1 Peter 3

The word; the gospel.—Conversation; conduct.

Fear; respect and reverence,—that is, for the husband.

The meaning is, not that proper attention to the personal appearance is wrong, but that the wife should not value herself upon her external decorations. She should seek to make herself alluring by menial and spiritual charms. They who consider all decoration as in itself wrong, evidently differ from him who daily creates the humming-bird, the tulip, and the rose.

Man; character.

And are not afraid, &c., This expression is usually understood to mean, not deterred by fear from the faithful performance of duty.

Pitiful; merciful.

Eschew evil; turn altogether away from it.

Sanctify the Lord God, &c.; that is, praise and honor him.

Quickened; raised to life.

He went and preached; an emphatical mode of expression, common in the Hebrew language, meaning he preached. So, in Acts 1:1, "all that Jesus began both to do and teach," means merely all that Jesus did and taught; and in Matt. 9:13, "Go ye and learn," &c., means, simply, learn.—Unto the spirits in prison; that is, perhaps to mankind, in their state of guilt and condemnation. See Isa. 42:7, where the lost and helpless condition of men is represented as an imprisonment from which the gospel brings release. The meaning seems to be, that Jesus Christ, after suffering death, rose again by the power of the Spirit, and by the same Spirit brought the offers of pardon to mankind, who were under sentence of condemnation by the divine law; in consequence of which, as the writer goes on to explain in the two following verses, a few are now saved, through baptism, just as in ancient times, in consequence of the preaching of Noah, a few were saved by the ark. Some suppose that the preaching here spoken of refers not to the general proclamation of the gospel to mankind, but to the warnings given by Noah to his generation, which they consider this passage as showing were inspired by Christ. Others suppose that this passage means that, during the interval between the Savior's death and his resurrection, he made the offers of salvation to departed spirits in the invisible world. The interpretation first given appears best to accord with the design of the writer in his remarks. In fact, the latter would seem to detach the passage entirely from its connection with what precedes and follows it. Besides, it is impossible to give any reason, if Jesus offered salvation to any departed spirits, why, of all the generations of the dead, the contemporaries of Noah alone were preached to in their prison.

Which; that is, not the same individuals, but the same class of men, namely, sinners.—Sometime; formerly.—Eight souls; Gen. 6:18.

The like figure whereunto; that is, the antitype whereunto. The meaning is, that believers are now saved through baptism, in a manner somewhat analogous to that in which Noah and his family were saved in the ark. Of course, baptism is, in this case, regarded as the indication and pledge of the inward spiritual change, in which alone all its meaning and efficacy consists.—Filth of the flesh; uncleanness of the flesh; that is, ceremonial uncleanness, like that provided against in the Mosaic law. The meaning is, that baptism has no ceremonial efficacy. Its power and value depend upon there being a good conscience toward God within, corresponding to the outward symbol.

On the right hand of God; as his vicegerent in the government of the world.

Copyright information for Abbott