“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.”
(1 Peter 4:6)
these “dead” people and when was the gospel preached to them? Those
who believe in the false doctrine of the “immortal soul” wrongly
conclude that dead people go to heaven, hell or purgatory when they
die. They assume, incorrectly, that this verse refers to people
having the gospel preached to them after they die. The Bible
reveals that the status of one’s salvation does not change in the
Scriptures show that the dead do not hear, see, learn or suffer.
God’s word reveals that those who are dead do not know anything.
“The living know that they shall die: but the dead do not know
(Ecclesiastes 9:5) The Bible reveals that the dead cannot think, or
dream, and that their thoughts perish. When a man dies:
“His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day
his thoughts perish.”
(Psalms 146:4) All who are physically dead do nothing and hear
nothing. They await their resurrection by God.
that this difficult verse is written in the past tense. It does not
say that people hear the gospel
they are dead. King David was inspired to write:
“In death there is no remembrance of thee [God]: in the grave who
shall give thee thanks?
In today’s English, this difficult verse would read this way:
“For this cause, the good news was proclaimed to the
But, they were physically alive when they had the gospel preached to
is the meaning of this difficult verse? Paul told the converted
Christians at Ephesus:
“God has made you
alive who were
dead in trespasses and sins.”
Peter, speaking of the conversion process, is utilizing the same
metaphor in this difficult verse.
Scriptures commonly refer to those people who are unconverted as
being [spiritually] dead. Jesus said,
dead bury their
Peter had just
explained in verse four that people in the world speak evil of
Christians, and judge our behavior as “strange and surprising,”
because we no longer participate in their worldly ways. Peter says
that they will answer to God who judges the living and the dead.
Peter concludes with 1 Peter 4:6:
“For this cause, those who were
dead had the good news preached to them in order that they might be
judged, on the one hand according to men in the flesh, so that on
the other hand, they might have the opportunity to
live according to God in the spirit.
The fact that
judged according to men in the flesh,
shows that they are still physically alive.
declares all those who are sinning to be spiritually “dead.” They
are not following God, but the devil. With God’s calling, we can
repent and turn to “life.” Notice in this parallel verse how the
Christians at Ephesus were made spiritually alive,
“You hath he quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this
world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit
that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”
to give instructions to the Church of God brethren at Corinth
concerning a man who was sinning [spiritually dead] and would not
obey the laws of God. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans
6:23), the man was “dead” as far as his spiritual life was
concerned. Satan had his “hooks” in the man. While he was sinning,
he was no longer welcome to fellowship with the church brethren.
However, if the man would repent and amend his ways, he could be
saved [be spiritually alive] and eligible for the first resurrection
at the day of the Lord. Paul wrote his instructions in this
“Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
(1 Corinthians 5:5)