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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 3

Verses 1-6

  1. INTRO:
    1. What a powerful practical portion of Peter!
    2. Kelly & I - our marriage.
      1. We don’t have a perfect marriage. Never met anyone who has.
      2. Not even Jesus, his marriage isn’t perfect(yet); because we are his spouse.
        1. We cheat on Him. We don’t trust Him at times. We don’t want to submit to him at times. And we cast longing eyes on others, rather than Jesus.
      3. Our years together have been years of learning & growth, difficulty, delight, discovery, heartaches, tragedies, hurtful times & ecstatic moments together.
      4. Our 1st date was Feb 21st 1979. Sea Fare Inn, Whittier.
        1. 3-things that might some up the beg of the night: Butter, zipper, & a concrete car stop.
      5. Married 27 years; dated 5 before that; we’re both stayed faithful to each other.
      6. Marriage isn’t the blurring together of 2 lives. Kelly is still Kelly.
        1. She is strong; smart; godly; gifted; very giving; loves her God; & loves people. She is a very dedicated mom to my kids; runs our finances; very organized; she saves/I spend; has always taken care of herself; she’s beautiful(foxy).
    3. It has been aptly said, “The Christian life is not difficult; it's impossible!”
    4. Not, women submit to men, issue; but a wife to a husband, issue.
      1. “But, I don’t trust men”. Nether do I! Your only asked to trust one.
    5. Historical Context: Sometimes Christianity is seen as “suppressing” women. That can’t be farther than the truth.
      1. The churches that Peter is writing to has Greeks, Romans, & even some Jews in them. (The Exemplary Husband; pg.196)
      2. In Greek culture wives led difficult lives.
        1. They viewed their wives lower than themselves. They usually had many concubines. Their wife’s role basically consisted of bearing children & doing housework.
        2. Demosthenes the Athenian orator said, “we have courtesans(prostitutes) for pleasure, concubines to provide for our daily needs, and our spouses to give us legitimate children and to be the faithful guardians of our homes” (Against Neaera, 122)
      3. The Romans weren’t any better for women.
        1. Marriage was legitimized prostitution & divorcing the wife for various & sundry things was very common.
      4. The Jewish culture could be equally demeaning toward women.
        1. Jewish women were treated much like slaves & were given no legal position, & divorce was rampant in the Jewish culture as well.
        2. A typical morning prayer was, “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, who has not made me a...woman.”
      5. God’s view on women & marriage was much different than the world’s view!
        1. God would say, “Christian husbands, let it not so be named among you!”
        2. Think differently. Have different attitudes. Treat them differently.
      6. Remember once again, the context he is expounding on (see 2:12).
  2. WORDLESS SERMONS! (1-6)
    1. 6 WAYS TO WIN YOUR HUSBAND! (1-6)
      1. Her Goal; Her Submission; Her Words; Her Chaste Conduct; Her Fleeting Beauty; Her Forever Beauty. And then Her Example.
    2. [1] HER GOAL! (1c)
    3. Remember the context(21)...we must follow His example/pattern of humble endurance so that others will be led to His light.
      1. Peter must have been thinking of Jesus’ own words in Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Marriage = serve; give your life)
    4. You must always focus on, & come back to,...it is for his soul!
    5. [2] HER SUBMISSION! (1a)
    6. This word(submit/subject) means the same throughout the NT:
      1. Jesus/parents(Lk.5:21); demons/subject to the disciples(Lk.10:17); citizens/government(Rm.13:1); universe/Christ(1 Cor.15:27); unseen sp. powers/Jesus(1 Pet.3:22); Jesus/Father(1 Cor.15:28); church members/church leaders(1 Cor.16:15,16); Church/Christ(Eph.5:24); servants/masters(1 Pet.2:18); wives/husbands(1 Pet.3:1); Christians/to God(Heb.12:9). [none of these are ever reversed]
    7. Submitting to an unbeliever!
      1. Note: Peter doesn’t give her the right to flee from her husband, but the higher calling to fight for his soul!
      2. Peter says like Paul did, a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. (1Cor.7:13)
      3. Our being recused from sin & having a new, holy way of life should not engender a holier-then-thou, contemptful attitude.
        1. Submitting to an unbeliever is difficult, but it is a vital part of leading them to Jesus Christ.
      4. Submit in everything to the point of compromise your relationship w/God? NO!
        1. But you must look for every opportunity to humbly serve in the power of Gods Spirit
    8. Submission is “voluntarily cooperating w/someone.”
      1. First out of love & respect for God; then out of love & respect for that person.
    9. Did you know the bible never tells wives to obey their husbands?
      1. The nature of a wife’s submission is different from the submission of children or slaves. Children & slaves are told to obey; the wife is not.
      2. The wife has a different relationship to her husband than children to parents or slaves to masters.
      3. The motivation for voluntary submission is that it’s a proper Christian attitude! (Shepherdʼs Notes: 1,2 Peter, Jude; pg.24)
    10. [3] HER WORDS! (1b)
    11. Wives should depend upon their lives more than their lips in witnessing to unsaved husbands
    12. W/o a word - w/o talking about spiritual things; certainly w/o spiritual lecturing/nagging. (hopefully you can talk about spiritual things if he’s open...but if not!)
    13. (2) Q: How do you bring religion into a pagan home? A: Action!
    14. Ladies (& men in this situation) Pray for 2 things: Grace to live rightly & For God to work in your spouses heart.
    15. [4] HER CHASTE CONDUCT! (1d,2)
    16. Chaste – pure, free from moral defilement.
      1. This is another reminder that this submission must never go so far as to include demands to do something that is morally wrong.
    17. Ruth Graham said it was a great day in her life when she realized it was not her job to change her husband. She said, "It was my job to love Billy and God's job to change him."
    18. [5] HER FLEETING BEAUTY! (3)
    19. Adornment...outward - Christianity came into a world of luxury & decadence combined.
    20. Many churches have taken this verse & built their case for no jewelry or no hair styles …but there’s one problem...there was no adjective modifying apparel in the orig (i.e. fine)
      1. If you prohibit jewelry & hair styles, you must prohibit them wearing any clothes at all!
    21. Christian women can be attractive without being worldly!
    22. Peter said Christian wives should not think of outer attire as the source of genuine beauty! Another words, be cautious of artificial glamour.
    23. Dress nice, & be attractive...but if this is all you have...that’s a problem!
      1. If you’re w/o character Prov.11:22 says, As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
      2. Our world bombards you ladies with looking better rather than living better!
        1. Imagine a magazine in the store whose cover read, “How to grow in Humility!”
    24. [6] HER FOREVER BEAUTY! (4)
    25. The hidden person of the heart!
    26. (3,4) Inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty.
    27. AA.Christian wives w/unsaved husbands should seek to win them to the Lord w/true spiritual beauty & not w/artificial glamor or nagging.
    28. BB.Girls, “However you catch em; is what you’ll need to keep em.”
      1. 1. Catch him with your body/hair/clothes/ Or, Heart?
    29. CC.Not to be understood as an absolute prohibition of the things mentioned, but the need of relative proportion between the outward appearance & the inward life. DD.Gentle & quiet spirit - only used 3 other times in the NT…& 2 pertain to Christ!
      1. Defined as, “one who isn’t insistent on his own rights, is not pushy, not selfishly assertive, not demanding his own way.”
      2. Here’s what matters…God finds it very precious!!!
    30. EE.Purity of life & a submissive spirit have always been a godly woman’s lasting source of beauty & attractiveness.
      1. People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out. But in the darkness, beauty is seen only if there is a light within!
    31. Seek exemplary women: [1] Seek out godly older women [2] Read books by godly women [3] Read biographies of women who did love the Lord [4] Be that women (older women, teach younger). Each of you are older than someone.
    32. GG.HER EXAMPLE! (5,6)
    33. HH.It must have truly been difficult being married dot Abraham.
      1. Come on, “I had a vision lets move to a strange land; pretend your my sister (twice); let’s not take the best land, lets give that to our troubled nephew(Lot); Honey I’m going to go sacrifice our son, see you in a few days.
      2. He at times appeared unpredictable, devious, foolish, rash, & irresponsible!
    34. God sets forth this super-cultural, trans-cultural example in Sarah.
    35. Sarah really? - She’s the one who said to her husband, “Hey why not commit adultery, then we can have kids.”
      1. If you’re new to Scripture that wasn’t a good idea! (We’re still fighting a war in the middle East of over that!)
      2. Why look to Sarah. Why not Ruth? But she was the mother of the nation of Israel.
        1. Maybe very strategic why God choose her. Maybe not because she’s perfect but because she’s imperfect.
        2. Ladies, you’re not going to be a perfect wife. Sarah wasn’t.
        3. You’re not always going to give good counsel. Sarah didn’t.
        4. Sometimes you’re going to follow your husband when you shouldn’t, because he’s not following God. That’s what Sarah did on a # of occasions (went along w/lie twice)
        5. Sometimes you’re not going to follow your husband when you should. Like Sarah did
        6. She was a godly women, but an imperfect women.
        7. If you look at the totality of her life she was a godly women. If you look at segments of her life, you’ll see a woman that made some tragic mistakes.

2 Books to recommend:

Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas;
Thriving Despite A Difficult Marriage, Michael & Chuck Misja.

Verses 7-12

  1. INTRO:
    1. A familiar Mother Goose rhyme goes:
      Pussy cat, Pussy cat, where have you been?
      - I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
      Pussy cat, Pussy cat, what did you do there?
      - I frightened a little mouse under the chair.

      Really! That’s it!
      1. Like that cat, Christians sometimes settle for petty involvements, trivial pursuits, chasing mice; when we have the opportunity to spend time with royalty, with the King!
      2. Instead of remaining content with minimum daily requirements, we can deepen our relationship with God and grow into maturity.
    2. Q: Husbands, are you working on understanding your wife? Wives, is he trying? Do you think we are doing a good job as a church in promoting Jesus to our world?How do we in the church treat each other? Would you sum up your life here on earth as, “Loving life & seeing good days”? (Practical Pete strikes again!)
      1. I’ll just say “guilty as charged” against all counts...let’s learn together.
    3. Outline: Considerate Husbands & Loving Life & Seeing Good Days!
  2. CONSIDERATE HUSBANDS! (7)
    1. 4-FOLD RESPONSIBILITY! (Women could handle 6)
    2. [1] UNDERSTANDING! (7a)
    3. Dwell with them w/understanding - that is, w/a real spiritual perception of duty & relationship. (not, whats her fav ice-cream!)
    4. Dwell w/them - is a present active participle. “be continually dwelling together with”.
      1. Not once or twice, not just as newlyweds, not occasionally; but continual ongoing, all the time, for all our married days, until death do we part dwelling!
      2. It’s too easy to substitute making a good living or providing physical/material needs for the family. Rather than sharing their time, their words, their feelings.
        1. Once I was counseling a friend, who went through a whole list of what he was providing for his family: I work hard, I bring home the bacon, I provide for my family, I protect my wife, I provide a home to live in, etc. He later told me I asked him, “then, whats the difference between you & an Ape?”
    5. W/understanding - in accordance w/the things he should know. Information that is crucial
      1. Remember love your husbands in 1st century time meant...what???
      2. Peter seeks to walk the husbands through, what it means to this culture of men, who looked down on their wives.
    6. Any knowledge that would be beneficial to the husband-wife relationship.
      1. Knowledge of her strengths & weaknesses in the phys, emotional, & sp realm.
      2. This only comes by regular study of Gods word, & regular unhurried times of private fellowship together.
      3. Husbands do you know what mothering 3 children requires of her?
      4. Do you know the pressure of working full time, then coming home & working full time(w/husband & children)?
    7. The cruelty which is hardest to bear is often not deliberate but the product of sheer thoughtlessness!!! Ouch (not nec commission, but omission)
    8. [2] HONOR! (7b)
    9. Honor - carries the idea of showing esteem & thankfulness of the highest degree.
    10. See, a husband who is far removed probably will have little honor to offer; A husband who is generally proud will not appreciate his wife.
    11. Peter says, Husbands should treat their wives like priceless porcelain vases & treat them with gentle love.
    12. Tim Allen, when asked by TV Guide what makes a perfect dad. “Dad needs to show an incredible amount of respect and humor and friendship toward his mate so the kids understand their parents are sexy, they're fun, they do things together, they're best friends. Kids learn by example. If I respect Mom, they're going to respect Mom.” (Marriage Partnership, Vol. 12, no. 4.)
    13. As to - Peter still is explaining how we are to honor our wife.
    14. 2 key words to explain how husbands are to honor their wife.
    15. Vessel - useful container or instrument. Weaker - fragile
      1. They are a very delicate & useful vessel. Thus, esteem her as very delicate & handle her carefully.
      2. They are Priceless Porcelain, Costly China!
      3. This is a call to gentleness men! “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Col.3:19)
      4. Don’t take advantage of any kind of weakness.
    16. Wives may or may not be weaker than their husbands in some way, but this is not Peter’s point in this passage.
    17. Martin Luther, “The Christian is supposed to love his neighbor, and since his wife is his nearest neighbor, she should be his deepest love.”
    18. 2-fold motive: Honor her because she’s a Christian & care for her because she is delicate.
    19. [3] HEIRS! (7c)
    20. How to honor her continues…
    21. Fellow heirs of the grace of Christ - Wives today, too, are also spiritually equal to their husbands.
    22. Though we have been given greater authority w/in marriage, our wives are still equal in spiritual privilege & eternal importance!
    23. [4] PRAYERS! (7d)
    24. Prayers hindered - Married life & fellowship are intended as a help, not a hindrance to spiritual progress. To fail in this area will result in an ineffective prayer life.
      1. Thus, not living w/your wife in a way that pleases God is a very serious offense to Him.
    25. The hindering of prayers is a form of God’s “fatherly discipline”.
      1. He does not stop loving us, but He is apparently not interested in communing w/us about other things, when such serious sin is going on.
      2. In Mt.5 if a believer is worshiping God & remembers he wronged someone, Jesus says go immediately & deal with it, then come back to worship.
    26. To take the time to develop & maintain a good marriage is God’s will!
    27. Husbands recap: [1]Know your wife so as to live w/her in a compassionate & careful way [2] Esteem her as valuable & useful & show your gratitude [3] View your wife as an equal person in life.
      1. Observe her; Ask her questions; Experience her world.
    28. To paraphrase Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, "If you insist on an eye for an eye & a tooth for a tooth, you'll both end up blind & toothless." (don’t look for your rights, look for your role!)
    29. Marriage is a partnership in which God demands submission from the wife & loving consideration from the husband.
      1. Spiritual growth is the main theme; marriage is simply the context.
      2. Paul Simon wrote the best selling song, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”. A Christian needs just 1 reason to stay with his/her lover...the analogy of Christ & His Church.
      3. Husbands, you are married to a fallen woman in a broken world. Wives, you are married to a sinful man in a sinful world. It is guaranteed that your spouse will sin against you, disappoint you, & have physical limitations that will frustrate & sadden you. (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, pg.69.)
        1. Your husband has been effected by the fall. Your wife has been effected by the fall.
        2. If you can’t respect this spouse because he/she is prone to certain weaknesses, you will never be able to respect any spouse!
        3. Jesus, the only perfect human being to live on this earth, moved toward sinful people; he asks us to do the same, beginning w/the one closest to us...our spouse!
  3. LIVING IN HARMONY! (8-12)
    1. SPIRITUAL MATURITY!
    2. En route to spiritual maturity we all spill our milk, say things we shouldn’t, & fail to act our age. (Charles Swindoll, James, 1 & 2 Peter, pg.194.)
      1. Sometimes we throw temper tantrums like toddlers, or pout like preschoolers, or argue & complain like teens.
      2. All the while we should be conducting ourselves as mature believers, setting an example to those younger in the faith.
      3. We may have the knowledge, but we don’t have the will to do what’s right.
      4. Too many Christians grow old w/o growing up!
      5. Here Peter gives us another measuring rod for spiritual growth! (checkpoints)
        1. 9 points: 1st 2, how we think; next 3, how we feel; last 4, what we do & say.
    3. (8) It seems this vs. shouldn’t have to be in the bible for a church...but it does! :(
      1. I ask myself, how do I redeem the image of the church to people who have false conceptions about it?
      2. Maybe this is the problem...there always seems to be 2 conversations going on with us: 1 inside, 1 outside; 1 w/our lips, 1 w/our heart.
        1. For instance, you can say the words to someone, “Jesus loves you!” But, do I really care about them? Do I love them at lip level or heart level?
        2. Maybe thats really what speak the truth in love is saying...don’t just lip the truth, but mean it at both levels!
    4. Peter says practice these vital qualities so you can live in Harmony w/each other.
      1. Note all 5 characteristics are marked by the general spirit & attitude of submissiveness!
    5. (10-11) Its our duty to enjoy the Christian life, not feel weary of it.
      1. Not material prosperity but spiritual satisfaction.
    6. He who would love life - is written in a way that shows that such a life is possible!
      1. But wait didn’t Jesus say, He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
      2. Yes, but the difference is not putting your physical life above yur spiritual life.
    7. 3 ways to realize this true life:
      1. W/our speech - 2-kinds of evil, cut out bad & unnecessary speech.
      2. W/our action - 2-fold attitude, positive & negative.
      3. W/our purpose - 2-fold purpose, seek or desire & go after peace.
    8. Peter found an excellent explanation of how we live out this blessing back in Ps.34:12-16, which he quotes in 10-12.
    9. End:
    10. Maybe in the end God will ask us(from Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat), You Christian, you Christian, where have you been? - You Christian, you Christian, what did you do there?
      1. What will we answer?

Though many of us have seen pictures of a huge eagle’s nest high in the branches of a tree or in the crag of a cliff, few of us have gotten a glimpse inside.

When a mother eagle builds her nest she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs. By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave.

That’s when the mother eagle begins “stirring up the nest.” With her strong talons she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behavior.

Verses 13-17

  1. INTRO:
    1. There was a post-punk, husband & wife duo called Timbuck3, that had a 1 hit wonder in the mid 80‘s called, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades".
      1. Actually, the meaning of the song was misinterpreted as a positive perspective in regard to the near future. It was really a grim outlook to an impending nuclear holocaust. We’ll borrow the phrase wearing our Eternal Shades!
    2. If you are a spiritually mature man or woman described in 8-12, then you will get responses from the world.
      1. Some respond positive “that’s a nice thing you’re doing at your church/in Haiti”
      2. Some respond negative “I don’t like you”, or “I want to kill you”.
      3. Some respond w/questions - What motivates you to live such a strange life of holiness & hope?
      4. Some respond - “I wish you’d just stay out of my life of self gratification!”
        1. No matter how they respond, we need to respond...with a life of virtue.
        2. Peter lays out 5 pieces of advice on how we need to respond as Christians.
  2. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades! (13-17)
    1. [1] REMEMBER, YOU ARE BLESSED BY GOD! (13,14a)
    2. (13) Good - “It is only when a man falls in love with goodness that the wrong things lose their fascination & their power.”
    1. (14) Suffering – 2 kinds of suffering we deal with:
      1. Because of our Humanity – we have physical sufferings, sorrow, distress, weariness, pain of body, & death.
      2. Because of our Christianity – we may face unpopularity, persecution, & the necessary discipline & toil of the Christian life.
    2. Blessed - Peter reminds us of Jesus’ beatitude in Mt.5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      1. Anybody could suffer for doing wrong, but Christians must learn to suffer for doing what is right. (www)
    3. When we experience unfair treatment, we might think, What have I done wrong? Or Why is God allowing this?
      1. Peter takes a similar approach that James did, “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” (1:2)
    4. So, how can believers count themselves blessed by God in light of unfair treatment?
      1. We’re blessed because God uses this kind of unfair treatment as part of His plan to strengthen us.
      2. We’re blessed because God uses this to make us more like Christ.
      3. We’re blessed because God uses this not to show we are outside His will, but it indicates we are in God’s will & plan.
      4. We’re blessed because we can look forward to a future reward for enduring such trials.
    5. [2] REMEMBER, STOP WORRYING! (14b)
    6. Do not be afraid...troubled - or, panic & worry.
      1. The background of Peter’s call to avoid panic & worry lies in Is.8:12,13.
        1. (12) Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. (13) The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.”
        2. Israel was told turn away from your fears & trembling of the pagan nations threatening to undo them. Instead, rely on God’s promises & tremble before Him alone!
    7. Don’t give in to fear(14b), keep sight on Christ(15a)!
    8. [3] ACKNOWLEDGE CHRIST AS LORD! (15a)
    9. (lit.) “Set apart in your hearts Christ as Lord.”
      1. It means, turn everything over to Him. Live only to please & glorify Him.
      2. It means, don’t be satisfied w/anything less then the will of God in your life!
        1. Jn.4:31, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
      3. In contrast to fearing man, simply revere God!
        1. Ps.118:6, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
        2. Peter, again writing from experience, when he had feared a young servant girls 1 statement, you also were with Jesus of Galilee. Peter denied even knowing the Lord.
    10. How do we prepare ourselves for trials & tribulations that come from a hostile world?
      1. Not simply by hardening our minds or steeling our wills, but by immersing ourselves in righteousness before God & man.
      2. That’s the Christians finest armor against the attack of persecution.
    11. [4] ALWAYS BE READY TO GIVE A DEFENSE! (15b)
    12. Defense /Apologia - to give an account; or to provide legal testimony.
      1. Where we get the field of Apologetics.
        1. We often think of the PhD’s who can argue atheists & unbelievers into silence.
        2. Those who can explain arguments for the existence of God; can fire off 3 responses to the theory of evolution; & can explain where Cain got his wife.
        3. I appreciate men & women who have given their life work to this...but this doesn't get us off the hook. Every believer is called to have an answer/give a defense!
        4. “Apologetics 101 begins not with having the right answers to others skeptical challenges, but w/having the right lifestyle to raise the right questions!” Swindoll
      2. We are not to roll over, but defend!...but not really defend our-selves here, but defend our-Hope!
        1. Hope - Once again the emphasis is on Hope.
        2. His outlook was ever on the future; & Christianity was to him a prominent, important, & celebrated hope.
        3. Christ alone is the source of hope in hurtful times. He alone provides a solid basis for hope in the midst of suffering.
    13. It’s Seizing The Offensive at the right time and in the right way!
      1. Like Stephen “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.”
      2. Like Paul w/Felix “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
      3. Like Paul w/Festus “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!" But he said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”
      4. Like Paul w/Agrippa “Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
      5. Each of the dying martyrs spoke powerful words as they breathed their last!
        1. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna to the proconsul, “86 years I have served Him & He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?...You threaten me w/the fire that burns for a time, & is quickly quenched, for you do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in the judgment to come & in everlasting punishment. Why are you waiting come, do what you will.”
      6. Seizing the offensive: This morning sitting in Starbucks parking lot doing my devotions; J.W.’s were sitting in their car. They always wait & jump out & come up to windows there. I thought I’d beat them to it. (story...)
        1. We need to Seize the Offensive, w/o being offensive!
    14. A reason - It should be Reasonable. [We are to have a reason, not an excuse]
      1. Our faith must be 1st-hand discovery & not 2nd-hand story!
      2. It is truly the tragedy of the modern church that there are so any members who if they were asked, could not explain what they believe nor why they believe it!
        1. You must go through the spiritual sweat & mental struggle of thinking out your faith!
    15. Meekness - Don’t share your faith with arrogance, or w/an heir of superiority.
      1. Don’t be a know-it-all! [This isn’t your big chance to show all you know!
        [Scratch where they itch!]
      2. Don’t make someone to be a fool or naïve if they do not agree with you.
      3. Don’t try to shove it down their throats.
      4. Don’t ever think you’ll debate someone in to the kingdom.
        1. We are not called to win arguments, but to win lost souls to Christ.
      5. Do use gentleness, love, a listening ear, sensitivity, a word of wisdom/ knowledge, discernment in giving a defense!
      6. (Francis de Sales) “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, & nothing so gentle as real strength.”
    16. [5] REMEMBER, KEEP A GOOD CONSCIENCE & CONDUCT! (16,17)
    17. Having a good conscience: Remember, the conscience is that internal judge that either accuses or excuses our actions.
      1. The only compelling argument is the argument of the Christian life!
      2. Let him meet criticism w/a life which is beyond reproach, a life that does rightly!
        1. Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe?
        2. Consensus asks the question: Is it popular?
        3. Conscience asks: Is it right? (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
      3. I like Wiersbe’s illustration of the conscience being like “a window” that lets in the light of God’s truth.
        1. If we persist in disobeying…the window gets dirtier & dirtier.
        2. This leads to a defiled conscience(Titus 1:5); to a seared conscience(1 Tim. 4:2); & ultimately to an evil conscience(Heb.10:22)
        3. Saints…Keep your window clean! - So God’s Word can shine in; & for the world to peer in.
        4. “A saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God!”
    18. “In a hostile & suspicious world it was inevitable that the Christian would be called upon to defend the faith he held & the hope by which he lived.” (Barclay)
      1. Christian, look for those open doors to witness. You don’t have to wait for persecutions & sufferings!
      2. Q: How many people have you made homesick for God?
      3. A lot of evangelism today is telling people what things they have to give up! We need to tell them to "seek first the kingdom of God," and then they will get new & better things; and the old things will drop off by themselves!
    19. Prayer: Lord, our Future Hope is So Bright, we Gotta Wear Shades.

Verses 18-22

  1. INTRO:
    1. A guy named Erickson came up with 180 different interpretations from this text!
      1. All Scripture is inspired; but not all is clear.
      2. Principle of Perspicuity/clear - there are more clear & less clear parts of the bible
        1. We are to interpret the less clear by the more clear. [cults do opposite]
    2. Apostles Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick & the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; & the life everlasting. AMEN
    3. Intro: These passages have perplexed scholars for years.
      1. First, to the new students of the bible! - Generally the Bible is very easy to understand. But when you teach through the whole bible you obviously have to teach on even the problem verses.
      2. 2nd, This is NOT a “major” bible doctrine! – instead it is a minor one.
        1. What you believe on this has no bearing on salvation, & is something that took place in the past, thus isn’t relevant to your living as a Christian today.
      3. 3rd, You don’t need to interpret this the way that I do! – but I need to teach it the way I believe it is interpreted according to my studys.
      4. 4th, Let’s remember Peter’s main theme! - thus far Christ suffered wrongly(18) but God honored Him, & gave him glory(22). [i.e. Bookends to this section]
      5. 5th, let’s use our basic hermeneutical skills (science of interpretation).
  2. WHAT DID JESUS DO FOR THE 3 DAYS? [Did He descend into Hell?]
    1. 1st SOME FACTS:
    2. The bible never says, “he descended into hell.” [explain idea of subterranean dble compartment]
    3. The teaching crept into the church via the widely used Apostles creed[wasn’t composed by Apostles]
      1. 1. Creed = belief, “we believe”; a rule of faith.
    4. DIFFERENT THEORIES!
    5. During the 3 days Jesus body was in the tomb He… [4 options:]
      1. #1 Descended into Hell to proclaim His triumph to the fallen angels & their condemnation (i.e. “spirits in prison”/locked up)
      2. #2 Descended into Hell to endure the suffering of hell so we wouldn’t have to.
      3. #3 Descended into Hades (sub-compartment of hell/the good side) to proclaim victory to the O.T. saints & “set captivity captive”.
      4. #4 Or, this has nothing to do with that!
    6. LET’S DEAL WITH EACH OF THESE!
    7. [1] Descended into Hell to proclaim His triumph to the fallen angels & to proclaim their condemnation (i.e. “spirits in prison”/locked up)
      1. Where would we find that angels sinned “during the building of the ark”?see vs20
    8. [2] Descended into Hell to endure the suffering of hell so we wouldn’t have to.
      1. This was been very popular in the “Faith Teachers” circle.
      2. Freddy Price, “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on the cross? If that were the case, the 2 thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself & to serve time in hell separated from God…Satan & all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound & they threw a net over Jesus & they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.”
      3. Price then adds, “His(Jesus) spirit & soul went into hell, hades & served the sentence that you & I should have justly served. He did it for us. He went to hell for us.” (Fredrick K.C.Price “Identification #9” (1980) Tape #FP551, side 1. (pg.163, 396, Christianity in Crisis; see both #2,3 footnotes))
      4. Rebutal – Col. 2:14,15(read vs.15…1st) “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (15) Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
    9. [3] Descended into Hades (sub-compartment of hell/the good side) to proclaim victory to the O.T. saints & “set captivity captive”.
      1. Here’s where we need to dig into the background of this.
      2. As I said, the origin of the phrase “he descended into hell” came from the Apostles creed. [This was put together over time (200 to 750ad)]
        1. Unlike the Nicene creed & the Chalcedonian Definition it was never written or approved by a single church council at one specific time (it gradually took shape).
        2. It was not in any of the early versions of the creed until it appeared in 1 of 2 versions from Rufinus (Tyrannius) in 390ad. (next appearance wasn’t until 650ad).
        3. Yet in Schaff’sHistory of the Christian Church” he gives his own editorial comment about what Rufinus meant, “Rufinus himself, however, misunderstood it by making it to mean the same as buried.” (“he descended into the grave”)
    10. Let’s look at the other Scriptures that are used to support this!
    11. Acts 2:27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
      1. Hades – can also be translated “grave, or death”.
      2. Corruption/decay, seems to be the context.
      3. NIV translates it, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
      4. Below it (in vs.29-35) it draws the distinction he is trying to make.
        David’s body is still decaying in his grave which we can go visit; but Jesus rose from the dead.
      5. Therefore, this passage does not convincingly support the idea that Christ descended into hell.
    12. Rom.10:6-7 Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, " 'Who will descend into the abyss?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
      1. This passage hardly teaches that Christ descended into hell.
      2. Paul’s point is, you don’t need to ask these 2 questions; because Christ is not far away, but near. Faith in Him is as near as confessing w/your mouth & bel. in your heart(vs.9).
      3. These forbidden questions, are questions of unbelief; not declarations of what scripture teaches!
    13. Eph. 4:8,9 When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."(Now this, "He ascended"; what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
      1. This doesn’t say he descended into hell. It says, “he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth”.
      2. NIV translates it “earthly regions”. (i.e. speaking of His Incarnation)
      3. vs.10 reads, “He who descended(to earth) is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.”
      4. So this verse speaks of his incarnation & not descent into hell.
      5. He led captivity captive? - (Wycliffe) “Jesus captured that which captured us, & annulled its power.”
    14. [4] This has nothing to do with that!
      1. Let’s look at our text. (read 18b-20a)
      2. Some take this to mean Christ went to preach to the spirits in hell.
        1. Either to give a 2nd chance(contrary to scripture); Or, to just proclaim that he had triumphed.
        2. These do fail to adequately explain the passage or the setting of the context.
      3. Peter does say that the people getting preached to were specifically disobedient & this was limited to the time period the ark was being built (120 years). [this would be a strange group for Christ to go preach to, either way you interpret it]
      4. An argument for Christ having to set the captives free in Hades comes from the supposition that, “no one could enter heaven until the completion of Christ’s redemptive work was finished!”
        1. Again, it doesn’t say that he spoke to the faithful, but to the disobedient!
      5. Scripture does not give us clear evidence that OT saints didn’t have access to heaven(pre-cross)...If anything scripture is contrary to that idea.
        1. Enoch: And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him...& then stuck him in hades???
          1. Heb,11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
        2. David said, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. ( Ps.23:6)
        3. ​​​​​​​Solomon said, Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Ecc.12:7)
      6. Long ago it was Augustine who said, “the passage refers not to something Christ did between his death & res, but what He did in the spiritual realm of existence(or through the spirit) at the time of Noah. When Noah was building the ark, Christ in spirit was preaching through Noah to the hostile unbelievers around him.” (Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology; pg.591)
        1. Note: by whom(19) refers back to the Spirit(18) [LKGNT can attach to Jesus or Spirit]
        2. Also we see in 1 Pet.1:11 it says the “Spirit of Christ” was speaking to the OT prophets(10). So, this “Spirit of Christ” was speaking thru Noah as well.
      7. We also see Noah was a “preacher of righteousness”(2 Pet.2:5)
        1. Both words preached(1 Pet.3:18) & preacher(2 Pet.2:5) are from exact same root.
        2. So it seems likely that when Christ “preached to the spirits in prison” he did so through Noah, in the days before the flood.
        3. Read Ps.102:18-20.
      8. This then fits into the larger context of this chapter.
        1. The parallel between the situation of Noah & the situation of Peter’s readers is clear: Both were a righteous minority. Both were surrounded by hostile unbelievers W/Noah judgment was near; w/Peters readers God’s judgment may soon come. Noah witnessed boldly; they should witness boldly(15).
          Noah was finally saved; they would be finally saved.
      9. Lazarus & the rich man - Lk.16:19-31.
        1. Lifted up his eyes (not across); afar off (not near); a great gulf fixed in between them(not near); Abraham’s bosom (in Mt.8:11 Abraham’s bosom is referred to as,
          "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”)
        2. Show how most understand Sheol/Hades.
      10. Last arguments against Christ descending into Hades:
        1. Jesus told us exactly where He would be, when He said to the thief on the cross, Today you will be with me in paradise. (Lk.23:43)
        2. Some say paradise wasn’t in heaven…but it is. 2 other times used:
          1. 2 Cor.12:4Paul caught up into heaven
          2. Rev.2:7 it is the place where we find the tree of life; which is clearly in heaven. See Rev.22:2,14.
        3. Also, His cry from the cross “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
          1. Obviously His body stayed in the grave.
    15. (21) An Antitype (αντιτυποσ) – The impression of a seal (or, the closest possible correspondence; opposite/stamp Lt.).
      1. (MacArthur) “It is an earthly expression of a spiritual reality.”
    16. Baptism: Peter ties Noah to the subject of baptism.
      1. The flood was actually a global baptism of water;
        The world is now being reserved for a global baptism of fire (2 Pet 3:5-7).
      2. Peter does not say that baptism saves us or that water washes away sins. In fact, he makes it clear that baptism cannot put away the filth of the flesh.
      3. Submission to the Lord in baptism is an inward matter, the answer of a good conscience toward God. [answer = pledge!]
        1. It was used in closing a contract(eg) Q: Do you except the terms of this contract? A: Yes.
      4. Baptism is a picture of death, burial, and resurrection.
      5. The water that buried the wicked world, bore Noah to safety.
      6. The water did not save him; the ark did. In this way Noah anticipates Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
        1. Remember, the occupants of Noah’s ark were kept “out of” the water!
        2. So, as Noah had his family aboard “riding to safety”; so the Christian is saved by being onboard the “ark of Christ!”
    17. (22) Christ was honored to a place of prominence, honor, majesty, & power, after accomplishing his work on the cross, & being raised from the dead.
      1. You can be honored too...To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne,as I also overcame & sat down with My Father on His throne.Rev.3:21
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Peter 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-peter-3.html. 2017.