The Spirit


Abbreviations Used

General Subjects
  John 14-16
  1 Corinthians
  2 Corinthians
  1 & 2 Thess.
  1 & 2 Timothy
  1 & 2 Peter
  1 John
Gifts of the Spirit
Inter-Ecclesial Offices
Word Studies
Epilogue Acknowledgements
Exposition of The Spirit in 1 & 2 Peter

1 Peter 1:2
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."


This verse is sometimes used to indicate we are "sanctified by the Holy Spirit being given us."


  1. The evidence, grammatically, contextually and expositionally3 points to a definite bias of the translators of the AV.

    "Grammatically the words admit of the interpretation which sees in them the sanctification of the human spirit (mind) (genitive of the object)...1"

  2. Peter is basing his whole argument on the spiritual significance of Exod. 19 and 24. Every word he uses is based upon usage in Israelís experience. They were "chosen" by God to be set apart (sanctified) as a nation, "separated" by carnal ordinances, ratified in the "sprinkling" of shed blood upon the people; and by all this they were promised an inheritance.

    The spiritual Israelites too were "chosen" to be "separate" not in outward form, but by the inward purification of heart and mind through obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, by which they hoped for an "incorruptible inheritance".

    The whole series of contrasts demands that outward separation of Israel should have an inner sanctification as its counterpart 2*

  3. In a Christadelphian exposition of 1 Peter we have the following:

    Ď "sanctification of the Spirit"

    This is the separation induced by the Spirit-word. Jesus taught that the truth comprised the spirit (John 6:63) and Paul and John did likewise (Eph. 6:17; 1 John 5:6). Where it does not have such effect - separating believers from the course of this world - its full power has not been appreciated.í4

  4. Peter was referring to the state of sanctification of believers5 and not to the mechanism of sanctification.

  5. This sanctification was the result of "obedience" to the truth v.22. This "truth" was "the living and abiding word of God"... "which was preached" unto them. It had resulted in them being "born again" through that "imperishable seed" (v.23-25).

  6. There is no evidence for the theory expressed in the problem.

1 Plumptre, CBSC, P.93, cf. Notes on 2 Thess. 2:13 where the exact phrase occurs.
2 J. Carter, TCM, Vol. 92, P. 449 and TCM, Vol. 94, P. 5-7.
3 cf. Section B - "Sanctification"
4 H.P. Mansfield, To the Strangers Scattered Abroad - LOGOS
5 cf. 1 Pet. 1:22.

1 Peter 1:11
"...the Spirit of Christ within them (prophets)..."

The phrase Spirit of Christ is objective genitive. It was not "Christís Spirit" or "Spirit from Christ" or Spirit which Christ gave but "the Spirit which taught about Christ."

In His revelations to man, God had Christ as the central theme. These revelations came to Godís Prophets through the Spirit. Therefore, the Spirit taught the Prophets about Christ.

There is only one Spirit power, namely Godís (Eph. 4:4), and this worked in the Prophets... "by thy spirit in thy prophets" (Neh. 9:20; cf. 2 Pet. 1:21). This inspired them to testify prophetically about Christ1. Later this same Spirit power was manifested through Christ without measure.

1 cf. Isa. 53:2,12; Psa. 22:1,27.
1 Peter 1:12
"... these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven"...

The gifts of "word of wisdom", "word of knowledge" and "prophecy" were the means by which the Apostles preached the gospel. The Parakletos taught them "all things" (John 14:26). This power of the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost "sent from heaven" and it enabled them to immediately preach the Gospel with such force and conviction that 3,000 were baptized as a result of that dayís activities (Acts 2: 2-4, 40-41) (cf. also Rom. 16:25).

1 Peter 1:22
"Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren..."

The words "through the Spirit" are not in the Greek text of Nestle, and the best of the other texts.

1 Peter 3:18
"For Christ... having been... made alive in the Spirit1;" (NASB)

Peter is not referring merely to the power which effected the resurrection but to the final change in the resurrected body when it was clothed with the Divine nature, or Spirit.

1 NASB margin has Or, Spirit, which is what it should be.
1 Peter 3:19
"By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison"

By the power of the Spirit, Christ was quickened (v.18). With this same Spirit Christ preached in person to "spirits in prison" before his death. Peter is speaking of a class or type of persons (not a particular group) which existed both in Noahís day and Christís2. The "spirits in prison" is an expression for a people in bondage to sin3 (Isa. 42 3; 61:1). The people were the Gentiles as the following tabular comparison demonstrates.

1 Peter 3:18-19 1 Timothy 3:16
- Christ ... being put to death IN THE FLESH

- but quickened BY THE SPIRIT

- ... by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.

- He was manifested IN THE FLESH

- Justified IN THE SPIRIT

- Preached unto the Gentiles

But why refer to men as "spirits imprisoned"? Because "spirit" relates to the sentient element in man by which he perceives, reflects, feels and desires (Mark 2:8; Luke 1:47,80; Acts 17:16; 2 Cor. 7:1). The Lord appealed to the thinking part (the mind) of man that was imprisoned to sin.

2 see Luke 17:25.
3 see also Eph. 2:1-2.

1 Peter 4:6
"For the gospel has been preached even to those who are dead, that ... they may live in the spirit..."

Many translations confuse the issue by their arrangement of the words but Marshall clarifies:

"For indeed for this (reason) good news was preached, to dead men in order that on one hand they might be judged according to men in the flesh, on the other (they) might live according to God in the spirit."

The sequence is this:

  1. the gospel is preached to those who are (now) dead1.
  2. Upon responding they are condemned and maligned by men in the flesh. (v.4).
  3. However, God who is Spirit, will grant them life (eternal) because Spirit judgement is right but flesh judgement is wrong. (Isa. 2:3,4).

The idea is: though men condemn them, Christ will not. The contrast is between those who judge:- men and God.

The reason the gospel was preached was that (although they would be condemned by men of flesh) the dead might live in the future.

1The "dead" were not dead when preached to. We can be sure of that! The dead in this context refer to those (like Christ) who were put to death or martyred because of their righteousness (cf. Matt. 5:10-12). There was a lot of persecution in those days, much of which resulted in death:

"brother will deliver up brother to death, ... and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death" (Matt. 10:21).

These murderers killed the body, but because the gospel was preached to the believers before that happened, the murderers were not able to kill the (future) life. (Matt. 10:28, cf. 39).

1 Peter 4:14
"...the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you".

The definite article is present therefore "the Spirit of the Glory" refers to Christ. This verse is parallel in thought and expression to v.13, i.e.

Suffering now, but rejoicing when his glory is revealed (v.13).
Reproach now but blessing when the Spirit of Christ and of God rests on you (v.14).

Rotherhamís translates "rests" as "is bringing rest". The word anapauo (rests) can also mean "refreshed" and is so translated in 1 Cor. 16:18; Philemon v.20.

The words "If you are reviled for the name of Christ you are blessed" allude to Matt. 5:11. The second part of the verse; "because the Spirit of the glory and of God is bringing rest" alludes to Matt. 5:12 "for your reward in heaven is great".

The exaltation or blessing is the future reward (at the proper time, 5:6) of a spiritual body.

2 Peter 1:21
"... men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God"

The Holy Spirit gift of prophecy moved Godís Prophets to utter (and write) the words they did (2 Sam. 23:2; Neh. 9:30; Luke 1:70; Acts 1:16; 3:18; 1 Cor. 14:3; Eph. 4:11; Heb. 1:1. James 5:10).