Tested by Fire: Living as a Christian in a Post-Christian Era

Hope Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND - Pastor Mark Vitalis Hoffman

Sixth Week of Lent - March 27-April 3, 1996

The Shepherd and the Lion

A Study of 1 Peter 5.1-11

For Openers:

For Your Information:

Note the structure of 1 Peter 5.1-11: instruction to leaders (verses 1-4), to new converts (5a), and to all believers (5b-9), then a closing blessing.

Read 1 Peter 5.1-4.

Elder (1): The Greek word is presbuteros from which comes the English words presbyter, Presbyterian, and also priest. While indicating someone who is "older" and hence someone with whom responsibility was entrusted, within the Christian community it was used to indicate anyone in a position of leadership regardless of age. For other references to elders, see Acts 11.30; 14.23; 1 Timothy 5.12-19.

Tend (2): The Greek word actually means "to shepherd." When translated into Latin, the word used is pastores from which comes the English word pastor.

Exercising the oversight (2): The Greek word, though a marginal reading, is episkopountes from which comes the English words Episcopal and bishop. Here in 1 Peter it is not used as a technical term for a church office.

Sordid gain (2): Also see 1 Timothy 3.1-3 and Titus 1.7. As a further example that there were so-called Christian leaders who tried to profit from their position, read chapter 11 of the Didache, a document from about 100 AD. "Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; and if there be need, also the next; but if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he asks for money, he is a false prophet." There were even warnings against prophets who ordered meals for themselves while they were "in the Spirit"!

Lord it over (3): Also see Mark 10.42-44. On becoming examples, see 1 Corinthians 10.32-11.1; Philippians 3.17; 1 Thessalonians 1.4-7.

Chief Shepherd (4): This is the only time this term appears in the New Testament, but for a similar thought, see 1 Peter 2.25; John 10. 11, 14; Hebrews 13.20.

Read 1 Peter 5.5-11.

Younger (5): This word may simply mean young people, but used in this context in contrast to "elder" (verse 1), it probably refers to recent converts to the faith.

Accept the authority (5): This is the same word used in 1 Peter to describe how people are to be subject to the government (2.13), servants to their masters (2.18), wives to husbands (3.1), and the heavenly powers to Christ (3.22).

The quotation in 5.5 is from Proverbs 3.34. Also see Job 22.29 and James 4.6.

Compare verse 6 with Matthew 23.12; Luke 1.52; 14.11; 18.14; James 4.10.

Mighty hand of God (6): A term used regularly in the Old Testament to describe how God brought Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. See Deuteronomy 5.15.

Exalt (6): This is the same word used to refer to Jesus' exaltation in John 8.28; Acts 2.33; 5.31.

Compare verse 7 with Psalm 55.22; Luke 12.22-32.

Roaring lion (8): A threatening image for someone who pursues God's chosen ones. See Psalm 22.13,21; Jeremiah 50.17; Amos 3.12; 2 Timothy 4.17.

Devil (8): The Greek word diabolos means "slanderer." The devil, therefore, is in league with all those who malign and abuse the Christians to whom 1 Peter is addressed. See 1 Peter 2.11-12; 4.14.

On resisting and standing firm in faith, see Ephesians 6.11-18.

In verse 10, note the contrast between a "little" suffering and the "eternal" glory.

Compare 5.11 with 4.11.

For Your Consideration:

  1. If I were the pastor at this church, one of the first things I would do is... After answering this question, read 1 Peter 5.1-3 again and see if your answer would still be the same.
  2. In times of hardship and suffering, what characteristics do you most look for in a leader? How do the directions in 1 Peter 5.1-3 help?
  3. In the various responsibilities you have assumed as a Christian, how many of them have you done "under compulsion"? How many willingly? (5.2) What difference does your attitude make in your behavior?
  4. According to 1 Peter 5.3, Christian leaders are to serve as examples to others. Who are some good religious role models that you know? What makes them good models?
  5. What do you think it means in 5.5 when it emphasizes that you must "clothe yourselves with humility"? How is humility something that you need to put on?
  6. What are the differences between being humble and being embarassed and being ashamed? Between humility and humiliation and submissiveness? Between pride and self-esteem? Between arrogance and confidence? How are humbling yourself and being exalted by God opposites?
  7. What is the relationship in verses 6-7 between being humble and casting anxiety upon God?
  8. What are some of the things about which you worry? Which of them are worth worrying about? How can you "cast all your anxiety on God"?
  9. What is the relationship in verses 7-8 between anxiety and the devil's prowling around?
  10. When are the times when you are most susceptible to the temptations of the devil? How does one go about resisting the devil? What are some things you do to help you stand firm in faith when you are tempted?
  11. Where would you say that the devil is at in your life right now? Nowhere to be seen? Stalking you at a distance? Nibbling at your heels? Enjoying you for lunch?
  12. Are you very good at delayed gratification? What degree of temporary suffering would make worthwhile eternal glory?

For Later:

Go to Daily Bible ReadingsDaily Bible Readings for March 27-April 3

These daily Bible readings are given with the hope that they will help you on your spiritual journey through Lent. Before beginning a Bible reading, start your meditation time with prayer, perhaps the Lord's Prayer. Then read the passage from 1 Peter which is given for that day. (Readings for Sunday are not given. Go to church!) Through the course of Lent, you will read the entire letter of 1 Peter. A second passage is also suggested and part of your meditation should be to determine what connections there are between this passage and the 1 Peter reading for that day. The Lord be with you

Wednesday: 1 Peter 5.1-2; Hebrews 12.1-3

Thursday: 1 Peter 5.3-4; John 10.14-15

Friday: 1 Peter 5.5; Psalm 123

Saturday: 1 Peter 5.6; Matthew 23.11-12

Monday: 1 Peter 5.7; Luke 12.22-23, 31-32

Tuesday: 1 Peter 5.8-9; 1 Thessalonians 5.4-10

Wednesday: 1 Peter 5.10-11; Hebrews 13.20-21

The text of 1 Peter 5.1-11 studied in this Bible Study (NRSV)

1 Peter 5:1-11 Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you 2 to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it --not for sordid gain but eagerly. 3 Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. Return to Study

5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. Return to Study

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World Wide Study BibleFurther Study Tools on 1 Peter 5

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