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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Spirits in Prison
1 Peter 3:18-19. The argument is, Be not afraid (1 Peter 3:14; 1 Peter 3:17) of suffering for well doing even unto death, for death in the flesh leads to life in the spirit as in Christ's case, who was put to death in the flesh but quickened in spirit (i.e. in virtue of His divine nature: Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 13:4) in which (as distinguished from in person) He went in the person of Noah (compare 1 Peter 1:11 "a preacher of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:5; He went not locally but as Ephesians 2:17, "He came and preached peace," namely, by His ministers) and preached unto the spirits in prison, namely, the antediluvian unbelievers; their bodies seemed free, but their spirits were in prison (Psalms 141:9) and they like "prisoners shut up in the prison" just as the fallen are judicially regarded as in chains of darkness, though for a time at large on the earth (2 Peter 2:4; Isaiah 24:18; Isaiah 24:22-23; Isaiah 61:1; Genesis 7:11, referred to in Isaiah 24:18). "His Spirit" long "strove" with them, but ceased to do so because even the seed of the godly Seth proved "flesh" and quenched the Spirit (Genesis 6:3).
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Spirits in Prison'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/s/spirits-in-prison.html. 1949.