157 Preaching to the Spirits in Prison. 1Peter 3:19
In 1 Peter 3:19 we have an important difference between some translations like the King James Version versus other translations like the English Standard Version.
“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 by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” (KJV)
“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, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 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.”(ESV)
The Greek word “kyrusso̅” which is used here, in essence means to proclaim, hence being used for preaching. Therefore both preaching or proclaiming to the spirits in prison are grammatically correct.
But there is a huge difference in the application and outcome of the two versions.
“Preaching” in essence is bringing the gospel of salvation to lost people in order to bring them to accepting the salvation through the Blood of the Lamb. Now if Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, the purpose would be to bring them to accept his victory and salvation and be saved. That means that they were given a second chance. On grounds of this meaning, there are indeed denominations that do preach and pray for their lost relatives after death! That is not according to the Scriptures.
On the other hand, if Jesus “proclaimed” his victory to the spirits in prison, it had the purpose of letting them take note of the restoration of the relationship between God and man. Especially to those who caused God to destroy all humans on earth except for Noah and his family, who had been the only righteous at the time of the great flood. That does make sense.
Therefore “kyrusso̅” should be translated as proclaimed and not as preached.
Ti is only when we thoroughly study the implications of the translation of a word that a difference in the meaning and application can be discovered.