1 Peter 5:1-14

1 The 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 revealed:

[The elders which are among you] In this case the term refers to the office. Paul is speaking to the leadership.

[Who am also an elder] One on a level with yourselves. One who has been proved faithful and has accepted the responsibility of leadership.

[A witness of the sufferings of Christ] Especially qualified to exhort on behalf of Christ. He had been present with Christ throughout his ministry and had first hand knowledge of his teaching and the events that surrounded the crucifiction and resurrection.

[A partaker of the glory that shall be revealed] Through the blood of the lamb Peter had a sure anticipation of the promise from his Lord and Master that he would be with him in heaven, to behold his glory. John 17:24

2 Feed 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;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

[Feed the flock] The shepherd's number one task. The food? God's word of course, thoroughly and accurately taught.

[Not by constraint] The office is laborious and sometimes dangerous, especially in times of persecution. Even among those who are well qualified, unwilling conscripts cannot serve as effectively as those who freely and willingly accept the responsibility.

[Not for filthy lucre] The office is not to be used for lining one's own pockets. Rather, the pastor expends his time and energy and knowledge for the benefit of his paritioners.
A note to the sheep. It has been my observation that many churches tend to think of their pastor as one who works only one day a week and pay him accordingly. If the pastor must take a job to support himself and his family then the church suffers the loss of that portion of the pastor's time and energy. Also, his ability to teach the Word may be diminished because his study time is impacted. Imagine a real shepherd of real sheep spending only part of the day with his flock, leaving them to themselves in the afternoon because he must return to the valley to work in the mill. The sheep may not be aware of it but they desperately need the care and direction provided by the shepherd.

[Neither as being lords over God's flock] Rather than feed their own egos by demanding special honor and status, they should be good examples of faith, humility and godliness.

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

[The chief Shepherd] The Lord Jesus Christ, whose is the flock, and from whom you receive your commission.

[Ye shall receive a crown] When he shall return to judge the world in righteousness, ye who have fed his flock and taken superintendency of it and been faithful in accordance to the previous two verses, shall receive special honor from the chief Shepherd.

5 Likewise, 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.

[Ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder] Using a most obvious relationship to instruct the people at large who are called to obey them that have the rule over them; Children and parents, wives and husbands, students and teachers, employees and employers, citizens and government, paritioners and pastors. The currently popular admonition, "Challenge authority!" is not a Christian attitude.

[Be subject one to another] Strive all to serve each other. Luke 22:24-27.

[Being clothed with humility] To be clothed with a thing or person is a Greek mode of speech for being that thing or person with which one is said to be clothed. People often recognize others role or position by the clothing or uniform they wear. To those who observe you, let them see one who is ready to serve.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

[Under the mighty hand of God] As reported in the previous verse, those who submit patiently to the dispensations of God's providence receive grace while those who lift themselves up are put down. If his hand is mighty to depress it is also mighty to exhalt.

7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

[Casting all your care] This is a reference to Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee. He who knows that God cares for him need have no anxious cares about himself.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

[Be sober] Keep your wits about you. Let not your judgement be confused by the concerns of the world.

[Your adversary the devil] This is why you should be sober and vigilant. You have an unrelenting, inplacable enemy on your trail, ever seeking to distract you and destroy your ability to minister.

9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

[Whom resist] Stand against him. Though invulnerable, he is not unconquerable, James 4:7 The weakest follower of God can confound and overpower the adversary by concentrating steadfastly upon the Son of God and walking uprightly before him.

[The same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren] It is the lot of all Christians to suffer persecution. The Christian church everywhere is exposed to the assaults of men led by the devil. We are all tempted to yield slightly or even totally. 1 Corinthians 10:13

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

[The God of all grace] The fountain of infinite compassion, mercy and goodness.

[Who hath called us] Never forget. It is God who sought us so that, through the sacrifice of his son, he might give us eternal glory.

[After that ye have suffered a while] As ye suffer these persecutions while working for God in this world, know that the workday will end.

[Make you perfect] A popular phrase in the legal and insurance industries is, "To make one whole," the idea being that by payment of money one is fairly recompensed for injury or loss. God will not just, "make us whole," he promises to, ""Make us perfect!" Not only are our sins forgiven but the results of sin upon these bodies will be removed.

11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The reaction of the soul that has an unobstructed view of Jesus Christ. Every creature in Heaven and Earth will eventually acknowledge him in this way, whether or not a current believer. Revelation 5:11-14.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

[By Silvanus] Peter dictated the letter to Silvanus.

13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Loving greetings make up the closing paragraph of the letter.

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 02/20/2007

Copyright (C) 1999,2003,2006,2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved