Master of Arts (MA)
Primary Subject Area
Religion, Biblical Studies
This thesis is an extensive exegetical work on 1 Peter 3:18-22. It proposes a much-needed new interpretive scheme that adequately explains the many exegetical, grammatical, and theological mysteries within this notoriously difficult passage.
Verse 18 is interpreted as an example of the principle of verse 17 that if it is God's will, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong. Christ is given as the example par excellence of one who was righteous but suffered in the flesh. He suffered for sinners in order to bring many to God. He was put to death physically, but He was made alive spiritually, which means that He also suffered spiritually during His physical suffering. His spiritual suffering occurred during the time of darkness while Christ was on the cross, during which He became sin, was separated from the Father, died physically, and suffered in Hades. This was His work of redemption.
While verse 18 describes His physical suffering, verse 19 describes His spiritual suffering. His spiritual suffering took Him to the lowest depths of Hades, where He proclaimed to the spirits in prison from the generation of Noah. Verse 20 depicts the circumstances in which this evil generation lived. It shows how God was patient with sinners in order to save His people in the ark from the coming judgment of water. Verse 21 gives the modem parallel of the believer's being saved in Christ from the future judgment. Finally, Christ is portrayed in verse 22 as ascending into the highest position of power and authority in the heavens and being rewarded for suffering.