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Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible
1 Peter 5

 

 

Introduction

Outline of Chapter 5:

Instructions To The Elders:

Complete Dependence Upon God:

Exhortation And Greetings:

Introductory Comments:

‘The severe persecutions then descending upon the church (), could have scattered the flock….In view of such impending trials, the need for a strong, capable, dedicated, spiritual leadership was great. When the church is under great stress, its spiritual overseers must attend to their responsibilities with diligence.’ (Oberst p. 225)

Commentary On Chapter 5:


Verse 1

1 Peter 5:1 ‘Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed.’

‘Therefore’-Connecting this section to the previous chapter. ‘Pressure on a social group can cause it to disintegrate, and the leadership is the focus of the pressure both from without and within.’ (Davids pp. 174-175)

‘I exhort the elders among you’-We sometimes forget that elders also need encouragement. ‘Elders’-Presbuteros. The word seems to indicate their maturity or depth of spiritual experience. Some have tried to argue that elders are simply the older men in the congregation. But such a theory would be forced to throw out the qualifications mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Hence, not every aged male Christian is an ‘elder’ in the sense which Peter is using the term in the above verse.

Points to Note:

Elders are also known as bishops/overseers and pastors (Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5-8; 1 Peter 5:2). 2. The pattern for congregational government is a plurality of elders in each congregation (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 5:17).

‘exhort’-These elders would need to muster every ounce of wisdom and strength as the congregations they shepherded were hit by severe trials. Especially, during times of stress and trial, people need strong leadership, clear direction, and spiritually minded individuals to point them away from complaining and towards a complete trust in God. It is so easy for people to lose their perspective during times of hardship.

‘as your fellow elder’-‘Though one of the apostles, he chose to base his exhortation on the fact that he, too, was an elder, and thus on the same level in this respect as those he wrote to.’ (Woods p. 123) ‘This lets the elders know that he thinks of himself as one of those with whom judgment will begin-even he, an apostle, is not exempt, nor should any among his readers think themselves too important or too sanctified to be exempt.’ (Grudem p. 186) In calling himself a ‘fellow elder’, it is obvious that Peter wasn’t a universal bishop or pope.

Points To Note:

In calling himself an elder, the following facts are immediately known about the personal life of Peter: A. He was a married man (Mark 1:30; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Titus 1:6). B. He was a father who had children that were Christians (Titus 1:6). The mandatory celibacy of religious workers, as advocated by Catholicism and other groups, looks silly in light of the above verse. A man who works among one congregation can’t be married (i.e. Catholic priest), but the apostles could be married? A priest would be completely ineffective if he was married, but the apostles were able to accomplish great things with wives and a family?

‘witness of the sufferings of Christ’-Peter had seen various aspects of the suffering that Jesus had endured. The events in the Garden (John 18:10). The trial before Annas (John 18:16). This statement gives tremendous weight to Peter’s words. He is not simply re-telling a story that he heard. He was there, he saw it with his own eyes and heard it with his own ears.

Points to Note:

The apostles were selected to be eyewitnesses (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15; Acts 5:32; Acts 10:39; Acts 10:41; Acts 13:31). 2. This statement, ‘bluntly recalls, for Peter and for anyone familiar with the details surrounding Christ’s crucifixion, the most painful episode in Peter’s life-for we remember what kind of “witness” Peter was: one whose courage failed and who three times denied that he even knew Christ (Matthew 26:69-75). Why does Peter recall this? Probably to demonstrate that restoration even from grievous sin is possible with Christ….and thus to encourage in the elders a humble willingness to be penitent for sin rather than a hypocritical pride and an unwillingness ever to admit to doing wrong.’ (Grudem p. 186) 3. ‘Peter can speak with feeling, knowledge, and understanding of what suffering entails.’ (Hamilton p. 285) 4. ‘True, he was sometimes “at a distance”…from the Lord’s suffering (Matthew 26:58), but he could still speak from personal observation.’ (Oberst p. 227)

‘a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed’-‘Partaker’-companion, partner, sharer. ‘Glory that is to be revealed’-The future glory that will be given to the faithful (Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 4:13). 1. God didn’t place the apostles under a different standard of judgment than others. They also had to remain faithful (2 Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 9:27). 2. It is encouraging to hear the examples to the flock expressing their confidence and hope in eternal life. 3. Peter wasn’t exempt from suffering. He didn’t live in a mansion. 4. The verse also reveals that we can have confidence about our salvation. If we are being faithful, then we KNOW that future glory awaits us. This demands that the standard of faithfulness is clear and understandable to all.

Point to Note:

‘the reference to Christ’s suffering may also function as a reminder to the elders that just as Christ was willing to suffer for them, so they should be willing to endure hardship and suffering for the sake of those (in the churches they oversee-MD)’ (Grudem p. 187)

This is something that all men need to take seriously. Serving as an elder isn’t easy, it will involve difficult situations and decisions. But if Jesus was willing to endure so much for me, than I can do whatever I can to see that His people have good leadership and guidance. It is a noble and courageous cause to shepherd God’s people. Jesus is always in need of men who are willing to watch over His people.


Verse 2

1 Peter 5:2 ‘shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;’

‘shepherd’-‘rule, govern’ (Thayer p. 527). Poimaino-‘to act as a shepherd’ (Vine p. 87). ‘fig., of activity that protects, rules, governs, fosters, in the sense lead, guide, rule’ (Arndt p. 683) ‘the verb denotes all that is included in the office of a shepherd, guiding, guarding, folding, no less than feeding.’ (Vincent p. 665). 1. The noun form of the word “shepherd” is translated “pastors” in Ephesians . 2. The ‘pastors’ of the flock are the elders (Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28). 3. The ‘pastor system’ in various denominational churches (one man over a congregation) is unknown in the Bible.

Points to Note:

There are many parallels between the work of shepherds who took care of literal sheep and the work of elders: 1. Both are to protect the flock under their care. The shepherd of old carried a staff or rod, and sometimes a sling (Psalms 23:4; Titus 1:9-11; Acts 20:29-30). 2. To feed the flock and see that they receive nourishing food. 3. To watch over the flock and go after the sheep that is straying (Hebrews 13:17).

‘the flock of God’- 1. Which is a clear reminder to the elders that they are taking care of something that belongs to God and not themselves (Jeremiah 23:1-4). 2. It is very tempting to start viewing the church as something that belongs to us. 3. People caught up in denominational thinking will often speak of the church as something that belongs to the preacher. ‘So, you have your own church’. 3. The tremendous value of the flock is seen from the fact that these are people redeemed with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28).

‘among you’-This is a direct command. God is specific about which flock elders are to oversee. ‘he orders them to feed the flock of God, not generally, not ecumenically, but locally.’ (Alford p. 1665). 1. Each local congregation had its own elders (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17). 2. Elders are never told to oversee a flock in which they are not members or among. This automatically limits the oversight of elders/bishops/pastors. The concept of bishops overseeing more than one congregation is foreign to the Scriptures. The only organizational structure beyond the local congregation is Jesus as head over all things to the church and ruling in heaven (Ephesians 1:22-23). Any organizational structure beyond the eldership in each local congregation is adding to the Word of God (Revelation 22:18-19). 3. This Scripture completely contradicts the idea of religious conventions, state, regional and national governing boards or headquarters.

‘exercising oversight’-‘look upon, inspect, oversee, look after’ (Thayer p. 242). The statement is in the present tense. The word translated ‘exercising oversight’ is related to the word translated ‘bishop/overseer’. The statements in show, ‘that when this epistle was written the words “elder” and “bishop” and “pastor” were synonymous.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 206) Which demands the question, ‘What right do men in have in changing the meanings of these words and applying them to offices that are foreign to the Word of God?’

Points To Note:

‘Elders are to observe and look into what the flock is doing and encountering and then to do what is essential to their spiritual welfare…(Hamilton) 2. At times people are very quick to say, ‘This isn’t any of the elder’s business.’ God can commanded them to ‘oversee’. And if something is adversely affecting your relationship with God, the spiritual welfare of other members, or the reputation of the congregation, then they must get involved (Hebrews 13:17).

‘not under compulsion’-‘by force, unwillingly’ (Vine p. 232). ‘not of constraint’ (ASV); ‘not as though it were forced upon you’ (Gspd).

‘but voluntarily’-‘without compulsion, deliberately, intentionally.’ (Arndt p. 243).

Points to Note:

‘means not doing the job simply out of obligation or because “someone has to do it”, but because the elder has freely and willingly chosen to carry out this valuable work.’ (Grudem p. 188) 2. ‘It is true that elders did not volunteer or select themselves but were selected by others (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5), yet they were not to think of their work as something forced upon them.’ (Davids p. 178). 3. ‘This does not mean that he is gaily to enter upon office without a self-examining thought…But there is a way of accepting office and of rendering service as if it was a grim and unpleasant duty, as if it was a weariness, as if it was a burden to be resented.’ (Barclay p. 314) 4. ‘Voluntarily’ doesn’t mean that a man seeking the office has no qualms or second-thoughts. It is a awesome task and should be taken very seriously. Neither does it mean that such a man should feel a complete lack of compulsion. A man should feel the sort of compulsion that comes from a serious reading of the Word of God (1 Corinthians 9:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14). 5. Aspiring to the office of an elder, should be done intelligently, deliberately, intently, and purposefully (1 Timothy 3:1). 6. God wants the motivation to serve to come from within the man who will serve.

‘according to the will of God’-1. Serving because of pure inward motivation is the type of men that God wants in the eldership. ‘Literally, “according to God”, i.e. God would have it this way-“voluntarily.” Service to Him should always be thus rendered.’ (Oberst p. 229) 2. In addition, the will of God governs every aspect of how a elder is to rule. He isn’t given authority in addition to the will of God. And neither is the will of God ever to be altered by human religious authorities. So much for the idea that ‘church tradition’ is equal to Scripture or can override it.

‘and not for sordid gain’-‘Sordid’-‘in fondness of dishonest gain’ ‘The reference, then, is not simply to one who is greedy of money, but to a man who so loves money that he will, without hesitation, stoop to low practices to make “a quick buck”.’ (Oberst p. 230). 1. One of the qualifications for elders is that they must be free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7). 2. It appears that there was enough money in local congregations to draw dishonest men to the office. 3. There have always been people who have seen Christianity as simply a stepping stone to wealth or power. 4. God’s shepherds in the O.T. often fell into the trap of turning their position into a lucrative business, i.e. serving from the motive of personal profit (Isaiah 56:11; Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10; Jeremiah 5:31). 5. There is nothing wrong in paying elders (1 Timothy 5:17). We see two contrasts in the above verse. On the one hand one who labors for personal profit. Selfish ambition for wealth, position and power. On the other hand, one who is zealously working for the glory of God. 6. From other passages we know that the oversight of elders includes overseeing the finances of the local congregation (Acts 11:29-30).

‘but with eagerness’-‘willingly, eagerly, freely’ (Arndt p. 706). Work that is done eagerly, promptly, heartily and cheerfully. ‘Broken down, this work is from ‘pro’, which means literally ‘forward, i.e. with’ and ‘thumos’, spirit, heart…it implies zeal and enthusiasm…denoting not mere willingness, but zeal!’ (Oberst p. 230) Again, we are dealing with motive. Personal gain and ambition are not the motives. Rather, a zeal for the will of God, a love for His people, an ardor to see the cause of Christ move forward. In contrast, there are always people in religion who are into it for the money (Jude 1:12; 2 Peter 2:3).


Verse 3

1 Peter 5:3 ‘nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.’

‘lording it over’-While elders do have authority and must ‘rule’ (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17). The idea of ‘lording it over’ carries the concept of high-handed rule, to play the role of a tyrant (Matthew 20:25-28). Ruling that has become divorced from reason. ‘it implies something of scorn and tyranny or even of hostility’ (P.P. Comm. 207). The previous verse had warned against the motive of greed, here we have a warning against the motive of power. ‘The word “lording it over” always seems to involve the use of arbitrary, arrogant, selfish, or excessively restrictive rule. He implies that elders should govern not by the use of threats, emotional intimidation, or flaunting of power…’ (Grudem p. 189)

Points to Note:

The elder must not be in love with being in charge. 2. ‘There are those who love authority, even if that authority be exercised in a narrow sphere. Milton’s Satan thought it better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven…Any man who enters on office with the desire for the pre-eminence…has got his whole point of view upside down.’ (Barclay p. 316) The man who properly seeks the office will realize that being an elder is much more about serving than being served (Mark 10:43-45). 3. Diotrephes wasn’t the last man who looked at Christianity as a way to elevate himself above others (3 John 1:9).

‘those allotted to your charge’-‘that which has been assigned by lot, portion, share’ (Arndt p. 435). The local congregation () is the portion of God’s people which have been allotted to the care of an eldership.

Points to Note:

‘One cannot, consistent with the language of this section…say that elders are over more than one flock or congregation. Nor can one say that elders have only a portion or a few of the local congregation in their care that is allotted to them.’ (Hamilton p. 295)

Again, this statement should remind us that what the elders oversee, belongs to God.

‘proving to be examples to the flock’-‘present active, continually becoming’ (Robertson p. 131) (Acts 20:28) ‘Examples’-‘models for them to copy’ (Nor).

Points to Note:

Some have tried to argue that the only ‘authority’ which elders possess is the authority of being a good example. Which in essence is saying that they don’t have any authority. If a parent were to tell us, ‘I can’t discipline my children, or do anything when they misbehave, all I can do is try to be a good example’. We would label them as a very naïve and ineffective parent. The ‘authority of example’ is a meaningless statement. 2. ‘It is important to note that in the foregoing verse that which Peter forbids is the abuse of authority and not its proper use.’ (Woods p. 126) 3. ‘Although we may already recognize that God himself is our example to imitate (Ephesians 5:1) and that Jesus is our perfect example for a human life pleasing to God (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6) we are probably surprised to find how often the early Christians expected all their leaders to live in a way which others could imitate as well: they did not have to be perfect in order to be examples to the flock. Paul frequently urged others to imitate his example (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; Philippians 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9), and told both Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12) and Titus (Titus 2:7-8) that they were to live as examples of the Christian life to others.’ (Grudem p. 189) What this means is that fallible human beings can be tremendous examples of faith (Hebrews Chapter 11). God hasn’t given us an impossible standard. The commands of God are very realistic.


Verse 4

1 Peter 5:4 ‘And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.’

‘And when’-Jesus is coming again (2 Peter 3:10). Notice that God doesn’t promise elders an earthly reward. But a reward for faithful service does exist.

‘the Chief Shepherd’-A reference to Jesus Christ (John 10:11; John 10:14; John 10:16; Hebrews 13:20). Points to Note: 1. All elders are on equal footing beneath, the Chief Shepherd. Including Peter (5:1). 2. Every elder is accountable to Jesus Christ. They are simply His ‘under-shepherds’, who are to take good care of His people. 3. Peter would certainly be offended if someone had referred to him as the Chief Shepherd over the elders of the churches.

‘you will receive’-Assuming that one has been the type of elder described in the previous verses.

‘the unfading crown of glory’-‘Unfading’-amarantinos. ”Amarantinos” -derived from the name of a flower (amaranth), which was so-called because it never withers and revives itself when moistened with water and hence was used as a symbol of immorality. ‘never-withering wreath of glory’ (Wey); ‘the glorious wreath that will never fade’ (Gspd). ‘Crown of glory’-(1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:11) ‘It is the crown of victory in the games; or military valor; the marriage wreath, or the festal garland, the conquerors crown.’ (Vincent p. 667) ‘indicate the eternal honor or reputation that elders who serve well will receive from Christ…They may be despised on earth (and indeed rejected by their own neighbors), but they will be honored in heaven. And that is something well worth working and suffering for.’ (Davids p. 182) ‘The idea is that what the elders receive has the quality of never corrupting or losing its brilliance and radiance.’ (Hamilton p. 303)


Verse 5

1 Peter 5:5 ‘You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’

‘likewise, be subject to your elders’-‘Likewise’-‘equally, in the same way’ (Thayer p. 445); ‘in your turn’ (Alford p. 1666). ‘Be subject’-‘to subject one’s self, to obey’ (Thayer p. 645)

Points to Note:

When Peter uses the phrase ‘your elders’ in this verse is he talking about the ‘elders’ just mentioned or has he shifted to respect for older members? 2. Those who believe that Peter is now talking about respect towards the older men in the congregation cite 1 Timothy 5:1 which seems to parallel 1 Peter 5:5 in many respects. In addition, they point out the contrast between ‘elder’ and ‘younger’, noting that the contrast is one of age. The thought would then be that younger Christians need to be respectful, kind, courteous and thoughtful in respect to older Christians. God has always demanded respect for the aged (2 Kings 2:23-25; Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31; Proverbs 20:29; Lamentations 5:12). 3. Yet, coming on the heels of instructions to elders, this verse could be a specific command to younger Christians. ‘Likewise’, as is true of all other members in the congregation, you also need to be in subjection to the elders. 4. The temptation that has faced every generation is to second-guess and resent those in positions of authority. At times younger men become impatient because things aren’t moving as quickly as they would like. It is easy to second-guess when you are not the one being called upon to make the decision. 5. Unfortunately, our society tends to glorify the dark side of youth, i.e. rebellion and unwillingness to listen. The myth seems to be that young people always have the better ideas or that they have a clearer view of reality, they see things that older people can’t see. Such is false. Each generation thinks that it has stumbled upon an insight that no other generation has seen. We need to be careful that we don’t make excuses for our children. Rebellion and disrespect are not mere stages, they are sins! (Romans 1:30)

‘and all of you’-All the members. ‘Even so, the question remains why Peter spoke only to “you that are younger”, and not to the whole church, in commanding submission to the elders. It is probably because the younger people were generally those who would most need a reminder to be submissive…This would not imply that the others were free to rebel against the elders, but quite the opposite: if those who are likely to be most independent-minded and even at times rebellious against church leaders are commanded to be subject to the elders, then it follows that certainly everyone else must be subject to the elders as well.’ (Grudem pp. 192-193)

‘clothe yourselves’-‘Clothe’-‘fasten or gird on oneself…apron of slaves’ (Thayer p. 166). ‘The corresponding noun, was the name of an apron worn by slaves, which was tied round them when at work, to keep their dress clean…The association of the slaves apron seems also to suggest that Christians should be ready to submit to the humblest works of charity for others, and to point back to the lowliness of the Lord Jesus, when he girded himself, and washed the feet of the apostles, John 13:4-5.’ (P.P. Comm. pp. 207-208). ‘Hence the figure carries an exhortation to put on humility as a working virtue.’ (Vincent p. 668) ‘Used figuratively here, the meaning is, “Tie on humility like a slave’s apron.” The saints were thus to array themselves in humility; to tie it securely like a garment so that it might never fall away. So arrayed, they were to regard no service too menial or lowly, no task too small for them to perform.’ (Woods p. 129) Jesus gave us an example of this truth in John 13:10-17.

‘with humility’-‘humble opinion of oneself, modesty, lowliness of mind’ (Thayer p. 614) Humility happens when we realize our own short-comings. Understand that everything that we have comes from God. And that others are just as important before God as ourselves. True humility doesn’t produce pride (look how humble I am), rather, it produces gratitude. One never outgrows the need for humility, ‘all of you’. ‘No one is exempt, for Peter includes….young and old, new Christians and mature believers..’ (Grudem p. 193) Consider the following passages (Philippians 2:2-5; Matthew 11:29; Romans 12:3).

‘toward one another’-‘to serve one another’ (ASV); ‘in mutual service’ (TCNT). Pride and arrogance prevent us from being effective servants. When we allow ourselves to become infected by pride, we start thinking that everyone should serve us or that we are too busy and involved in too many “important” things to assist others. Humility enables us to get our mind off ourselves and think about those are in need (Philippians 2:2-5). In addition, the proud may be seen ‘serving’, but they do so for the wrong reasons.

‘God is opposed to the proud’-Quotation from Proverbs 3:34. ‘Opposed’-‘a military term, range in battle against, set oneself against’ (Vine p. 286). ‘The whole quotation applies well to daily Christian living, since the present tense verbs give the sense “God is continually opposing the proud but continually giving grace to the humble”.’ (Grudem p. 194). ‘Proud’-the haughty and arrogant. Including the ideas of treating others with contempt. See (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2; James 4:6)

Points to Note:

God is opposed to the proud because: 1. The proud trust in themselves and their own resources. Arrogance is viewed as the complete opposite of faith (Habakkuk 2:4). The humble trust in God. 2. The proud refuse to admit their need of God. 3. The proud refuse to own up to their sins and how they have hurt others. 4. The proud are intend upon bringing glory to themselves, rather than bringing glory to God. 5. The proud only see themselves and their own needs. 6. The great commandment for the arrogant is, ‘Thou shalt love thyself with all thy heart, mind and strength.’ 7. Pride also brings about contention and strife (Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 28:25). 8. The arrogant person refuses to listen or learn (Proverbs 15:12). God is definitely against such people (Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 6:16-17; Proverbs 8:18; Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 21:4).

‘but gives grace to the humble’-‘Grace’-favor, help (Luke 18:13) ‘Only the humble are in a position to receive the spiritual blessings and kindness offered by God.’ (Oberst p. 235)


Verse 6

1 Peter 5:6 ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,’

‘Humble yourselves’- ‘From humility before others, Peter passes to humility before God.’ (Grudem p. 194) Seeing that God bestows blessings upon the humble and is dead set against the arrogant, humility is an essential virtue! Stresses that humility is something that one must voluntarily seek and want. ‘Among other things this will involve bowing to God’s wisdom, accepting the twists and turns of his providence, and entrusting our concerns to him.’ (Grudem p. 194)

‘under the mighty hand of God’-(Exodus 3:19; Deuteronomy 3:24; Luke 1:51-52). Points to Note: 1. This statement should remind us that God is still in control of this world. The same mighty hand that brought the children of Israel out of bondage (Exodus 13:19; Deuteronomy 9:26), is still active and working on the side of God’s people even to this day. 2. ‘The Christian never resents the experiences of life, and never rebels against them…’ (Barclay p. 322) 3. The expression ‘hand of God’, would also infer God’s protective care, that God is watching out for them, even during times of persecution. God is all-powerful and God never loses control of any situation.

‘that’-The benefits of humbling ourselves. Unfortunately, many people have convinced themselves that humility is a weak thing. In order to get what they need they must arrogantly assert themselves.

‘He may exalt you at the proper time’-‘Neither the specific time nor the kind of “exaltation” are specified, so it is best to understand the statement generally: “that in the time God deems best, whether in this life or in the life to come, he may lift you up from your humble conditions and “exalt” you in the way that seems best to him---perhaps only in terms of increased spiritual blessings and deeper fellowship with himself, perhaps also in terms of responsibility, reward, or honor which will be seen by others as well.’ (Grudem p. 195)

Points to Note:

Jesus expressed the same truth (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11). 2. This means that we don’t have to worry and fret about whether or not we are getting any credit for a job well done. 3. The verse also implies that we need to be patient. Stop worrying about not getting human recognition or glory. 4. Human praise is worth nothing, compared to the praise which God will bestow upon us. 5. God will make sure that His people are rewarded (Luke 18:14; Acts 13:17). ‘If one humbles one’s self to suffer ignominy, abuse, and persecution in order to keep doing the will of God, then is the assurance that God will lift him on high…’(Hamilton p. 313) 6. This truth also enables the Christian to stop fretting about situations in which the wrong people are praised. (Ecclesiastes 8:10; Ecclesiastes 8:14)


Verse 7

1 Peter 5:7 ‘casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.’

‘casting’-‘throw upon, place upon’ (Thayer p. 242). ‘The aorist participle denoting an act once for all; throwing the whole life with its care on him’ (Vincent p. 668) (Psalms 55:22; Matthew 6:25; Philippians 4:6). Humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God includes casting all your cares upon Him, i.e. trusting Him and not yourself.

Points to Note:

‘Peter recognizes that a great barrier to putting others first and thinking of them as more important is the legitimate human concern “But who then will care for me?’ The answer is that God himself will care for our needs. He is able to do far more than we are…Therefore casting all your anxieties on him is the path to humility, freeing a person from constant concern for himself and enabling him or her truly to be concerned for the needs of others.’ (Grudem p. 195) 2. ‘We can be certain that, because God cares for us, life is out, not to break us but to make us; and, with that assurance, we can accept any experience which comes to us, knowing that God works everything together for good to them who love Him (Romans 8:28).’ (Barclay pp. 322-323)

‘all’-‘The whole of your care.’ (Vincent p. 668) And yet some of us have the tendency to insist that we have something to worry about. We need to realize that any type of anxiety can choke the Word (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19).

‘anxiety’-‘to draw in different directions, distract, that which causes this, an anxious care’ (Vine p. 168) ‘anxiety…is rooted in a yesterday that we cannot believe forgiven or in a tomorrow that we will not trust.’ (Plain Talk 11/3/1) Anxiety happens when one thinks that they are the only one who is looking out for themselves. That everything rests upon their shoulders

‘because He cares for you’-‘meaning the watchful care of interest and affection’ (Vincent p. 669). ‘You are his personal concern’ (Phi). 1. Notice the freedom that is given the Christian! Serving God isn’t a life of hard bondage, rather, it is the life in which someone is constantly watching over you. God has liberated you from distracting cares and worries. 2. God has already proven His great concern and interest in us, in having His Son die for our sins (Romans 8:32). 3. In the context, “pride” keeps us from being liberated from our worries. ‘Pride is at the root of most of our anxiety. To human pride it is humiliating to cast everything upon another and be cared for.’ (Vincent p. 669) Unfortunately, we insist upon loading down ourselves with unnecessary cares. Or, we burden brethren, family members---we insist on talking to everyone, but God!

Living In The Midst Of Spiritual Conflict:


Verse 8

1 Peter 5:8 ‘Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’

‘Be of sober spirit’-‘temperate, circumspect’ (Thayer p. 425). ‘Well balanced, self-controlled’ (Arndt p. 538). 1. God will care for us, but we must exercise some spiritual alertness. 2. ‘If one is successfully to deal with the Devil and his efforts to lead astray, one must be wholly rational and self-possessed, keeping all mental and spiritual factors calm and collected.’ (Hamilton p. 316) 3. Giving into a distracting care, demanding the right to worry about something, automatically places us in a vulnerable position 4. ‘clear-headedness that comes from a freedom from mental confusion or passion.’ (Davids p. 189) 5. The Christian who is distracted by a care needs to realize that their faith is under attack! 6. ‘The opposite of this sober watchfulness is a kind of spiritual drowsiness in which one sees and responds to situations no differently than unbelievers, and God’s perspective on each event is seldom if ever considered.’ (Grudem p. 196)

‘be on the alert’-Jesus often stressed the same truth (Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 26:38; Matthew 26:40-41). 1. ‘The Greek verbs translated “be of sober spirit” and “be on the alert” are both aorist imperatives, indicating sharp commands to be heeded at once.’ (Oberst p. 238) 2. We can become careless in our relationship with God (Hebrews 2:1). 3. Such alertness is also needed because we are up against a real opponent who is out to destroy us.

‘Your adversary’-Notice the word “Your”. The Devil isn’t merely God’s opponent, he is also “your”opponent. He doesn’t like you, he hates you, he wants you to be miserable forever! ‘Adversary’-‘firstly, an opponent in a lawsuit, an adversary..’(Vine p. 34). ‘and so it is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘satan’ (P.P. Comm. p. 208) (Job 1:6; Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1). The devil is like a spiritual crooked lawyer who is out to sue you for everything that you have. We cannot afford to pretend that he doesn’t exist, or that his beef is with God and not us. We can’t say, ‘This isn’t our fight’, or, ‘I don’t want to get involved’.

‘the devil’-‘false accuser, slanderer’ (Thayer p. 135). He makes false accusations about God (Genesis 3:1-5); and makes false accusations about us to God (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6; Revelation 12:9-10). He is a liar! (John 8:44) Notice the contrast: ‘Jesus is our Friend, and Advocate (John 15:12-15; 1 John 2:1). His love and actions for us are precisely the opposite of Satan’s. All that He does to or for us, He does out of a heart of true caring..and for our good. Not so with the devil. He has nothing but harm, danger, and ultimately our ruin in mind!’ (Oberst p. 238)

‘prowls about like a roaring lion’-1. ‘a prowling lion attacks suddenly, viciously, and often when its unsuspecting victim is engaged in routine activities.’ (Grudem p. 196) 2. The devil is always working, always seeking and looking for a weakness in someone. He is a relentless foe. He never suffers from burn out! ‘it forms an ample basis for alertness, for when a lion is on the prowl it is not time to sleep.’ (Davids p. 191) ‘the words express the restless energy of the wicked one.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 208)

‘seeking’-Always seeking to tempt someone. Constantly looking for someone who is becoming careless, apathetic, selfish, etc….

‘someone’-He is not intimidated by any mortal.

‘to devour’-‘swallow down’ (Thayer p. 335). ‘to gulp down, or swallow, thus utterly destroy.’ (Woods p. 130). ‘implies utter destruction’ (P.P. Comm. p. 208) His goal is to destroy! The devil just isn’t out to hurt us or hinder us slightly. ‘Satan would divide and distract our minds from Christ---perhaps with cares; perhaps with riches and pleasures, or in other ways, just so long as it is us from Christ; whatever hinders our doing his will or encourages not doing it is of the devil. His deal is simple: give him a place in you now and he’ll give you a place with him in eternity (Matthew 25:41).’ (Plain Talk 12/8/3)


Verse 9

1 Peter 5:9 ‘But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.’

‘But resist him’-resist, oppose. 1. The devil can be resisted! He isn’t an all-powerful foe (James 4:7). 2. ‘this means that no man has to serve satan; that every man as a free moral agent can choose his master.’ (Plain Talk 12/8/3). 3. The devil needs our permission before he can devour us (Ephesians 4:27). 4. The devil’s power lies in the persuasive lies and myths which he spreads (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:4-5; Matthew 4:3-9).

‘firm in your faith’-‘Firm’-(1 Corinthians 15:58). 1. Firm in reference to one’s trust in God and in whatever God has said (Colossians 1:23). ‘signifies that defeat is not inevitable. Christians must resist, expecting that the enemy will flee, God’s kingdom will advance, they will grow in faith and holiness through conflict..’ (Grudem p. 197) 2. ‘indicates rock-like stability, a solidity and firmness originating in faith..’ (Woods p. 130) 3. ‘your faith’-To be of any benefit, we must have our own faith-and not a second hand or borrowed faith. Only personal conviction can resist the advances of the devil.(Ephesians 6:16)’

‘knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world’-‘One thing that will make their commitment firmer is the awareness that they are not suffering alone. It is not “just me” who is suffering or even “just us”, laments that make the suffering seem unfair and unjust.’ (Davids pp. 192-193) (1 Corinthians 10:13) ‘Like soldiers whose morale is strengthened by knowing that the whole army is engaged in the same battle-hardships they are in..’ (Davids p. 193)


Verse 10

1 Peter 5:10 ‘And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.’

‘suffered for a little while’-Eternity always places everything in the right perspective. Even the most intense suffering is only for a little while (2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:18).

‘the God of all grace’-‘the giver of all grace’ (Knox); ‘the giver of every spiritual blessing’ (Wms). (; 4:10; 5:5) The God who gives ‘grace’ for every situation, the God who ensures that there never exists a hardship which is beyond our ability to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

‘who called you to His eternal glory in Christ’ -This ‘calling’ was the first proof of His grace (2 Thessalonians 2:14). 1. ‘to share in his eternal glory’ (Mon) 2. ‘in Christ’-The acceptance of the calling happens ‘in Christ’. The person who accepts the gospel message is baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-4. And the eternal glory is also in Christ. Reject Christ and you are rejecting eternal life (John 8:24; John 14:6).

‘will Himself’-Denoting God’s personal interest in us. God wants to share heaven with all many as possible.

‘perfect’-‘strengthen, complete, make one what he ought to be’ (Thayer p. 336). ‘Put into proper condition, make complete’ (Arndt p. 417). ‘The radical notion of the verb is, therefore, adjustment---the putting of all the parts into right relation and connection.’ (Vincent p. 671). ‘the focus is on their character. Through their suffering God will produce a fully restored… confirmed character in them.’ (Davids p. 195)

‘confirm’-‘strengthen, make firm’ (Thayer p. 588) (Luke 22:32; Romans 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Peter 1:12; Revelation 3:2). ‘Refers to fixity and immobility of those who rely on the Lord.’ (Woods p. 132)

‘strengthen’-‘Shall perfect, that no defect remain in you: shall establish, that nothing may shake you: shall strengthen, that you may overcome every adverse force. A saying worthy of Peter. He is strengthening his brethren.’ (Vincent p. 672).

‘establish’-‘lit., shall ground you, shall give you a firm foundation’ (P.P. Comm. p. 209) 1. Even though they are suffering and will continue to suffer, God is already planning the good that such suffering will in the end accomplish. God allows bad things to happen, because God sees the tremendous good that could be accomplished if we continue to trust Him. 2. Grudem notes, ‘and we should add…that he will settle…them in any rightful place from which the suffering has wrongfully removed them. In sum: all loss will soon be made right, and that for eternity.’ (p. 198) 3. If we remain faithful God, we will lose absolutely nothing!


Verse 11

1 Peter 5:11 ‘To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.’

‘To Him’-i.e. to the God Who will strengthen them. This is the God Who is on their side!

‘be dominion’-‘force, strength, might, manifested power’ (Vine p. 332). ‘His is the power’ (Wey) God’s power has already been seen in calling us out of darkness and into Christ, we can have assurance that the victory is ours.


Verse 12

1 Peter 5:12 ‘Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!’

‘Through Silvanus’-‘Through’: Either he delivered the letter to these Christians and or he wrote the letter as Peter dictated (Romans 16:22). ‘Silvanus’-Probably the same man who is mentioned in the books of Acts under the name ‘Silas’ (Acts 15:22; 40; 1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1, etc…). Silas is a great example of a man who was content to serve in the background as long as God’s work was being accomplished.

‘our faithful brother’-‘”brother” has the definite article, the faithful brother, designating him as one well known for his fidelity.’ (Vincent p. 672) (Acts 15:22; Acts 15:32) This statement infers that there were Christians who weren’t faithful. Why even mention his faithfulness if all were automatically faithful, i.e. once saved, always saved?

‘for so I regard him’-‘This commendation of the bearer of a letter is common and appropriate…(1 Corinthians 16:10-11; Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-9; Titus 3:12-13).’ (Grudem p. 200) 1. ‘For so I regard him’-Peter completely endorses the faithfulness of this Christian. 2. Therefore, the Christians to whom he is writing can trust the message that Silvanus has delivered. This man wouldn’t be the type of person who would attempt to alter what had been written. Or to substitute his own letter for what had been revealed through Peter.

‘I have written to you briefly’-Peter considers what he has written to be a brief letter. Consider Hebrews 13:22. Considering the heavy weight topics which Peter has been dealing with, a letter of 105 verses is very brief. ‘Looking back over both Hebrews and 1 Peter, one cannot help being struck by how much the authors have actually said in a very short space.’ (Grudem p. 200)

‘exhorting and testifying’-‘to encourage you and bear my testimony’ (Gspd).

‘that this is the true grace of God’-1. In the midst of persecution, one likes to be reassured that one is suffering for the right cause. 2. ‘True grace’-applies to everything which Peter has written. (John 1:17; Colossians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:10). 3. In an day and age when everyone is saying, ‘it’s a matter of interpretation’, Peter said, ‘this is it’. ‘The entire Christian life is one of grace---God’s daily bestowal of blessings, ..help, forgiveness, and fellowship with himself..’ (Grudem p. 201) ‘They had experienced this grace in conversion and in the blessedness and progress of their lives in Christ. This was no delusion, as they were tempted to supposed by their troubles and afflictions, but the genuine grace of God!’ (Oberst p. 243)

‘Stand firm in it!’-‘take your stand’ (Robertson p. 135). 1. Which infers that one can depart from the true grace of God, i.e. grace is conditional. 2. Once you have found the “real thing” don’t let go of it (Proverbs 23:23; Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 6:13-14). ‘Now is not the time to give up, but rather the time to stand fast in faith..and hold on to what they already have.’ (Davids p. 201) ‘What is revealed in the epistle answers to reality because there is no equivocation or falsehood in what has been revealed. This is the way grace actually exists in the spiritual world. It is altogether truth and not a lie.’ (Hamilton p. 334) 3. Being impressed that this ‘grace of God’ carries with it many rules and responsibilities (such as 1:14-15; 2:11ff).


Verse 13

1 Peter 5:13 ‘She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.’

‘She’-Some have contended that this refers to Peter’s wife. But since the word ‘church’ is feminine in gender, it makes more sense that this refers to the congregation of which Peter was a member. In addition, the ‘she’ is contrasted with the congregations to whom Peter was writing ‘you’.

‘who is in Babylon’-‘Babylon (on the Euphrates) was not as yet entirely destroyed, and there seems to be no real reason for believing Rome is meant here, or some Babylon of another country.’ (Oberst p. 244) Babylon had been a center of Jewish scholarship after the captivity. Many Jews had never left the city, even when given the opportunity to return to Palestine. The great commentary on the Jewish Law was called the Babylonian Talmud. ‘So important were the Jews of Babylon that Josephus had issued a special edition of his histories for them. There is no doubt that there was a large and important colony of Jews there; and it would have been quite natural for Peter…to preach and to work there.’ (Barclay p. 329)

‘so does my son, Mark’-Probably the John Mark mentioned in the book of Acts. Peter was acquainted with his mother, Mary (Acts 12:12). He was with Paul in Rome around 62 A.D. (Colossians 4:10). He was also the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). ‘My son’-used in the sense of a son in the faith, as Paul calls Timothy, his son (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:1)


Verse 14

1 Peter 5:14 ‘Greet one another with a kiss of love’

‘kiss of love’-Kissing as a method of greeting had prevailed for centuries in the ancient world. Hence the kissing as a greeting isn’t being commanded, for it was already being practiced. Rather, what is commanded is a pure attitude when we extend our greetings to others. God instructed Christians to greet one another from honest and pure motives (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26). Jesus clearly placed this method of greeting into the category of a custom (Luke 7:44-45).

‘Peace be to you all who are in Christ’

1. Those outside of Christ have only a false peace. 2. Baptism stands between a person and being in Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7) During a time of severe trial, such people would especially need ‘peace’ in their lives.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-peter-5.html. 1999-2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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