Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tough Texts - #1

I'm beginning a new series of posts on biblical texts with particularly difficult interpretive issues. But I'm not planning to solve them. That's your job.

I'm hoping for regular commenters to surface along with this series. We want you to join the discussion. I would especially appreciate comments from "laypersons" (Although I don't like that nomenclature).

We all need help making sense of God's Word and applying it to our lives. Don't let fear of misinterpreting the passage stop you from submitting your thoughts. After some time has elapsed I'll let commentators give the "definitive" interpretation of the passage in view.

Here's our first gem: (I Peter 3:18-22: English Standard Version)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Interpretive questions relate especially to the bold/italicized portions.

  1. Did Chirst descend to hell in the days between His crucifixion and resurrection? If not, where was He? Did Christ preach in the days of Noah? If so, how? If not, what does the text mean when it says, "...When God's patience waited in the days of Noah..."?
  2. Does baptism save? If so, explain. If not, what does this text mean?
All 100 or so of our daily readership can at least join in the discussion by submitting a text you've always wondered about. C'mon!

Happy sense-making of the Good Book!


KB said...

Baptism now saves you- helped by Titus 3:5, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Showing a deed such as baptism in itself does not save, but the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. -through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Isaiah 42:8,9

BENJI said...

WHat about Matt 16:19? What does this mean?
Matthew 16:18-20
18"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

19"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

armath said...

1a. No
1b. Abraham's bosom
1c. Yes
1d. Through His Spirit in the prophets
1e. N-A b/c of affirmative in 1d

2a. Not water baptism
2b. Coming through the water after having entered into the ark of Xt is the picture, but the water has no saving effect. If the passage says 'baptism saves you', then the baptism must be Holy Spirit baptism, or regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

Jeremy Whitten said...

I'm not smart enough to form my own opinion on this passage. I would cheat and give you what my "MacArthur Study Bible" says anyways. One passage of scripture that has always tickled my intellect is the one in Genesis chapter 6:2-4. Who were the "Sons of God" and who and what were the "Nephilim" mentioned in this passage, I've heard different opinions. Can it be as simple as "The reprobate producing children with regenerate saints"?