|"DEAD" AND "THE DEAD". Appendix 139 To The Companion Bible.|
The word nekros (Noun and Adjective) has different meanings, according as it is used in different connections:— 1. With the Article (hoi nekroi) it denotes dead bodies, or corpses or carcasses in the grave, apart from the personality they once had. This is the Old Testament idiom also. See Septuagint, Genesis 23:3, 4, 6, 8. Deuteronomy 18:11; 28:26. Jeremiah 7:33; 9:22; 19:7. Ezekiel 37:9. See notes on Matthew 22:31. 1Corinthians 15:35. 2. Without the Article (nekroi) it denotes the persons who were once alive, but who are now alive no longer: that is to say, dead persons as distinct from dead bodies. Compare Deuteronomy 14:1. Judges 4:22. Lamentations 3:6. And see notes on Matthew 22:32. Acts 26:23. 1Corinthians 15:12, 12, 13, 15, 16. Hebrews 13:20, etc. 3. With a Preposition, but without the Article, which may be latent in the Preposition (ek nekron), it denotes out from among dead people. See notes on Mark 9:9, 10. Luke 16:30, 31. John 20:9. Acts 10:41. Romans 6:13; 10:7, 9; 11:15. 1Corinthians 15:12-, 20. Hebrews 11:19.
4. With a Preposition, and with the Article; for example 'ek ton nekron, it denotes emphatically out from among the dead bodies, or corpses. Compare Ephesians 5:14. Colossians 1:18; 2:12.
5. The bearing of this on 1Peter 4:6 will be better seen if we note that we have nekroi (See No. 2, above), meaning people who were then dead, but who had had the Gospel preached (Appendix 121. 4) to them while they were alive; and this is confirmed by the Greek Particle, men (=although) in the next clause, which is ignored both by the Authorized Version and Revised Version. The verse reads thus: "For to this end to those who are (now) dead was the Gospel preached, that though they might be judged in the flesh, according to [the will of] men,¹ yet they might live [again, in resurrection], according to [the will of] God, as regards [the] spirit"; that is to say, in spiritual bodies, spoken of in 1Corinthians 15:44, 45.
To this end—to give those to whom the apostle wrote this hope—the Gospel was preached to them, as described in 1Peter 1:12, 25. The hope of glory was thus set over against their sufferings (1Peter 1:11; 4:13).
¹ That this is the meaning may be seen from the use of kata (Ap. 104. x. 2). Rom. 8:27; 15:5. 1Cor. 12:8; 15:32; 2Cor. 11:17. Gal. 1:4, 11. Eph. 1:5, 9, 11, 19; 2:2. Col. 2:8. 1Pet. 4:14, 19. 1John 5:14.