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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

1 Peter 5

Verse 1

Who am a fellow-elder (ο συνπρεσβυτερος). Earliest use of this compound in an inscription of B.C. 120 for fellow-elders (alderman) in a town, here only in N.T., in eccles. writers. For the word πρεσβυτερος in the technical sense of officers in a Christian church (like elder in the local synagogues of the Jews) see Acts 11:30; Acts 20:17. It is noteworthy that here Peter the Apostle (1 Peter 1:1) calls himself an elder along with (συν) the other "elders."

A witness (μαρτυς). This is what Jesus had said they must be (Acts 1:8) and what Peter claimed to be (Acts 3:15; Acts 10:39). So Paul was to be a μαρτυς (Acts 22:15).

Who am also a partaker (ο κα κοινωνος). "The partner also," "the partaker also." See Luke 5:10; 2 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Peter 1:4. See same idea in Romans 8:17. In Galatians 3:23; Romans 8:18 we have almost this about the glory about to be revealed to us where μελλω as here is used with the infinitive.

Verse 2

Tend (ποιμανατε). First aorist active imperative of ποιμαινω, old verb, from ποιμην (shepherd) as in Luke 17:7. Jesus used this very word to Peter in the interview by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:16) and Peter doubtless has this fact in mind here. Paul used the word to the elders at Miletus (Acts 20:28). See 1 Peter 2:25 for the metaphor.

Flock (ποιμνιον). Old word, likewise from ποιμην, contraction of ποιμενιον (Luke 12:32).

Exercising the oversight (επισκοπουντες). Present active participle of επισκοπεω, old word (in Hebrews 12:15 alone in N.T.), omitted here by Aleph B.

Not by constraint (μη αναγκαστως). Negative μη because of the imperative. Old adverb from verbal adjective αναγκαστος, here alone in N.T.

But willingly (αλλα εκουσιως). By contrast. Old adverb, in N.T. only here and Hebrews 10:26.

Nor yet for filthy lucre (μηδε αισχροκερδως). A compound adverb not found elsewhere, but the old adjective αισχροκερδης is in 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:7. See also Titus 1:11 "for the sake of filthy lucre" (αισχρου κερδους χαριν). Clearly the elders received stipends, else there could be no such temptation.

But of a ready mind (αλλα προθυμως). Old adverb from προθυμος (Matthew 26:41), here only in N.T.

Verse 3

Lording it over (κατακυριευοντες). Present active participle of κατακυριευω, late compound (κατα, κυριος) as in Matthew 20:25.

The charge allotted to you (των κληρων). "The charges," "the lots" or "the allotments." See it in Acts 1:17; Acts 1:25 in this sense. The old word meant a die (Matthew 27:25), a portion (Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4), here the charges assigned (cf. Acts 17:4). From the adjective κληρικος come our cleric, clerical, clerk. Wycliff translated it here "neither as having lordship in the clergie."

Making yourselves ensamples (τυπο γινομενο). Present active participle of γινομα and predicate nominative τυπο (types, models) for which phrase see 1 Thessalonians 1:7. Continually becoming. See 1 Peter 2:21 for υπογραμμος (writing-copy).

To the flock (του ποιμνιου). Objective genitive.

Verse 4

When the chief Shepherd shall be manifested (φανερωθεντος του αρχιποιμενος). Genitive absolute with first aorist passive participle of φανεροω, to manifest, and genitive of αρχιποιμην, a compound (αρχι, ποιμην) after analogy of αρχιερευς, here only in N.T., but in Testam. of Twelve Patrs. (Jud. 8) and on a piece of wood around an Egyptian mummy and also on a papyrus A.D. 338 (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 100). See Hebrews 13:20 for ο ποιμην ο μεγας (the Shepherd the great).

Ye shall receive (κομιεισθε). Future of κομιζω (1 Peter 1:9, which see).

The crown of glory that fadeth not away (τον αμαραντινον της δοξης στεφανον). For "crown" (στεφανος) see James 1:12; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 4:4. In the Gospels it is used only of the crown of thorns, but Jesus is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9). In all these passages it is the crown of victory as it is here. See 1 Peter 1:4 for αμαραντος, unfading. Αμαραντινος is made from that word as the name of a flower αμαρανθ (so called because it never withers and revives if moistened with water and so used as a symbol of immortality), "composed of amaranth" or "amarantine," "the amarantine (unfading) crown of glory."

Verse 5

Be subject (οποταγητε). Second aorist passive imperative of υποτασσω.

Unto the elder (πρεσβυτεροις). Dative case. Here the antithesis between younger and elder shows that the word refers to age, not to office as in 1 Peter 5:1. See a like change in meaning in 1 Timothy 5:1; 1 Timothy 5:17.

All (παντες). All ages, sexes, classes.

Gird yourselves with humility (την ταπεινοφροσυνην εγκομβωσασθε). First aorist middle imperative of εγκομβοομα, late and rare verb (in Apollodorus, fourth cent. B.C.), here only in N.T., from εν and κομβος (knot, like the knot of a girdle). Εγκομβωμα was the white scarf or apron of slaves. It is quite probable that Peter here is thinking of what Jesus did (John 13:4) when he girded himself with a towel and taught the disciples, Peter in particular (John 13:9), the lesson of humility (John 13:15). Peter had at last learned the lesson (John 21:15-19).

The proud (υπερηφανοις). Dative plural of υπερηφανος (James 4:6; Romans 1:30) after αντιτασσετα (present middle indicative of αντιτασσω as in James 4:6 (quoted there as here from Proverbs 3:34).

Verse 6

Humble yourselves therefore (ταπεινωθητε ουν). First aorist passive imperative of ταπεινοω, old verb, for which see Matthew 18:4. Peter is here in the role of a preacher of humility. "Be humbled."

Under the mighty hand of God (υπο την κραταιαν χειρα του θεου). Common O.T. picture (Exodus 3:19; Exodus 20:33, etc.).

That he may exalt you (ινα υψωση). Purpose clause with ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of υψοω. Cf. Luke 14:11; Philippians 2:9.

In due time (εν καιρω). Same phrase in Matthew 24:45.

Verse 7

Casting (επιριψαντες). First aorist active participle of επιριπτω, old verb, to throw upon, in N.T. only here and Luke 19:35 (casting their clothes on the colt), here from Psalms 55:22. For μεριμνα see Matthew 6:25; Matthew 6:31; Matthew 6:34.

He careth (αυτω μελε). Impersonal verb μελε (present active indicative) with dative αυτω, "it is a care to him." God does care (Luke 21:18).

Verse 8

Be watchful (γρηγορησατε). First aorist active imperative of γρηγορεω, late present imperative from perfect εγρηγορα (to be awake) from εγειρω (to arouse), as in Matthew 24:42. For νηψατε see 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7.

Your adversary (ο αντιδικος υμων). Old word for opponent in a lawsuit (Matthew 5:25).

The devil (διαβολος). Slanderer. See on Matthew 4:1.

As a roaring lion (ως ωρυομενος λεων). But Jesus is also pictured as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). But Satan

roars at the saints. Present middle participle ωρυομα, old verb, here only in N.T., to howl like a wolf, dog, or lion, of men to sing loud (Pindar). See Psalms 22:13.

Whom he may devour (καταπιειν). Second aorist active infinitive of καταπινω, to drink down. B does not have τινα, Aleph has τινα (somebody), "to devour some one," while A has interrogative τινα, "whom he may devour" (very rare idiom). But the devil's purpose is the ruin of men. He is a "peripatetic" (περιπατε) like the peripatetic philosophers who walked as they talked. Satan wants all of us and sifts us all (Luke 22:31).

Verse 9

Whom withstand (ω αντιστητε). Imperative second aorist active (intransitive) of ανθιστημ; same form in James 4:7, which see. Dative case of relative (ω). For the imperative in a subordinate clause see verse 1 Peter 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Timothy 4:15; Hebrews 13:7. Cowardice never wins against the devil (2 Timothy 1:7), but only courage.

Steadfast in your faith (στερεο τη πιστε). Locative case πιστε. Στερεος is old adjective for solid like a foundation (2 Timothy 2:19).

The same sufferings (τα αυτα των παθηματων). An unusual construction with the genitive rather than the usual τα αυτα παθηματα, perhaps as Hofmann suggests, "the same tax of sufferings" ("the same things in sufferings"). Probably this is correct and is like Xenophon's phrase in the Memorabilia (IV. 8. 8), τα του γηρως επιτελεισθα (to pay the tax of old age).

Are accomplished (επιτελεισθα). Present (and so process) middle (you are paying) or passive (is paid) infinitive of επιτελεω, old verb, to accomplish (2 Corinthians 7:1).

In your brethren who are in the world (τη εν τω κοσμω υμων αδελφοτητ). Associate-instrumental case αδελφοτητ (in N.T. only here and 1 Peter 2:17, which see) after τα αυτα (like 1 Corinthians 11:5) or dative after επιτελεισθα. Even so ειδοτες (second perfect active participle of οιδα) with an infinitive usually means "knowing how to" (object infinitive) as in Luke 12:56; Philippians 3:18 rather than "knowing that" (indirect assertion) as taken above.

Verse 10

The God of all grace (ο θεος της χαριτος). See 1 Peter 4:10 for ποικιλης χαριτος θεου (of the variegated grace of God).

In Christ (εν Χριστω). A Pauline phrase (2 Corinthians 5:17-19), but Petrine also. For God's "calling" us (καλεσας) see 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Romans 8:29.

After that ye have suffered a little while (ολιγον παθοντας). Second aorist active participle of πασχω, antecedent to the principal verbs which are future active (καταρτισε, to mend, Mark 1:19; Galatians 6:1, στηριξε, for which see Luke 9:51; Luke 22:32, σθενωσε from σθενος and so far a απαξ λεγομενον like ενισχυω according to Hesychius). For ολιγον see 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 11

To him (αυτω). To God (dative case). Note κρατος in the doxology as in 1 Timothy 6:16 and briefer than the doxology in 1 Peter 4:11, to Christ.

Verse 12

By Silvanus (δια Σιλουανου). Probably this postscript (1 Peter 5:12-14) is in Peter's own handwriting, as Paul did (2 Thessalonians 3:17; Galatians 6:11-18). If so, Silvanus (Silas) was the amanuensis and the bearer of the Epistle.

As I account him (ως λογιζομα). Peter uses Paul's phrase (1 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 8:18) in giving approval to Paul's former companion (Acts 15:40).

I have written (εγραψα). Epistolary aorist applying to this Epistle as in 1 Corinthians 5:11 (not 1 Corinthians 5:9); 1 Corinthians 9:15; Galatians 6:11; Romans 15:15; Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21.

Briefly (δι' ολιγων). "By few words," as Peter looked at it, certainly not a long letter in fact. Cf. Hebrews 13:22.

Testifying (επιμαρτυρων). Present active participle of επιμαρτυρεω, to bear witness to, old compound, here alone in N.T., though the double compound συνεπιμαρτυρεω in Hebrews 2:4.

That this is the true grace of God (ταυτην εινα αληθη χαριν του θεου). Infinitive εινα in indirect assertion and accusative of general reference (ταυτην) and predicate accusative χαριν. Peter includes the whole of the Epistle by God's grace (1 Peter 1:10) and obedience to the truth (John 1:17; Galatians 2:5; Colossians 1:6).

Stand ye fast therein (εις ην στητε). "In which (grace) take your stand" (ingressive aorist active imperative of ιστημ).

Verse 13

She that is in Babylon, elect together with you (η εν Βαβυλων συνεκλεκτη). Either actual Babylon or, as most likely, mystical Babylon (Rome) as in the Apocalypse. If Peter is in Rome about A.D. 65, there is every reason why he should not make that fact plain to the world at large and least of all to Nero. It is also uncertain whether η συνεκλεκτη (found here alone), "the co-elect woman," means Peter's wife (1 Corinthians 9:5) or the church in "Babylon." The natural way to take it is for Peter's wife. Cf. εκλεκτη κυρια in 2 John 1:1 (also verse 2 John 1:13).

Mark my son (Μαρκος ο υιος μου). So this fact agrees with the numerous statements by the early Christian writers that Mark, after leaving Barnabas, became Peter's "interpreter" and under his influence wrote his Gospel. We know that Mark was with Paul in Rome some years before this time (Colossians 4:10).

Verse 14

With a kiss of love (εν φιληματ αγαπης). As in 1 Corinthians 16:20. The abuse of this custom led to its confinement to men with men and women with women and to its final abandonment (Apost. Const. ii. 57, 12).

That are in Christ (τοις εν Χριστω). This is the greatest of all secret orders and ties, one that is open to all who take Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Peter 5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.