“The Spirits In Prison”

About a month ago, I mentioned that my plan for reading the Bible this year was to read through the Old Testament chronologically and then try to go through a short book every day for a month (as suggested by John Macarthur in his study Bible). In January, I read through 1 John nearly every day and John Macarthur is right- it really helps you to understand the message when you review it like that so often. For February, a friend and I decided we’re going to read through 1 Peter every day (or just about every day) and then compare notes. We met up a couple of weeks ago and talked a little about 1 Peter and were discussing one passage in particular. I have seen this passage referenced in regards to this line in the Apostles’ Creed: “He descended into hell”.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison…” – 1 Peter 3:18-19 (NIV)

Who exactly were these spirits ? I’ve seen several different commentaries and interpretations on this, but am not sure which is correct (if we can know for sure).

What’s your interpretation of this passage from 1 Peter ?


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