How Did Jesus Preach to “The Spirits In Prison”?

Many religionists of Christendom erroneously think 1 Peter 3:18-20 refers to Christ dying on the cross and while He was in the tomb for 3 days and nights, … He supposedly went to hades to preached to ‘disembodied spirits’ in prison. However, the words grave, hades, or hell are nowhere to be not found in the text. We know Jesus was 3 days and nights in the tomb. Scripture says All Dead people go to the grave, and being DEAD they have no consciousness at all.

5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)

1 Peter 3:18-20 has nothing to do with the false idea that Jesus went to the dead ‘while He was in the tomb.’ This is another fabricated Roman Catholic tradition taught by many confused Bible preachers.

The verses of 1 Peter 3:18-20 simply ‘mean what they say’ and nothing more should be read into them.

We will read, dissect, and explain these verses from Scripturebelieving the actual words as written. Thankfully the Bible gives us the answers.

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh,

but quickened [made alive] by The Spirit: 19By Which also He Went And Preached Unto The Spirits In Prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient,

when once the longsuffering [patience] of God waited In The Days of Noah,

While The Ark Was A Preparing,

wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 1 Peter 3:18-20

When we look at 1 Peter 3:18-20 we must ask a few questions.

  1. How did Jesus preach to “the spirits in prison”“in the days of Noah”?
  2. Who are these “spirits in prison”?
  3. When and How exactly did Jesus do this?

HOW did Jesus preach to the “spirits in prison”?

Let’s take the verses piece by piece and see what it means;

One of the keys is verse 1 Peter 3:18-19 which says; “being put to death in the flesh but quickened (made alive) BY THE SPIRIT, 19 By Which (or by whom) also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,” 

The question is who is the individual mentioned in the words “by which or by whom” found in verse 19? If you read the verse it says By The Spirit, 19 by which (or by whom).” The by whom” is the Holy Spirit. 

So with that in mind the verse says the following that Christ (v 18) by the Holy Spirit (v18) “went and preached to the spirits in prison (v19).”  This then is the heavenly Christ before His incarnation, death, and resurrection.

OK that makes it a little clearer.  But that begs another question…

WHEN did Christ preach to “the spirits in prison” … “by the Holy Spirit?

The verse says that Christ by the Holy Spiritwent and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 Which sometime were disobedient,”       

Okay, but WHEN was this? 

The verse clearly set the time-period, saying; WHEN Once The Longsuffering [Patience] Of God Waited IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, WHILE THE ARK WAS A PREPARING, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

So here is what we have; Christ by the Holy Spirit preached to the spirits of men … in Satan’s prison … in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared. 

Thus this occurred long before Jesus came as a man and died at the Cross.

But WHO are these ‘spirits in prison?

Lucifer in the person of Satan has all humanity, as the offspring of fallen Adam, as hisprisoners.”  Who is it whom Satan is trying to take captive?  Humans of course.  Thus, these prisoners are humans Bound To Sin.  Jesus said

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12 (KJV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).

Prisoners have no freedom until they are redeemed

The Bible tells us Satan at one time had “made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities,” and did not open the house of his PRISONERS.”

“[It was Lucifer] That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? Isaiah 14:17 (KJV)

We know Christ is forever “the Son of God,” and…

“… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 (KJV)

‘Slaves’ are not free, and whoever commits sin (that’s all of us) is a slave or prisoner to Sin. Slaves have no real freedom until the Lord intervenes in one’s life. 

Christ is the only one who can set us free from the prison of sin. This was the initial focus of Jesus Christ’s mission at the Cross. 

Recall how one day Jesus stood up to read and He declared of Himself…

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Therefore, it was Jesus … who by the Holy Spirit went to preached to the Living Sinner People who existed on earth in The Days of Noah, While The Ark Was Being Prepared... Before the Noahic flood

BUT WHO did Christ “by the Holy Spirit” Use To Do The Preaching, to give warning of the coming flood?

The Bible tells us holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21), and we specifically have these words Noah, one of eight people, (was) A PREACHER of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5).

Thus we conclude; 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us Jesus in His mercy by the Holy SpiritSpoke Through Noah, in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared… warning the living of the flood to come. 

In this way, Jesus, by His Spirit, strived in the days of Noah, offering redemption to those living humans in Satan’s prison of sin while the ark was being prepared.”

Does the rest of the Bible confirm or contradict our interpretation?

Yes, Moses confirms this with a verse that was written in the days of Noah. According to scripture, Genesis 6:3 reveals a ‘countdown’ of God’s Spirit striving with man for 120 years before the flood.

“And the Lord said, MY SPIRIT Shall Not Strive With Man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his [man’s] days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)

It’s clear that the patience of Jesus was great. Jesus, By the Holy Spirit, Preached Through Noah, during for 120 years of trying to reach the living people before the flood came. The world was warned, but when the message was rejected, the flood did come.

Jesus of Nazareth prophetically said this of the yet future time of His 2nd coming to earth.

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the [2nd] coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the [2nd] coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 (KJV)