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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

1 Peter 5

Verse 1

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:

Ver. 1. Who am also an elder ] Gr. A fellow elder, not a commander, a lord paramount, a compeer and consort to the blessed Trinity, as Pope Leo I a and Nicolas III blasphemously said he was.

a Leo I Petrum in consortium individuae Trinitatis assumptum iactavit.

Verse 2

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;

Ver. 2. Feed the flock ] Being both learned and loving. The Greek word for a shepherd ( ποιμην , as if οιμην , from οις , sheep and μαω ) signifieth one that earnestly desireth after his sheep.

Feed the flock ] That is, rule them, say the pope’s janizaries. True it is the word signifieth sometimes to govern; usually to feed; but they catch at government, led go feeding.

Not by constraint, but willingly ] It is with the pastors of Germany for the most part, saith Melancthon, as with him in Plautus, that said, Ego non servio libenter: herus meus me, non habet, libenter tamen utitur me ut lippis oculis. I serve of no good will, my master also hath as little good will to use my service; and yet he makes such use of me as he doth of some eyes, which we must have or none.

Not for filthy lucre ] As your church choppers and money changers, that take up the ministry only as a trade to pick a living out of it. We preach the gospel among us, saith a Popish writer, tantum ut nos pascat et vestiat, merely for food and raiment. Christ’s faithful undershepherds, though as men they have natural necessities and relations, and as labourers in the word and doctrine they have need of "communicating with others by way of giving and receiving" of this world’s good, yet they have higher aims, which of ready mind they duly prosecute, &c. There is a worm called clerus, that destroyeth honeycombs; so doth the Popish clergy the Lord’s inheritance. But Clerus Angliae was wont to be stupor mundi, the world’s wonder for height of holiness and depth of learning.

Verse 3

3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Ver. 3. Neither as being lords ] About the year 1620 the clergy and laity of England set themselves against the pope’s exactions; and when the envoy alleged that all churches were the pope’s, Magister Leonardus made answer, Tuitione non fruitione, defensione non dissipatione. Protect not fleese, defend not scatter. (Jac. Revius in Vit. Pontiff)

Verse 4

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

Ver. 4. Ye shall receive a crown ] A crown imports perpetuity, plenty, dignity, the height of human ambition. Quarta perennis erit It will be the fourth part of eternity, was Sir Thomas Bodly’s posy. Manet ultima caelo It remains by the greatest heaven, was Henry III’s of France, who was first crowned king of Poland. See Trapp on " Jam 1:12 "

Verse 5

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.

Ver. 5. Yea, all of you be subject ] In regard of love and modesty, not of change and confusion of offices.

Be clothed with humility ] The Greek word εγκομβωσασθε imports that humility is the riband or string that ties together all those precious pearls, the rest of the graces; if this string break, they are all scattered. Humility, as charity, is the band of perfection; yea, the word κομβος here used signifies not only alligare, to bind, but innodare, say some; to tie knots as delicate and curious women used to do of ribbons to adorn their heads or bodies, as if humility were the knot of every virtue and the grace of every grace. Contrariwise, how ugly and unseemly is pride on the back of honour and head of learning, face of beauty, &c. Chrysostom calleth humility the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and band of all virtues. Basil, the storehouse, treasury of all good, θησαυροφυλακιον .

God resisteth ] See Trapp on " Jam 4:6 " As pride resisteth God in a special manner, so God in a special manner resisteth it.

And giveth grace ] i.e. Honour and respect; as appears by the opposition, and by Proverbs 3:34-35 .

Verse 6

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

Ver. 6. Under the mighty hand of God ] If God can blow us to destruction,Job 4:9; Job 4:9 , nod us to destruction, Psalms 18:16 , what is the weight of that mighty hand of his that spans the heavens and holds the earth in the hollow of them?

That he may exalt you ] The lower the ebb, the higher is the tide. A deluge of sorrows may assault us, but they shall exalt as. And the lower the foundation of virtue is laid, the higher shall the roof of glory be overlaid.

In due time ] In the opportunity of time, in a fit season. The very Turks, though remorseless to those that bear up, yet receive humiliation with much sweetness.

Verse 7

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

Ver. 7. Casting all your care ] Your carking care, your care of diffidence. I will now with you sing away care, said John Careless, martyr, in a letter to Mr Philpot, for now my soul is turned to her old rest again, and hath taken a sweet nap in Christ’s lap. I have cast my care upon the Lord which careth for me, and will be careless, according to my name. It is our work, saith another, to cast care; it is God’s work to take care. Let us not, by our soul dividing thoughts, take his work out of his hand.

Verse 8

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

Ver. 8. Your adversary the devil ] Satan envies our condition that we should enjoy that paradise that he left, the comforts he once had. Hence he disturbs us, and is restless out of his infinite hatred of God and goodness; as the scorpion still puts forth his sting, and as the leopard bears such a natural hatred against men, that if he see but a man’s picture, he flies upon it, and tears it. Hannibal, whether he conquered, or was conquered, never rested. Satan is over overcome, and yet he walks up and down seeking to devour: he commits the sin against the Holy Ghost every day, and shall lie lowest in hell; every soul that he drew thither by his temptation shall lie upon him, and press him down as a millstone under the insupportable wrath of God. The word αντιδικος , here rendered an adversary, properly signifies an adversary at law. Against whom we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, the just one, 1 John 2:2 , who appears for us, Hebrews 9:24 , to non-suit all accusations, and to plead our cause. The devil, the accuser, often makes that to be treason in the saints that is but petty larceny. In prosperity he makes us lay our hearts too near it; in adversity, to lay it too near our hearts. He is ever assaulting us, and is therefore called οο πειραζων , the tempter, in the present tense; not lazy at his business, but ever in motion for some mischief to us. Si per anticam eiecias, per posticam denuo solet irrepere, If you throw him out at the street door, he will creep in again at the backdoor. Watch him therefore. Non enim unquam dormitat vigil ille Synagogae suae Episcopus, as Amama calleth him. Ut teipsum serves non experglscere? (Horat.)

Whom he may devour ] Gr. καταπιη , whom he may drink up at one draught.

Verse 9

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

Ver. 9. Stedfast in the faith ] Gr. στερεοι , stiff, solid, settled.

That the same afflictions ] Art not thou glad to fare as Phocion? said he to one that was to die with him. (Plutarch.) Ignatius, going to suffer, triumphed in this, that his blood should be found among the mighty worthies, and that when the Lord maketh inquisition for blood, he will recount from the blood of righteous Abel not only to the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, but also to the blood of mean Ignatius.

Verse 10

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 .

Ver. 10. But the God of all grace ] Thus the apostle divides his time between preaching and prayer, according to his own advice, Acts 6:4 , and the practice of those ancient ministers, Deuteronomy 33:10 .

Verse 11

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

Ver. 11. To him be glory, &c. ] Non loquendum de Deo sine lumine, said the heathen; we may not mention God but with praise to his name, say we.

Verse 12

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.

Ver. 12. I have written briefly ] Gr. In few. The Holy Scripture hath fulness of matter in fewness of words, the whole counsel of God shut up in a narrow compass. The Lord knows that much reading is a weariness of the flesh, Ecclesiastes 12:12 , and hath therefore provided for our infirmity.

Verse 13

13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you , saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Ver. 13. The Church that is at Babylon ] At Rome, say the Papists, that they may prove Peter to have been bishop of Rome. But though this be far fetched, yet here they grant us that mystical Babylon mentioned in the Revelation. It is probable that St Peter meant no other Babylon than the metropolis of Chaldaea, where he, being the apostle of the circumcision, preached to those dispersed Jews, and other Gentiles that he had converted.

Verse 14

14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Ver. 14. With a kiss of charity ] So called, because their love to one another was by this symbol or ceremony both evidenced and increased.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.