this in his article on ‘Resurrection’ in IVP’s Dictionary of Paul and his Letters:-
It is reasonable to assume that Paul accepted the traditional Pharisaic view of the resurrection of the body and understood his encounter of the risen Lord Jesus Christ in light of it. As Sider states, “as a good first-century Pharisee, Paul could not conceive of the resurrection of the dead in purely immaterial terms”