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What are the different main views existent in Christianity on how 1 Peter 4:6 must be interpreted:

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (KJV)

Can anyone, please, give an overview? I am especially interested in who has been understood as the "dead" in this verse.

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Shouldn't this be on BH? –  Wikis Oct 25 '12 at 20:34
Asking for the views of Christians on it, rather than the Biblical meaning, probably makes it a better fit here. –  DJClayworth Oct 25 '12 at 21:34

1 Answer 1

I see two main references to the "dead" in the Bible. The first are the physically dead, King Solomon talks about them in Ecclesiastes 9:5. In that verse he tells us that the "dead know nothing". This confirms what we already know, that the physically dead cannot benefit from teaching or preaching. They are dead.

The second are the spiritually dead. But I believe this verse is talking about the physically dead. Why physically dead?

If you go back to Chapter 3 verse 18, you see: "He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." The verse is talking about Christs sacrifice. If you apply that to this verse you see that there are followers of Christ that will lose their life ("judged according to men in the flesh") but be alive in the spirit. He goes on to talk about suffering for Christ, this would include being martyred as many early Christians were.

If you look at chapter 3 and 4 as a whole you see that he is talking about turning away from an old lifestyle, living for God, and preparing for the judgement of men that will come as a result of that. This judgement could include the loss of your life, which is still true in some parts of the world today.

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Thank you for your answer. When, according to your view, the act of preaching the gospel to them took place, while they where still alive or while they were already dead (I heard some people say that this verse is telling us about Christ preaching the Gospel to the dead people while His physical body was dead)? –  brilliant Oct 27 '12 at 5:40
I believe this to mean that they are now dead, but were physically alive when they received the Gospel. –  dcreight Nov 12 '12 at 18:57

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