spirits

1 Peter 3:19

3:19 spirits. These “spirits in prison” almost certainly were the evil spirits who had sinned in the days of Noah by trying to corrupt and control all flesh (Genesis 6:1-4,12). Whenever the word “spirits” is used in the plural and not clearly indicated otherwise (as in Hebrews 12:23 and I Corinthians 14:32), it always refers to supernatural beings, or angels. In support of this meaning, note that there are thirty such occurrences in the New Testament, with only two, as noted above, referring to spirits of men. At least twenty-six of these thirty occurrences refer to evil spirits, which strongly indicates that to be the meaning here.

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