Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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1 PETER - Chapter 5

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1 Peter 5

Supplemental Commentary:


5, 1-4:  For the Ministry.    1.  An exhortation to the ecclesiastical heads of the community.  A witness to the sufferings of Christ: St. Peter witnessed the physical sufferings of Christ and bore witness to the doctrine of Christ by his preaching and suffering.  Partaker also of the glory, etc.: St. Peter advances his personal hope of future reward as a safeguard to the bishops against enticements of worldly ambitions suggested in 2-3.

5, 5-11:  Counsels to the Laity.    5.  You who are younger: a counsel addressed to the inferior ministers to respect the office of the presbyters.    6.  Under the mighty hand of God: a phrase frequently met in the Old Testament in connection with the deliverance from Egypt, Ex. 3, 19; Deut. 3, 24; 4, 34; hence a plea for resignation in the vicissitudes of life coupled with complete trust in the omnipotence of God.    8.  God's loving care of man is not to encourage heedless and reckless living because the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour.    9.  Forewarned, forearmed; such visitations are the inheritance of Christians (cf. 4, 12 ff; 2 Tim. 3, 12).    10.  The foundation of a Christian hope is the assurance that God will perfect, strengthen and establish us in our call unto His eternal glory.

Conclusion  5, 12-14

12.  Silvanus: the bearer of the Epistle.  Many scholars consider him identical with Silas mentioned in Acts 15, 22; and Silvanus of 2 Cor. 1, 19; 1 Thess. 1, 1; 2 Thess. 1, 1.  Literary considerations suggest the hypothesis that this disciple had a share in editing the Epistle.  The second part of the verse impresses upon the readers that the grace of faith is the true grace of God which leads to eternal life.    13.  Babylon: Rome, then the center of paganism.  Mark: the Evangelist who wrote the Second Gospel, a disciple of St. Peter and a companion of St. Paul.    14.  A Christian greeting found also in the Epistles of St. Paul (1 Cor. 16, 20.23; 2 Cor. 13, 12; 1 Thess. 5, 26.28; Eph. 6, 23 f).  Grace: the Greek text reads, "peace."  A prayer for peace---peace of heart and eternal peace with God---concludes the Epistle.  Amen: missing in the Greek text.

Charles G. Heupler, O.F.M. Cap.

Confraternity Bible:

For the Ministry  1 Now I exhort the presbyters among you---I, your fellow-presbyter and witness of the sufferings of Christ, the partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed in time to come--- 2 tend the flock of God which is among you, governing not under constraint, but willingly, according to God; nor yet for the sake of base gain, but eagerly; 3 nor yet as lording it over your charges, but becoming from the heart a pattern to the flock.  4 And when the Prince of the shepherds appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Counsels to the Laity  5* Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the presbyters.  And all of you practise humility towards one another; for,
"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation; 7 cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.  8 Be sober, be watchful!  For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour.  9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world.  10 But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish us.  11 To him is the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Farewell  12 By Silvanus, the faithful brother as I account him, I have written to you thus briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God.  Stand firm in it.  13* The church which is at Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you; and so does my son Mark.  14 Greet one another with a holy kiss.  Grace be to you all who are in Christ.  Amen.


5: Prov. 3, 34.  You who are younger: a counsel addressed to the inferior ministers of the individual communities.

13: The church: Jewish mentality frequently personified the religious community.  Babylon: Rome.  A metaphor probably founded on Jewish usage.