1 Peter 5
Take care of the congregation
Ministers shouldn’t get pushy1 Church leaders, I have something to tell you. I’m a church leader, too. I saw Jesus suffer. And I’m going to share in his glory that’s about to get unveiled. 2 Lead God’s people like a shepherd leads sheep. Don’t do it grudgingly or for what you can get out of it, which would be shameful. Do it because it’s something you eagerly want to do.
3 Don’t become a bossy control freak who pushes your people around. They’re your responsibility. Let them see you as a good example, not a bad one. 4 Then when the Lead Shepherd comes, you’ll get the crown you deserve for your work, a treasure that will never rust away.
God is going to make it right5 If you’re young, obey your church leaders. All of you should keep it humble as you deal with one another. God is not a fan of pride. He reserves his kindness for the humble 6 Humbly step into the mighty hand of God. When the time is right, he’ll lift you. 7 Give your fear to God because you matter to him.
8 Watch out. Don’t let your guard down. Your enemy is on the move. He’s the devil, a roaring lion about to pounce and feed. 9 Don’t let the devil feed on you. Fight him off. Keep the faith. And know this: you’re not suffering alone. Your fellow believers everywhere are suffering just like you. 10 After you’ve suffered a bit, God’s going to show you his kindness. He invited you into the never-ending glory zone, the presence of Christ. So, he’s going to prep you for better things. Then he’s going to build your strength, back you with his support, and get you settled in and established. 11 God’s got the power and he’ll have it forever. That’s the truth.
Goodbye12 Silas, a devoted brother in Christ, helped me write and deliver this short letter to you. I wrote because I wanted to encourage you to hang onto your faith and to remind you of the kindness of God. 13 The church in Rome sends greetings. So does my son, Mark. 14 Greet each other with love. Peace to all of you who follow Christ.
Literally “fellow elders.” The Greek word is sympresbyteros. “Elder,” presbyteros, is the source of the Presbyterian church’s name, since representative elders govern the church. It’s not clear what Peter means by the word. Some scholars say it sounds more like the equivalent of a modern-day bishop or district superintendent who oversees many churches, rather than a local church pastor or priest.
Peter, more literally, tells the “younger” to be subject to “elders.” Some scholars say they take that to mean young folks in church should do as they are told by the older generation. Other scholars take “elders” to mean the church leaders Peter mentioned at the beginning of this section, in 5:1.
“Amen,” in the original Greek and in English.
Silas may have been the same Silas who traveled with Paul and who teamed with Paul and Timothy in writing the letters of 1, 2 Thessalonians to Christians in Thessalonica.
Literally, “Babylon,” a Jewish code word for Rome. Rome did what Babylon had done some 600 years earlier: destroy Jerusalem, including the temple. Both invaders leveled the city and drove Jews from the site.
Literally, “with a kiss of love.” The greeting is comparable to a handshake in Western cultures today. But in many cultures yet today, people greet one another with a kiss on the cheek.
Peter cautions church leaders to do their job gently, like a Shepherd. He doesn’t want them to “become a bossy control freak” (5:3). From what you’ve read in the Bible, what are some of the other problems local churches had with their ministers?
Why you think Peter tells his readers, “If you’re young, obey your church leaders?
How do you react to Peter saying, “Humbly step into the mighty hand of God. When the time is right, he’ll lift you” (5:6)?
Which of the following messages do you see reflected in 5:9? “Don’t let the devil feed on you. Fight him off. Keep the faith. And know this: you’re not suffering alone. Your fellow believers everywhere are suffering just like you”?
- Misery loves company.
- We do need to take seriously the threat that comes from invisible spiritual forces that are evil.
- The Christian life is not simply a lifestyle. It’s a battlefront in a war zone.
LIFE APPLICATION. Paul tells church leaders, “Don’t become a bossy control freak who pushes your people around” (5:3). What does a pushy minister look like?