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Understanding the Bible - Practical Applications

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1,2,2-1,3,4 READ 1 Peter 3:18-21

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...

Background Summary: Passage teaches (v19) that that after Christ’s death but before His resurrection, He went to the abyss and proclaimed that, in spite of His death, He had triumphed over the fallen angels bound there. In v20 Peter identifies that these angels were in the abyss during the time of Noah, when Noah and his family (8 souls) were rescued through the water of the flood. 

5 That brings us to (v21).

6 Does 1 Peter 3:21 support the argument of "baptismal regeneration" (one's salvation is dependent on baptism)?

7 At the top of Jason's list on How to Study the Bible by Observation was read for 7-1 Context (ask for other versions of 1 Peter 3:21 to be read):

1 Peter 3:21 (NKJV)

21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...

1 Peter 3:21 (KJV)

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 3:21 (NASB)

21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

1 Peter 3:21 (ESV)

21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

(What is an antitype? An earthly expression of a spiritual truth, by way of a symbol, picture, or pattern.)

8 But, did Peter just say baptism saves us? Those who teach baptismal regeneration (8-1 Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, and the Church of Christ) point to this verse and Acts 2:38 as support. Also on Jason's list of How to Study the Bible by Observation was 9 looking at what a verse dose not that may be important. We can do this by comparing what we know in Scripture with Scripture, knowing that Scripture does not contradict Scripture.

10 What do Acts 2:38 and 3:19 have to say about salvation, baptism, etc?

READ Acts 2:38

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

READ Acts 3:19

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

10-1 Key concept: Repent and be baptized. Repent and be converted.

It's not just baptism that blots out or remits our sin. We must repent; 11 turn away from sin and turn to (identify, confess) Christ. Forgiveness for sins is the result of an act of the will (conversion) on the part of the believer to repent and turn Jesus for forgiveness of sin. If baptism were enough, we wouldn't be seeing the word "repent" 12 repeated (another one on Jason's list).

13 What were the priorities of the Apostles?

READ Acts 5:42

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

13-1 Everyday, in every house, Christ, the Messiah, is proclaimed, taught and preached, not baptism.

14 READ Acts 6:4

4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The apostles didn't give themselves continually to baptizing people, but to 14-1 prayer and the ministry of the word. This must have a connection to salvation.


14-2 READ 1 Peter 1:23

23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

One is born again (regenerated) through the word of God. The benefits of salvation are not attached or associated with baptism when you compare Scripture to Scripture, but with the repentance and the work and word of Jesus Christ.

15 Conclusion: Back to 1 Peter 3:21, 15-1 an antitype is symbol or expression of a spiritual truth and also something that is foreshadowed by an earlier symbol or event. Peter is comparing the fact that the 8 people in 16 Noah's ark went through the whole judgment of the flood unharmed with 16-1 the Christian’s experience in salvation by being in Christ, the ark of our salvation. That's why Peter goes on (parenthetically) explaining that baptism is not an external act (washing away dirt) that brings about salvation, but rather Christ's resurrection. Baptism symbolizes salvation, but does affect salvation.

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