1 Peter 5
1 Peter 1:13-5:11-The Practice of Salvation, cont’d.
Live in a Serving Manner (5:1-7)
- Elders Serve the Church (:1-4)
Peter gives instructions for pastoral leadership..."shepherd the flock" ("poimaino poimion"-"shepherd the sheep"). He tells them how to exercise this oversight…
- do not do it "undercompulsion, but volutarily"...don't do it because you have to, but do so because God has called you to do so
- do not do it for "sordid gain, but with eagerness"...not because of greediness for money, but with "prothumos" (passion, an inner drive)
- do not do it "as lording over those alloted to your charge, but proving to be examples"...not by forcing them to submit to you, but by your being an example ("tupos") to them
When the "Chief Shepherd" comes He will give the shepherds the "unfading crown of glory".
- Young Men Serve the Elders (:5-7)
Who are these “younger men”? It could be that they are just young men in the church who have been given certain responsibilities. Or, perhaps they are young men who have felt the call of God on their life to become an elder and are now being tutored, or mentored. These younger men are to be "subject" ("hypotasso"-place yourself under) to the elders...and are to have an attitude of “humility” towards them. The word “humility” means “lowliness of mind”. In other words, don’t think that you know it all. They are to respect the wisdom and godly counsel of the elders. Don’t try to “exalt” (to lift up, to make yourself look good) yourself before others.
Humbleness of Mind, Humility:
"lowliness of mind" (tapeinos, see A, above, under HUMBLE, and phren, "the mind"), is rendered "humility of mind" in Act 20:19, AV (RV, "lowliness of mind"); in Eph 4:2, "lowliness;" in Phl 2:3, "lowliness of mind;" in Col 2:18, 23, of a false "humility;" in Col 3:12, AV, "humbleness of mind," RV, "humility;" 1Pe 5:5, "humility."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
In this context it would suggest that there were young men who were trying to look more intelligent or spiritual than the elders…trying to get ahead of others. But that is not the way that God works. He will exalt (place into a more responsible position of leadership) you when He is ready.
Peter tells these young men, “casting all your anxiety upon Him". The root word for “anxiety” means to be distracted by being pulled in a variety of different directions, to have your thoughts divided, unable to focus. A person is being caught up in the moment, driven and influenced by the issues that he is facing. Why were these young men feeling anxious? Perhaps they were uncertain about their future…being pulled and torn by different opinions, and pressures…responsibilities for family, finances, church issues, etc. But Peter tells them to give these things to the Lord. After all, He “cares for you.” The word “care” speaks of focused attention on something prior to troubles or difficulties. Here, God cares for them before there ever was a problem. He is constantly aware of them and their needs.
Care (Noun and Verb), Careful, Carefully, Carefulness:
the third person sing. of melo, used impersonally, signifies that "something is an object of care," especially the care of forethought and interest, rather than anxiety, Mat 22:16; Mar 4:38; 12:14; Luk 10:40; Jhn 10:13; 12:6; Act 18:17; 1Cr 9:9 (RV, "Is it for the oxen that God careth?" The AV seriously misses the point. God does "care" for oxen, but there was a Divinely designed significance in the OT passage, relating to the service of preachers of the Gospel); 7:21; 1Pe 5:7.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
Live in a Defensive Manner (5:8-11)
This next admonition could apply to both the elders and the young men…since it immediately follows what he had to say about not being overwhelmed by anxiety. The word "sober" means to be calm and collected in spirit ("alert"-to watch, give strict attention to, be cautious, active). Why is this important? Because the "adversary" (a legal term speaking of the person opposing you in court), the devil is seeking to destroy them. It could be that he uses the anxiety and distractions that Peter had just mentioned in his relentless attack. It is revealing to understand that the devil, Satan, is seeking specifically to destroy those that God has placed into leadership in the church. If he can do damage to the leadership…then the whole church will be damaged. Peter says that he is going about “like a roaring lion”. Generally, we think of a lion as stealthily sneaking up on its prey and then devouring it. But here, we realize that the lion is trying to destroy the leadership publicly…he is roaring, drawing attention to what is going on. He doesn’t just want to destroy the shepherd…but to destroy the sheep, as well.
Peter tells them to "resist". This word is a conjunction of two words "against” and “stand". It implies knowledge of what Satan is attempting to do and taking deliberate action to stand against it. The word "firm" means to be strong, immovable, solid, hard, rigid, from the Greek word "stereos", from which we get the English word “steroid”. We are not to be firm in ourself, or our abilities…but in “faith”. Not faith in faith itself. But in the object of faith…Jesus. Faith in what we know to be true about Him. Then too, we are to remember that we are not alone in this assault. Others are being attacked, as well. The words, "knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren” could be paraphrased…”knowing how other believers who are facing the same difficulties are successfully dealing with them.” If we know how they are standing firm, and strong against Satan…then we can do the same.
Peter says that for a “little while" (the word here can mean: of number- multitude, quantity, or size; of time-short; of degree or intensity-light, slight) but whichever it be, God will use this suffering brought on by the devil for His purpose in the believer’s life to develop and mature him spiritually. It is a comforting thought…that even the attacks of Satan are but tools in God’s hands. Peter uses four words, terms, to speak of four specific aspects of this development. All four words are future tense verbs...meaning that this is a process that takes time. However, these are qualities that are necessary for a believer to be of greater use to God.
- perfect-to make a person what he ought to be, speaking specifically of developing a person to the end, or purpose, for which God wishes to use him…the attacks of the devil serve as a stone on which to sharpen the skills of the believer
- confirm-to render constant, to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix
- strengthen-to make strong; physical exercise strengthens the body so that it will be able to do more and spiritual exercise strengthens the soul for greater use
- establish-to make strong, to lay the foundation, to founded upon a solid base
Peter says that he is “exhorting” (from the Greek word "parakaleo"…to speak by means of logical explanation) and “testifying” (from the Greek word "erimartyreo"…to speak by means of personal experience)…that this is the "true grace of God. Stand firm in it!" Not only can he explain the grace of God rationally…but, he has experienced it personally.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to be an example to others of how to live for Christ, even during difficult times. Help me to learn from the examples of others...so that I can then pass that example on.