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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Peter 5

 

 

Verse 1

1 Peter 5:1. New exhortations in the first place to the πρεσβύτεροι and the νεότεροι as far as 1 Peter 5:5; then to all, without distinction, 1 Peter 5:5-9.

πρεσβυτέρους οὖν τοὺς ἐν ὑμῖν παρακαλῶ] πρεσβύτεροι are the presidents of the congregations. The name is employed here probably not without reference to age (“the elders”) (see 1 Peter 5:5), though this is disputed by Hofmann, who, however, fails to give any reason for so doing. The article is awanting “because πρεσβ. is considered as definite of itself” (Wiesinger), and not “because Peter had not a more accurate knowledge of the constitution of the churches” (Schott). If the reading οὖν be adopted, these and the following exhortations connect themselves, as conclusions drawn from it, with the preceding conception ἀγαθοποιΐα, for the passages 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and Matthew 7:15 do not prove that οὖν expresses “only the continuance of the exhortation” (Hofmann). The reading ἐν ὑμῖν, without τούς, is opposed by the want of the article before πρεσβυτέρους.

συμπρεσβύτερος καὶ κ. τ. λ.] Peter adds these designations of himself, in order thus to give the more weight to his παρακαλεῖν. He calls himself συμπρεσβύτερος because of his office. What the elders were for the individual congregations, that were the apostles for the whole church, since they had the superintendence of the entire system of congregations.(263) By this name Peter, in humble love (Gualter: nota humilitatem Petri qui minime jus primatus in se cognovit), places himself on an equal footing with the elders proper; Bengel: hortatio mutua inter aequales et collegas imprimis valet. It is less natural to assume, with Hofmann, that in thus speaking of himself Peter “would emphasize the share he had in responsibility for the weal and woe of the congregations.”

καὶ ΄άρτυς τῶν τοῦ χριστοῦ παθη΄άτων] By τὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ παθή΄ατα must not be understood the sufferings which the apostle had to undergo in following Christ, but those which Christ Himself endured; cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:13. Yet Peter calls himself a ΄άρτυς, not only because he was an eye-witness of them (cf. Acts 10:39) (Aretius: oculatus testis, qui praecipuis ejus aerumnis interfui), but also because he proclaimed those sufferings which he himself had seen(264) (cf. Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22; Acts 13:31). This he did, in the first place, by his words, but at the same time also by his sufferings (a fact which Hofmann should not have denied), in which he was a κοινωνὸς τῶν τοῦ χρ. παθημάτων (chap. 1 Peter 4:13) (Wiesinger, Schott). What follows seems also to refer to this.(265)

De Wette thinks that whilst by “ συμπρεσβ.” Peter puts himself on an equality with the elders, he by the second designation places himself above them. But if this had been his intention, he would hardly have included both under the one article; the elders, too, were equally called to be μάρτυρες τῶν χρ. παθ., although Peter, as an eye-witness, occupied “a special position” (Brückner).

καὶ τῆς μελλούσηςκοινωνός] Several of the older commentators incorrectly supply “ τοῦ χριστοῦ” to δόξης; it is not merely the glory of Christ which is meant, but the δόξα, which, at the revelation of that glory, shall be revealed in all those who are His; cf. Romans 8:18; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2.

κοινωνός means simply the participation in that glory. Although it is not equivalent to συγκοινωνός (Philippians 1:7), still the apostle has in his soul the consciousness of being a fellow-sharer with those to whom he is speaking.

The particle καί, “also,” unites the two ideas: μαρτὺς τῶνπαθημάτων and κοινωνὸς τῆςδόξης together; because the apostle is the former, he will also be the latter. Yet this does not compel the adoption, with Hofmann, of the reading “ ” (equal to διʼ , “wherefore”) instead of . Although μάρτυς, which is closely connected with συμπρεσβύτερος, has no article, it does not follow that κοινωνός can have none either. The N. T. usage is opposed to the interpretation of by διʼ , Galatians 2:10; cf. Meyer in loc.; cf. also Winer, p. 135 [E. T. 178].


Verse 2

1 Peter 5:2. ποιμάνατε τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον τοῦ θεοῦ] The work of directing the church is often in the N. and O. T. represented by the figure of pasturing (cf. Acts 20:28; John 21:16; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:2 ff.), and the church by that of a flock (Luke 12:32). τοῦ θεοῦ is added here very significantly. By it the flock is designated as belonging, not to the elders who tend it, but to God as His peculiar property. Luther takes a too narrow view of the idea of tending,—he limits it to the preaching of the gospel. It applies rather to all and everything that is done by the elders, for the welfare of the individual as well as for that of the entire congregation. τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν must not be separated from ποίμνιον, as if it were equal to quantum in vobis est (cf. Romans 1:15), i. e. intendite omnes nervos (Calvin); it rather forms one idea with ποίμνιον. The greater number of commentators understand ἐν in a local sense, either: in vestris regionibus (Pott), or: “with you, within your reach” (Luther, in the commentary, Hensler, de Wette, Besser, Schott,(266) etc.). Since ἐν ὑμῖν, as a more precise local definition, stands somewhat significantly, and “the churches only are the place where the elders are, and not vice versa” (Hofmann), ἐν ὑμῖν must, according to the analogy of κεῖσθαι ἔν τινι, be interpreted: “that which is committed to you” (Luther’s translation, Bengel, Steiger), or: “that which is placed under your care (hand).” ἐν ὑμῖν then serves to give point to the exhortation.

ἐπισκοποῦντες, cf. the critical notes. It must be observed that ἐπισκοπ. is here placed in conjunction with ποιμάνατε, as in chap. 1 Peter 2:25 : ποιμήν and ἐπίσκοπος. This participle, with the adverbs belonging to it, states what should be the character of the ποιμαίνειν.(267) The verb (which, except here, occurs only in Hebrews 12:15), equivalent to: “to give heed,” denotes the labours of the elders in caring for the congregation, but with the implied meaning of oversight. The still closer definition follows in three adjuncts, each of which consists of a negative and a positive member. The thought is aptly given by Calvin: Dum Pastores ad officium hortari vult, tria potissimum vitia notat, quae plurimum obesse solent, pigritiam scilicet, lucri captandi cupiditatem et licentiam dominandi; primo vitio opponit alacritatem aut voluntarium studium, secundo liberalem affectum, tertio moderationem ac modestiam.

ἀναγκαστῶς (an expression foreign to Greek usage, and occurring only here, which Hofmann erroneously denies) and ἑκουσίως (this adverb occurs in the N. T., besides in this passage, only in Hebrews 10:26; the adjective in Philemon 1:14) are opposed to each other, in such a way that the former characterizes the work as undertaken from outward motives only, the latter as from inward. The same antithesis occurs in Philemon 1:14 : κατὰ ἀνάγκην κατὰ ἑκούσιον (similarly the antithesis of ἄκων and ἑκών, 1 Corinthians 9:17); with ἑκουσίως, cf. Exodus 36:2. The position, etc., must be regarded as the outwardly inciting or compelling motive. Bengel is incorrect: id valet et in suscipiendo et in gerendo munere; to the former there is in this case no allusion.

According to the Rec., ἑκουσίως is yet further strengthened by κατὰ θεόν (cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:6; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10), equal to κατὰ τὸ θέλη΄α τοῦ θεοῦ.

αἰσχροκερδῶς (the adverb occurs here only, the adjective 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:7; Titus 1:11 : αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν); “the apostle places the impure motive side by side with the unwillingness of ἀναγκ.” (Wiesinger).

προθύ΄ως (in the N. T. the adverb occurs here only; more frequently the adjective and substantive) as antithesis to αἰσχροκερδῶς: “out of love to the thing itself;” Luther: “from the bottom of the heart.”(268)


Verse 3

1 Peter 5:3. μηδʼ ὡς κατακυριεύοντες τῶν κλήρων] i.e. “not as those, who,” etc. With κατακυρ. cf. for meaning and exprestion Matthew 20:25-28; 2 Corinthians 1:24; it is not equal to κυριεύειν (Steiger), but the prefixed κατα intensifies the idea of κυριεύειν: “to exercise a sway, by which violence is offered to those who are under it.”(269)

κλῆρος, properly speaking, the lot, then that which is apportioned by lot, then generally, that which is allotted or assigned to any one, whether it be an office, a possession, or anything else. Here it is the congregation ( τὸ ποίμνιον) that is to be understood; not as though κλῆρος in itself meant the congregation, but the churches are thus designated, because they are assigned to the elders as a possession, in which to exercise their official duties. The plural is put, because different elders filled offices in different congregations (Calov, Steiger, de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.). Compare the passage in Acts 17:4, where it is said of those converted by Paul and Silas: προσεκληρώθησαν τῷ παύλῳ καὶ τῷ σίλᾳ. It is incorrect to supply τοῦ θεοῦ, as is done by Beza, etc., and to derive the expression from the O. T., where the congregation of Israel is termed the κλῆρος ( נַחֲלָה) of God, Deuteronomy 9:29, LXX. But it is equally incorrect when Hofmann applies κατακυριεύοντες, not to the πρεσβύτεροι, but to others, and, taking ὡς as instituting a comparison, understands κλῆροι to signify “the estates belonging to some one himself,” translating accordingly: “not as those who exercise rule over estates belonging to themselves.” The apostle’s idea thus would be: “the elders are not to treat the church as an object over which they exercise right of possession, and do with as they please.”

How should the apostle have thought of bringing forward a comparison so far-fetched?—and how arbitrary it appears to interpret ὡς differently in this passage from in chap. 1 Peter 1:14, 1 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:11-13, etc.; to allow the article τῶν to take the place of the possessive pronoun, and to attribute a meaning to κλῆροι which it often has in profane Greek, but never either in the O. or in the N. T.!(270)

ἀλλὰ τύποι γινόμενοι τοῦ ποιμνίου] The antithesis here is a different one from that in the passage quoted from Matt. The elders, as the leaders of the church, necessarily possess a kind of κυριότης over it; but they are not to exercise this in a manner opposed to the character of Christian life in the church (which would be a κατακυριεύειν), but by being examples to the congregations, shining before them in every Christian virtue (1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7); cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Philippians 3:17.


Verse 4

1 Peter 5:4. Assurance of the future reward for the faithful fulfilment of the exhortation just given.

καί] simply connects the result with the exhortation (cf. Winer, p. 406 [E. T. 542]), and is not to be taken αἰτιολογικῶς for ἵνα.

φανερωθέντος τοῦ ἀρχιποιμένος] With φανερ. cf. Colossians 3:4; 1 John 2:28; Christ is here termed ἀρχιποιμήν ( ἅπ. λεγ., chap. 1 Peter 2:25 : ποιμήν; Hebrews 13:20 : ποιμὴν μεγάς) as He “to whom the elders, with the flock they tend, are subject” (Hofmann).

κομιεῖσθε (cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:9) τὸν ἀμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον] The greater number of commentators consider ἀμαράντινος as equal to ἀμάραντος in chap. 1 Peter 1:4; but the direct derivation of the word from μαραίνεσθαι is hardly to be justified. It comes rather from the substantive ἀμάραντος, and therefore means, as Beza explains: ex amaranto videlicet, cujus floris (inquit Plinius) summa natura in nomine est, sic appellato quoniam non marcescit. Accordingly the figure present to the mind of the apostle was an amaranthine wreath; thus also Schott.(271) It is at least uncertain whether στέφανος here (as frequently in the writings of Paul) is thought of as a wreath of victory (thus the greater number of commentators), since among the Jews, also, wreaths of flowers and leaves were in use as tokens of honour and rejoicing (cf. Winer’s bibl. Realwörterbuch, s.v. Kränze).

τῆς δόξης is the genitive of apposition; cf. 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10 : the δόξα is the unfading crown which they shall obtain.


Verse 5

1 Peter 5:5. ὁμοίως] cf. chap. 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Peter 3:7; here also ὁμοίως is not a mere particle of transition (Pott). The exhortation to humility, expressed in this verse, corresponds to those addressed to the elders, wherein they are admonished to submit themselves to the duties of their office with humility, and without seeking their own advantage.

νεώτεροι ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις] Who are these νεώτεροι? Certainly not the whole of the members of the congregation (in contrast to the elders), as Beda, Estius, Pott, Wiesinger, etc., assume, but either the younger members generally, or such of them as were employed in many ministrations, suitable neither for the elders nor the deacons. The first assumption (Luther, Calvin, Aretius, Gerhard, etc.) is opposed by the circumstance that πρεσβυτέροις here seems to have the same official signification as above in 1 Peter 5:1 ff. If this be so, then it is plainly inconsistent to take the expression νεώτεροι, as specifying only a particular time of life. The second (Weiss, p. 344 ff., Schott, Brückner), founded chiefly on Acts 5:6; Acts 5:10, is contradicted by the fact, that there is no historical testimony for the existence of an office, such as it takes for granted. If νεώτεροι indicate only a particular time of life, then the like may be said of the accompanying πρεσβυτέροις. The difficulty which arises from the same name being employed first as an official title, and then to denote a particular age, is solved, in a measure at least, by supposing that since the word contained both references, the apostle might, as he proceeded in his exhortation, lose sight of the one in the other.(272)

The special exhortation is followed by the general: πάντες δὲ ἀλλήλοις] If ὑποτασσό΄ενοι is to be erased after ἀλλήλοις, the words may then be taken either with what precedes (Lach. gr. Ausg., Buttmann, Hofmann) or with what follows. In the first case there is something fragmentary in the structure of the clause, while the second, adopted by almost all commentators (formerly also in this commentary), is opposed by the dative ἀλλήλοις, which is too easily passed over with the remark that it is the dative of reference, equivalent to: “for each other,” or “with reference to each other.” All the passages which Winer (p. 202 [E. T. 270]) brings forward to prove that the dative is used of everything with reference to which anything takes place, are of a different nature. πάντες denotes the whole of the members of the church without distinction.

τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκο΄βώσασθε] In interpreting the word ἐγκο΄βώσασθε, commentators have not unfrequently, but erroneously, started from the meaning of the substantive ἐγκό΄βω΄α,(273) understanding (certainly without justification) it to signify “a beautiful dress,” and rendering: “adorn yourselves with humility;” thus Calvin, etc.; or else, whilst correctly explaining the word as the apron worn by slaves, they find in the verb itself the reference to humility in behaviour; thus Grotius, Hornejus, Steiger, de Wette, etc.(274)

Rather, however, must that sense of the verb be retained which is to be had by deriving it from κόμβος, “a band:” “to tie on, or fasten anything by means of a κόμβος, i.e. a band.” Since, now, it is used for the most part of the fastening of a garment, it lies to hand to take the expression here as having the same sense with ἐνδύεσθαι (cf. Colossians 3:12), yet so that the idea of making fast is more strongly brought out in the former than in the latter: “to clothe oneself firmly, wrap oneself round with ταπεινοφρ;” Bengel: induite vos et involvite, ut amictus humilitatis nulla vi vobis detrahi possit (thus also Wiesinger, Schott). Other interpreters hold by the one or the other meaning only, i.e. either by that of clothing (Oecumenius: ἐνειλήσασθε καὶ περιβάλλεσθε) or that of making fast (Luther: “hold fast by humility;” Erasmus: humilitatem vobis fixam habete). Similar exhortations to humility towards one another: Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 2:3; Romans 12:16. The exhortation is strengthened by the quotation of the Old Testament passage, Proverbs 3:34, after the LXX., where, however, κύριος stands instead of θεός. The same quotation is to be found in James 4:6, where, as here, there is first of all the injunction to submit to God, and then that to resist the devil; cf. also Luke 1:51.

ἐγκόμβωμα vestimenti genus est; sctibit enim Poll. 4, 119, τῇ δὲ τῶν δούλων ἐξωμίδι προσκεῖσθαι καὶ ἱματίδιόν τι λευκόν, quod ἐγκόμβωμα s. ἐπίβλημα nominari.


Verse 6

1 Peter 5:6. Conclusion drawn from the Old Testament passage, ταπεινώθητε οὖν ὑπὸ κ. τ. λ.] see James 4:6; not: “become humble,” as Wiesinger interprets, on account of the passive (for if the meaning must be passive, in accordance with the form, it ought to be: “be made humble”), but in a middle sense: “humble yourselves.” 1 Peter 5:7 shows that this self-humbling here refers to the lowly and submissive bearing of afflictions (otherwise in Luke 14:11).

τὴν κραταιὰν χεῖρα] Old Testament expression denoting the power of God which rules and judges all; cf. Deuteronomy 3:24, LXX.; it does not refer here to the laying on of afflictions only (de Wette), but to the being exalted out of them (so, too, Brückner); cf. Luke 1:51 : ἐποίησε κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ· διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνουςκαὶ ὕψωσε ταπεινούς. The purpose of this subordination: ἵνα ὑμᾶς ὕψωσῃ, is the glory which follows upon the sufferings; ἵνα is not put ἐκβατικῶς (Pott), but τελικῶς.

ἐν καιρῷ] Matthew 24:45 : “tempore statuto;” Erasmus: ut vos extollat, cum erit opportunum, cum judicabit id vobis expedire vel in hoc saeculo, vel in die judicii; this last is here the principal point of view.


Verse 7

1 Peter 5:7 is closely connected with 1 Peter 5:6; hence the participle. The idea and expression are taken from Ps. 54:23, LXX. ( ἐπίῤῥιψον ἐπὶ κύριον τὴν μέριμνάν σου καὶ αὐτός σε διαθρέψει), although somewhat altered; πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν:(275)your whole care;” the singular unites all individual cares together into one uniform whole. Hofmann, without reason, assumes that in this passage μέριμνα does not mean care itself, but the object which causes care. The context shows that the care specially meant here is that which is occasioned by the sufferings; cf. Matthew 6:25; Philippians 4:6.

ὅτι αὐτῷ κ. τ. λ.] “for He careth for you;” the same construction of the verb with περί occurs frequently in the N. T., e.g. John 10:13; ἐπʼ αὐτὸν, ὅτι αὐτῷ, “are intentionally brought together” (Wiesinger).


Verse 8

1 Peter 5:8. νήψατε (chap. 1 Peter 4:7), γρηγορήσατε, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6; placed in juxtaposition by asyndeton “in nervous conciseness, in virtue of which ὅτι, too, is omitted before ἀντίδικος” (Wiesinger). Temperance and watchfulness are specially necessary, in order to remain faithful amid all the temptations of suffering. The reason is given in what follows.

ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν διάβολος] Hensler’s explanation: “slandering opponents,” requires no refutation.

διάβολος is a substantive, in explanatory apposition to ἀντίδ. ὑμῶν, which latter is used, in this passage only, to designate the devil (corresponding to the Hebrew שָׂטָן, which, however, the LXX. always translate by διάβολος). The word denotes strictly an opponent in a court of justice; but it occurs also in a general sense as “adversary.” Schott would retain the original application, after Zechariah 3:1 ff., Revelation 12:10, in that “the devil will, as it were, compel God to declare in condemnatory judgment that the Christians have forfeited salvation;” but there is no allusion to the divine judgment here, the καταπίνειν is rather indicated as the aim of the devil.

ὡς λέων ὠρυόμενος]

[276] ὠρύεσθαι peculiariter dicitur ἐπὶ λιμῷ κλαιόντων λύκων, λεόντων, κυνῶν (Hesych.), cf. Psalms 104:21.

περιπατεῖ (Job 1:7; Job 2:2) ζητῶν τίνα καταπίῃ] περιπατεῖν and ζητῶν belong strictly to each other, so that the comparison with the lion applies to both (Steiger). The efforts of the devil are directed against Christians, who, as such, do not belong to him; as long as they remain faithful to their Christian calling, he can do them no harm (1 John 5:18), therefore he is on the look-out whom (according to the reading: τίνα καταπίῃ) he may devour, or if he may devour any one (according to the reading: τινὰ καταπιεῖν), by alluring to unfaithfulness.(277)

καταπίνειν, “devour,” denotes complete destruction. Chrysostom (Homil. 22, ad popul. Antioch.): circuit quaerens, non quem mordeat vel frangat, sed quem devoret.


Verse 9

1 Peter 5:9. ἀντίστητε στερεοὶ τῇ πίστει] cf. James 4:7; Ephesians 6:11 ff. τῇ πίστει does not belong to ἀντίστητε (Bengel), but to στερεοί; not as the dat. instrum. (Beza, Hensler), but as the dative of nearer definition: “firm in the faith;” cf. Acts 16:5; Colossians 2:7; cf. Winer, p. 202 [E. T. 270]. It is only a firm faith that can resist the devil.

εἰδότες τὰ αὐτὰ τῶν παθημάτωνἐπιτελεῖσθαι] Almost all interpreters assume that the construction here is that of the accus. c. inf. Hofmann nevertheless denies this, remarking that in the N. T. εἰδότες (in the sense of “knowing”) never takes the accus. c. inf., but always the particle ὅτι, and that when εἰδότες is followed by the accus. c. inf., it signifies “to understand how to do a thing.”(278) If this be correct, ἐπιτελεῖσθαι must have an active meaning, τὰ αὐτὰ τῶν παθ. be the accusative after it, and the dative τῇ ἀδελφότητι be dependent on τὰ αὐτά. Explaining ἐπιτελεῖσθαι on the analogy of the phrase: τὰ τοῦ γήρως ἐπιτελεῖσθαι (Xen. Mem. iv. 8. 8), and seeing in τὰ αὐτά the idea of measure expressed, Hofmann translates: “knowing how to pay for your Christianity the same tribute of affliction as your brethren in the world.” This explanation cannot be accepted without hesitation. For, on the one hand, from the fact that in other parts of the N. T. εἰδότες does not take the accus. c. inf., it cannot be concluded that here it does not do so either, the more especially that the construction of the accus. c. inf. occurs comparatively rarely in the N. T.; and, on the other hand, the phrase: τὰ τῶν παθ. ἀποτελ., is not analogous with the expression: τὰ τοῦ γήρως ἐπιτελ., since in the former there is no conception corresponding to τοῦ γήρως. Hofmann inserts, indeed, as such, the idea of the Christian calling, but it is purely imported, and nowhere hinted at in the text. Accordingly, ἐπιτελεῖσθαι—grammatically considered—can have a passive signification, not, indeed, equivalent to: “are completed” (Thuc. 7:2; Philippians 1:6, and other passages), for this idea would not be suitable here, but rather: “are being accomplished” (thus Herod. 1:51, in connection with τὰ ἐπιτασσόμενα; 1:138: ἐπιτελέσαι ὑπέσχετο). This idea is, in truth, not very appropriate either; it seems to be more fitting to take the verb in a middle sense, as equivalent to: “are accomplishing themselves;” and to translate: “knowing (or better rather: considering) that the same sufferings are accomplishing themselves in the brethren.” This rendering is to be preferred to all others. The Vulg. translates ἐπιτελ. by fieri; Luther by “befall;” both are too inexact renderings of the sense.(279) In the explanation above given, τὰ αὐτά is used as a substantive, as frequently happens with the neuter of adjectives (Winer, p. 220(280) [E.T. 294]), and is put here to emphasize the sameness of the sufferings (thus de Wette, Wiesinger); τῇἀδελφότητι is to be taken as the more remote object; on no condition can the dative be understood as equivalent to ὑπό in passives. With the idea ἀδελφότητι, cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:17.

The addition, ἐν κόσ΄ῳ, alludes to the reason of the afflictions (Steiger). Wiesinger justly remarks: “in the world, the dominion of the Evil One, the Christian can and dare expect nothing else.” Possibly it may contain at the same time a reference to the ἀδελφότης, which the Lord has already taken to Himself ἐκ τοῦ κόσ΄ου. The thought that the brethren have to bear the same afflictions, serves to give strength in resisting the devil, since the consciousness of bearing similar afflictions in common with all Christian brethren, encourages to patient endurance.


Verse 10-11

1 Peter 5:10-11. Promise of blessing and doxology.

δὲ θεός, placed by way of emphasis at the beginning. That which has gone before has told the readers what they should do; in contrast to this ( δέ), the apostle now says what God will do (Schott); with the expression: θεὸς πάσης χάριτος, cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3 : θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως. God as the author of all grace; χάρις conceived as a possession. Like the whole promise of blessing, this very designation of God serves to comfort and strengthen the readers in their afflictions.

καλέσας ὑμᾶς, κ. τ. λ.] cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:12 (2 Thessalonians 2:14); that is: to participation in His (God’s) own δόξα. The participation is here thought of as future, although for believing Christians it is even now present in its beginning (2 Peter 1:4). In this calling there is already contained the pledge of the promises that follow: καταρτίσει κ. τ. λ.

ἐν χριστῷ belongs to καλέσας, more nearly defined by ὑμᾶς εἰς etc. (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott), not to δόξαν (Hofmann). God possesses the glory not first in Christ, as Hofmann says, but He has had it from all eternity, although in Christ it is first revealed. Gerhard interprets incorrectly: propter meritum Christi. ἐν is by several interpreters inaccurately taken as equivalent to διά; but though ἐν denote instrumentality, this is of a more inward nature than that expressed by διά. The sense is: by God having brought you into union with Christ (thus also de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott). The connection of ἐν χρ. with ὀλίγ. παθόντας following (Glossa interl.: sicut membra in illo patientes; Nicol de Lyra) has nothing to commend it.

ὀλίγον παθόντας] ὀλίγον, as in chap. 1 Peter 1:6 : “a little while.”

παθόντας is to be joined with καλέσας κ. τ. λ. (Steiger, de Wette, Wiesinger), but in such a way that in sense it does not apply so much to καλέσας, as to the obtaining of the δόξα of God, since the aorist must not arbitrarily be interpreted as a present. Hofmann rightly observes: “Peter subjoins this aorist participle as if it had been preceded by εἰς τὸ δοξάζεσθαι.”(281) Lachmann and Tischendorf (om. ὑ΄ᾶς after καταρτίσει) have connected these words with what follows, as also the Vulg. translates: modicum passos ipse perficiet (so also Wichelhaus). Many, particularly among the older commentators, even retaining the ὑ΄ᾶς, have adopted this construction; Luther: “The same will make you, that suffer a little while, fully prepared,” etc. Opposed to this, however, is as much the fact that the καταρτίζειν does not take place after the afflictions only, but during them, as that the present affliction and the future glory belong closely together; cf. 1 Peter 5:1.

If, as is highly probable, the ὑμᾶς after καταρτίσει be spurious, it must be supplied out of the ὑ΄ᾶς that precedes.

αὐτός] is placed emphatically: the God …, who hath called you, He will, etc., the same God; the calling already contains the guarantee for the καταρτίζειν, κ. τ. λ.

καταρτίσει, κ. τ. λ.] καταρτίζειν, Luke 6:40; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Hebrews 13:21; Luther rightly translates: “fully prepare;” Bengel: ne remaneat in vobis defectus.

στηρίζειν, 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:3, and other passages. Bengel: ne quid vos labefactet.

σθενοῦν, ἅπ. λεγ. Bengel: ut superetis vim omnem adversam.

θε΄ελιοῦν (see the critical notes); in its proper sense, Matthew 7:25; Luke 6:48; figuratively: Ephesians 3:18 ( τεθε΄ελιω΄ένοι synonymous with ἐῤῥιζω΄ένοι); Colossians 1:23 (synonymous with ἑδραῖοι).

The future expresses the sure expectation that, as the apostle wishes, God will perfect, etc., the believers.

If καταρτίσαι be read, this form must not be taken as the infinitive (Pott), but as the optative.(282)

The heaping up of expressions connected by asyndeton is rhetorical, and arises from the natural impulse of an agitated heart to find full expression for its feelings.—1 Peter 5:11. The same doxology as in chap. 1 Peter 4:11. It sets the seal on the hope just expressed.


Verses 12-14

1 Peter 5:12-14. Concluding remarks; first, 1 Peter 5:12, as to the letter itself.

διὰ σιλουανοῦἔγραψα] There is no reason to doubt that this Silvanus is the well-known companion of the Apostle Paul. Whilst in the Acts he is named “Silas,” Paul, like Peter, calls him “Silvanus.” He was sent from the convention of apostles, along with Paul, Barnabas, and Judas Barsabas, as bearers of the epistle to Antioch. After this he accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. He is not mentioned afterwards, nor is it known at what time he came to Peter. διὰἔγραψα does not designate Silvanus either as the translator or the writer of the epistle, but simply as the bearer of it. διά has here the same sense as in the subscriptions of the Epistles to the Romans, the Corinthians, etc.; it is synonymous with διὰ χειρός, Acts 15:23.—“It is evident that the choice of Silas for this (mediatory) mission was a particularly happy one, as he had been Paul’s companion in former times, and had assisted him in founding the greater part of the churches here addressed” (Wieseler).

ὑμῖν τοῦ πιστοῦ ἀδελφοῦ] ὑμῖν can be joined either with the following ἔγραψα, or with πιστοῦ ἀδ. If the latter combination be adopted (it is more simple if τοῦ be erased as spurious, but is also possible if τοῦ be retained; equivalent to: “who is the faithful brother unto you”), the apposition indicates that an intimate relation subsisted between Silvanus and the churches to which Peter writes. The connection with ἔγραψα, however, is the more natural one, ὑμῖν being inserted between, as in Galatians 6:11.

πιστὸς ἀδελφός is the name given to Silvanus, because generally he had proved faithful in the performance of every service for the church of Christ. There is no reason why the expression should be referred specially to his relation to the churches of Asia Minor only (as formerly in this commentary), or particularly to that in which he stood to Peter (Hofmann). Still, it is not improbable that Peter, by this designation, alludes to the confidence he has, that he will also prove faithful in the service which is now required of him.

The following words: ὡς λογίζομαι, may be applied either to the opinion just expressed on Silvanus (Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, Wichelhaus), or to the subsequent διʼ ὀλίγων ἔγραψα (Steiger, Hofmann). It is hardly possible to come to a definite conclusion. At any rate, λογίζομαι does not express an uncertain conjecture; cf. Romans 3:28; Romans 8:18; Hebrews 11:19. In the first case, by the confirmation which it contains of the opinion just uttered, it serves to strengthen the confidence of the churches in Silvanus; in the second, the apostle indicates that, considering the importance of his subject and the yearning of his heart, he looks on his letter as a short one.(283) This last appears the more probable.

διʼ ὀλίγων] equal to διὰ βραχέων, Hebrews 13:22 : “in few words;” cf. Thucyd. iv. 95.

ἔγραψα] refers to this epistle, which the apostle is on the point of closing, and not, as Erasmus, Grotius, etc., altogether unwarrantably assume, to a former one which has been lost;(284) cf. Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21.

παρακαλῶν καὶ ἐπιμαρτυρῶν] Although by these two words the apostle indicates two distinct subjects, still these are not to be separated in such a way as to be applicable to different parts of the epistle (de Wette, Brückner);(285) but the παράκλησις and the ἐπιμαρτύρησις are throughout the whole letter closely bound up together. As the contents of the ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν are stated, but not those of the παρακαλεῖν, the chief stress is laid on the former, the latter ( παρακαλῶν) being placed first, in order thereby to give prominence to the character of the ἐπιμαρτύρησις. Contrary to its common usage, de Wette interprets ἐπιμαρτυρῶν: in addition to, i.e. testifying in addition to the exhortation. ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν simply means: to bear witness to anything (opp. ἀντιμαρτυρεῖν, see Pape and Cremer, s.v.; in the N. T. ἅπ. λεγ.; ἐπιμαρτύρεσθαι occurs in the LXX. and in the Apocr., but not ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν); Bengel is therefore wrong in interpreting: testimonium jam per Paulum et Silam audierant pridem: Petrus insuper testatur; so, too, is Hofmann in saying that in ἐπιμαρτυρεῖν it is presupposed that the readers themselves already know and believe what Peter testifies.

ταύτην εἶναι ἀληθῆ χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ] Contents of the ἐπιμαρτύρησις: “that this is the true grace of God;”(286) ταύτην does not refer to that of which the apostle has written, but its more precise definition follows in the subsequent relative clause. Peter accordingly sets forth, in conclusion, that his epistle testifies to the readers that that grace in which they already stood is the true grace, from which, therefore, they should not depart (cf. with this, chap. 1 Peter 1:12; 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 2:25). No doubt this was the χάρις which had been brought to them by means of the preaching of Paul, but it does not follow that the purpose of Peter’s ἐπι΄αρτύρησις was to set, for the readers, the seal on that preaching. It is not the preaching which is here in question, but the χάρις in which the readers stood, quite apart from the person through whose instrumentality it was brought to them. Had Peter intended to bear a testimony to Paul, he would surely have done so in clear terms; nor does anything in the epistle allude to an uncertainty on the part of the readers as to whether Paul had preached the true gospel to them. χάρις is not: doctrina evangelii (Gerhard); but neither is it: “the state of grace” (de Wette), for with this the adjunct τοῦ θεοῦ would not harmonize. But it denotes the objective divine grace, into the sphere of which the readers have entered by means of faith; cf. Romans 5:2.

ἀληθῆ] stands here as the leading conception, not with any polemical reference to an erroneous doctrine (for there is no trace of any such polemic in the epistle), but is intended by the apostle to mark in itself the truth and reality of this χάρις, in order that the readers may not be induced by the persecutions to abandon it.

εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε] for this construction, cf. Winer, p. 386 f. [E. T. 516 ff.]. If the reading στῆτε be adopted, this adjunct expresses the exhortation to continue in that grace. Here, however, the nearer definition necessary to ταύτην is wanting; for as the ἐπι΄αρτύρησις is not something added on to the epistle ( ἔγραψα), ταύτην χάριν cannot be the grace of which I have written to you.


Verse 13

1 Peter 5:13. Salutation.

The notion that συνεκλεκτή denotes the apostle’s wife (Bengel, Mayerhoff, Jachmann, etc.) finds no support from 1 Corinthians 9:5; it is contradicted by the ἐν βαβυλῶνι(287) inserted between. By far the greater number of commentators rightly consider it to mean: “the church in Babylon” ( א has the word ἐκκλησίᾳ after βαβυλῶνι; Oec. u. Vulg. ecclesia). According to Hofmann, ἐκκλησία is not to be supplied to συνεκλεκτή, “but the churches to which the apostle writes are, as such, ἐκλεκταί, and the church from which he sends greetings is, as such, a συνεκλεκτή, as she from whom the Apostle John sends salutations is an ἀδελφὴ ἐκλεκτή” (2 John 1:13). But in John’s Epistle, 1 Peter 5:1, κυρία, and 1 Peter 5:13, ἀδελφή, are put along with ἐκλεκτή; accordingly, it does not follow that συνεκλεκτή, without the additional idea ἐκκλησία, would of itself mean a church. The συν refers to the churches to which Peter sends the salutation of the former, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:1. συνεκλ. ἐν βαβ. is not written here, but ἐν βαβ. συνεκλ., because the very fact of her being in Babylon (i.e. Rome) makes the church a συνεκλεκτή, i.e. the real associate of the churches who read the epistle; namely, in as far as thus reference is made to a like condition of suffering.">(288) According to Eusebius (H. E. c. 15), Papias already was of opinion that the name Babylon is here used figuratively, and that by it Rome is to be understood. The same view is adopted by Clemens Alex., Hieronymus, Oecumenius, Beda, Luther, and by most of the Catholic interpreters;(289) in more recent times by Thiersch, Ewald, Hofmann, Wiesinger, Schott, etc. The principal reasons brought forward in support of this view are—(1) The tradition of the primitive church, which speaks of the apostle’s stay in Rome, but makes no mention of his having lived in Babylon; (2) The designation of Rome as Babylon in Revelation, chap. Revelation 14:8, Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:10; (3) The banishment of the Jews from Babylon in the time of the Emperor Claudius, according to Joseph. Ant. i. 18, c. 12. But these reasons are not conclusive, for—(1) The tradition has preserved altogether very imperfect and uncertain notices of the apostles; (2) In Revelation this designation is very naturally explained from the reference to O. T. prophecy; (3) The account of Josephus does not lead us to understand that all the Jews were banished from Babylon and its vicinity (see Mayerhoff, p. 128 ff., and Wieseler, p. 557 f.).(290) Although de Wette’s rejoinder, that “the allegorical designation is unnatural in a letter, especially in the salutation,” may be going too far, still it is improbable that Peter, in simply conveying a greeting, would have made use of an allegorical name of a place, without ever hinting that the designation was not to be taken literally. This could admit of explanation only if, at the time the epistle was written, it had been customary among the Christians to speak of Rome as Babylon; and that it was so, we have no evidence. Accordingly, Erasmus, Calvin, Gerhard, Neander, de Wette-Brückner, Wieseler, Weiss, Bleek, Reuss, Fronmüller, etc., have justly declared themselves opposed to the allegorical interpretation. The view that by Babylon is meant the Babylon in Egypt mentioned by Strabo, i. 17 (Pearson, Calov, Vitringa, Wolf), has nothing to commend it, the less so that this Babylon was simply a military garrison.(291)

καὶ ΄άρκος υἱὸς μου] The correct interpretation of υἱός μου is given already by Oecumenius: ΄άρκον υἱόν, κατὰ πνεῦμα καλεῖ, ἀλλʼ οὐ κατὰ σάρκα. It is undoubtedly the well-known companion of Paul who is meant. Since, according to Acts, Peter was acquainted with his mother, it is probable that Mark was converted to Christianity by Peter. The idea that Peter here speaks of a son of his own after the flesh, named Mark (Bengel, Hottinger, Jachmann, etc.), could receive support only if συνεκλεκτή were used to designate the apostle’s wife.


Verse 14

1 Peter 5:14. ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἀγάπης] Paul uses a similar expression, Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26. The members of the church are by turns to greet one another (not each other in Peter’s name) with the kiss of charity, thus testifying to their brotherly love for each other (see Meyer on 1 Corinthians 16:20). Instead of the Pauline: ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλ., there is here: ἐν φιλ. ἀγάπης, “with the kiss of love,” i.e. the kiss, which is the type and expression of Christian brotherly love.

The final benediction is likewise similar to those in the epistles of Paul; only that in these χάρις stands in the place of εἰρήνη (Ephesians 6:23-24, both occur; cf. too, 3 John 15). By the addition of τοῖς ἐν χρ., the πάντες are designated according to their nature as such, who live in union with Christ, and to whom, therefore, the benediction here pronounced belongs.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-peter-5.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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