1 Peter 5 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Peter 5)

Verse 1

[1] The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

I who am a fellow-elder — So the first though not the head of the apostles appositely and modestly styles himself.

And a witness of the sufferings of Christ — Having seen him suffer, and now suffering for him.

Verse 2

[2] Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Feed the flock — Both by doctrine and discipline.

Not by constraint — Unwillingly, as a burden.

Not for filthy gain — Which, if it be the motive of acting, is filthy beyond expression. O consider this, ye that leave one flock and go to another, merely because there is more gain, a large salary! Is it not astonishing that men can see no harm in this? that it is not only practised, but avowed, all over the nation?

Verse 3

[3] Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Neither as lording over the heritage — Behaving in a haughty, domineering manner, as though you had dominion over their conscience. The word translated heritage, is, literally, the portions. There is one flock under the one chief Shepherd; but many portions of this, under many pastors.

But being examples to the flock — This procures the most ready and free obedience.

Verse 5

[5] Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Ye younger, be subject to the elder — In years.

And be all — Elder or younger.

Subject to each other — Let every one be ready, upon all occasions, to give up his own will. Be clothed with humility-Bind it on, (so the word signifies,) so that no force may be able to tear it from you. Proverbs 3:34

Verse 6

[6] Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The hand of God — Is in all troubles.

Verse 7

[7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Casting all your care upon him — In every want or pressure.

Verse 8

[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

But in the mean time watch. There is a close connexion between this, and the duly casting our care upon him. How deeply had St. Peter himself suffered for want of watching! Be vigilant - As if he had said, Awake, and keep awake. Sleep no more: be this your care.

As a roaring lion — Full of rage.

Seeking — With all subtilty likewise.

Whom he may devour or swallow up — Both soul and body.

Verse 9

[9] Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Be the more steadfast, as ye know the same kind of afflictions are accomplished in - That is, suffered by, your brethren, till the measure allotted them is filled up.

Verse 10

[10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Now the God of all grace — By which alone the whole work is begun, continued, and finished in your soul.

After ye have suffered a while — A very little while compared with eternity.

Himself — Ye have only to watch and resist the devil: the rest God will perform.

Perfect — That no defect may remain.

Stablish — That nothing may overthrow you.

Strengthen — That ye may conquer all adverse power.

And settle you — As an house upon a rock. So the apostle, being converted, does now "strengthen his brethren."

Verse 12

[12] By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

As I suppose — As I judge, upon good grounds, though not by immediate inspiration.

I have written — That is, sent my letter by him.

Adding my testimony — To that which ye before heard from Paul, that this is the true gospel of the grace of God.

Verse 13

[13] The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

The church that is at Babylon — Near which St. Peter probably was, when he wrote this epistle.

Elected together with you — Partaking of the same faith with you.

Mark — It seems the evangelist.

My son — Probably converted by St. Peter. And he had occasionally served him, "as a son in the gospel."