Abstract of Johnson, Sherman E. “The Preaching to the Dead.”

Johnson, Sherman E.  “The Preaching to the Dead.”  Journal of Biblical Literature 79 (March 1960): 48-51. [Christian/Salvation of the Dead]

This is a brief article.  The author begins by saying that in “recent years considerable progress has been made toward solving the problems of the unusually obscure passage, I Pet 2:18-22.  The work of three scholars is particularly noteworthy.” (p. 248).  The Three scholars and their works are: (1) F. W. Beare, The First Epistle of Peter, (Oxford 1947), pp. 144-151; (2) Bo Reicke, The Disobedient Spirits and Christian Baptism, (Copenhagen, 1946), p. 69; and (3) E. G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter, (London, 1946), pp. 195-215, 314-62.  Johnson briefly comments on the contributions of each to the issues and the relation of this passage with 1 Pet. 4:6.  The second part of the article is to point out a parallel with Titus 3:1-8 and 2:11-14 that the previous authors missed.  The most fascinating is part three of the article  wherein the author shows that 1 Pet. 3:18-22 is a chiasm.  He does this to demonstrate that his suggestion of the parallel with Titus is legitimate.  His conclusion is two-edged:  “The implication of the passage then, is clear.  It deals with the comprehensive work of Christ is saving all who will respond to the proclaimed word.  This embraces those who died under the old covenant.  The formula which the author quotes referred only to the announcement of judgment to the disobedient spirits, and he does not change this; but he uses it as an example of Christ’s redemptive work ad inferos.  Wherever Christ goes he brings both judgment and salvation.” (p. 51.)

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