It seemed like I was drowning at the time, but perhaps the single course that has had the deepest influence on me was a Greek class at Liberty University. It was my third year of college and my fourth semester of Greek. Dr. Paul Fink not only took us verse-by-verse through 1 Peter, he introduced us to Diagrammatical Analysis. Diagramming paragraphs is still my favorite method for studying and meditating on the Word.
The final project for that class required that we put together all the work we’d done into a completed commentary, along with our diagrams and outline of the book.
I happen to be taking my current class of Comeford College students, who happen to be in their fourth semester of Greek, through 1 Peter as well (though I have not assigned them any diagramming).
Our elders are teaching through 1 Peter during our evening services, and I’m up next this coming Sunday night. I assigned myself 1 Peter 3:18-22, and we just talked about it at our last Greek class. It is regularly regarded as the most difficult passage in the New Testament to interpret. While the main point is unmistakably clear and comforting, a lot of the details are debated.
It brought to mind the only comment written by a teacher/professor on any of my tests or papers that I remember. In 1995 I took a position in my commentary that (I think) I no longer hold. Dr. Fink wrote: “You can be wrong if you want to.” Ha!
Of course, that doesn’t apply to the nature of Christ or the way of salvation; some truths must be defended not disputed. When it comes to 1 Peter 3:19, well, there are reasonable disagreements. Take heart, you too can be wrong if you want to.