1 Peter 3:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

New Living Translation
And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

English Standard Version
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,

New American Standard Bible
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,

King James Bible
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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

International Standard Version
Baptism, which is symbolized by that water, now saves you also, not by removing dirt from the body, but by asking God for a clear conscience based on the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah,

NET Bible
And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you--not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For you also are saved in it by that simile in baptism, not when you wash the body from impurity, but when you confess God with a pure conscience, and by the resurrection of Yeshua, The Messiah,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn't save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Unto the figure of which the baptism that does now correspond saves us (not taking away the uncleanness of the flesh, but giving testimony of a good conscience before God) by the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ,

King James 2000 Bible
The like figure unto which even baptism does 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:

American King James Version
The like figure whereunto even baptism does 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:

American Standard Version
which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Darby Bible Translation
which figure also now saves you, [even] baptism, not a putting away of [the] filth of flesh, but [the] demand as before God of a good conscience, by [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ,

English Revised Version
which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;

Webster's Bible Translation
The like figure to which, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Weymouth New Testament
And, corresponding to that figure, the water of baptism now saves you--not the washing off of material defilement, but the craving of a good conscience after God--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

World English Bible
This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you--not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Young's Literal Translation
also to which an antitype doth now save us -- baptism, (not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the question of a good conscience in regard to God,) through the rising again of Jesus Christ,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:14-22 We sanctify God before others, when our conduct invites and encourages them to glorify and honour him. What was the ground and reason of their hope? We should be able to defend our religion with meekness, in the fear of God. There is no room for any other fears where this great fear is; it disturbs not. The conscience is good, when it does its office well. That person is in a sad condition on whom sin and suffering meet: sin makes suffering extreme, comfortless, and destructive. Surely it is better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing, whatever our natural impatience at times may suggest. The example of Christ is an argument for patience under sufferings. In the case of our Lord's suffering, he that knew no sin, suffered instead of those who knew no righteousness. The blessed end and design of our Lord's sufferings were, to reconcile us to God, and to bring us to eternal glory. He was put to death in respect of his human nature, but was quickened and raised by the power of the Holy Spirit. If Christ could not be freed from sufferings, why should Christians think to be so? God takes exact notice of the means and advantages people in all ages have had. As to the old world, Christ sent his Spirit; gave warning by Noah. But though the patience of God waits long, it will cease at last. And the spirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of their bodies, are committed to the prison of hell, where those that despised Noah's warning now are, and from whence there is no redemption. Noah's salvation in the ark upon the water, which carried him above the floods, set forth the salvation of all true believers. That temporal salvation by the ark was a type of the eternal salvation of believers by baptism of the Holy Spirit. To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but that baptism, of which the baptismal water formed the sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by the regeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and profess faith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presence of God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Let us learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and to inquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on our consciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced to outward things. But many who were baptized, and constantly attended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died in their sins, and are now past recovery. Rest not then till thou art cleansed by the Spirit of Christ and the blood of Christ. His resurrection from the dead is that whereby we are assured of purifying and peace.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us. The reading of the Textus Receptus ω΅ι, represented by "whereunto," is without authority; all the uncial manuscripts have ο}, "which," in the nominative case. The oldest manuscripts also read "you" instead of "us." The antecedent of the relative must be the word immediately preceding, ὕδατος, water; the word "baptism" is added in apposition, to define more clearly the apostle's meaning; the water which saves is the water of baptism. Thus the literal translation will be, "Which (as) antitype is saving you also, (namely) baptism;" that is, the water which is saving you is the antitype of the water of the Flood. That water was made the means of saving a few; it bore up the ark in which they were. It saved them, perhaps, from the malice of the ungodly; it saved them from that corruption which was almost universal; it was the means of saving the race of men as by a new birth through death into a new life, a new beginning; it washed away the evil, those who suffered for evil-doing, and so saved those who had doubtless been suffering for well-doing. Thus it is the figure (τύπος) of the antitype (ἀντίτυπον) baptism; the two (the water of the Flood and the water of baptism) correspond as type and antitype. The ἀντίτυπον is the counterpart of the τύπος; and as τύπος sometimes means the original, sometimes the figure, there is a correspondent variation in the meaning of ἀντίτυπον. Delitzsch says, on Hebrews 9:24, "We have found τύπος at 1 Peter 8:5 used in the sense of an original figure - a model from which a copy is made; such copy from an original (or architype) is that designated as ἀντίτυπα here. Τύπος again (as at Romans 5:14) is used in the sense of a prophetic foretype, of which the accomplishment is reserved for the future (τύπος τῶν μελλόντων); and that accomplishment is again called ἀντίτυπον (antitype); e.g. baptism, at 1 Peter 3:21, is in this sense an ἀντίτυπον of the Deluge. The earthly reflection of the heavenly archetype, and the actual fulfillment of the prophetic τύπος, are each called ἀντίτυπον." Here the water of the Flood is the prophetic foretype; baptism is the accomplishment. "Baptism," St. Peter says, "is saving you," the few Christians, separating you from the vast number of Gentiles, whom in some sense it condemns through their rejection of God's offered mercy (comp. Hebrews 11:7), saving you from the corruption of their evil example, bringing you into the ark of Christ's Church, bearing up that ark through the grace of the new birth. The apostle says, "Baptism is saving you;" he does not say, "hits saved;" he is using the present tense in its proper sense of an incomplete action; it brings us into a state of salvation, into covenant with God. But it is only the beginning, the birth; the growth must follow; the death unto sin, the new birth unto righteousness, must be realized in actual life; otherwise, alas! we shall have received the grace of God in vain (comp. Titus 3:5). (Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.) St. Peter hastens to explain his statement. Baptism doth save us, but not the mere outward ceremony; you may "make clean the outside" with the most scrupulous care; you may be very careful in putting away the filth of the flesh (or, if the genitive is to be regarded as subjective, with Bengel, the flesh may put away its filth); but more is needed than the old Jewish washings, the frequent purifications. Comp. Justin Martyr, ' Dial. cum Trypho,' p. 331 (quoted by Huther), Τί γὰρ ὄφελος ἐκείνου τοῦ βαπτὶσματος (the Jewish washing) ο} τὴν σάρκα καὶ μόνον τὸ σῶμα φαιδρύνει βαπτίσθητε τὴν ψυχήν. Observe that St. Peter uses the word here rendered "putting away" (ἀπόθεσις) again in the Second Epistle (1. 14) of putting off the earthly tabernacle (comp. also 1 Peter 2:1, where he uses the corresponding participle, ἀποθέμενοι). The next clause presents great difficulty. Is the genitive subjective or objective? What is the meaning of ἐπερώτημα? The word ἐπερώτημα occurs only in one other place in the Greek Scriptures (Daniel 4:14 [in the Authorized Version, 4:17D, where it is translated "demand;" the corresponding verb is of frequent occurrence; as in Romans 10:20, "them that asked not after me;" and 2 Kings 11:7 (2 Samuel 11:7, in the Authorized Version), where it is joined with the preposition εἰς, as in this verse. Thus ἐπερώτημα seems to mean an "inquiry," and the genitive is probably subjective. The inner meaning of baptism is not that the flesh puts away its filth, but that a good conscience inquires after God. The outward and visible sign doth not save if separated from the inward and spiritual grace. The first is necessary, for it is an outward sign appointed by Christ; but it will not save without the second; those who draw near to God must have their bodies washed with pure water, but also their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). The inner cleansing of the soul results in a good conscience, a consciousness of sincerity, of good intentions and desires, which will instinctively seek after God. And that good conscience is the effect of baptism, when baptism has its perfect work, when those who have once been grafted into the true Vine abide in Christ, when those who have once been baptized in one Spirit into one body keep the unity of the Spirit, Christ dwelling in them, and they in Christ. Archbishop Leighton explains the word ἐπερώτημα as "the whole correspondence of the conscience with God, and with itself as towards God, or in the sight of God." If the genitive is regarded as objective, the meaning will be, "an inquiry addressed to God for a good conscience;" the soul, once awakened, seeks continually fuller purification, hungers and thirsts after righteousness. This gives a good sense, but seems less suitable in this context. It is possible also to join the preposition εἰς with συνείδησις in the sense of a good conscience in relation to God; but it seems much more natural to connect it with ἐπερώτημα. Some commentators follow AEcumenius in paraphrasing ἐερώτημα by ἀῥῤαβών ἐνέχυρον ἀπόδειξις; they take the ground that, in legal language, the word was used in the sense of a contract, and they see in St. Peter's words a reference to the covenant made with God in baptism, and to the questions and answers in which, from the earliest times, that covenant was expressed; ἐπερώτημα being used in a general sense so as to cover answers as well as questions. This is a possible alternative, but the word seems to have acquired this meaning in later times. By the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These words refer back to "baptism doth also now save us." Baptism derives its saving effect from the resurrection of our Lord; without that resurrection it would be an empty form (see note on 1 Peter 1:3).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us,.... The ark, and deliverance by it, as it was a type of Christ, and salvation by him, so it was a figure of baptism, and baptism was the antitype of that; or there is something in these which correspond, and answer to, and bear a resemblance to each other: as the ark was God's ordinance, and not man's invention, so is baptism, it is of heaven, and not of men; and as the ark, while it was preparing, was the scorn and derision of men, so is this ordinance of the Gospel; it was rejected with disdain by the Scribes and Pharisees, as it still is by many; and as the ark, when Noah and his family were shut up in it by God, represented a burial, and they seemed, as it were, to be buried in it, it was a lively emblem of baptism, which is expressed by a burial, Romans 6:4 and as they in the ark had the great deep broke up under them, and the windows of heaven opened over them, pouring out waters upon them, they were, as it were, immersed in, and were covered with water, this fitly figured baptism by immersion; nor were there any but adult persons that entered into the ark, nor should any be baptized but believers; to which may be added, that as the one saved by water, so does the other; for it is water baptism which is here designed, which John practised, Christ gave a commission for, and his disciples administered: it saves not as a cause, for it has no causal influence on, nor is it essential to salvation. Christ only is the cause and author of eternal salvation; and as those only that were in the ark were saved by water, so those only that are in Christ, and that are baptized into Christ, and into his death, are saved by baptism; not everyone that is baptized, but he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved, Mark 16:16, for baptism

is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh; the design of it is not to take off the sordid flesh, as circumcision did; or in a ceremonious way, outwardly, to sanctify to the purifying of the flesh, as the Jewish baptisms did; see Hebrews 9:10, or to take away either original or actual sin; this only the blood of Christ can do; and it is not a mere external cleansing of the body:

but the answer of a good conscience towards God; the Vulgate Latin renders it, "the interrogation of a good conscience"; referring, it may be, to the interrogations that used to be put to those who desired baptism; as, dost thou renounce Satan? dost thou believe in Christ? see Acts 8:36, others render it, "the stipulation of a good conscience"; alluding also to the ancient custom of obliging those that were baptized to covenant and agree to live an holy life and conversation, to renounce the devil and all his works, and the pomps and vanities of this world; and baptism does certainly lay an obligation on men to walk in newness of life; see Romans 6:4, the Ethiopic version renders it, "confession of God"; and to this the Syriac version agrees, rendering it, "confessing God with a pure conscience"; for, to baptism, profession of faith in Christ, and of the doctrine of Christ in a pure conscience, is requisite; and in baptism persons make a public confession of God, and openly put on Christ before men: the sense seems plainly this; that then is baptism rightly performed, and its end answered, when a person, conscious to himself of its being an ordinance of Christ, and of his duty to submit to it, does do so upon profession of his faith in Christ, in obedience to his command, and "with" a view to his glory; in doing which he discharges a good conscience towards God: and being thus performed, it saves,

by the resurrection of Jesus Christ; being a means of leading the faith of the baptized person, as to the blood of Christ, for pardon and cleansing, so to the resurrection of Christ, to justification; see Acts 2:38, moreover, the sense of the passage may be this, that baptism is a like figure as the ark of Noah was; that as the entrance of Noah and his family into the ark was an emblem of a burial, so their coming out of it was a figure of the resurrection; and just such a figure is baptism, performed by immersion, both of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and of the resurrection of saints to walk in newness of life. The Arabic version renders the whole verse thus; "of which thing baptism is now a type saving us, not by removing the filth of the flesh only, but by exhilarating a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ".

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21. whereunto—The oldest manuscripts read, "which": literally, "which (namely, water, in general; being) the antitype (of the water of the flood) is now saving (the salvation being not yet fully realized by us, compare 1Co 10:1, 2, 5; Jude 5; puts into a state of salvation) us also (two oldest manuscripts read 'you' for 'us': You also, as well as Noah and his party), to wit, baptism." Water saved Noah not of itself, but by sustaining the ark built in faith, resting on God's word: it was to him the sign and mean of a kind of regeneration, of the earth. The flood was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red Sea was for the Israelites; by baptism in the flood he and his family were transferred from the old world to the new: from immediate destruction to lengthened probation; from the companionship of the wicked to communion with God; from the severing of all bonds between the creature and the Creator to the privileges of the covenant: so we by spiritual baptism. As there was a Ham who forfeited the privileges of the covenant, so many now. The antitypical water, namely, baptism, saves you also not of itself, nor the mere material water, but the spiritual thing conjoined with it, repentance and faith, of which it is the sign and seal, as Peter proceeds to explain. Compare the union of the sign and thing signified, Joh 3:5; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 10:22; compare 1Jo 5:6.

not the, &c.—"flesh" bears the emphasis. "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh" (as is done by a mere water baptism, unaccompanied with the Spirit's baptism, compare Eph 2:11), but of the soul. It is the ark (Christ and His Spirit-filled Church), not the water, which is the instrument of salvation: the water only flowed round the ark; so not the mere water baptism, but the water when accompanied with the Spirit.

answer—Greek, "interrogation"; referring to the questions asked of candidates for baptism; eliciting a confession of faith "toward God" and a renunciation of Satan ([Augustine, The Creed, 4.1]; [Cyprian, Epistles, 7, To Rogatianus]), which, when flowing from "a good conscience," assure one of being "saved." Literally, "a good conscience's interrogation (including the satisfactory answer) toward God." I prefer this to the translation of Wahl, Alford and others, "inquiry of a good conscience after God": not one of the parallels alleged, not even 2Sa 11:7, in the Septuagint, is strictly in point. Recent Byzantine Greek idiom (whereby the term meant: (1) the question; (2) the stipulation; (3) the engagement), easily flowing from the usage of the word as Peter has it, confirms the former translation.

by the resurrection of Jesus—joined with "saves you": In so far as baptism applies to us the power of Christ's resurrection. As Christ's death unto sin is the source of the believer's death unto, and so deliverance from, sin's penalty and power; so His resurrection life is the source of the believer's new spiritual life.

1 Peter 3:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
Suffering for Righteousness
20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21Corresponding 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, 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Cross References
Acts 16:33
At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Titus 3:5
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 9:14
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Hebrews 10:22
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 13:18
Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 3:16
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Treasury of Scripture

The like figure whereunto even baptism does 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:

like.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that …

1 Corinthians 4:6 And these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself …

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which …

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; …

baptism.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name …

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes …

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you …

Acts 22:16 And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your …

Romans 6:3-6 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ …

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be …

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him …

Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to …

the putting.

Ezekiel 36:25,26 Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: …

Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David …

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves …

the answer.

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And …

Romans 10:9,10 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall …

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that …

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto …

by. See on ch.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…

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