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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1PETER 5
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    CHAPTER 5

    1Pe 5:1-14. EXHORTATIONS TO ELDERS, JUNIORS, AND ALL IN GENERAL. PARTING PRAYER. CONCLUSION.

    1. elders--alike in office and age (1Pe 5:5).
    - I . . . also an elder--To put one's self on a level with those whom we exhort, gives weight to one's exhortations (compare 2Jo 1, 2). Peter, in true humility for the Gospel's sake, does not put forward his apostleship here, wherein he presided over the elders. In the apostleship the apostles have no successors, for "the signs of an apostle" have not been transmitted. The presidents over the presbyters and deacons, by whatever name designated, angel, bishop, or moderator, &c., though of the same ORDER as the presbyters, yet have virtually succeeded to a superintendency of the Church analogous to that exercised by the apostles (this superintendency and priority existed from the earliest times after the apostles [TERTULLIAN]); just as the Jewish synagogue (the model which the Church followed) was governed by a council of presbyters, presided over by one of themselves, "the chief ruler of the synagogue." (Compare VITRINGA [Synagogue and Temple, Part II, chs. 3 and 7]).
    - witness--an eye-witness of Christ's sufferings, and so qualified to exhort you to believing patience in suffering for well-doing after His example (1Pe 4:19; 2:20). This explains the "therefore" inserted in the oldest manuscripts, "I therefore exhort," resuming exhortation from 1Pe 4:19. His higher dignity as an apostle is herein delicately implied, as eye-witnessing was a necessary qualification for apostleship: compare Peter's own speeches, Ac 1:21, 22; 2:32; 10:39.
    - also--implying the righteous recompense corresponding to the sufferings.
    - partaker of the glory--according to Christ's promise; an earnest of which was given in the transfiguration.

    2. Feed--Greek, "Tend as a shepherd," by discipline and doctrine. Lead, feed, heed: by prayer, exhortation, government, and example. The dignity is marked by the term "elder"; the duties of the office, to tend or oversee, by "bishop." Peter has in mind Christ's injunction to him, "Feed (tend) My sheep . . . Feed (pasture) My lambs" (Joh 21:16). He invites the elders to share with him the same duty (compare Ac 20:28). The flock is Christ's.
    - which is among you--While having a concern for all the Church, your special duty is to feed that portion of it "which is among you."
    - oversight--Greek, "bishopric," or duty of bishops, that is, overseer.
    - not by constraint--Necessity is laid upon them, but willingness prevents it being felt, both in undertaking and in fulfilling the duty [BENGEL]. "He is a true presbyter and minister of the counsel of God who doeth and teacheth the things of the Lord, being not accounted righteous merely because he is a presbyter, but because righteous, chosen into the presbytery" [CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA].
    - willingly--One oldest manuscript, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, add, "as God would have it to be done" (Ro 8:27).
    - not for filthy lucre-- (Isa 56:11; Tit 1:7).
    - of a ready mind--promptly and heartily, without selfish motive of gain-seeking, as the Israelites gave their services willing-heartedly to the sanctuary.

    3. being lords--Greek, "lording it": implying pride and oppression. "Not that we have dominion over your faith."
    - God's heritage--Greek, "the inheritances," that is, the portions of the Church committed severally to your pastoral charge [BENGEL]. It is explained by "the flock" in the next clause. However, in 1Pe 5:2, "flock of God which is among you," answering to "(God's) heritages" (plural to express the sheep who are God's portion and inheritance, De 32:9) committed to you, favors English Version. The flock, as one whole, is God's heritage, or flock in the singular. Regarded in relation to its component sheep, divided among several pastors, it is in the plural "heritages." Compare Ac 1:17, 25, "part" (the same Greek). BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, wrote to Pope Eugene, "Peter could not give thee what he had not: what he had he gave: the care over the Church, not dominion."
    - being--Greek, "becoming."
    - ensamples--the most effective recommendation of precept (1Ti 4:12). Tit 2:7, "patterns." So Jesus. "A monstrosity it is to see the highest rank joined with the meanest mind, the first seat with the lowest life, a grandiloquent tongue with a lazy life, much talking with no fruit" [BERNARD].

    4. And--"And so": as the result of "being ensamples" (1Pe 5:3).
    - chief Shepherd--the title peculiarly Christ's own, not Peter's or the pope's.
    - when . . . shall appear--Greek, "be manifested" (Col 3:4). Faith serves the Lord while still unseen.
    - crown--Greek, "stephanos," a garland of victory, the prize in the Grecian games, woven of ivy, parsley, myrtle, olive, or oak. Our crown is distinguished from theirs in that it is "incorruptible" and "fadeth not away," as the leaves of theirs soon did. "The crown of life." Not a kingly "crown" (a different Greek word, diadema): the prerogative of the Lord Jesus (Re 19:12).
    - glory--Greek, "the glory," namely, to be then revealed (1Pe 5:1; 1Pe 4:13).
    - that fadeth not away--Greek, "amaranthine" (compare 1Pe 1:4).

    5. ye younger--The deacons were originally the younger men, the presbyters older; but subsequently as presbyter expressed the office of Church ruler or teacher, so Greek "neoteros" means not (as literally) young men in age, but subordinate ministers and servants of the Church. So Christ uses the term "younger." For He explains it by "he that doth serve," literally, "he that ministereth as a deacon"; just as He explains "the greatness" by "he that is chief," literally, "he that ruleth," the very word applied to the bishops or presbyters. So "the young men" are undoubtedly the deacons of the Church of Jerusalem, of whom, as being all Hebrews, the Hellenistic Christians subsequently complained as neglecting their Grecian widows, whence arose the appointment of the seven others, Hellenistic deacons. So here, Peter, having exhorted the presbyters, or elders, not to lord it over those committed to them, adds, Likewise ye neoters or younger, that is, subordinate ministers and deacons, submit cheerfully to the command of the elders [MOSHEIM]. There is no Scripture sanction for "younger" meaning laymen in general (as ALFORD explains): its use in this sense is probably of later date. The "all of you" that follows, refers to the congregation generally; and it is likely that, like Paul, Peter should notice, previous to the general congregation, the subordinate ministers as well as the presbyters, writing as he did to the same region (Ephesus), and to confirm the teaching of the apostle of the Gentiles.
    - Yea--to sum up all my exhortations in one.
    - be subject--omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions, but TISCHENDORF quotes the Vatican manuscript for it. Then translate, "Gird (1Pe 1:13; 4:1) fast on humility (lowliness of mind) to one another." The verb is literally, "tie on with a fast knot" [WAHL]. Or, "gird on humility as the slave dress (encomboma)": as the Lord girded Himself with a towel to perform a servile office of humility and love, washing His disciples' feet, a scene in which Peter had played an important part, so that he would naturally have it before his mind. Compare similarly 1Pe 5:2 with Joh 21:15-17. Clothing was the original badge of man's sin and shame. Pride caused the need of man's clothing, and pride still reigns in dress; the Christian therefore clothes himself in humility (1Pe 3:3, 4). God provides him with the robe of Christ's righteousness, in order to receive which man must be stripped of pride.
    - God resisteth the proud--Quoted, as Jas 4:6, from Pr 3:34. Peter had James before his mind, and gives his Epistle inspired sanction. Compare 1Pe 5:9 with Jas 4:7, literally, "arrayeth Himself against." Other sins flee from God: pride alone opposeth itself to God; therefore, God also in turn opposes Himself to the proud [GERHARD in ALFORD]. Humility is the vessel of all graces [AUGUSTINE].

    6. under the mighty hand--afflicting you (1Pe 3:15): "accept" His chastisements, and turn to Him that smiteth you. He depresses the proud and exalts the humble.
    - in due time--Wait humbly and patiently for His own fit time. One oldest manuscript and Vulgate read, "In the season of visitation," namely, His visitation in mercy.

    7. Casting--once for all: so the Greek aorist.
    - care--"anxiety? The advantage flowing from humbling ourselves under God's hand (1Pe 5:6) is confident reliance on His goodness. Exemption from care goes along with humble submission to God.
    - careth for you--literally "respecting you." Care is a burden which faith casts off the man on his God. Compare Ps 22:10; 37:5; 55:22, to which Peter alludes; Lu 12:22, 37; Php 4:6.
    - careth--not so strong a Greek word as the previous Greek "anxiety."

    8. Peter has in mind Christ's warning to himself to watch against Satan, from forgetting which he fell.
    - Be sober . . . vigilant--"Care," that is, anxiety, will intoxicate the soul; therefore be sober, that is, self-restrained. Yet, lest this freedom from care should lead any to false security, he adds, "Be vigilant" against "your adversary." Let this be your "care." God provides, therefore do not be anxious. The devil seeks, therefore watch [BENGEL].
    - because--omitted in the oldest manuscripts The broken and disjointed sentences are more fervid and forcible. LUCIFER OF CAGLIARI reads as English Version.
    - adversary--literally, "opponent in a court of justice" (Zec 3:1). "Satan" means opponent. "Devil," accuser or slanderer (Re 12:10). "The enemy" (Mt 13:39). "A murderer from the beginning" (Joh 8:44). He counteracts the Gospel and its agents. "The tempter."
    - roaring lion--implying his violent and insatiable thirst for prey as a hungry lion. Through man's sin he got God's justice on his side against us; but Christ, our Advocate, by fulfilling all the demands of justice for us, has made our redemption altogether consistent with justice.
    - walketh about-- (Job 1:7; 2:2). So the children of the wicked one cannot rest. Evil spirits are in 2Pe 2:4; Jude 6, said to be already in chains of darkness and in hell. This probably means that this is their doom finally: a doom already begun in part; though for a time they are permitted to roam in the world (of which Satan is prince), especially in the dark air that surrounds the earth. Hence perhaps arises the miasma of the air at times, as physical and moral evil are closely connected.
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