Preaching To The Spirits In Prison

Q. I was wondering if you could offer your analysis of 1 Peter 3:19. I would imagine you would have to take all the verses before and after it in that chapter to keep it in context, but specifically that verse. I have heard said that he was preaching the gospel to the spirits of the dead, which would mean one can be saved after death. Obviously the Bible contradicts this, so what would it mean?


A. 1 Peter 3:19 says that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. Verse 20 tells us that they disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah. Some say Jude 6 explains that these were the angels who took on human form and married human women producing cross breed offspring called the Nephilim in Genesis 6:4. If so they’re the ones Peter also spoke of in 2 Peter 2:4. Others say that these spirits are those who perished in the flood by refusing Noah’s pleas to get on the Ark.

I lean toward the former view, but either way, Jesus wouldn’t have preached a message of salvation through forgiveness. That would have violated His word in Hebrews 9:27. What he most likely did was to proclaim His victory over the one who had led them into rebellion.

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