1 Peter 5 Commentary


Church elders are to be sincere, understanding and hard-working in looking after the church that God has placed in their care. They are to be shepherds who care for the flock because they are interested in the flock’s welfare, not because they want to make money (5:1-2). They must not use their authority to force people, but rather show by example how Christians should act. They must remember that they themselves are answerable to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who will one day return and review their work (3-4).

Christian relationships should be characterized by a spirit of willing submission. This applies not just to the attitude of younger people to older people, but to attitudes in general. All Christians should submit to each other. God opposes the proud but helps the humble (5-6). God cares for his people, and they should confide in him. At the same time they must be careful how they live, for Satan will try to use any opportunity to make their lives useless for God (7-8). They must resist Satan, knowing that Christians everywhere suffer from his attacks. Yet God uses his people’s sufferings to strengthen and perfect them, with the goal that they share Christ’s glory (9-11).

Peter has used Silas to write this brief letter of encouragement. The church in Rome (figuratively referred to as Babylon, symbol of the world in its organized opposition to God) joins with Peter, Silas and Mark in sending greetings. The Christians who receive the letter should greet each other, and so encourage each other in love (12-14).

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