Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 4: Counsel for Christ’s Under-Shepherds: An Exposition of 1 Peter 5:1-4 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:556 (Oct 1982)
Article: Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 4: Counsel for Christ’s Under-Shepherds: An Exposition of 1 Peter 5:1-4
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Selected Studies from 1 Peter
Part 4:
Counsel for Christ’s Under-Shepherds:
An Exposition of 1 Peter 5:1-4

D. Edmond Hiebert

[D. Edmond Hiebert, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California]

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory (1 Pet 5:1–4, NASB).

In these four verses Peter offers loving counsel to the leaders of the afflicted believers living in five Roman provinces in what is today called Asia Minor. They constitute the first section of the concluding paragraph (5:1–11) of this practical epistle.

The opening “Therefore” (οὖν) indicates a logical thought connection with what has gone before. This particle is omitted in the Textus Receptus, perhaps because this concluding paragraph of the epistle proper does not seem to be an obvious deduction from what has just been said, as “therefore” seemingly suggests. If it is omitted, 5:1–11 may be viewed as an appropriate summary of the author’s ethical appeals to his readers. But modern textual editors agree in accepting it as the original reading.1 Then, in keeping with the inferential force of the particle, it is generally viewed as constituting, in effect, an expansion on “doing what is right” (ἐν ἀγαθοποιίᾳ), the concluding words of the preceding paragraph (4:19).

In these words of counsel to Christian leaders Peter names the recipients of his appeal (v. 1a), identifies the person making

the appeal (v. 1b), concisely designates the duty of the elders (v. 2a), underlines the motives that must govern their work (vv. 2b–3), and points to the reward awaiting the faithful under-shepherds (v. 4).

The Recipients o...
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