1 Peter 5 Bible study

Living Word Magazine

1 Peter Chapter 5. v 1 - 14.



Exhortation to Elders v 1-4.


What is an elder? As used here the word refers to someone who part of the leadership of the local church. Often, the word "elder" is used of someone who is older in years, but here it applies rather, as WE Vine says, to, "their maturity of spiritual experience". The same persons are also called "overseers" which indicates the true nature of their work. A Pastor may be considered to be a "Chief Elder." W.E.Vine says of elders that they were appointed according as they had given evidence of fulfilling the Divine qualifications. Tit1.6-9 ; 1 Tim 3.1-7. Whilst originally elders would have been appointed in the church by the apostles (Tit1.5) and are appointed today by the church council, before being elected by church ballot, the Scriptures make it clear that those who are elders are made so by God and will be answerable to Him. Acts 20.28. God has given them authority Heb13.9 and are to be obeyed Heb 13.17.


5:1  So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed, I urge the elders among you:


Peter is himself an elder, a leader and shepherd of God's Church and was an eye witness of Christ's sufferings, death and bodily resurrection. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, Peter will also share in the glory which is to be revealed -that is, when Christ comes again and all who believe will be changed into His likeness. 1 Jn 3.2. As an elder himself, Peter exhorts those who are elders to SHEPHERD the flock of God. By "the flock of God" he means those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and have been bought by Him with his own blood. Acts 20.28  A shepherd is to nurture, guard, guide and care for the flock.


Nurture - help to grow up strong and healthy in the salvation that Christ gives. Young converts need to be fed with the sincere milk of the teaching of God's word so that they can grow and mature in their Christian faith. Older Christians also need the feeding and encouragement of God's Word. The good shepherd will ensure that his congregation is regularly fed with a well balanced diet of teaching from God's word.


Guard - the shepherd is to protect the flock from wolves - especially those who come dressed in sheep's clothing. These are false teachers. They claim to be God's messengers, but really they are the servants of Satan, sent to destroy the faith of God's people. 2 Cor 11.13,14. A good shepherd will seek to keep the flock from error and being led astray by teaching the truth of the word of God.


Guide - In the way we are to go, which is according to God's word. Again, we see that this is essentially a ministry of the word of God, for that is our guide. Ps119.105. The good shepherd will break open the truths of God's word so that we might know the way we are to go.


Care for - The shepherd is to show genuine concern and love for all the Christians in his care. He does this by extending fellowship to all, by being prepared to share his life with them and by being thoughtful of their needs. But most especially, he does this by constantly praying for the flock and for the needs that they have.


In summary, we see from all these points that an elder's ministry is basically one of preaching, teaching and prayer. Acts 6.2,4. This is to be, if necessary, to the exclusion of all other matters, which perhaps can be delegated to others.


5:2  Give a shepherd's care to God's flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God's direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly.


Elders are to serve as overseers, as serving the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and because of their love to Him. John 21.15-17. As with all our service to God, it must not to be done simply because we have to do it. We should never be unwilling to serve, but willing and eager to serve the Lord. Our service is not to be given in order to make some kind of financial gain. The AMPNT explains that elders are "not to be dishonestly motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to the office".  However, this does not mean that a pastor or elder cannot be paid for fulfilling their ministry. In fact, the practise taught in the NT is that, whenever possible, a minister should be supported financially by his/her congregation. Why? So that they will be able to devote their full time to the ministry, for the benefit of God's people, rather than to have to work to feed themselves. 1 Tim 5.17,18 ; 1 Cor 9.14. But money is never to be the motive of ministry.


5:3  And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.


Elders are not to be overbearing or domineer those who have been entrusted to their care. They should not enforce their own personal opinions, but are to exhort and teach from the word of God. They are to live their lives in order to give a model of Christian living for others to follow. Some misunderstand this verse as meaning that those in Christian leadership are not to give instructions to their congregation. This is clearly not the case, as the NT teaches that they do have such authority. It is the spirit in which a man/woman exercises that authority to which Peter is actually referring. It should be done in a spirit of humility. Matt 20.25-28.


5:4  Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away.


Not only are elders to be honoured for their work whilst on earth, but one day, if they have carried out their responsibilities faithfully, they will be honoured and rewarded by Christ Himself when he returns to reward every man for his work. The Great or Chief shepherd will give to his faithful co-workers an everlasting crown of glory.


Humility and the Fight of Faith v5-11.


5:5  In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.


As Peter has just exhorted the elders of the church to walk in humility, he now exhorts young people to do the same. This humility will be evidenced in their willingness to submit to others and by their obedience to those in authority. All of us should humble ourselves by submitting to and serving each other. The AMPNT says that God sets himself against the proud. He opposes, frustrates and defeats them, but gives His grace (favour & blessing) to the humble.


5:6  And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand


Because of this, we are to humble ourselves (demote ourselves in our own estimation AMPNT) under the strong hand of God who can bring things into our lives to humble us and to keep us humble, so that, when we are humble, He will be able to lift us up again and bless us as he longs to do - in His own good time. (JE Phillips)


5:7  by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.


God, who is great and mighty, is more than able to handle all our affairs for us. So we must cast our cares upon him, since after all, He loves and cares for us with a tender care.


5:8  Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion,  is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.




We are to be self controlled and watchful in our Christian walk, being well balanced and cautious - for we have a very real enemy - the devil. Just like a hungry lion, he hunts his prey and is always on the look out for an opportunity to devour a believer. (Devour- destroy your faith and so your soul).


5:9  Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.


Let us not take this warning lightly. The devil can destroy and he can devour, but we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, to overcome him. As we withstand the devil by holding fast to our faith in Christ then the devil will flee from us, since Christ has already obtained the victory for us. 1 John 4.4 Our experiences of being attacked by the devil are not unique to us. It is something that is experienced by every believer in the world. But every one of us can know the same victory, because it does not depend on how strong we are, it is HE that is IN us.


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 restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.


God allows trials to come our way for a purpose. They are to test or strengthen our faith in Him. Someone has said that God has put the devil on a chain and this is correct for we read Job1.12. God - who is sovereign and almighty -is completely in control of every situation. That is why we can fully trust in Him. God only allows the trial to come in order to make us strong, mature and assured in Him. Rom 5.3-5. When this purpose has been achieved, He will remove the trial that He was using to do this work in us, since He knows it is no longer needed. Peter here refers to God as the God of all grace. He has saved us, and so called us to share in his eternal glory, by his grace. Through suffering and difficulties, he is continuing his work of grace within us and he will complete it in us - by his grace.


5:11  To him belongs the power forever. Amen.


So, for this wonderful eternal salvation, we ascribe to Him alone glory and dominion forever. Amen.


Closing Remarks v12-14.


5:12  Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.


Peter dictated this letter, and it was written by Silas, who had formerly been a companion of Paul. Peter regards Him as a faithful brother, particularly in his ministry to the church. Peter wrote his letter in order to confirm that the gospel message which has been preached to us, which we have believed, is the truth concerning the grace of God, which saves us and enables us to stand and continue in the faith.


5:13  The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son.


Peter conveys greetings to his readers from the local church and from Mark, who may have been either his spiritual or natural son.


5:14  Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.


We are to greet one another with a loving display of affection, in this case, a kiss. Peter's final greeting is peace, peace with God and the peace of God, which is ours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Further Reading Resources for you - 1 Peter

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