Summary: Peter closes out his letter to the scattered Christians in the churches of Asia Minor with some final instructions. He counsels the elders about how to lead, includes how and why to live in humility with each other, and gives a final warning.
1 Peter Chapter 5 Commentary
INTRODUCTION to Chapter 5
Peter closes out his letter to the scattered Christians in the churches of Asia Minor with some final instructions. He counsels the elders about how to lead, includes how and why to live in humility with each other, and gives a final warning to be clear-minded and alert.
Peter counts himself as one of the elders. And so, he passes on the exact instructions Jesus gave to him: to feed and shepherd Christ's sheep. That is the role of an elder in the local church: to serve as a shepherd of the "flock of God." Peter insists that those who accept the job do so because they want to and not just for money or power. They should lead first and foremost by example, showing others in the church how to follow Christ by doing so them-selves. When Christ returns, He will reward those shepherds with an unfading crown of glory.
In the same way, those who are younger are called to be subject to these shepherds. Newer believers should see more experienced Christians as a God-given authority in their lives. This, of course, also puts additional responsibility on those older Christians to live in a way deserving of this. respect.
Peter then addresses all Christians with this: Put on humility toward each other out of submis-sion to God. God is God, and we are not. We are to humble ourselves under His hand, under-standing that our only significance is found in Him. We can freely stop promoting ourselves be-cause He will exalt us when the time is precisely correct. One such act of humility is this: cast your cares on the Father who cares for you. It is only in pride that we would insist on continu-ing to carry those burdens ourselves.
Peter then instructs his readers for the third time to be clear-minded (or sober-minded) and alert. He says this time that we have a mortal enemy prowling around and seeking to devour us. The devil is portrayed as a lion, and we are instructed to engage in resisting him. This is to be done by focusing on staying firm in our faith, both in Christ and in God's plan for us. That plan may include suffering for the brief course of this life. And yet, it also consists of a permanent end to suffering and a future in which our Father—forever powerful—will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us forever.
Finally, Peter signs off with a commendation for Silvanus, who will likely deliver this letter to the churches and greetings from the Christians where he was, including his son in the faith, Mark.
Summary of 1 Peter
The book's five chapters cover three main themes. The first section focuses on salvation (1 Peter 1:1—2:11). Believers are saved and preserved by God's power (1 Peter 1:3–5). God is with us despite persecution as predicted by past prophets (1 Peter 1:6–12). Believers, therefore, persevere by hope (1 Peter 1:13–21) through the love and power of Christ (1 Peter 1:22—2:10).
The second section discusses Christian living before others (1 Peter 2:11—4:6). This includes a variety of unbelievers, such as governing authorities (1 Peter 2:11–17), masters (1 Peter 2:18–25), and family members (1 Peter 3:1–7). Believers are also called to live well among other believers (1 Peter 3:8–12). Suffering poses many difficulties for believers, yet those who follow Jesus must face it well (1 Pe-ter 3:13—4:6).
The third section discusses the future and how Christians are called to live in light of it (1 Peter 4:7—5:11). Since Jesus could return at any time, believers are to live responsibly, not be surprised at trials, and "entrust their souls to a faithful Crea-tor while doing good" (1 Peter 4:7–19). Leaders are specifically addressed (1 Peter 5:1–4). Peter concludes the letter with exhortations for humility, reminders of God's care, and a call to be cautious of Satan's schemes and stand firm in the faith (1 Peter 5:5–9). Peter emphasizes the future triumph of believers through God's restoration (1 Peter 5:10–11) and ends with final greetings (1 Peter 5:12–14).
TEXT, 1 PETER CHAPTER 5 COMMENTARY (KJV)
Instructions to Elders
1The elders which are among you I exhort , who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be re-vealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Cast Your Cares on Him
5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.