1 Peter 3:20

1 Peter 3:20: APEIQHSASIN John Barach jbarach at telusplanet.net
Mon May 1 18:49:44 EDT 2000

 

Previous message: BDAG 4th Edition Next message: 1 John Fellow s:I’m working ahead on my exegesis of 1 Peter and I’ve come to one of thestickiest passages in the Bible, I suspect: 1 Peter 3:18ff. While I’dappreciate any help you can offer on the difficulties of this passage,I’m particularly interested in the participle APEIQHSASIN in 3:20.Here it is in context:EN hWi KAI TOIS EN FULAKHi PNEUMASIN POREUQEIS EKHRUXEN, APEIQHSASINPOTE hOTE APEXEDECETO hH TOU QEUO MAKROQUMIA EN hHMERAIS NWEKATASKEUAZOMENHS KIBWTOU …Most translations and commentaries render APEIQHSASIN adjectivally: “tothe spirits in prison, *who* were disobedient….” APEIQHSASIN,however, is anarthrous, and Turner (3:153) comments that the lack of anarticle with this adjectival participle is “unclassical.” Elsewhere, hesays it isn’t “good Greek” (4:129).Wayne Grudem, however, argues that APEIQHSASIN isn’t adjectival at all. He cites BDF, section 270, where the basic “rule” is stated: anattributive adjective used with arthrous substantives when inpostposition *must* have its own article — unless it’s one of manyadjectives between the article and the noun (Sec. 269) or it’s asupplementary participle following a verb of perception or cognition(Sec. 416).He notes that there are no other examples of adjectival anarthrousparticiples with arthrous antecedents. The passages usually listed asexceptions usually have the anarthrous participle immediately followingits antecedent, not separated from it as in 1 Peter 3.(Grudem argues that in Luke 2:5; 16:14; Acts 24:24; and 1 Pet. 4:12 theparticiples function adverbially, though they are usually translatedloosely as adjectives.)Grudem then argues that APEIQHSASIN should be taken averbially andcircumstantially — e.g., “preached to the spirits in prison *when* theyformerly disobeyed.” The subsequent time reference (“when God’spatience waited”) doesn’t invalidate this interpretation, since thereare two or more time references in a row in passages such as Col. 3:7.No other commentator that I’ve seen takes this position, however. Yourevaluation would be greatly appreciated. If you think APEIQHSASINshould be taken adjectivally, could you please explain why you thinkthat.Your help would be greatly appreciated.Regards,John%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%John Barach (403) 317-1950Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church (URCNA)113 Stafford Blvd. N.Lethbridge, ABT1H 6E3

 

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1 Peter 3:20: APEIQHSASIN Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon May 1 19:48:17 EDT 2000

 

Previous message: 1 John Next message: 1 Peter 3:20: APEIQHSASIN At 4:49 PM -0600 5/1/00, John Barach wrote:>Fellow s:> >I’m working ahead on my exegesis of 1 Peter and I’ve come to one of the>stickiest passages in the Bible, I suspect: 1 Peter 3:18ff. While I’d>appreciate any help you can offer on the difficulties of this passage,>I’m particularly interested in the participle APEIQHSASIN in 3:20.> >Here it is in context:> >EN hWi KAI TOIS EN FULAKHi PNEUMASIN POREUQEIS EKHRUXEN, APEIQHSASIN>POTE hOTE APEXEDECETO hH TOU QEUO MAKROQUMIA EN hHMERAIS NWE>KATASKEUAZOMENHS KIBWTOU …> >Most translations and commentaries render APEIQHSASIN adjectivally: “to>the spirits in prison, *who* were disobedient….” APEIQHSASIN,>however, is anarthrous, and Turner (3:153) comments that the lack of an>article with this adjectival participle is “unclassical.” Elsewhere, he>says it isn’t “good Greek” (4:129).> >Wayne Grudem, however, argues that APEIQHSASIN isn’t adjectival at all.>He cites BDF, section 270, where the basic “rule” is stated: an>attributive adjective used with arthrous substantives when in>postposition *must* have its own article — unless it’s one of many>adjectives between the article and the noun (Sec. 269) or it’s a>supplementary participle following a verb of perception or cognition>(Sec. 416).> >He notes that there are no other examples of adjectival anarthrous>participles with arthrous antecedents. The passages usually listed as>exceptions usually have the anarthrous participle immediately following>its antecedent, not separated from it as in 1 Peter 3.> >(Grudem argues that in Luke 2:5; 16:14; Acts 24:24; and 1 Pet. 4:12 the>participles function adverbially, though they are usually translated>loosely as adjectives.)> >Grudem then argues that APEIQHSASIN should be taken averbially and>circumstantially — e.g., “preached to the spirits in prison *when* they>formerly disobeyed.” The subsequent time reference (“when God’s>patience waited”) doesn’t invalidate this interpretation, since there>are two or more time references in a row in passages such as Col. 3:7.> >No other commentator that I’ve seen takes this position, however. Your>evaluation would be greatly appreciated. If you think APEIQHSASIN>should be taken adjectivally, could you please explain why you think>that.> >Your help would be greatly appreciated.I don’t really want to get involved in this immediately, but I franklybelieve that the several problems involved with this passage were hashedout at great length in January of 1998 (sometime back in the lastcentury?): Jan 11-14, 1998 with subject-header: “POREUQEIS EKHRUXENAPEIQHSASIN in 1Peter3:19~20″Then, Jan 14-16, 1998 with subject-header: “POREUQEIS EKHRUXEN nocheinmal”, and finally, Jan 16-17, 1998 with subject-header: “Re: 1 P 3:20;APEIQHSASIN; Adj or adv?” You might consult the archives, and I think thiswould be the older archives prior to the move from our previous site at<majordomo at virginia.edu> to < at franklin.oit.unc.edu>.– Carl W. ConradDepartment of Classics/Washington UniversityOne Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649cwconrad at artsci.wustl.eduWWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

 

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1 Peter 3:20: APEIQHSASIN Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Mon May 1 21:59:18 EDT 2000

 

Previous message: 1 Peter 3:20: APEIQHSASIN Next message: sanctification-holiness Dear John,You cite 1 Pet 3:19 and part of 3:20:>EN hWi KAI TOIS EN FULAKHi PNEUMASIN POREUQEIS EKHRUXEN, APEIQHSASIN POTE>hOTE APEXEDECETO hH TOU QEUO MAKROQUMIA EN hHMERAIS NWE KATASKEUAZOMENHS>KIBWTOU … You ask about the participle APEIQHSASIN. Here is a section from anunpublished paper that I wrote on 1 Peter 3:18-4:6. The quotation coversthis point that Wayne Grudem raised about the participle APEIQHSASIN in3:20:Grudem has argued forcefully for a preaching by Christ’s spirit throughNoah in 3:19-20, asserting that the participle “disobedient” has anadverbial, temporal force: “when they disobeyed.”28 He admits that ananarthrous (not having the definite article) participle following the nounit modifies can be adjectival if the noun has two or more modifiers and thesense is unambiguous. But since the verb “preached” separates”disobedient” from “spirits,” Grudem finds an adjectival translation ofAPEIQHSASIN ambiguous.29 On the other hand, Noahic preaching seems foreignto the context; so are there arguments on behalf of an adjectivaltranslation of APEIQHSASIN? G. B. Winer states: Participles as attributives [adjectival], in as far as they have not entirely dropped the notion of time, are not treated in this case [in the use of the article] altogether like adjectives. They take the Article [sic] only when some relation already known or especially noteworthy (is qui, quippe qui) [“he who,” “indeed who”] is indicated, and consequently the idea expressed by the participle is to be made more prominent.30Winer goes on to say that “whether the Article is to be used or omittedbefore the Participle, depends sometimes on the subjective view of thewriter.”31 If APEIQHSASIN can be attributive, the secondary,circumstantial information it gives about the spirits sanctions omission ofthe article. Articular (having the definite article) nouns modified by subsequentanarthrous participles occur frequently in the NT. Although suchparticiples vary in exact usage, the ancient reader of Greek would normallyhave had little trouble discerning how the participle functioned when thecontext was otherwise clear. Translations of the Bible have rendered APEIQHSASIN at 3:20 with arelative pronoun (e.g., “who”) in a clause or with a demonstrative pronounsubject (e.g., “these”) in a new sentence.32 The translators believed thatthe participle could bear an attributive sense here. No translationconsulted took the participle as adverbial, evidently because the Greekdoes not require this intrepretation. Peter’s purposeful shifting of “spirits in prison” to the front of3:19 may account for the interposition of the verb “preached” between theattributive “disobedient” and its modificand “spirits.” If the word”disobedient” had directly followed “spirits,” it would have brought in towthe rest of 3:20, which modifies “disobedient” as a temporal clause. Thusthe words “going he preached” would not have come until the end of 3:20 ina most awkward sentence. Peter may have put “preached” where he did togive the reader the basic elements of his sentence (object, subject,predicate) before the rest of the modifiers. By its separation from “spirits in prison” APEIQHSASIN can have moreof the Greek participle’s substantive force: “to ones disobedient.”33 Lackof the Greek article may permit an indefiniteness to APEIQHSASIN thatnarrows the reference from all the spirits in prison to the Floodgeneration. An analogous English sentence would be: “For even to thepeople in prison going He preached, to ones having rebelled formerly in thedays of Louis XVI.” Context could distinguish those rebelling as a subsetof the prisoners emphasized due to the circumstances of the crime. OrPeter may have qualified the whole (spirits in prison) by the actions of apart (Flood generation).34 The spirits in prison were disobedient formerlywhile the ark was being built because many of their number were.28 Grudem, _1 Peter_, 233-36, citing BDF, sec. 269.29 A definite article with APEIQHSASIN would have so defined the spirits inprison that this group was just “the spirits in prison who were disobedientformerly when the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” Seealso Grudem, _1 Peter_, 233-36.30 George B. Winer, _A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament_ (ed.Gottlieb Lünemann, trans. J. Henry Thayer, 7th ed., enl.; Andover, MA:Warren F. Draper, 1892) 134-35.31 Adjectival uses: Acts 13:32; 17:8; 23:27; Rom 2:27 (debatable); 1 Cor14:7; 2 Cor 3:2; Eph 6:16 (using the shorter reading); Heb 10:2; 1 Pet 4:12(debatable). Adverbial uses: 2 Cor 11:9; Acts 3:26; John 4:6, 39, 45; Mark16:10; John 1:36. Circumstantial uses: Luke 2;5; 16:14; Acts 17:27; 21:8.H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey state that a Greek participle is a “verbalsubstantive” and also a “verbal adjective: (_A Manual Grammar of the GreekNew Testament_ [New York: MacMillan, 1944] sec. 197). Whatever thegrammarians’ classification of usage in a particular case, the participleremains a verbal adjective.32 This is the case with the Vulgate and Peshitta, along with the Germanand French versions. It is so with the Geneva Bible of 1560, the KJV, NIV,NASB, NJB, NAB, NRSV, NJB, and RNEB, as well as several other translations(Moffatt, Goodspeed, Berkeley, New Century, Amplified, Young, Good News).John N. Darby simply translated “heretofore disobedient.”33 See n. 31 above.34 John S. Feinberg considers synecdoche here to be the desperate expedientof a theorist, but the grammar does not seem unnatural (“1 Peter 3:18-20,Ancient Mythology, and the Intermediate State,” _WTJ_ 48 (Fall 1986) 330-31.Yours,Harold Holmyard

 

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2 thoughts on “1 Peter 3:20

  1. Troy Day Troy Day says:

    Most translations and commentaries render APEIQHSASIN adjectivally: “tothe spirits in prison, *who* were disobedient….” APEIQHSASIN,however, is anarthrous, and Turner (3:153) comments that the lack of anarticle with this adjectival participle is “unclassical.” Elsewhere, hesays it isn’t “good Greek” (4:129).Wayne Grudem, however, argues that APEIQHSASIN isn’t adjectival at all. He cites BDF, section 270, where the basic “rule” is stated: anattributive adjective used with arthrous substantives when inpostposition *must* have its own article — unless it’s one of manyadjectives between the article and the noun (Sec. 269) or it’s asupplementary participle following a verb of perception or cognition(Sec. 416).He notes that there are no other examples of adjectival anarthrousparticiples with arthrous antecedents. The passages usually listed asexceptions usually have the anarthrous participle immediately followingits antecedent, not separated from it as in 1 Peter 3.(Grudem argues that in Luke 2:5; 16:14; Acts 24:24; and 1 Pet. 4:12 theparticiples function adverbially, though they are usually translatedloosely as adjectives.)Grudem then argues that APEIQHSASIN should be taken averbially andcircumstantially — e.g., “preached to the spirits in prison *when* theyformerly disobeyed.” The subsequent time reference (“when God’spatience waited”) doesn’t invalidate this interpretation, since thereare two or more time references in a row in passages such as Col. 3:7.No other commentator that I’ve seen takes this position RichardAnna Boyce what does your commentary say on this verse in particular?

    1. 1 Peter 3:19-21

      3:19. The Holy Spirit (by whom refers to Him in v 18) was not only active in Jesus’ resurrection but also in His pre-Resurrection and post-Resurrection ministries. Through the Spirit’s ministry Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. Who are these spirits? One view is that they are the spirits of the fallen angels who left their proper domain, took on human form, and cohabited with human women in an attempt to pollute the Adamic line which would bring forth the Messiah. In this view, when Christ died on the Cross, He went to where they are being held and preached to them, showing them how they had failed.
      Another view is that Christ, through Noah and by the Spirit, preached to the disobedient people in the days of Noah before the Flood came on the earth and destroyed them (cf. 4:6). They were invited to be delivered from the coming Flood, but they rejected the invitation and so are now in prison (hell). When Christ died, He did not descend into hell to preach to them, for that would serve no purpose. This view makes sense of v 20, which clearly describes Noah’s contemporaries as people who were drowned (and not fallen angels). It also makes sense of the chronology of the sentence’s construction in Greek.
      3:20. This relative clause (introduced with who) describes the spirits in prison as disobedient during the days of Noah while he was building the ark. They were invited by Noah to join him in fleeing God’s judgment but they ignored the warning (2 Peter 2:5).
      God’s patient endurance of offenses, described here as Divine long-suffering, is demonstrated in His holding back judgment until Noah and his family can escape it. As a result, of the world’s entire population only eight souls were spared God’s judgment. The ark enabled them to pass through God’s judgment of the world without being hurt by it. In this sense they were saved from physical death.
      3:21. By saying not the removal of the filth of the flesh, Peter is clarifying that water baptism is not what saves. He rejects the idea of water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Baptism is the antitype of the ark, not the Flood. It saves the believer from judgment. Many take this as a reference to salvation from sin in justification. The statement, the answer of a good conscience toward God seems to support this. But the question is how were Peter’s readers being saved in their present experience, since he says baptism now saves you?
      This reference to baptism and that of Acts 2:38 are applicable to the first-century generation of Jews who were converting to Christianity. The judgment in view is that of Titus’s attack on Judah and the fiery judgment coming on the generation of Jews who rejected Jesus. If they hear Peter’s message and identify with Christ, they are separating themselves from their generation. Therefore water baptism saves from temporal, corporal punishment. The punishment in 1 Peter 3:19-20 looks at the physical, temporal judgment Noah’s generation underwent in the Flood, with only those identifying with (entering) the ark surviving. In the same way the readers’ failure to identify with Christ for fear of persecution would only lead to identification with Judah in the hour of her punishment from God in AD 66-70.
      This does justice to the issue of testimony under adversity in which the readers are asked to give an account of the hope they have (v 15). The Christian’s public testimony begins with water baptism, which is a picture of spirit baptism. For Peter’s readers it separated them from the Jewish community that was facing God’s coming judgment. The significance of baptism here is identification with Christ and therefore the Church, the body of Christ.
      Peter also emphasizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which believers are saved. The resurrection of Jesus is a crucial element of our faith. In context, as Peter has been talking about deliverance from temporal, corporal punishment, this reminder is that even if some die in persecution, they will be raised to new life just as Jesus was.
      (from The Grace New Testament Commentary, Copyright © 2010 by Grace Evangelical Society. All rights reserved.)

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