1 Peter 5


“So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed. “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. “And do not lord it over those entrusted to you but be examples to the flock. “Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4

Notice that Peter could have commanded them using his apostolic authority but he didn’t, he simply says as your fellow elder. As one who has all the qualities of an elder, as one who is qualified as an apostle of Jesus Christ and as one who will share in the glory when Jesus returns.

He wants the elders to tend to the people of God and for an elder to do that, he must have the quality of being able to teach, 1 Timothy 3:2 / Titus 1:9. This tells us that their responsibility is for the sheep in the congregation where they serve and their job is to willingly oversee the flock of God.

Paul says an elder may also be financially supported for all his hard work, 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and Peter says the real motive for service is not to be money, but an eagerness to save souls.

Peter says the oversight is a position of service, which is not to be abused by assuming a dictatorial role. Elders are supposed to set an example for the rest of the flock to follow.

Peter is saying that just as sheep are best led, and not driven, so it is with the people of God and qualified elders who will have less of a problem getting people to follow them and submitting to their care if they lead by example and not by lording it over people.

And these men, if they shepherd the flock correctly, like all of us will be greatly rewarded for their efforts when the Chief Shepherd appears, that is Christ.

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time”. 1 Peter 5:5-6

When Christians obey the elders and submit to them, then they in turn can watch out for our souls with joy and not with grief, Hebrews 13:17.

Peter has already reminded us to submit to the government authorities, 1 Peter 2:13-14. He has already reminded us that Christian slaves need to submit to their masters, 1 Peter 2:18. He has already reminded us that Christian wives need to submit to their husbands, 1 Peter 3:1.

And here Peter reminds the younger people to submit to their elders. It’s worth noting that Peter may be referring to the elders mentioned earlier in this chapter, or he may be referring to older Christians. But whoever he is referring to, the message is the same, submit.

And true submission can only happen when we follow Peter’s advice. To clothe ourselves with humility means to have a humble opinion about ourselves. Humility doesn’t look at self, humility looks at others as being better than yourself. It’s the very same mindset of Jesus Christ Himself.

Paul says we need to show humility with each other so that we can maintain peace and unity in our relationships with each other, Philippians 2:3-5.

Peter goes on to say humility is needed if we want to keep that relationship right with God. God deeply respects the humble in spirit, Isaiah 57:15 / Isaiah 66:1-2.

God loves those who have a humble and contrite spirit and the reason He does is simply because those who are humble will always trust in Him to lift them up when the time is right.

Remember these Christians whom Peter is writing to, have or will be very soon going through some scary times of persecution. And so Peter is saying, even in times of persecution we need to be humble and trust that God is working in our lives. We need to trust and know that His hands are more than big enough to help us through any situation we may find ourselves in.

God guarantees that the tasks shall be balanced with the precise strength we possess. He knows the exact pressure we can stand, for He has made us, He knows the utmost load we can lift, and will not suffer us to be tried, tested, above what we are able.

“Casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you”. 1 Peter 5:7

Peter says don’t worry about things over which you have no control, he says when things are out of our control, let our Heavenly Father worry about such things. Jesus uses the word ‘anxious’ in Matthew 6:31-34, but it’s the same Greek word Peter uses for ‘worry’.

We need to know that God doesn’t see worry the way we see worry. The Greek word for ‘worry’ or ‘anxious’ is the word ‘merimna’ which simply means distraction.

And so what Peter is telling us is this, don’t be distracted by things you don’t have any control over because our God isn’t easily distracted. Jesus is saying don’t be distracted by a lack of food or drink or clothes, I know what you need and I won’t be easily distracted from supplying those needs.

Being distracted is a sin because we forget who God is and what He can do with His mighty hands and what worry or anxiety does is steal from us the blessings of today.

We can’t seek first His kingdom and His righteousness if we’re being distracted by something which may happen tomorrow. We can’t seek first His kingdom and His righteousness if we are being distracted by something we have no control over.

“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

Worry distracts us from focusing on God, Hebrews 12:2 and so Satan comes along and tries to steal your salvation in Christ Jesus. Peter says be careful not to get distracted by the worries of this world because the devil is on the lookout.

When Christians are going through difficult times, some stop praying, some stop reading the Bible, and some stop meeting with God’s people.

They’ve lost sight of the goodness of God, they forget how God helped them in times past and they get distracted from truth and it’s then when they are at their most vulnerable spiritually and prone to attacks from the devil himself.

Peter says the devil is like a ‘roaring lion, looking for distracted Christians so he can destroy them.’ In other words, he wants to steal our salvation Christian and we need to be aware of that, Luke 21:34-36. Peter says we must “withstand him steadfast’, and James says we must ‘resist the devil, and he will flee from you,’ James 4:7.

We withstand him and resist him by holding onto our faith, we withstand him and resist him by holding onto our hope, Colossians 1:21-23.

Peter tells us that we are never alone in our struggles. Christians all over this planet are going through struggles, some physical, some mental, some emotional, some spiritual but they are struggles. Paul tells us that our struggle is not unique, we’re not the only one who struggles with certain sins, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

“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. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen”. 1 Peter 5:10-11

Peter is going to end his letter on a positive note, he tells these early Christians that no matter how terrible the fiery trials may become, Christians can always have hope. And one of the reasons we have hope is because we have God’s grace.

Now when we think of grace we usually just think about salvation but there is more to grace than just salvation. Yes, our salvation is because of His grace, 1 Peter 1:10, but remember that Peter has already reminded us that God’s grace is varied or manifold as some translations have it, 1 Peter 4:10.

In other words, God’s grace comes in all shapes and forms, Hebrews 4:16. We receive grace in times of need and according to Peter we also stand in the true grace of God.

Not only do we have the hope of knowing that God’s grace will help us through difficult times, but we also have the hope of knowing where we are going. Peter says we are going to glory, we’re going to His eternal glory.

“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. The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son”. 1 Peter 5:12-13

One of the best ways to encourage people who are suffering is to remind them of the many other people who are thinking about them and praying for them. That’s what Peter is doing here, these Christians are going through trials like we may never be able to imagine and they need to be encouraged.

It appears that Peter used someone else to write the words of this letter as he dictated them. Silvanus is the same name as Silas and he is possibly the same Silas who was Paul’s travelling companion, Acts 15:22 / Acts 15:32 / Acts 15:40 / 1 Thessalonians 1:1 / 2 Corinthians 1:19.

Mark whom Peter calls his son is John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, and author of the Gospel of Mark Peter says, ‘the church in Babylon, chosen together with you’.

We don’t really know who or what Peter is referring to here but it’s likely a congregation. A congregation either in literal Babylon, located in modern-day Iraq or a figurative Babylon, which could be a reference to either Rome or Jerusalem.

Notice that Peter says we are to stand fast in God’s grace, in other words, we don’t go outside of God’s grace or we will find ourselves in trouble. And so what Peter is telling us, is that when we remain faithful to Christ, we’re actually standing in the true grace of God.

And if we continue to stand in His grace we can get comfort even through hard times that the God of all grace will be with us all the way.

As strangers travelling through a strange land on our way to heaven, God is with us for the journey and He has got enough grace for all of us to help us along the road until we get there. God’s gracious love and compassion will never run out because they are new every morning, Lamentations 3:21-24.

And so because of His great faithfulness, not ours but His, we’re going to trust Him today even when times of suffering come our way.

“Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ”. 1 Peter 5:14

Please don’t misunderstand what Peter means here when he talks about greeting one another with a loving kiss.

He doesn’t mean that you should go up to your preacher or any other Christian for that matter every time you see them and give him a huge smacker of a kiss on the lips. A loving kiss or holy kiss, Romans 16:16, was a form of greeting in Biblical days.

What we would do these days is either shake someone’s hand or give them a hug or a simple kiss on the cheek and so Peter encourages these saints who have and are suffering for being Christians leaves them with a prayer of peace.


"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."