I Peter 3 18 For Christ also msuffered2 nonce for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,othat he might bring us to God, being put to death pin the flesh but made alive qin the spirit, 19 in which3 he went and qproclaimed4 to the spirits in prison,20 because5 they formerly did not obey, rwhen God's patience waited in the days of Noah, swhile the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, teight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, unow saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but vas an appeal to God for a good conscience, wthrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and xis at the right hand of God, ywith angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.The above passage has been one that has challenged me for quite some time.If you do any kind of study on this passage, you will find some strange interpretations AND quite a bit of difference among conservative Bible scholars.
It is interesting how we tend to focus on a problem phrase of passage and miss the meat of the message.
The intrigue is around vs 19 and what Peter means about "Christ proclaiming to seemingly disobedient spirits".
I remember a Bible 'teacher' at the University of Alabama linking this passage up with the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus and building a doctrine of a revival in hell in which people accepted Christ and were saved.
I didn't buy it- sounded a little like snake oil to me- but a few of my friends were drawn into the novelty of his teaching and were injected with some strange views.
It taught me to resist reading between the Bible lines and focus on what is clearly there and leaving some of the mystery to God (Deut 29:29).
I What is clearly here:
The majesty of Christ is CLEARLY here:
-His beautiful sacrifice.. the righteous for the unrighteous
-The Way to God
-The patience of the Lord
-Salvation of men
-The resurrection power
-The current place of His exaltation
II An interesting application and analogy
I find it fascinating that Peter equates the story of Noah both to salvation and baptism. The ark is an old testament type of Christ. And the primary means of baptism is not 'washing' though it is definitely a part of the symbol- but an act of faith- trusting in God through the covering of Jesus, just as Noah trusted God in the protection of the ark.
Now the weird piece (vs 19): FOR AN ANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT VIEWS CLICK HERE
1) I do not think that 'spirits' here are disembodied people
2) The word here is not 'evangelize'- the word here is 'herald', more like a triumphant announcement.
So here is how I equate what Peter is saying:
Noah was building the ark- the kingdom of Satan is doing its normal thing:
In disobedience, they are spreading doubt, discord, and negativity. There is mocking and sneering. The spread of the sin is like a devastating cancer in which only 8 people escape the terrible judgment.
I place this in two analogies to the resurrection:
A) The long process of history where there is confusion about the Messiah, the seeming ineffectiveness of the Levitical codebook, the 400 year quiet between Testaments.
B) The three days of silence from the tomb- the One proclaiming to be the Son of God seemingly defeated on the cross and sealed in a tomb of death.
THE DISOBEDIENT SPIRITS ARE LEADING THAT SAME TIRED CHORUS OF DECEIT AND DOUBT- DON'T BELIEVE GOD... ALL IS LOST.
AND THEN.... SUDDEN GLORIOUS VICTORY!
On the resurrection- there is this MIGHTY proclamation- Life has conquered death, the Sacrifice is accepted in the presence of the Holy One- Man can be re-united with the Creator- the plan now makes sense.
Whether this indicates and actual appearance to the kingdom of darkness just prior to the resurrection to proclaim His victory would be too much speculation in my humble opinion.
The bottom line is this- hang on to the cross- even if it means persecution- and be willing to wait of the Lord. Even if all seems lost- don't give up on God.