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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

1 Peter 5

Verse 1

Also an elder [συμπρεσβυτερος] . Only here in New Testament. Better, as Rev., fellow - elder. The expression is decisive against the primacy of Peter.

Witness [μαρτυς] . The word is used in the New Testament to denote :

(a) a spectator or eye - witness (Acts 10:39; Acts 6:0; Acts 13:0).

(b) One who testifies to what he has seen (Acts 1:8; Acts 5:32).

(c) In the forensic sense, a witness in court (Matthew 26:65; Mark 14:63).

(d) One who vindicates his testimony by suffering : a martyr (Acts 22:20; Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 17:6).

The first three meetings run into each other. The eye - witness, as a spectator, is always such with a view to giving testimony. Hence this expression of Peter cannot be limited to the mere fact of his having seen what he preached; especially since, when he wishes to emphasize this fact, he employs another word, ejpopothv (2 Peter 1:16). Therefore he speaks of himself as a witness, especially in the sense of being called to testify of what he has seen.

Partaker [κοινωνος] . This use of the word, expressing a present realization of something not yet attained, occurs in no other writer in the New Testament. See on 2 Peter 1:4.

Verse 2

Feed [ποιμανατε] . Better, Rev., tend, since the verb denotes all that is included in the office of a shepherd - guiding, guarding, folding, no less than feeding, which latter is expressed by boskw. There is, doubtless, a reminiscence in the word of Christ 's charge to Peter (John 21:15-17). Both words are used there : "Feed [βοσκε] my lambs" (ver. 15); "tend [ποιμαινε] my sheep" (ver. 16); "feed [βοσκε] my sheep" (ver. 17). The A. V. obliterates the distinction by rendering all three feed. Bengel rightly remarks, "Feeding is part of tending." See on Matthew 2:6.

Taking the oversight. The best texts omit. Rev. retains.

By constraint [αναγκαστως] . Only here in New Testament.

Willingly [εκουσιως] . Only here and Hebrews 10:26.

For filthy lucre [εισχροκερδως] . From aijscrov, disgraceful, and kerdov, gain. Only here in New Testament. The word filthy is intended to convey the idea which lies in aijscrov, base or dishonorable; becoming such if it is made the motive of the minister 's service. Compare 2 Corinthians 12:14.

Willingly [προθυμως] . Not strong enough. The word is compounded of pro, forward, and qumov, heart or spirit. Hence Rev., with a ready mind; a forward spirit; denoting not mere willingness, but zeal. Only here in New Testament. Compare the kindred adjective proqumov, ready (Romans 1:15; Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38), and the kindred noun proqumia, readiness (2 Corinthians 8:11, 2 Corinthians 8:12, 2 Corinthians 8:19; 2 Corinthians 9:2).

Verse 3

As lording it [κατακυριευοντες] . See Matthew 20:0; Matthew 25:0; Acts 19:16. Other words are used for the exercise of legitimate authority in the church; proistamai, to be over (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17); poimainw, as ver. 2, tend. But this carries the idea of high - handed rule. Heritage [κληρων] . Plural. Klhrov means a lot. See on inheritance, ch. 1 4. From the kindred adjective klhrikov comes the English cleric, contracted into clerk, which in ecclesiastical writings originally signified a minister; either as being chosen by lot like Matthias, or as being the lot or inheritance of God. Hence Wycliffe translates the passage, "neither as having lordship in the clergie." As in the Middle Ages the clergy were almost the only persons who could write, the word clerk came to have one of its common modern meanings. The word here, though its interpretation is somewhat disputed, seems to refer to the several congregations - the lots or charges assigned to the elders. Compare proseklhrwqhsan, were added as disciples; A. V., consorted with (Acts 17:4). Rev. renders charge.

Why not charges?

Examples [τυποι] . Peter uses three different terms for a pattern or model : uJpogrammov, a writing - copy (ch. 2 21); uJpodeigma, for which classical writers prefer paradeigma, an architect's plan or a sculptor's or painter's model (2 Peter 2:6); tupov (see on ch. 1 Peter 3:21), of which our word type is nearly a transcript. The word primarily means the impression left by a stroke (tuptw, to strike). Thus John 20:25, "the print of the nails." Used of the stamp on coin; the impression of any engraving or hewn work of art; a monument or statue; the figures of the tabernacle of Moloch and of the star Remphan (Acts 7:43). Generally, an image or form, always with a statement of the object; and hence the kindred meaning of a pattern or model. See Acts 23:25; Romans 5:14; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 8:5.

Verse 4

The chief Shepherd [αρχιποιμενος] . Only here in New Testament. In harmony with ver. 2. "The last thing Peter could have dreamed of as possible would be its misapplication to himself or his so - called successors" (Cook). Compare Hebrews 13:20, great Shepherd; and John 10:11, John 10:14, good Shepherd. Also, Ezekiel 34:15, Ezekiel 34:16, Ezekiel 34:23.

Ye shall receive. See on receiving, 1 Peter 1:9.

Crown [στεφανον] . From stefw, to put round, encircle. It is the crown of victory in the games; of military valor; the marriage wreath, or the festal garland, woven of leaves or made of gold in imitation of leaves. Thus it is distinguished from the royal crown, which is diadhma, of which diadem is a transcript. In Paul, stefanov is always used of the conqueror's crown, not of the king's (1 Corinthians 9:24-26; 2 Timothy 2:5). Though it is urged that Peter would not have employed a reference to the crown of the victors in the games, because of the abhorrence of the Palestinian Jews for heathen spectacles, yet the reference to the crown of leaves seems to be determined by the epithet unfading, as compared with garlands of earthly leaves. The crown of thorns woven for Jesus is called stefanov, with reference rather to its being twined than to its being a caricature of a kingly crown.

Verse 5

Be clothed with humility [την ταπεινοφροσυνην εγκομβωσασθε] . The last word is a very peculiar one, occurring only here. It is derived from kombov, a roll, band, or girth : a knot or roll of cloth, made in tying or tucking up any part of the dress. The kindred word ejgkombwma, from which the verb is directly formed, means a slave 's apron, under which the loose garments were girt up. Compare Horace's "puer alte cinctus," a slave girt high. Hence the figure carries an exhortation to put on humility as a working virtue employed in ministry. This is apparent from the evident reminiscence of that scene in which Peter figured so prominently - the washing of the disciple 's feet by the Lord, when he girded himself with a towel as a servant, and gave them the lesson of ministry both by word and act. Bengel paraphrases, "Put on and wrap yourselves about with humility, so that the covering of humility cannot possibly be stripped from you."

Resisteth [αντιτασσεται] . A strong and graphic word. Lit., setteth himself in array against, as one draws out a host for battle. Pride calls out God 's armies. No wonder, therefore, that it "goeth before destruction." The proud [υπερηφανοις] . See on pride, Mark 7:22. Compare James 4:6. To the humble. See on Matthew 11:29.

Verse 6

Mighty hand [κραταιαν χειρα] . A phrase found nowhere else in the New Testament, but occurring in the Septuagint, Exodus 3:19; Deuteronomy 3:24; Job 30:21. The adjective kratrian, mighty, is, moreover, used only here. Compare Luke 1:51, Luke 1:52.

Verse 7

Casting [επιρριψαντες] . The aorist participle denoting an act once for all; throwing the whole life with its care on him.

All your care [πασαν την μεριμναν] . The whole of your care. "Not every anxiety as it arises, for none will arise if this transference has been effectually made." Care. See on Matthew 6:25, take no thought. Rev., rightly, anxiety.

He careth [μελει] . Meaning the watchful care of interest and affection. The sixth and seventh verses should be taken together : Humble yourselves and cast all your anxiety. 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. See James 4:6, James 4:7.

Verse 8

Be sober [νηψατε] . See on ch. 1 Peter 4:7.

Be vigilant [γρηγορησατε] . Rev., be watchful. See on Mark 13:35; and 1 Thessalonians 5:6, where both verbs occur : watch and be sober. A reminiscence of the scene in Gethsemane : Could ye not watch with me? (Matthew 26:40, Matthew 26:41).

Adversary [ο αντιδικος] . The article points to a well - known adversary. From ajnti, against, and dikh, a lawsuit. Strictly, an adversary in a lawsuit. Here an adversary in general. Compare Zechariah 3:1-5. Only here, in New Testament, of Satan.

The devil. See on Matthew 4:1.

Roaring [ωρυομενος] . Only here in New Testament. The word conveys somewhat of the sense by the sound [ορυομενοσ] . It denotes especially the howl of a beast in fierce hunger.

Lion. Augustine says, "Christ is called 'a lion ' (Revelation 5:5) because of his courage : the devil, because of his ferocity. The one lion comes to conquer, the other to hurt." Seven Hebrew words are used for this animal; six to describe his movements and four to describe his roar. He is mentioned in the Bible about one hundred and thirty times. In Job 4:10, Job 4:11, give different words are used for him. In Jude 1:14:5; Psalms 21:13; Psalms 103:21 (Sept.), the same word as here is used for the roaring of the lion as a translation of the Hebrew word for the thunder in Job 37:4. Walketh about [περιπατει] . Compare Job 1:7; Job 2:2. This word gave name to that sect of Greek philosophers known as Peripatetics, because they walked about while teaching or disputing. "St. Peter calls Satan the Peripatetic" (Cox, on Job). The Arabs call him the Busy One. It was to Peter that Christ said, "Satan hath desired to have you," etc. (Luke 22:31). Devour [καταπιη] . Lit., swallow down. See on Matthew 23:24.

Verse 9

Resist [αντιστητε] . The Rev., very judiciously, substitutes withstand; resist having been already used in ver. 5 for ajntitassetai. Withstand is, moreover, the more accurate rendering; as the verb means rather to be firm against onset than to strive against it. With in withstand is the Saxon wid, against, which appears in the German wider.

Steadfast [στερεοι] . Compare 2 Timothy 2:19; and the kindred verb stereow, to strengthen (Acts 3:7, Acts 3:16; Acts 16:5). Paul, in Colossians 2:5, uses a cognate noun, sterewma, evidently as a military metaphor : "Beholding your order (taxin, compare ajntitassetai, ver. 5) and your solid front or close phalanx" [στερεωμα] . It might be difficult to find, on the whole, a better rendering than steadfast, yet it falls a little short of the meaning. Steadfast is Anglo - Saxon, stede, a place, and faest, fast; and hence means firm in its place; but stereoi conveys also the sense of compactness, compact solidity, and is appropriate, since a number of individuals are addressed and exhorted to withstand the onset of Satan as one compacted body. Stereov implies solidity in the very mass and body of the thing itself; steadfastness, mere holding of place. A rock is stereov, firm, solid; but a flexible weed with its tough root resisting all efforts to pull it up, may be steadfast. The exhortation is appropriate from Peter, the Rock. The same afflictions [τα αυτα των παθηματων] . Rev., better, sufferings. A very peculiar construction, occurring nowhere else in the New Testament. Lit., the same things of sufferings, emphasizing the idea of identity.

Are accomplished [επιτελεισθαι] . More correctly, are being accomplished. The present infinitive denotes something in process of accomplishment.

Brethren [αδελφοτητι] . Lit., brotherhood. Only here and ch. 2 17.

Verse 10

Who hath called us [ο καλεσας ημας] . But the tense is the aorist, and the true reading is uJmav, you, instead of us. Render, therefore, as Rev., who called you; before the foundation of the world. See Romans 8:29, Romans 8:30, and compare unto his eternal glory and them he also glorified.

By Christ Jesus [εν χριστω ιησου] . The best texts omit Jesus. So Rev., which also renders, better, in Christ, denoting the sphere or element in which the calling and its results take place : "Christ as the life, head, and very principle of all existence to the Christian" (Cook).

Awhile [ολιφον] . Rev., more literally, a little while. See on ch. 1 Peter 1:6. Make you perfect, etc. The Tex. Rec. makes this and the three following verbs in the optative mood, expressing a wish. So the A. V. But the best texts make them all indicative future, and thus convert the wish or prayer into an assurance. Thus, then, Shall himself perfect [αυτος καταρτισει] . The A. V. overlooks the aujtov, himself, which is very significant as indicating God 's personal interest and energy in the work of confirming his children.

Shall perfect. Rev. reads restore, in margin. The root of this word appears in arw or ajrariskw, to fit or join together. So arqron means a joint. The radical notion of the verb is, therefore, adjustment - the putting of all the parts into right relation and connection. We find it used of mending the nets (Matthew 4:21), and of restoring an erring brother (Galatians 6:1); of framing the body and the worlds (Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 11:3); of the union of members in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). Out of this comes the general sense of perfecting (Matthew 21:16; Luke 6:40; 1 Thessalonians 3:10).

Shall stablish [στηριξει] . The word is akin at the root to stereov, steadfast (ver. 9), and is the very word used by Christ in his exhortation to Peter, "strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). Possibly there is a reminiscence of this in Peter's use of the word here. Compare 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; James 5:8; Revelation 3:2. Shall strengthen [σθενωσει] . Only here in New Testament. Compare Ephesians 3:16.

Shall settle [θεμελιωσει] . Omitted by some texts, and by Rev. From qemeliov, a foundation. The radical notion of the word is, therefore, to ground securely. It occurs in Matthew 7:25, of the house founded on a rock; in Hebrews 1:10, of laying the foundations of the earth. In Ephesians 3:18, it is joined with rooted. The massings of these expressions, unconnected by conjunctions, indicates strong feeling. Bengel thus sums up the whole : "Shall perfect, that no defect remain in you : shall stablish, that nothing may shake you : shall strengthen, that you may overcome every adverse force. A saying worthy of Peter. He is strengthening his brethren."

Verse 12

Silvanus. Probably the companion of Paul known in the Acts as Silas (xv. 22, 27, 32, 34, 40, etc.), and called Silvanus by Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1.

A faithful brother. Brother has the definite article, the faithful brother, designating him as one well known for his fidelity. Rev. renders our, with the in margin.

Unto you. Construe, not as A. V., a brother unto you, but I have written unto you. So Rev.

As I suppose [ως λογιζομαι] . Too feeble, since the verb denotes a settled persuasion or assurance. See Romans 3:28, "we conclude" or reckon, as the result of our reasoning. Compare Romans 8:18; Hebrews 11:19. Rev., as I account him.

I have written [εγραψα] . Lit., I wrote. An example of what is known as the epistolary aorist. The writer regards the time of writing as his correspondent will do when he shall have received the letter. We say in a letter, I write. Paul, writing to Philemon, says ajnepemya, I sent; since to Philemon the act of sending would be already past. Therefore in using this form of expression Peter does not refer to the second epistle, not to another now lost, but to the present epistle.

Briefly [δι ολιγω] . Lit., through few (words). Compare Hebrews 13:22, where the expression is dia bracewn, through brief words.

Testifying [επιμαρτυρων] . Only here in New Testament. See on ver. 1. Wherein ye stand [εις ην εστηκατε] . The best texts read sthte, imperative. So Rev., stand ye fast therein. Lit., "into which stand," the preposition with the verb having the pregnant force of entering into and standing fast in.

Verse 13

The church. The word is not in the Greek, but is supplied with the feminine definite article hJ. There is, however, a difference of opinion as to the meaning of this feminine article. Some suppose a reference to Peter's own wife; others, to some prominent Christian woman in the church. Compare 2 John 1:0. The majority of interpreters, however, refer it to the church.

Babylon. Some understand in a figurative sense, as meaning Rome; others, literally, of Babylon on the Euphrates. In favor of the former view are the drift of ancient opinion and the Roman Catholic interpreters, with Luther and several noted modern expositors, as Ewald and Hoffmann. This, too, is the view of Canon Cook in the "Speaker's Commentary." In favor of the literal interpretation are the weighty names of Alford, Huther, Calvin, Neander, Weiss, and Reuss. Professor Salmond, in his admirable commentary on this epistle, has so forcibly summed up the testimony that we cannot do better than to give his comment entire : "In favor of this allegorical interpretation it is urged that there are other occurrences of Babylon in the New Testament as a mystical name for Rome (Revelation 4:8; Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10); that it is in the highest degree unlikely that Peter should have made the Assyrian Babylon his residence or missionary center, especially in view of a statement by Josephus indicating that the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews from that city and neighborhood; and that tradition connects Peter with Rome, but not with Babylon. The fact, however, that the word is mystically used in a mystical book like the Apocalypse - a book, too, which is steeped in the spirit and terminology of the Old Testament - is no argument for the mystical use of the word in writings of a different type. The allegorical interpretation becomes still less likely when it is observed that other geographical designations in this epistle (ch. 1 1) have undoubtedly the literal meaning. The tradition itself, too, is uncertain. The statement in Josephus does not bear all that it is made to bear. There is no reason to suppose that, at the time when this epistle was written, the city of Rome was currently known among Christians as Babylon. On the contrary, wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament, with the single exception of Revelation (and even there it is distinguished as 'Babylon, the great'), it gets its usual name, Rome. So far, too, from the Assyrian Babylon being practically in a deserted state at this date, there is very good ground for believing that the Jewish population (not to speak of the heathen) of the city and vicinity was very considerable. For these and other reasons a succession of distinguished interpreters and historians, from Erasmus and Calvin, on to Neander, Weiss, Reuss, Huther, etc., have rightly held by the literal sense." Marcus. Rev., Mark. John Mark, the author of the gospel. See Introduction to Mark, on his relations to Peter.

My son. Probably in a spiritual sense, though some, as Bengel, think that Peter's own son is referred to.

Verse 14

Kiss of charity. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:20.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/1-peter-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.