“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”
King James Version (KJV)
3:19 By which Spirit he preached - Through the ministry of Noah. To the spirits in prison - The unholy men before the flood, who were then reserved by the justice of God, as in a prison, till he executed the sentence upon them all; and are now also reserved to the judgment of the great day.
1Pe 3:19,20 By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison. The facts stated are (1) That Christ, put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, went and preached. (2) This preaching of Christ in the spirit was to spirits. (3) Those spirits were in prison. The Greek word, "phulake", used for "prison", denotes a place of custody, not a place of punishment. These spirits (4) "at one time were disobedient". This states why they were held in prison. (5) The time of their disobedience is stated. It was while the "longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah".