Question 159

By: Robert Serreyn

Question? Who are the spirits in prision in 1 Peter 3:19?

(1 Peter 3:19) By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.


I have heard several times from different people over the years INCLUDING a defunct preacher & comedian of the late 70’s and early 80’s Mike Warnke say that this verse means that Jesus went to hell to kick the devil’s butt and preach the gospel.

What I have to say to that is REALLY!!!!

How did Christ PREACH “Unto the spirits in Prison”?

What this verse is speaking of is that NOAH a preacher of righteousness PREACHED Christ (The Gospel – Christ WOULD come to die on the cross, BE buried, and WILL resurrected from the dead as the complete payment for all sins) to all those WHO were unsaved.

(2 Peter 2:5) And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

The WHO the spirits in prison simply means: Refers to the Lost or Unsaved people that are INPRISONED IN THEIR SINS because of UNBELIEVE.

The Key to UNDERSTANDING this verse is in V20:

(1 Peter 3:20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah , while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The word SOMETIME is misleading in our english language the word SOMETIME is the Greek word POTE and means IN OLD TIME, TIME PAST, ONCE, WHEN, it is refering to the people of Noah’s time NOT that they were sometimes disobedient as concluded.

Take NOTICE the phrase “Waited in the days of Noah”.

(Genesis 6:3) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

God GAVE all of mankind time to BELIEVE (while the ark was a preparing – being built) but they DID NOT only eight did out of possiable millions of people on this earth – Read the Geneologies of Genesis Chp. 5 V 1-32.

There was a Time Period of 1,056 years from Adam to the birth of Noah then when Noah was 600 years old the flood came, giving for a total of 1,656 years of population growth from the time of Adam.

ONLY A FEW – Refering to Noah, His wife, their three sons, and their wifes ONLY BELIEVED.

The Ark was a TYPE OF CHRIST for it was THEIR salvation, When they entered into the Ark that represented their TRUST ALONE in the ONLY salvation of the Lord God from his wrath (Flood) upon the unbelieving, unsaved world.

The same is true for WHOSOEVER puts their TRUST ALONE in Christ today, we are SAVED from the torments of hell when we Trust ALONE in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ as the COMPLETE PAYMENT for our sins.

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

1 Peter 3:20 is ALSO ABUSED by Churches that believe you are saved by water baptism (Church of Christ, Lutheran, Roman Catholic ect) because the end of the verse says “were saved by water”

The word BY in the Greek is the word DIA and means THROUGH, therefor the end of the verse SHOULD read “”were saved THROUGH water” NOT BY IT, a big difference in meaning.

In Conclusion:

Jesus DID NOT go to hell to kick butt, and preach the gospel, Noah and his family WERE NOT saved by water BUT BY there BELIEF and TRUST ALONE in the Lord God when they entered into his (God’s) ARK OF SALVATION by faith.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to know IS Jesus Christ as savior, just simply believe that Jesus Christ went to the cross and DIED and shed his blood, was BURIED and three days later RESURRECTED from the dead to pay for your sins.

-Christ DIED for you – Romans 5:8

-Christ PAID your sins in full – 2 Corinthians 5:21,1 Peter 2:24

-BELIEVE (Trust In Completely) in Christ ALONE as the complete payment of sin for salvation – John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8,9

“For the wages(payment) of sin is death (eternal torment in hell); but the GIFT(salvation) of God is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord”. Romans 6:23