How to study the bible
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How to Study the Bible. Part 3 (Interpretation). 1 Peter 3:18-20.

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How to Study the Bible

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How to study the bible

How to Study the Bible

Part 3 (Interpretation)


1 peter 3 18 20

1 Peter 3:18-20

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.


The issues

The Issues

  • Who are the spirits in prison?

    • Unbelievers who had died in the days of Noah

    • Fallen angels

  • What did Christ preach?

    • Message of repenteance and righteousness

    • Completion of redemptive work

  • When did he preach?

    • In the days of Noah

    • Between his death and resurrection


2 most compelling views

2 Most Compelling views

  • When Noah was building the ark, Christ ‘in spirit’ was in Noah preaching repentance and righteousness through him to unbelievers who were on the earth then but are now ‘spirits in prison’ (people in hell).

  • After Christ died (or: after he rose but before he ascended into heaven), he travelled to hell and proclaimed triumph over the fallen angels who had sinned by marrying human women before the flood.


Who are the spirits in prison spirits of angels or spirits of humans

Who are the “Spirits in Prison”?Spirits of Angels or Spirits of Humans

  • The word “spirit” can refer to both. There is no grammatical tip off. Context must determine.

  • spirits “in prison” who “disobeyed in the days of Noah” and who did so “while the patience of God was waiting during the building of the ark.”


Genesis 6 1 2 4

Genesis 6:1,2,4

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.… 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.


Who are the spirits in prison spirits of angels or spirits of humans1

Who are the “Spirits in Prison”?Spirits of Angels or Spirits of Humans

  • The word “spirit” can refer to both. There is no grammatical tip off. Context must determine.

  • spirits “in prison” who “disobeyed in the days of Noah” and who did so “while the patience of God was waiting during the building of the ark.”


2 most compelling views1

2 Most Compelling views

  • When Noah was building the ark, Christ ‘in spirit’ was in Noah preaching repentance and righteousness through him to unbelievers who were on the earth then but are now ‘spirits in prison’ (people in hell).

  • After Christ died (or: after he rose but before he ascended into heaven), he travelled to hell and proclaimed triumph over the fallen angels who had sinned by marrying human women before the flood.


What did christ proclaim

What did Christ Proclaim?

  • The word proclaimed or preached in the NT normally has the idea of preaching the gospel and is attached to repentance.

  • To say that Christ proclaimed a victory speech is not a normal use of that word unless you specify “victory” afterward (i.e. a proclamation of victory).


2 most compelling views2

2 Most Compelling views

  • When Noah was building the ark, Christ ‘in spirit’ was in Noah preaching repentance and righteousness through him to unbelievers who were on the earth then but are now ‘spirits in prison’ (people in hell).

  • After Christ died (or: after he rose but before he ascended into heaven), he travelled to hell and proclaimed triumph over the fallen angels who had sinned by marrying human women before the flood.


1 corinthians 10 1 4

1 Corinthians 10:1-4

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.


Summary paraphrase

Summary Paraphrase

Christ preached through Noah to those who are now spirits in the prison of hell. This happened when they formerly disobeyed when the patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.


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