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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 5

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-4

1 Peter 5:1-4

Analysis: Elders are exhorted in sufferings also to tend the flock of Christ aright and to be patterns to them

1     1The elders2which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder3, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:452Feed the flock of God which is among you,6 taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint,7 but willingly; not8 for filthy lucre,9 but of a ready mind;10 3Neither as being lords11 over God’s heritage,12 but being13 ensamples14 to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear,15 ye shall receive16 a crown of glory that fadeth not away.


The final exhortation bears on the outward differences of position in the Church.

1 Peter 5:1. Elders among you.—זְקֵנִים. The word occurs for the first time in Exodus 3:16; Exodus 3:18. They were in Israel the heads of the twelve tribes, the chiefs or princes of the tribe, cf. Numb. ii. In the place of this primitive arrangement, at the instance of Jethro, representative elders were chosen, Exodus 18:13, “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness;” and from their number a select committee (as we should say) of seventy elders was taken, Exodus 24:9; Numbers 11:16. Elders are also mentioned in connection with particular communities, Ruth 4:2; 1 Samuel 11:3; Joshua 20:4. Christianity received these institutions as they existed; they were retained in Jewish-Christian Churches, and introduced into Gentile-Christian Churches. We find them at Antioch, Acts 11:30, in the Church at Jerusalem, Acts 15:2; Acts 15:4; Acts 21:18; James 5:14, and thus in our passage. They were not always (yet doubtless often) those oldest in years, but rather the most experienced and matured among the converted members of the Church. They are also called bishops=overseers, Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 3:8. They were chosen by the Apostles, with the concurrence of the Churches, Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; their functions were to oversee, to administer order and direct discipline, to watch over pure doctrine and even to teach, although the last was not their exclusive function, 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:7. After the Apostolic age, the office of bishop and elder were gradually separated. During the life-time of the Apostles, the supreme direction of the Churches was wielded by them, but they put themselves on a level with the elders, hence Peter calls himself συμπρεσβύτερος, and John describes himself as πρεσβύτερος, 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1. “So,” says Grotius, “the Roman generals were wont to call their soldiers, comrades, commilitones.” But the sense is different. The antithesis in 1 Peter 5:5 shows that πρεσβυτέρους refers also to age.—τοὺς ἐν ὑμν.—τοὺς, as Steiger supposes, has no particular significance as rendering ἐν ὑμῖν more emphatic.

I——exhort.—Gerhard says that Peter advances three grounds taken from his own person, on which he bases his exhortation. First, he calls himself a fellow-elder, as a brother in office rightly exhorts his brethren; he calls himself a witness of the sufferings of Christ, not only because he has preached the death and cross of Christ, but also because he had borne witness to Christ in very deed, in having endured various sufferings for Christ’s sake. But it is necessary to add the remark of Grotius, that “Peter had seen Him bound, and probably had been a distant spectator of the crucifixion.” The second ground is his Apostolical vocation, sealed by sufferings, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23; Colossians 1:24-25; Galatians 6:17. The καί evidently indicates that μάρτυς denotes also his actual testimony, cf. Hebrews 12:1; Acts 22:20; Revelation 2:13. He is also partaker of the future glory, because he was himself partaker of the sufferings of Christ. The readers of this Epistle were to look forward to the future glory with the same assurance in which he was expecting it. This is the third ground of his exhortation. [But compare John 13:36, to which the Apostle not improbably alludes.—M.]. Gerhard:—”The heavenly glory, the reward of fidelity, will be common to you and me, if you also will manifest due zeal in the discharge of your duty.” μελλούσης δόξης, cf. 1Pe 1:5; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 4:13-14.

1 Peter 5:2. Tend the flock.—ποιμαίνω, as distinguished from ἐπισκοπέω, denotes: Lead it to the wholesome pasture of the Divine word, guard it from the poisonous weeds of false doctrine, and go before it by your own example in well-doing, 1 Peter 4:19; cf. John 21:17; Jeremiah 3:15; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:2; John 10:12; Acts 20:28; Psalms 23:1. Bernard:—”Tend (pasture) it with thy mind, with thy mouth, with thy work, tend it with prayer, with exhortation, and the exhibition of thy example.” Let the Chief Shepherd be your pattern, John 10:11.

The flock of God which is among you.—Know that it belongs not to you, but to God, to whom you will have to render account.—τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν, not, as Erasmus: “as far as in you lieth” [quantum in vobis est], but: the flock which is among you, with you, in your immediate region [in your parish, as we would say,—M.], the section of the one Church which is committed to your charge, cf. 1 Peter 1:18-21; Acts 20:28; Joh 10:15; 1 Peter 2:25; Luke 12:32. Do not imagine that the flock is yours, you are only servants. Of like import are the words of Jesus to Peter, John 21:15-16. [Gerhard says: “qui vobiscum est, videlicet cum quo unum corpus, una ecclesia estis.”—M.].

Overseeing it—but zealously.—ἐπισκοποῦντες (Lachmann and Tischendorf, sustained by many authorities, retain this word) defines ποιμάνατε, and denotes, looking after, overseeing, watching with great care something for some one, Hebrews 12:15; Act 20:28; 1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 13:17. Take heed that no wolves come to devour the sheep, avert, in general, all dangers from them, and watch with great care over every thing that belongs to their welfare.—How must the flock be tended (pastured)? Peter cautions them against three sins of the pastoral office, and exhorts them to the practice of the opposite virtues.—μὴ� refers not to the flock, but to the shepherds, and respects at once the acceptance and the conduct of their office. In those days, persuasion, bordering on constraint, was probably necessary in order to induce one to accept or continue in the office of a presbyter. Gregory the Great confesses that he would never compel any one to accept the Episcopate. Steiger expounds: not only because it belongs to our office, but of free will, as God demands it. (Lachmann adds κατὰ Θεόν). “Those pastors are not without censure who, could they do as they would like to do, would rather be any thing than pastors.” Bengel. [Coacte pascit gregem Dei, qui propter rerum temporalium penuriam non habet unde vivat, idcirco prædicat Evangelium ut de Evangelio vivere possit. Bede. “Dum agimus ac necessitatis præscriptum, lente et frigide in opere progredimur.” Calvin.—M.].

Willingly.—Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:17; Ps. 54:8; Exodus 36:2. This willing spirit flows from the love we cherish for the Chief Shepherd and the flock, John 10:12; John 21:15-17.

Nor yet for the sake of sordid gain.—Some turned religion into a trade, 1 Timothy 6:5; the Apostle cautions against that sin. Cf. Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:8; 2 Peter 2:13; Isaiah 56:11; Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10; Micah 3:11; Micah 3:5; Ezekiel 13:19. “Where the love of gain reigns, the shepherds are apt to become hirelings, yea, even wolves.”—”Those who pamper their body—seek the milk and wool of the sheep.” Luther.—προθύμως denotes inward delight and zeal in the salvation and guidance of souls, in opposition to selfish motives. [Bede illustrates the word by the children of Israel, among whom even the workmen gave their services eagerly and gratuitously in the building of the tabernacle.—M.].

1 Peter 5:3. Nor yet as lording it over (the cure committed to them).—[So the German.—M.].—κατακυριεύειν, Matthew 20:25; Mark 10:42; Acts 20:29; cf. James 2:6; Romans 15:16. It denotes more than κυριεύειν, Luke 22:25; 2 Corinthians 1:24, for κατά carries the idea of hostility and pride.—τῶν κλήρων; κλῆρος=lot, portion of inheritance, heritage, Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12; cf. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29. So the people of Israel are called the heritage of God. In the New Testament the word was applied to those portions of the Christian Church which were assigned to individual elders as their lot. So Gerhard, Calov and others. It is altogether erroneous to expound κλῆρος as denoting the clergy in its orders, for it answers to ποιμνίου, cf. Acts 17:4; 1Co 7:35; 2 Corinthians 2:10.

[1. κλῆρος, in the sense of portion, is the meaning attached to this word, besides the Commentators already cited, by Erasmus (“gregem qui cuique forte contigit gubernandus”), Estius (“gregis Dominici portiones, quæ singulis episcopis pascendæ et regendæ uelut sortito, obtigerunt”), Bengel, Wolf, Steiger, de Wette, Huther, Wiesinger, Alford; 2. κλῆρος, in the sense of heritage of God, is the meaning given by Cyril (on Isaiah 3:2), Calvin (“quum universum ecclesiæ orpus hæreditas sit domini, todidem sunt veluti prædia, quorum culturam singulis presbyteris assignat.”), Beza, E. V., Grotius, Benson, al. The objections to this view are, according to Alford, that κλῆροι could not be taken for portions of Θεοῦ, and that Θεοῦ could in this case hardly be wanting; 3. κλῆρος, in the sense of the clergy, is the anachronistical meaning attached to the word chiefly by Roman Catholic Commentators; so even Oecumenius, Jerome, à Lapide (“jubet ergo S. Petrus Episcopis et Pastoribus, ne inferioribus clericis impericse dominari velint”), Fenardentius, al.; 4. Bodwell arbitrarily explains the word of Church-goods, and is refuted by Wolf, Curæ h. l.—The correctness of the meaning of the text, namely, the first as given above, is evident from τοῦ ποιμνίου, the flock, which corresponds to τῶν κλήρων.—M.]

But (becoming) patterns.—ἀλλὰ τύποι.—Cornelius correctly remarks that Peter opposes this pattern to their lording. They must rule by example, not by ordering. Athanasius:—”The life should command, and the tongue persuade.”

[Wordsworth:—”St. Peter happily uses the plural, κλῆροι; for in Christian times, it is not one nation, as it had been of old, which is the chosen people and heritage of God, but all national Churches, all congregations of Pastors and People are heritages of the Lord; each “Church and each congregation”, which every Pastor serves, is, in a mystical sense, as the English Ordinal declares, “The Spouse and Body of Christ.” By the word κλῆροι, therefore, we may understand here the faithful people of Christ, distributed in regular order into various dioceses, parishes, churches, and congregations, like the companies to which our Lord distributed the loaves and fishes by the hands of His Apostles.”

“Here is another caution from St. Peter’s mouth, which may be commended to the consideration of those who call themselves his successors. ‘The Apostle forbiddeth dominari in cleris.’ But they who claim to be his successors are not afraid to ‘teach that their own judgments are infallible, and to make their definitions an universal Rule of Faith, and to require subjection to their laws and persons, as of necessity to salvation, and to be called ‘Dominus Deus noster Papa,’ (Gloss, in Extrav. Papæ Johann. 22, Tit. 14:4), etc., all which and much more is professed by the Popes and in their behalf. No modest man can deny that this amounts to as much as St. Peter’s dominari in cleris, even to the exercising of such lordship over the Lord’s heritage, the Christian Church, as will become none but the Lord Himself, whose heritage it is.” Bp. Sanderson, 3, p. 283. Apposite are also the following quotations from Bernard: (“Monstrosa res est gradus summus et animus infimus, sedes prima et vita ima, lingua magniloqua et vita otiosa, sermo multus et functus nullus”), Gregory, (“Informis est vita pastoris, qui modo calicem Dei signat, modo talos agitat: qui in avibus cœli ludit, canes instigat etc.”), and Gerhard (“Pastor ante oves vadit”).—M.]

1 Peter 5:4. And when—amaranthine crown of glory.—”Instead of sordid gain, and the empty honour of ruling, the Apostle shows to them noble gain and a true crown of honour.” Besser. Cf. Daniel 12:3; Matthew 24:45; Mat 25:21; 2 Timothy 4:8.—ἀρχιποίμενος, 1 Peter 2:25; Hebrews 13:20; cf. Ezekiel 34:15; Ezekiel 34:23; Ps. xxiii.; John 10:11.—καί=then also.—φανερωθἐντος, like ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι, relates to the visible return of Christ, 1Pe 1:5; 1 Peter 1:7; cf. Colossians 3:4; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:2.—κομίζεσθαι, see 1 Peter 1:9.—ἀμαράντινος=ἀμάραντος, 1 Peter 1:4.—τὸν τῆς δόξης στέφανον.—The crowns (wreaths) with which warriors and the successful competitors in the games used to be adorned were made of flowers, herbs, ivy, laurel leaves, and olive branches. Holy Scripture speaks of a crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:8, a crown of life, James 1:12; Revelation 2:10, and here of a crown of glory. Instead of a crown of thorns, the Christian victor shall hereafter be adorned with a living, heavenly crown. Whether there is a difference between these crowns, or whether they are all one and the same crown, will only be disclosed in eternity. Besser explains it as a token of the royal dignity of believers, of which Zechariah 6:13 may be regarded the type, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25. Hugo, Thomas Aquinas, Salmero understand by it a higher stage of eternal life.—δόξης must not be diluted into “the wreath which is glory”—or a very glorious crown, but the crown which reflects the glory of God, cf. 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 5:10. [The glory of Christ is probably this amaranthine crown, cf. 1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 5:10 below; also 1 John 3:2, etc.—M.]


1. The title of Chief Shepherd which is here ascribed to Christ in relation to the under-shepherds, His servants, involves the Divine origin of the pastoral office. It describes Christ not only as superior in dignity to the other shepherds, but as their superior in power, in whose name and in whose stead they hold the pastoral office, to whom belong both the sheep and the shepherds, because He has given His life for them, John 10:11; Acts 20:28, to whom the shepherds are consequently responsible, and from whom they have to expect the reward or the punishment of the conduct of their office, 1 Corinthians 4:5; so Calvin, Calov and others.

2. To give, as Schwegler does, 1 Peter 5:4, a polemical reference to then existing hierarchical tendencies, and thence to argue against the genuineness of the Epistle, is a decided perversion of the right stand point.

3. The institution of the presbyterate is not stated explicitly, but it was already in existence before the death of the elder James, and before Paul’s first missionary journey to Jerusalem, Acts 11:30. It appears, says Weiss, to have everywhere originated with the founding and more independent establishment and organization of the Christian Church, especially in Jewish-Christian congregations, which followed the precedent of their mother Church. Paul on his first missionary journey ordained elders everywhere, Acts 14:23.

4. This Epistle does not yet refer to different offices in the Church. We have before us the most simple form of Church-constitution, under which all other offices were as yet included in the Apostolate and the Presbyterate. As in 1 Peter 2:25, the Lord is called the Shepherd and Bishop (overseer) of the Church, so the elders were to continue under Him these His functions, that is, on the one hand to teach and exhort, and to arrange Divine worship, and on the other to take care that all things should be done honestly and orderly, to administer the discipline and to provide for the support of the poor.

5. Peter considers self-sacrificing love and self-abasing humility the most essential qualifications of true spiritual pastors.

6. The declarations of Holy Scripture concerning the glory of the life to come, and its crowns of honour, ought to be dealt with as having more reality than common theology is wont to do. “The full import of these crowns we shall never understand in our bodily life. But from their very names, we may conclude that they constitute a great glory, and indicate a title to live with Christ after death and royally to reign with Him after suffering, 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 22:5.” Roos.

7. [The Commentators justly observe that if Peter had been the prince or chief of the Apostles, as the Papists affirm, he would in this place and in the inscription of his two Epistles, have assumed to himself that high prerogative.—Macknight.—M.]


The pastoral office a gift of God to the Churches. 1. The extent of its duties; 2. the mind in which it must be administered.—Preachers should give testimony drawn from their own experience.—How to avoid the three capital faults of unfaithful pastors. Look through shame and death to the crown of honour and the crown of life prepared for those who overcome.

Starke:—A lofty saying: Who would gladly neglect the flock and sheep of Christ? 1 Corinthians 4:2.—We may be fully assured of our salvation: witnesses and testimonies of it abound, Romans 8:16.—Rich cross-bearers! which are the riches, and where are they? They are more than those of earth, and well secured in heaven. Believe, hope and desire, and you will know it, 1 John 3:2.—A minister must lead his flock as a shepherd to wholesome pasture, rule it with the rod of his mouth, Isaiah 11:4, with the staves beauty and bands, Zechariah 11:7 (German, “gentleness and pain”), and in all respects be watchful, that they suffer no injury whatsoever, Isaiah 62:6.—Hearers should possess the characteristics of good sheep to acquire the mind of Christ their Chief Shepherd and to hear His voice and that of faithful under-shepherds with ready obedience.—No rule whatsoever belongs to the office of a preacher; preachers are servants, not rulers, Matthew 20:25-26.—Teacher, thou oughtest not only to teach rightly, but also to live rightly, lest thou do not build up with one hand and tear down with the other, 1 Thessalonians 2:10. If all believers are indiscriminately a royal priesthood, this distinction is especially true of faithful teachers whose dignity is indicated by the erown, and although they possess this dignity already in the new man, it will increasingly appear at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Roos:—“Let us belong only to those who, leading an honest life, may indulge the hope of receiving such crowns, although as yet we do not understand their nature.”

Lisco:—The Christian pastoral office: 1. Its duties; 2. Its motives; 3. Its reward.

Richter:—“Christian teachers and preachers must not rule by authority, but guide and direct by the power of truth and love and the force of example. Let no pastor be a pope.” The pastors of a Church should seek their preëminence in that they first keep the commandments of Christ, and thus incite others to emulation, Philippians 3:17; 2Th 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7.


1 Peter 5:1. The blessing of a faithful pastor. “Satius solem non lucere quam Chrysostomum non docere.” 1 Peter 5:2. Had I, says Bernard, some of that blood poured forth on the cross, how carefully would I carry it, and ought I not to be as careful of those souls that it was shed for?—All believers are God’s clergy (κλῆρος).—M.]


1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 5:1. [πρεσβυτέρους without the article, simply elders.—M.]

1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 5:1. [Receptus omits οὖν after πρεσβυτέρους but supplies τοὺς so K. L. (and Lachmann); on the other hand the important Codd. A. B. insert οὖν, so Alford; also Sinait.—M.]

1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 5:1. [ὁ συμπρεσβυτέρος=the fellow-elder.—M.]

1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 5:1. [μελλούσης�=the glory which is about to be revealed. Translate the whole verse; “Elders therefore among you I, a fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, also a partaker of the glory which is about to be revealed, exhort.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [ποιμάνατε=tend, pasture better than feed which only expresses one office of a shepherd; the Greek denotes all his duties, and it is impossible to convey in English the force of ποιμάνατε τὸ ποίμνιον.—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [ἐπισκοποῦντες, omitted in B. and Sinait.,=overseeing it. Those who remove this word do it perhaps “for ecclesiastical reasons, for fear πρεσβύτεροι should be supposed to be as they really were, ἐπίσκοποι.” (Alford). “Ipsum episcopatus nomen et officium exprimere voluit.” (Calvin).—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [ἀναγκαστῶς=constrainedly.—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [μηδὲ=nor yet, stronger than not; “it brings in a climax each time.” (Alford).—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [αἰσχροκερδῶς=for the sake of sordid gain.—M.]

1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:2. [προθύμως=zealously, eagerly.—M.]

1 Peter 5:3; 1 Peter 5:3. [κατακυριεύοντες=lording it over; see note below.

1 Peter 5:3; 1 Peter 5:3. [τῶν κλήρων, κλῆρος=lot, portion. Simply the lots or portions committed to their care; that is, of the universal flock of Christ, subdivisions such as dioceses, parishes, etc. Erasmus: “Cleros autem vocat non Diaconos aut Presbyteros, sed gregem qui cuique forte contigit gubernandus.” Estius: “Gregis Dominici portiones, quæ singulis episcopis pascendæ et regandæ uelut sortito, obtigerunt.” So Bengel, Wiesinger, de Wette, Alford, and others.—M.]

1 Peter 5:3; 1 Peter 5:3. [γινόμενοι=becoming.—M.]

1 Peter 5:3; 1 Peter 5:3. [τύποι=patterns.—M.]

1 Peter 5:4; 1 Peter 5:4. [φανερωθέντος=when (the Chief Shepherd) is manifested.—M.]


1 Peter 5:4. [τὸν�=the amaranthine crown, not=ἀμάραντος, but the adjective derived from it; the crown made of everlasting flowers. The literal translation might be retained with advantage: the expression is poetical and very beautiful and used by Pope and Cowper.

The only amaranthine flower on earth

Is virtue; the only lasting treasure, truth.—Cowper.——M.]

Verses 5-11

1 Peter 5:5-11

Analysis:—Exhortation, addressed especially to the younger, to subjection, and to all, to continued humility, to submissiveness to the hand of God, to faithfulness and vigilance, and thus to resist the devil. God Himself will then perfect and strengthen them.

5Likewise, ye younger,17submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject18 one to another, and be clothed19 with humility:20for God resisteth21 the proud and 22giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand 7of God, that he may exalt you in due time23: Casting24 all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8Be sober, be vigilant; because25 your adversary the devil, as a roaring 9lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.26 Whom resist steadfast27 in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions28 are accomplished29 in your brethren30 that are in the world.31 10But the God of all grace, who hath called us32 unto his eternal glory by33 Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while,34 make you perfect, 11stablish,35 strengthen, settle36 you. To him be glory37 and dominion for ever and ever.38 Amen.


1 Peter 5:5. Likewise ye younger - - the elder.—ὁμοίως, as in 1 Peter 3:7, leads to the corresponding duty of the younger members of the Church in general. These are not laymen, but the younger members of the Church in general. The antithesis would seem to warrant taking πρεσβύτεροι as describing the aged members of the Church, but this would involve understanding πρεσβύτεροι in a sense different from 1 Peter 5:1; moreover ὁμοίως would conflict with such an interpretation. They are accordingly elders in office, who were, as we have already shown, generally also elders in years. At the same time, it may be assumed that all the elder persons were to take a voluntary part in some, though not in all the functions of presbyters. πρεσβύτεροι and νεώτεροι denote, therefore, the contrast between those who were either bound to lead, or might voluntarily do it, and those who were led and obeying. The view of Weiss, who understands by νεώτεροι or νεανίσκοι, Acts 5:6; Acts 5:10, of young persons who were to assist the elders in outward ministrations, is hardly tenable, at least on the ground on which he puts it. πάντες δὲ in what follows, embraces πρεσβύτεροι and νεώτεροι, and is not antithetical to the latter. Could a small portion of the Church only be exhorted to be subject to the presbyters? This would, at all events, necessitate the idea of official subordination in a narrowed sense. Such an observance in other Churches is also doubtful. [Alford, who takes a similar view, expresses it with more clearness and logical force. He says: “As the name πρεσβύτεροι had an official sense, viz.: superintendents, of the Church, so νεώτεροι likewise describes those who were the ruled, the disciples of the πρεσβύτεροι. Thus taken, it will mean here, the rest of the Church as opposed to πρεσβύτεροι.—M.]—ὑποτάγητε, cf. 1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 2:18; 1 Peter 3:1. Calvin:—“Nothing is more repugnant to the mind of man (in his fallen state) than to be subject.”

Yea all.—πάντες δὲ, inferiors are to subject themselves to superiors, wives to their husbands, children to their parents, slaves to their masters, yea, in a certain sense, all to all, cf. Philippians 2:3; Ephesians 5:21; Romans 12:10. This subordination, which is insisted upon as a principal point in the order of the Christian commonwealth, must be founded on humble submission to God, cf. Matthew 20:27; Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14.

And clothe yourselves with humility.—τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην, lowliness of mind, which to the heathen was vile, brokenness of a proud heart, the opposite of ὑψηλἁ φρονεῖν, Romans 12:16; cf. Philippians 2:3; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12.—ἐγκομβοῦσθαι from κόμβος, a string or band to tie something with, to fasten it, a knot, or from ἐγκόμβωμα, explained by Pollux, according to Riemer, of a white apron or frock worn over the clothes to keep them clean, like the dusters used by coachmen and travellers. It was a garment usually worn by slaves. Calvin and others consider it to denote a show-dress, but this cannot be proved. Calov combines the two ideas: “We are to put on humility as a garment (cf. Colossians 3:12) and have it fastened tight to us.” [His language, literally translated, is somewhat ludicrous: “We should be buttoned up tight in it.”—M.]—We should be thoroughly surrounded by it, have it fit close all round, and suffer nobody to tear it away from us (cf. John 13:5, etc.,), even if it should be regarded as a servile garment. [Alford renders ἐγκομβώσασθε, gird on, from ἐγκόμβωμα, used for a kind of girdle by Longus, Pastoralia, 2, 33, and Pollux, 4, 119. See in Wetstein.—M.]

Because God opposeth Himself to the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.—The Apostle gives the reason for his exhortation in a citation from Proverbs 3:34, in the LXX., the only variation being the substitution of ό Θεός for κύριος, cf. James 5:6; Proverbs 29:23; Job 22:29.—ὑπερηφάνοις, Heb. לֵצִים, scorners, haughty, insolent men, unmindful of God, and proudly looking down upon others, Luke 1:51; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2. “They assault, as it were, the honour of God in seizing that which belongs to God. Other sins fly from God, pride only opposes itself to God; other sins crush men, pride only raises them against God. Hence God also, in His turn, opposes Himself to the proud.” Gerhard. [Alford quotes the saying of Artabamus to Xerxes, Herod., 7:10, ὁρᾷς τὰ ὑπερέχοντα ζῶα ὡς κεραυνοῖ ὁ Θεός, οὐδὲ ἐᾷ φαντάζεσθαι, τὰ δὲ σμικρὰ οὐδὲν μν κνίξει; … φιλέει γὰρ ὁ Θεὸς τὰ ὑπερέ χοντα πάντα κολούειν.—M.].—ἀντινάσσεται, He opposes Himself to them as with an army. This sentiment was known to some extent to the better among the heathen, because the history of the world proves it. See Steiger, cf. Daniel 4:34.—ταπεινοῖς= עָנִי, the lowly, those who acknowledge their vileness, and consider themselves mean and low.—δίδωσι χάριν = חֶן, His good pleasure rests upon them, and He gives them proofs of it, cf. Genesis 6:8; Genesis 18:3; Luke 1:30; Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47.—“The proud who persist in offering Him armed resistance, are struck down by His mighty hand.” Gerhard. “There are, as it were, two hands of God under which we must humble ourselves, the one abases the proud, the other exalts the humble.” Augustine. [“Humilitas est vas gratiarum.” ibid.—M.]

1 Peter 5:6. Humble yourselves therefore.—A new inference drawn from the citation from the Old Testament and the concluding exhortation. The Apostle once more reverts to suffering and causes, says Besser, the light of the citation to shine on the darkness of suffering of the Church.—ταπεινώθητε = bow yourselves in humility, recognize your impotence and the might of God; submit yourselves to Him quietly and willingly.

Under the mighty hand of God.—An allusion to 1 Peter 4:17, to the impending judgments. He can put down and exalt, kill and make alive, wound and heal, Acts 4:28; Acts 4:30; Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7; Deuteronomy 3:24; Exodus 14:31; Exodus 3:19; Exodus 32:11; Luke 1:51. He reveals His chastising hand also to believers in the sufferings which He sends for their refining and trial.

That He may exalt you in His time.—ἵνα ὑμᾶς, in order that in you may be fulfilled that law of the kingdom of God, “he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted,” Matthew 23:12.—ὑψοῦν = to raise from the dust, to comfort and help, to advance to honour from disgrace, to joy from grief, 1 Peter 1:6-7; cf. James 4:7; James 4:10.—ἐν καιρῷ (Lachmann adds ἐπισκοπῆς [A and many versions.—M.], probably a later addition from 1 Peter 2:12) in the time appointed, the right time, here on earth or hereafter without any reference to our time.

1 Peter 5:7. Casting all your care upon Him.—Holy freedom from all anxious care is essential to submission to God. “The mighty hand of God is in the service of a Father’s heart for He careth for you.” Besser:—ἐπιῤῥίψαντες from Psalms 55:23. ἐπιῤῥπτω = גָּלַל and שָׁלַךְ to roll a burden, cf. Psalms 22:11; Psalms 37:5; Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6, to cast upon, to, over, Luke 19:25; Luke 12:22.—”We cast our cares upon God in believing prayer and tell Him the need which excites our care, as children are wont to confide their grief to their father. We implore His help, remembering His mercy and His mighty hand. And He is not implored in vain.” Roos:—“Hence we must not struggle long with the burden of our cares but ease ourselves at once by earnest heart-yearning and fervent sighing.” Calov: “μέριμνα from μέρος, μερίζω, care, as it were, divides the heart into different parts, drawing it hither and thither.—πᾶσαν τὴν, anxiety in its entireness, the whole of it, undivided and without any reserve whatsoever; great cares and small ones, cares seen or hidden, pour them out before Him.

Because He careth for you.—μέλει, because He has you at heart, He has taken it upon Himself to care for you; not a hair of your head shall perish without His will, Luke 21:18; Matthew 10:30.—[περὶ ὑμῶν. περί after verbs of caring denotes about. As to the distinction between περί and ὑπέρ, Weber, Demosth. p. 230, says: “περί solam mentis circumspectionem vel respectum rei, ὑπέρ simul animi propensionem etc. significat.” See Winer p. 390.—M.]. “Believers daily ascend Mount Moriah with Abraham, appropriating as their motto, the words, ‘God will provide,’ Genesis 22:8. The Lord will provide on that mountain, that is on the mountain of Divine Providence, whence cometh our help, Psalms 121:0” Gerhard.

1 Peter 5:8. Be sober, be vigilant.—That freedom from care must not degenerate into apathy, for we are still in the Church militant, not yet in the Church triumphant. To the care which troubles from within must be added the temptations which come from the kingdom of darkness. Hence the Apostle exhorts them anew to sobriety and vigilance, 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 1:13. “Let this be your care.” Bengel.—νήψατε, γρηγορήσατε, go inseparably together, hence no copulative. γρηγοσήσατε cf. Luke 21:34; Luke 21:36. This watching consists, says Calov, in the prudence by which we avoid the lying in wait of Satan, in the shunning of false security and of sins and in the throwing out of sentinels, Ephesians 6:11; Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13; 1 Corinthians 16:13. The exhortation based upon the words of our Lord, springs simultaneously from the Apostle’s own experience, Matthew 26:40-41; Luke 22:45; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6. [Augustine: “Corde vigila, fide vigila, spe vigila, caritate vigila, operibus vigila.”—M.]

Your adversary.—The exposition which sees in “adversary” human slanderers, (Hensler and others) needs no refutation. Satan is called absolutely the adversary of believers, who stands up as the champion of law when he opposes them, their enemy, Matthew 13:39; John 8:44; Revelation 12:10; the prince of this world, Eph 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 16:11; John 12:31; John 14:30; Acts 26:18; 2Th 2:9; 1 John 3:8. He is the declared opponent, both of Christ and of His members. He is the accuser of the brethren, Revelation 12:10; cf. Job 1:6, etc.

Walketh about.—As in Job 1:7, he is said to go to and fro in the earth, so here he is said to walk about, which applies not to visible appearings, but to his operations by his instruments. Scripture indeed teaches that the evil spirits are confined in hell, 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 6:0; Luke 8:31; but they are bound only in respect of their visible appearing, while they rule invisibly in the regions of the air, Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12; in darkness, they roam over desert places, Matthew 12:43-44; Luke 11:24; and influence man mediately and immediately, Luke 22:23; John 13:27.

As a roaring lion.—The lion, according to Pliny, roars most violently, when he is hungry. Elsewhere Satan is compared with a serpent, on account of his cunning, 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2; here, with a lion on account of his cruelty and boldness, his power and strength, and his lust of injury. “When furious Jews and mad heathens began a persecution of the Christians, or attacked individual Christians, or simply threatened them, it was the devil’s work, who then showed himself as a roaring lion. But since such things happened here and there, he is described as a roaring lion who walketh about. His object is to terrify and to tear, but especially to tear. His terrifying consisted of old in menacings, threatening edicts and anathemas, his tearing in executions.”—Roos. [Gerhard: “Comparatur diabolus leoni famelico et præ impatientia famis rugienti, quia perniciem nostram inexplebiliter appetit, nec ulla præda ei sufficit.”—M.]

Seeking whom he may devour.—Cf. Mat 23:34; 1 Corinthians 15:32; Hebrews 11:36. The comparison relates to both.—καταπίνειν, to drink greedily, to gulp or swallow down. He cannot devour every body, move them to fall away from Christ into sin, but only those who are not sober and vigilant. “The enemy and opponent of the Church despises those who are already in his power, whom he has estranged from the Church and led away captive and conquered. He passes them over, and continues to tempt those of whom he knows that Christ dwells in them.”—Cyprian.

1 Peter 5:9. Whom resist firm in the faith.—How shall we offer resistance to this powerful enemy? 1. In firm faith. 2. In the thought that such suffering is not peculiar, but the universal lot of Christians.—ἀντίστητε. James 4:7, cites the same passage; Proverbs 3:34, has the same exhortation, “Submit yourselves therefore to God;” cf. 1 Peter 5:10, and the charge: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This circumstance renders the reference of the one Epistle to the other very probable.—”Resist him, in order to drive him back when he attacks us. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is more mighty by far than the lion of hell. His victory and His might become our own through faith.” Calov. Ephesians 3:16; John 15:4; 1 Corinthians 6:17.—“Unbelievers fear the devil as a lion, the strong in faith despise him as a worm.” Isidor. “Victory over Satan lies in faith, because faith unites us to Christ, the victor. By faith the devil is driven to flight as is the lion by fire.” Gerhard.—στερεοί, firm, immovable in faith, in faithful cleaving to Christ and His word; cf. Acts 16:5; Romans 4:20; Colossians 2:5; Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 6:16; Ephesians 4:14.

Knowing that the self-same sufferings—in the world.—εἰδότες, cf. 1 Peter 1:18; 1 Peter 3:9.—τὰ αὐτὰ, the same kind of sufferings of trial. The thought that these sufferings are common to all the brethren, is designed to warn against the conceit that they are rejected by God and man, that they are either extraordinary sinners or uncommon saints; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13.—ἀδελφότητι, 1 Peter 2:13.—ἐν κόσμῳ, to indicate the reason of their sufferings. You live in an imperfect world, among transitory things, and with the children of unbelief, John 9:5.—ἐπιτελεῖσθαι, used of the payment and discharge of taxes and debts; of the discharge and completion of some business or combat. The ideas of payment of debt and completion may be combined; they are endured by your brethren with a view to their completion (perfecting, so German) by the appointment of God.—τῇ�. for ὑπὸ τῆς�. De Wette and others take it as the Dative of the more remote object [i. e., the Dative of reference.—M.] as in γίνεσθαι ὑμῖν, 1 Peter 4:12; so Wiesinger. “They not only are partakers of our sufferings, but our confederates in prayer and in combating the enemy.”—Calov.

1 Peter 5:10. But the God of all grace.—A final promise full of rich consolation. χάρις denotes here, as in 1 Peter 4:10, a Divine gift of grace, πάσης involving a plurality of gifts, cf. 1 Peter 3:7; James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 12:6; Hebrews 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Romans 15:5. “He is the source of all grace and of all goods.” Gerhard. “With the idea of Him [i. e., God.—M.] there is indissolubly united whatsoever is called grace.” Steiger.

Who hath called you, ὁ καλέσας ἡμᾶς (Lachmann and Tischendorf read ὑμας, which is the more authentic reading). His call discloses to us His gracious disposition. He will complete that which He has begun, cf. 1 Peter 1:15.

Unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus.—The Divine act of calling us to that glory contains the earnest, that every thing will so come to pass as to take us forward to the end [τέλος,—M.] of the calling. καλέσας belongs to ἐν χριστῷ Ιησοῦ not to ὀλίγον παθόντας.—αἰώνιον δόξαν, 1 Peter 5:1; 1Pe 4:13; 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 1:5.—ἐν χριστῷ. In His power, for His sake and by His word, Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9, as the calling also takes place with reference to Him, cf. Galatians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14.

When ye have suffered a little while.—ὀλίγον παθόντας are rightly connected by Steiger with what has gone before in the sense: which glory will come to pass in the natural order, after we have suffered a little, or on condition that we have suffered a little, 1 Peter 3:14; Romans 8:18. So Wiesinger, cf. Philippians 1:6.—ὀλίγον, time as contrasted with infinite eternity, 1 Peter 1:6. Gerhard: “The Apostle shows that from the same fountain of grace proceed both the first calling to heavenly glory and the ultimate consummation of this benefit.”

Himself will perfect you.—(The Fut. Indic. of this and the following verbs is preferable to the Optat.). καταρτίσει from ἄρτιος, complete, perfect of its kind, ready. He will perfect your deficiencies, make you ready in every sense, “so that no defect remain in you.” Bengel. Cf. Hebrews 13:21; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11.

Confirm, στηρίζειν =to prop, make fast, to give firm stay and support to what is tottering, Luke 22:32 : Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Peter 1:12; James 5:8. “Nothing shall cause you to shake.” Bengel.

Strengthen, σθενώσει from σθένος, might, bodily strength, hence to impart spiritual might, to strengthen spiritually. Gerhard thinks of the figure of a castle which is fortified, cf. 1 Peter 5:9.

Ground, θεμελιώσει (Lachmann omits ὑμᾶς and θεμελιώσει. Tischendorf also omits the former), θεμελιόω, to found, fasten in the ground (fix as on a foundation), render strong, Matthew 7:25; Luke 6:48; Hebrews 1:10; figuratively, Ephesians 3:17; Col 1:23; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Peter 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:19. Take note of the intrinsic development and rise of these verbs.

To Him is the glory and the might.—αὐτῷ ἡ δοξά. Expression of gratitude for these exhibitions of grace; men dare not take any share of the credit to themselves.—κράτος, the might, the rule, the authority which He employs in our preparation, Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 13:21. The glory of God is the ultimate purpose of all.


1. Classical antiquity holds along with the recognition of the truth that God opposes Himself to the proud, the error which the prince of darkness threw into the heart of our parents, that the Deity is an envious Being, who, from jealousy, is impatient of any exaltation (Germ. Höhe) alongside His own. So in Herodotus, Lucanus. Many productions of modern literature, and many opinions of degraded men, exhibit just such suspicious thoughts.

2. Mute resignation, as found among fatalists, is infinitely different from that believing submission to the appointments of God, which Holy Scripture requires.
3. The teaching of Peter concerning the influence of Satan, decidedly annihilates the distortion of the truth, which here and there is advanced in our time, that the power of Satan ceased with the advent of Christ. Satan asks, says Calvin, nothing better than to be able to attack and capture us unawares. How could he better gain his end than by deceiving us into the belief of his non-existence, so as to deprive us of all fear of him.


Humility is like Jacob’s ladder, which leads from earth to heaven. 1. Its ground; 2. Its manifestation.—The Christian’s art of casting his care upon God. “Oh, he that can thoroughly learn this casting will experience the truth of Peter’s assertions. But he that does not learn this casting remains a cast-away, a broken and subjugated man, an outcast and cast off.” Luther.—Grace is a river which flows downwards.—Humility, the most precious attire.—The mighty hand of the wrath and grace of God.—The Christian’s way leads from the crowd to open space, from the depth to the height.—As the devil tempts men especially to unbelief, so he can only be resisted with firm faith.—The most powerful consolation is in the cross.

Starke:—Humility, the most lowly virtue, is the highest in value, for it brings grace; rain moistens the deep valleys; lowly violets are fragrant. Pride, the portrait of Satan, and an abomination to God; a poison which mars and corrupts whatever is good. Flee, soul, from this serpent, which has bitten many saints, and, as it were, cast them out of heaven.—Art thou high, God is higher; strong, God is stronger; mighty, God is more mighty; eminent, God is majestic. Thou art under (less than) God, humble thyself under Him. Sir 3:20.—We must suffer before we can come to honour, and God tests our humility by suffering, to see whether it be worthy of honour, Proverbs 15:33.—Humility is not a meritorious cause of exaltation, but a way to it, Colossians 3:3-4.—We must cast our care upon God not only in things temporal but also in things spiritual, especially in what belongs to the state of grace. Then we may feel assured that in God’s might, through faith, we shall be preserved unto salvation, 1 Peter 1:5.—Man is like a pilgrim passing through a forest inhabited by bears and lions, and lodging at a place which is the home of robbers and murderers. Satan, holding unbelievers already in his power and in his claws, directs his most earnest endeavours against the godly.—Burdening oneself with eating and drinking, cares of living, and fleshly security, opens the gate and the door to the devil, that he may catch and ruin men.—Satan is strongly armed, but vincible. Faith is the best weapon, arm thyself with it for offensive and defensive warfare, Ephesians 6:16.—Nobody suffers anything new, singular or strange. Others before you also have made experience of it; the devil does not remit it to any.—Believers must always be combating, if not with men, yet with the devil and his angels. Earthly weapons are of no avail, but faith conduces to victory, Job 7:1; Hebrews 11:30, etc.—High calling of men! not to a royal wedding, not to the receiving of a transitory heritage but to the eternal glory of God. O what riches! what honour and grace! 1 Thessalonians 2:12.—Thou thinkest that thou hast to suffer a long time: vain conceit! Is not thy whole life short, how then can thy suffering be long? 2 Corinthians 4:17.—Everything with God, from God, to God! Isaiah 40:29.—He who always talks of his human weakness as presenting a barrier to earnestness in the Christian life is virtually denying the God of all grace. Revelation 21:8.

Roos:—Confirming is opposed to being overpowered by outward sufferings and inward temptations; strengthening to weakness, timidity and want of courage exhibited in the confession of the name of Christ, and in doing His will. Grounding is an exhibition of grace, whereby Christ and the Gospel preached by the Apostles, are made so clear to the soul, that it always knows why it does or suffers anything.

Herberger:—1. What should be our deportment in adversity, and in evil days? 2. What should be our deportment in prosperity and in good days? 3. What we ought to say, if fortune smiles or frowns on us?

Stier:—The way in which we must persevere, after having come to Christ, and the great perils of this way. These are: 1. The pride of our own heart; 2. the temptation and seduction in the world around us.

Kapff:—The great blessing of humility. 1. It finds favour with God and with men; 2. it is a power against Satan; 3. it imparts strength in suffering.

Staudt:—How one resists the adversary: 1. By humility; 2. by freedom from care; 3. by sobriety; 4. with a firm faith; 5. with the remembrance of these sufferings of the brethren, of the calling to glory and of the faithful and mighty God.


1 Peter 5:5. The hoary head is indeed a crown; but when? when found in the way of righteousness, Proverbs 16:31. There it shines and has a kind of royalty over youth: otherwise a graceless old age is a most despicable and lamentable sight. What gains an unholy old man or woman, by their scores of years, but the more scores of guiltiness and misery? And their white hairs speak nothing but whiteness for wrath.

Humility.—That the Christian put on that (the thing itself), not the appearance of it, to act in as a stage-garment, but the truth of it, as their constant habit, be clothed with humility. It must appear in your outward carriage. … It is seen as a modest man’s or woman’s apparel, which they wear not for that end, that it may be seen, and do not gaudily flaunt and delight in dressing; though there is a decency as well as necessity, which they do and may have respect to, yet that in so neat and unaffected a way, that they are a good example, even in that point. Thus humility in carriage and words is as the decorum of this clothing, but the main end is the real usefulness of it.—Rebecca’s beauty and jewels were covered with a veil; but when they did appear, the veil set them off and commended them, though at a distance it hid them.—O humility! the virtue of Christ, (that which He so peculiarly espoused) how dost thou confound the vanity of our pride!—One says well, “that he who carries other graces without humility, carries a precious powder in wind without a cover.”

But He giveth grace.—Pours it out plentifully upon humble hearts. His sweet dews and showers of grace slide off the mountains of pride and fall on the low valleys of humble hearts and make them pleasant and fertile.

1 Peter 5:6. His gracious design is to make much room for grace by much humbling. …. It is necessary time and pains that is given to the unballasting of a ship, casting out the earth and sand, when it is to be laden with spices. We must be emptied more, if we would have of that fulness and riches which we are longing for.

1 Peter 5:7. The whole golden mines of all spiritual comfort and good are His, the spirit itself. Then will He not furnish what is fit for thee, if thou humbly attend on Him and lay the care of providing for thee upon His wisdom and love? This were the sure way to honour Him with what we have, and to obtain much of what we have not; for certainly He deals best with those that do most absolutely refer all to Him.

1 Peter 5:8-9. That we may watch, it concerns us to be sober. The instruction is military, and a drunken soldier is not fit to be on the watch.

1 Peter 5:10. As the first, perfect, implies more clearly than the rest, their advancement in victory over their remaining corruptions and infirmities and their progress towards perfection. Stablish has more express reference to both the inward lightness and inconstancy than is natural to us, the counter-blasts of persecutions and temptatations and to outward oppositions, and imports the curing of the one and support against the other. Strengthen, the growth of other graces, especially gaining of further measures of those graces wherein they are weakest and lowest. And settle, though it seems the same, and in substance is the same with the other word stablish, yet it adds somewhat to it very considerably; for it signifies to found or fix upon a sure foundation, and so indeed may have an aspect to Him who is the foundation and strength of believers, on whom they build by faith, even Jesus Christ, in whom we have all both victory over sin and increase of grace, establishment of spirit, and power to persevere against all difficulties and assaults, Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 7:24-29.—M.]

[1 Peter 5:5. Beware of the pride of humility. 1 Peter 5:7. Most of our cares are either imaginary or about unnecessaries. Faith and trust in God, the infallible remedy for them.

1 Peter 5:8. Our enemy is expert in the variation of his tactics; defeated, he is even more dangerous than victorious. οὐ δίδωσιν�, οὐδέ νικών, οὐδέ νικώ μενος. Plato in Vita Marcel.

1 Peter 5:9. The motives to resistance are thus strongly put by Tertullian, Lib. ad Martyr, 1 Peter 3:0 : “Stat conflictus conspector et victoriæ, Agonothetes, Deus vivus: Xystarches, Spiritus Sanctus: Epistates, Christus Jesus: Corona, æternitatis brabium, angelicæ in cœlis substantiæ politia, gloria in secula seculorum.

1 Peter 5:10. The God of all grace.—Mohammed heads every surat or chapter (with the exception of one) of the Korân with the words Bismillahi, arrahmani arraheemi, signifying, “In the name of the most merciful God,” or, as some prefer, “In the name of the God of all grace.” Savary says: “This formula is expressly recommended in the Korân. The Mohammedans pronounce it whenever they slaughter an animal, at the commencement of their reading and of all important actions. It is with them that which the sign of the cross is with Christians. Gidab, one of their celebrated authors, says, that when these words were sent down from heaven, the clouds fled on the side of the east, the winds were lulled, the sea was moved, the animals erected their ears to listen, the devils were precipitated from the celestial spheres,” etc.—M.]

[1 Peter 5:5. Parkhurst: The original word, here rendered “be clothed,” is very beautiful and expressive. It signifies to clothe properly with an outer ornamental garment tied loosely upon the wearer with knots. And it implies, that the humility of Christians, which is one of the most ornamental graces of their profession, should constantly appear in all their conversation, so as to strike the eye of every beholder, and that this amiable grace should be so closely connected with their persons, that no occurrence, temptation or calamity should be able to strip them of it.—M.]

[1 Peter 5:8. Stanhope: Be sober; the advice comprises not only a temperate use of the creatures appointed for our sustenance and refreshment, but the government of our passions and desires in general, with respect to any objects or events whatsoever, which in this present life are wont to provoke them to violence and excess.—M.]


1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [ὑποτάγητε=be subject.—M.]

1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [Rec. after ἀλλήλοις inserts ὑποτασσόμενοι, with K. L.; A. B., Sinait. and many versions omit it.—M.] So also Lachmann and Tischendorf; in that case, translate, “yea, all gird on humility to one another.”

1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [ἐγκομβώσσθε, to bind a thing on oneself, wear it constantly; the sense is, wear humility as a garment, and retaining the translation of E. V., render: “clothe yourselves with humility.” For the etymology of the word, see note below.—M.]

1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [ὄτι=because.—M.]

1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [ἀντιτάσσεται=setteth himself in opposition to, i. e., opposeth himself to.—M.]

1 Peter 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5. [δὲ=but, not ‘and.’—M.]

1 Peter 5:6; 1 Peter 5:6. [ἐν καιρῷ=in His time (Germ.), in the time appointed, καιρός, an anarthrous concrete, Winer, p. 136.—M.]

1 Peter 5:7; 1 Peter 5:7. [πᾶσαν τήν μέριμναν=all your care, that is, in its entironess, once for all, so as to render the recurrence of it impossible.—M.]

1 Peter 5:8; 1 Peter 5:8. [Rec., with L., inserts ὅτι before ἀντίδικος.—M.]

1 Peter 5:8; 1 Peter 5:8. [K. L. and others have τίνα καταπιεῖν; Sin. καταπῖν.—M.]

1 Peter 5:9; 1 Peter 5:9. [στερεοί=firm, better than stedfast.—M.]

1 Peter 5:9; 1 Peter 5:9. [τὰ αὐτὰ τῶν παθημάτων=the self-same sufferings; this construction occurs no where else in the New Testament.—M.]

1 Peter 5:9; 1 Peter 5:9. [ἐπιτελεῖσθαι=are being accomplished, in course of accomplishment.—M.]

1 Peter 5:9; 1 Peter 5:9. [ἀδελφότητι=brotherhood.—M.]

1 Peter 5:9; 1 Peter 5:9. [Translate the whole verse: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom (to whom offer resistance) resist, firm in the faith, knowing that the self-same sufferings are being accomplished by your brotherhood in the world.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 5:10. [Rec., with K. and several versions, reads ἡ μᾶς, but A. B. L. and others have ὑμᾶς; so also Sinait.—M.]

1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 5:10. [ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ=in (not by) Christ Jesus.—M.]

1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 5:10. [ὀλίγον παθόντας=when ye have suffered a little while.—M.]

1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 5:10. [Rec., with K. L., inserts ὑμᾶς after καταρτίσει; A. B. and others omit it. στηρίξει=to confirm, establish.—M.]

1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 5:10. [θεμελιώσει=ground you, fix you on a foundation.—M.]

1 Peter 5:11; 1 Peter 5:11. [Translate: “To Him is glory,” preferable to the Subjunctive. Rec., with K. L., etc., reads ἡ δόξα καὶ before τὸ κράτος.—M.]

1 Peter 5:11; 1 Peter 5:11. [εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων=unto the ages of the ages. B. omits the last words.—M.]

Verses 12-14

1 Peter 5:12-14

Analysis:—Remarks on the object of the Apostle’s writing, salutations and benediction

12By Silvanus, a39 faithful brother unto you,40 as I suppose,41 I have written briefly,42 13exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.4344The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus 14my son. Greet45 ye one another with a kiss of charity.46 Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus.47 Amen.

The first of Peter.48


1 Peter 5:12. By Silvanus—in few words.—Silvanus is very probably the same as Silas, Acts 15:22; Acts 15:27; Acts 15:32; Acts 15:34; Acts 15:40; Acts 16:19; Acts 16:25; Acts 16:29; Acts 17:10; Acts 17:14; Acts 18:5; the companion of St. Paul (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:9). He accompanied the Apostle on his second missionary journey, and was with him at Corinth in A. D. 53.Acts 18:5. The statements of Lachmann, that Silvanus and Silas are different persons, cannot be substantiated. See Weiss.—ὑμῖν is to be joined with ἔγραψα, not with τοῦ πιστοῦ, which would require: τοῦ ὑμῖν πιστοῦ. Grotius explains ἔγραψα of a lost Epistle, but this is quite arbitrary, cf. 2 Peter 3:1. I wrote by Silvanus, may mean, I have called in his assistance in writing; this exposition seems to be sustained by the tradition, that Peter was obliged to use an amanuensis; or rather, I send you this Epistle by the hand of Silvanus, so Acts 15:23, and in the subscriptions of several of Paul’s Epistles.—The apposition τοῦ πιστοῦ, of the brother faithful to Jesus and the Church, and worthy of all confidence, and the circumstance that 1 Peter 5:13 specifies no salutation from him, favour the latter view. But ὡς λογίζομαι, I reckon, I suppose, is decisive. Some connect it with δἰ ὀλιγῶν: I have written in few words, it seems to me, as I think, considering the importance of the subject. But such an apposition would have been more appropriate in Hebrews 13:22. Hence others join it with τοῦ πιστοῦ, saying that Peter did not know, from personal experience, the fidelity of Silvanus in his peculiar relation to those congregations. Still this would not fail to indicate a problematical opinion of this brother, even though ὡς λογίζομαι should be rendered, “as I am fully convinced concerning him,” cf. Romans 3:28; Romans 6:11. Beza already remarks, that it is doubtful that Peter should have praised a man, who belonged to the ἡγουμένοις, Acts 15:22, in such vague terms, particularly if he intended to recommend him as the bearer of the Epistle. The most natural exposition is obtained by connecting ὡς λογί̣ζομαι with διὰ Σιλουανοῦ ἕγραψα, “I calculate that you will receive this Epistle by the hands of Silvanus,” which was the less certain since it was designed to pass through the hands of several congregations. If this interpretation is correct, ἔγραψα διὰ refers decidedly to the transmission, and not to the composition of the Epistle. [But the above exposition of ὡς λογίζομαι as connected with τοῦ πιστοῦ, is hardly exhaustive. It seems to be the most natural connection, and indicates, says Alford, the Apostle’s judgment concerning Silvanus, given, not in any disparagement of him, nor indicating, as De Wette and Bengel, that he was not known to St. Peter, but as fortifying him in his mission to the churches addressed, with the Apostle’s recommendation, over and above the acquaintance which the readers may already have had with him.—M.]

[Wordsworth:—St. Peter avouches to his readers, that St. Paul’s fellow-labourer among them, Silas, is “their faithful brother.” He calls St. Mark his son, who had once faltered in the faith, but who had afterwards preached to them in Asia (See Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24), and whom St. Paul, writing from Rome to the churches of Phrygia, mentions as being there among his own tried and trusted friends, and calls him “Sister’s son to Barnabas.”

St. Paul, as well as St. Peter, now also, at the close of his career, writes to Timothy about the same time as the date of this Epistle of St. Peter, and bears witness that Mark “is profitable to him for the ministry,” (2 Timothy 4:11). And St. Peter here joins Mark with Silas, who had once been preferred in his room.

So may all wounds be healed, and all differences cease in the Church of Christ. So may all falterers be recovered, and Christian charity prevail, and God’s glory be magnified in all persons and in all things, through Jesus Christ!—M.]

δἰ ὀλίγων, an expression of modesty, and an exhortation to use the little conscientiously.

Exhorting.—παρακαλεῖν, to cheer, encourage and console. This is the main design of the Epistle, and the fulfilment of the charge Christ gave him: “Strengthen thy brethren,” Luke 22:32.

Testifying.—ἐπιμαρτυρῶν.—Bengel refers ἐπὶ to the testimony of Paul, which Peter intended to confirm. Without reason. It rather denotes the confirmation of the oral announcement they had received. The result, the substance of all, is contained in what follows.

That this is the true grace of God, viz.: that you have been made partakers of the grace of God truly, and not only imaginarily; that you stand on the right foundation, from which you must not suffer yourselves to be pushed away; see 1 Peter 1:10; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 Peter 2:4. By means of the preaching of the Gospel, they had been brought through faith to the possession and enjoyment of the grace of God. Therein they should stand firm and grow, cf. 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 2:7; 1 Peter 2:9-10.—In two ways they might come to doubt if they were right and standing in the grace of God: first, by being surprised at their sufferings, second, by false teachers. “Jewish teachers of the law called in question, ‘Whether the Galatians were standing in the true grace of God.’ Afterwards other seducers, whom Peter denounces in his second Epistle, may have arisen in those countries, and tried to make those Christians believe that they were not standing in the true grace of God.” Roos.

εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε—in which ye have come to stand and still stand. [See note in Appar. Crit. Fronmüller considers ἑστήκατε as most authentic, but the probability is strong that it is a correction from Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 15:2; see Alford.—M.]

1 Peter 5:13. She that is elected together with you in Babylon saluteth you.—“The design of the salutation which follows is to assure them that other believers have their perseverance in the faith and ultimate salvation greatly at heart.”—ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτή.—The most current exposition is that it denotes a congregation at Babylon, cf. 1 Peter 1:1. So the ancient versions, the fathers and reformers down to the eighteenth century; see Weiss. The view of others, who explain it of Peter’s wife or some noble lady at Babylon, has in its favour the circumstance that the names of individuals are mentioned immediately before and after this salutation; but it would be rather singular that Peter should describe his wife or another lady so periphrastically as she that is elected together with you in Babylon. This would require: my co-elect (one) who is now in Babylon. 2 John 1:13 probably refers to a congregation. Hofmann. Wiesinger.—Some expositors see in Babylon a reference to Rome, on account of its hostility to Christianity, cf. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:10; others to Jerusalem, and others again to Babylon in Egypt, but which was only a Roman military post. We prefer, with Weiss, the exposition according to which the literal Babylon in Chaldea is meant, although we have no account of a journey of Peter to Babylon. The designation of Rome by the term Babylon seems only to fit a later period, and to be ill-suited to the style of the Epistle and the sending of salutations. According to Schöttgen, the Jews did not begin to call Rome Babylon until after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Marcus, my son.—Probably not his actual son, as we have no information on that head, but his spiritual son, Mark the Evangelist, cf. Acts 12:12; Colossians 4:10; Phil, 24.; 2Ti 4:11; 2 Timothy 1:2; 1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:19; Matthew 12:27. Papias reports him to have been Peter’s interpreter, so Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria. But the statements of these fathers do not warrant the inference that the Epistle was written in Rome, as a spurious subscription in several manuscripts declares.

1 Peter 5:14. Salute ye one another in a kiss of love.—Cf. 1Co 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; Romans 16:16. The custom of a holy brotherly kiss was at that time universally observed among Christians. “It was designed to be the seal of His love in whose name they kissed one another, but also the seal of their own mutual love, for without taking its existence for granted such a charge could hardly have been given.” Wiesinger. [For a full account of this custom, see Winer, Real-Wörtebuch, s. v. Kuss.—M.]

Peace—Amen.—εἰρήνη, see 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 16:24; Ephesians 6:23-24; Ephesians 3:0 Jno. 15. It is the peace flowing from grace. It is enjoyed only by those who are in Christ Jesus, but by all thus situated, 1 Corinthians 1:3; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2.—ἀμήν is wanting in many manuscripts.


Which are the infallible marks of the state of grace? “It is a great guilt to make those who stand in the true grace of God doubt their state of grace, or at least to endeavour to make them believe that they will always remain beginners in Christianity, because, forsooth, they are unwilling to castigate their bodies with some uncommonly hard discipline, to join some peculiar party, and to receive some uncommonly high and profound wisdom of which that party, without any warrant of Holy Writ, makes boast, cf. Galatians 5:10; Gal 1:8-9; 2 Peter 3:17-18.” Roos.

Starke:—Believers stand ever in need both of instruction and exhortation to constancy under the cross in the course of Christianity, Proverbs 9:9.—Many a one may imagine himself to stand in grace, though he is under wrath and losing his hope. How much depends upon one’s being found in the true grace of God, and of being vitally assured thereof both inwardly and outwardly, 2 Timothy 3:5.—It was a custom of long duration that each sex, male and female separately, kissed, Luke 7:45-46. Peace and Christ, the Prince of Peace, go together.—Whoso desireth peace, must be in Christ. Whoso is in Him has true peace with all the blessings of salvation forever and ever, John 16:33.

Lisco:—Do you stand in the grace of God?

[Leighton:—To testify the true grace of God—the end of our preaching.—M.]

[Neander:—“The fraternal kiss with which every one, after being baptized, was received into the community, by the Christians into whose immediate fellowship he entered—which the members bestowed on each other just before the celebration of the Communion, and with which every Christian saluted his brother, though he never saw him before—was not an empty form, but the expression of Christian feelings, a token of the relation in which Christians conceived themselves to stand to each other. It was this, indeed, which, in a cold and selfish age, struck the Pagans with wonder: to behold men of different countries, ranks, stages of culture, so intimately bound together; to see the stranger who came into a city, and by his letter of recognition (his Epistola formata) made himself known to the Christians of the place as a brother beyond suspicion, finding at once among them to whom he was personally unknown all manner of brotherly sympathy and protection.”—M.]


1 Peter 5:12; 1 Peter 5:12. [τοῦ πιστοῦ�. = the faithful brother.—M.]

1 Peter 5:12; 1 Peter 5:12. [ὑμῖν, not as E. V., “a faithful brothel unto you,” but dependent on ἔγραψα, “By Silvanus, etc., I have written to you.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:12; 1 Peter 5:12. [Better retain the position of ὡς λογίζομαι in the original, and render, “By Silvanus, the faithful brother, as I reckon, etc.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:12; 1 Peter 5:12. [δἰ ὀλίγων=in (by means of) few words.—M.]

1 Peter 5:12; 1 Peter 5:12. [εἰς ἥν στῆτε. A. B. Cod. Colb. Cod. Sin., so Lachmann and Alford; εἰς ἣν ἑστήκατε = K. L., Tischendorf and others. The weight of authority is on the side of the first. We may render, with E. V., “in which ye stand,” or, with Alford, “in which stand ye.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:13; 1 Peter 5:13. [ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτή=“She that is elected together with you in Babylon;” so German. See note below.—M.]

1 Peter 5:14; 1 Peter 5:14. [Better render ἀσπάσασθε as ἀσπάζεται, 1 Peter 5:13, “salute.”—M.]

1 Peter 5:14; 1 Peter 5:14. [A kiss of love.—M.]

1 Peter 5:14; 1 Peter 5:14. [Rec. with K. L., and many versions inserts ἰησοῦ after χριστῷ.—M.]

1 Peter 5:14; 1 Peter 5:14. [The subscription πετρου A. occurs in A. B.; Sin. του αγιου αποςτολου πετρου καθολικη επιςτολη ά L.—M.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-peter-5.html. 1857-84.
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