Does 1 Peter 3:18b prove the Divinity of Christ?


(Article #3)

I’ve heard Bible College teachers and many preachers using 1 Peter 3:18b to prove the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. That Christ although put to death in his humanity, he was alive in his divinity. Debaters of the INC-1914 emphasize the death of Jesus Christ in this verse with the presumption that God cannot not die. Since the verse says that Christ died, and God cannot die, therefore it is concluded that Christ is not God. As a counter proposition, I have heard brethren use the second part where it says that Jesus is alive pointing to 1 Peter 3:18b claiming that the divinity aspect of Christ did not die. They mean that the verse teaches that the “spirit that is alive” is the deity of Christ that didn’t die.  Is it true that the deity, the divinity of Jesus Christ is taught in this 1 Peter 3:18b? Is it true that the spirit who was made alive is the deity of Christ?

Let’s show the reading.

*KJV – “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

*NKJV – “put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

*RSV – “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

*ASV- “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”

*NLT – “He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”

*Mabuting Balita Biblia – “Siya’y namatay ayon sa laman, at muling nabuhay ayon sa Epiritu.”

*Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia – “napapatay iti bagi ngem napagungar iti espiritu.”

Brethren, there are questions we should clarify. First, please note the voice of the verb in the second clause which is zoopoietheis. Please determine if it is in passive voice or not. It means that the verb tells that another entity acts on the subject. If you can’t even read your Greek New Testament, please don’t claim that you know all the pasikot-sikot ng Biblia. You are teaching false doctrines if you can’t even check up from the Greek Grammar Book or Greek-English Lexicon when your interpretation is questioned. INC ministers would only sneer at you when you don’t know what you are talking about.

Second, the old Iloco Bible reads, “sibibiag no maipapan iti espiritu” (1Peter 3:18b) which gives the meaning that Jesus remained alive in his spirit, divine, deity persona. This wording in Iloco was rendered in 1908 by translators who didn’t know how to read the Greek New Testament and were not familiar with English versions because they read the Spanish Bible, having been educated under the Spanish regime. This old Iloco Bible gave some of our debaters and Bible College teachers and preachers the idea that since God is spirit, that spirit in 1 Peter 3:18 is the pagka-Dios ni Cristo, ergo, the pagka-Dios ni Cristo ay hindi namatay. This kind of reasoning is not based on the context, it is not based on the grammar of 1 Peter 3:18b, it is not based on logic. The Old Iloco Bible is wrong. The Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia is correct because it agrees with the English reading and Greek text as to the voice of the verb.

Third, KJV says, “quickened by the Spirit” and NKJV has “made alive by the Spirit” which means that Jesus was dead and was resurrected. This refers to his physical body and not to his deity. RSV and ASV read “made alive in the spirit” and this couldn’t refer to the deity of Christ. Deity never dies and therefore it is wrong to say “deity was made alive.” Deity is always alive because deity is life, the origin and source of life.

Fourth, this “made alive in the spirit” or “muling nabuhay” or “napagungar” refers to what Apostle Paul says in 2 Cor.5:16 that we should no longer refer to Christ as after the flesh but in the spirit. Christ now possesses a spiritual body says 1 Cor. 15:44-46.

The conclusion and suggestion here is: Don’t insist that 1 Peter 3:18b teaches the deity of Christ; don’t point to the term “spirit” in this section as having the same meaning in John 4:24; don’t teach that the “spirit” in this verse refers to the deity of Christ. Tatawanan lang kayo ng mga ministro ng INC kung ipagpatuloy ninyong gagamitin ang 1 Peter 3:18b sa inyong pagpapatunay na ang “espiritu” dyan ay siyang pagka-Diyos ni Cristo. Please stop your questionable interpretation.

Comments and observations are most welcomed. Anyone who disagrees with the point of view expressed herein may write an article with proper documentation. We would be glad to blog it.  © (E.Tanicala 8:11.10)