ACT WITH HUMILITY
1 Peter 5:1-14 April 29 2005
As Peter drew toward the conclusion of his letter,
Peter turned his attention to relations among the
believers. Earlier he had exhorted readers to exercise
humility and submission toward those in authority
as a way of negating false charges against them
(1 Pet.2:16-3:12). Here in chapter 5 the apostle again
called for these attitudes as he instructed elders how
to lead and other believers how to relate to one
Peter showed that humility and submission are more
than a means of muting the criticism of outsiders.
These attitudes are essential to Christian spirituality
– for leaders as well as for those they lead. Humble
service provides the necessary soil in which believers
can grow in Christ. Then Peter concluded his letter
with encouragement to beware of the Devil’s attacks,
a blessing and personal notes.
1. Lead By Example (1 Pet. 5:1-4)
1Pet. 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow
elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also
will share in the glory to be revealed: 5:2 Be shepherds
of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as
overseers —not because you must, but because you are
willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money,
but eager to serve; 5:3 not lording it over those
entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 5:4
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive
the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Fellow Elder. (Acts 20:17; 1Ti 3:1; 5:17. Peter), who
identified himself as an apostle at the beginning of
his letter (1 Pet.1:1), chooses now to identify himself
with the elders of the churches ( 2John 1; 3John 1).
This would be heartening to them in light of their great
responsibilities and the difficult situation faced by
the churches. The churches for which these elders were
responsible were scattered across much of Asia Minor
(1 Pet.1:1), so if Peter was a local church officer, he
must have been officially related to one of them.
Witness of Christ’s Sufferings. Peter had been with
Jesus from the early days of his ministry and was a
witness of all its phases and aspects, including the
climactic events of his suffering ( Mattt 26:58; Mark
14:54; Luke 22:60-62; John 18:10-11,15-16). In this
letter he bears notable witness to Christ’s sufferings
(1 Pet.2:21-24) and obeys his command in (Acts 1:8).
Share in the Glory to be revealed. Peter witnessed
Christ’s glory in his ministry in general (John 1:14;
2:11), and, as one present at the transfiguration ( Matt
16:27; 17:8), he had already seen the glory of Christ’s
coming kingdom. In God’s appointed time, just as
Christ suffered and entered into glory, so all his
people, after their sufferings, will participate in
his future glory.
Be shepherds of God’s flock. A metaphor that our Lord
himself had employed (John 10:1-18; Luke 15:3-7) and
that must have been etched on Peter’s mind (John 21:
15-17; 1 Pet 2:25). Peter is fulfilling Christ’s
command to feed his sheep as he writes this letter.
What he writes to the elders is reminiscent of Paul’s
farewell address to the Ephesian elders (especially
Acts 20:28). The term “shepherd” is an OT metaphor
as well (Eze 34:1-10, where the Lord holds the leaders
of Israel responsible for failing to care for the flock).
Serving as Overseers. The same term is used in (Acts
20:28; Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:7). ( 1Ti 3:1). It is clear
from this passage, as well as from (Acts 20:17,28, that
the three terms “elder,” “overseer” and “shepherd” all
apply to one office (see note on Tit 1:7).
Not Lording it over those entrusted to you. (Mt 16:24-27;
Mk 10:42-45; Php 2:6-11; 2Th 3:9). Although Peter has
full apostolic authority (1 Pet.5:1), he does not lord it
over his readers in this letter, but exemplifies the
virtues he recommends.
Chief shepherd . Christ. When he returns, he will reward
those who have served as shepherds under him. Never
fade away. (1 1:4.
2. Put Others First (1 Pet. 5:5-7)
1Pet. 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to
those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with
humility toward one another, because, “God opposes
the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 5:6 Humble
yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he
may lift you up in due time. 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on
him because he cares for you.
Be submissive. The theme that runs throughout (1 Pet.
2:13-3:6). Here it applies to church leaders. Clothe
yourselves with humility toward one another. Peter
may have had in mind the foot washing scene of (John
13), in which he figured prominently. Although he was
at first rebellious, he writes now with understanding
(John 13:7). (Luke 14:11). Lift you up in due time. His
help will come at just the right time. (Php 4:6-7).
3. Always Be Alert (1 Pet. 5:8-14)
1Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the
devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone
to devour. 5:9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
because you know that your brothers throughout the world
are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 5:10 And the
God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in
Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself
restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 5:11
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 5:12 With
the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I
have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying
that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 5:13
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you
her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 5:14 Greet one
another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in
Be self-controlled.(1Th 5:6,8. Alert). Perhaps Peter
remembered his own difficulty in keeping awake during
our Lord’s agony in Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46). Your
brothers. They are not isolated; they belong to a
fellowship of suffering. Grace( Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2). With
the help of Silas. Silas may have been the bearer of the
letter to its destination. He may also have been a scribe
who recorded what Peter dictated or who aided, as an
informed and intelligent secretary, in the phrasing of
Peter’s thoughts ( Encouraging. . . Grace of God. Themes.
Babylon. Place of Writing. Chosen. Eph 1:4). My son Mark.
Peter regards Mark with such warmth and affection
that he calls him his son. It is possible that Peter had
led Mark to Christ (1Ti 1:2 ). Early Christian tradition
closely associates Mark and Peter. Kiss of love. (1Cor.
16:20). Peace to all. . . In Christ. Spiritual well-being
and blessedness to all who are united to Christ. Peter
thus ends with a reference to the union of believers
with Christ, a concept fundamental to the understanding
of the whole letter.
Peter address all the members of the churches. In
their relationships with one another, all believers should
dress themselves in humility like a new suit if clothes.
In support of this instruction the apostle quoted Proverbs
11:31, likely from Greek translation of the Old Testament.
The Bible consistently teaches pride is a sin and those
guilty of it place themselves in direct opposition to God.
Humility, on the other hand , characterizes those in
submission to God.