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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 5

Verses 1-7

1 Peter 5:1-7 . The writer, himself a presbyter, gives wise and loving counsel to his fellow-presbyters and to their flocks. Sincerity, humility, and love are to mark all their intercourse, and continual subjection to the will of God. If the author is the apostle Peter we cannot fail to trace the extreme appropriateness of his language in light of the interview recorded in John 21. He does not lay stress on his apostleship, but this may be an evidence of the very humility to which he exhorts them. The phrase a witness of the sufferings of Christ “ certainly denotes a disciple who knew Him in the days of His flesh; and “ a partaker of the glory” may have reference to promises made to the Twelve ( cf. Matthew 19:28). The full force of the exhortation “ gird with humility” seems again reminiscent of the scene in John 13, and may indicate the sense in which the exhortation of Jesus there given was understood. The passage culminates in the statement because He careth for you. “ In these few words,” says Masterman, “ is the central truth that Christ was manifested to reveal.”

Verses 8-11

1 Peter 5:8-11 . Further counsels to watchfulness, and to sympathy, closing with a renewed promise of God’ s reward, and a short doxology.

1 Peter 5:8 . seeking whom: the rendering “ seeking someone to devour,” founded on a better reading, is preferable. It is more in accord with the figure and less suggestive of the adversary’ s success.

1 Peter 5:9 . knowing, etc.: the Gr. words are not easy to render ( cf. mg.) , but the translation given by Moffatt is much to be preferred, “ and learn to pay the same tax of suffering as the rest of your brotherhood throughout the world.” The words constitute a call to active participation in the trials of the community ( 2 Timothy 2:3 mg.) . in the world may point to a general persecution.

1 Peter 5:11 . to him be may be “ to him is,” i.e. an assertion of a fact rather than an ascription.

Verses 12-14

1 Peter 5:12-14 . Mention of the scribe or amanuensis and closing salutations. These words may (as sometimes with Paul) have been in the author’ s own hand. He probably calls the letter brief in view of what he had it in his heart to say. Silvanus can supplement the written message, and they may trust him as one who knows and can express all that is in the writer’ s mind. Silvanus is generally identified with the person of the same name in Paul’ s letters ( 1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:19) and the Silas of Acts. It is thought by some that he was more than a mere amanuensis of this letter, and was given much freedom in its composition, and by many who deny the Petrine authorship his name is chosen as the most likely substitute.

The greeting from “ her of Babylon” may refer to an individual or to a church. It may be Peter’ s wife who sends the greeting, a theory confirmed by the consideration that the other greetings are from individuals. Most agree that it refers to the church— but where? The usual answer is “ In Rome,” since apocalyptic writers use the name so frequently for that city. “ Mark” is almost unquestionably the early companion of Paul and Barnabas of whom we read in Acts. That book places him in close relation with Peter, and so does later tradition when it asserts that the Gospel written by him preserved the form of Peter’ s version of his Master’ s ministry. “ Son” is no doubt a title of affection, similar to that used by Paul of Timothy, Titus, and Onesimus, and may denote a special spiritual relationship. The “ kiss of love” was a practice of the early Church, modified at a later time, but still retained in some Eastern churches. The form of the final benediction is more Jewish than we find in Paul’ s letters.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.