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The first four verses of this chapter appear in the Lectionary, but not the bulk of Peter’s message, which he wrote from Bablyon, where he and St Mark together ministered to new Christians.  The first four verses address the elders and pastors of the new Christian flocks wherever they were.  In the passage below, Peter turns his attention to church members, like you and me. 

The exclusion of this passage qualifies it for inclusion in the Forbidden Bible Verses series, an abridged version of which is on the Essential Bible Verses page

Today’s reading comes from the New International Version.

1 Peter 5:5-14

5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
   “God opposes the proud
      but gives grace to the humble.”[a] 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

12With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

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In verse 5, Peter addresses ‘young men’, which meant those who were not pastors or elders ministering to Christians.  He means ordinary men and women who have chosen to follow the Christian faith.

Peter asks them — and us — to act humbly towards each other.  He quotes Proverbs 3:34, just as James did (James 4:6).  Both apostles recognise that humility encourages the spread of the faith, as we walk in Christ’s humble footsteps.  It is when pride enters the scene that quarrels erupt which damage the Church internally and encourages external attacks upon her.  Therefore, Peter asks church members (‘men’ refers to both sexes) to look to God in humility (verse 6) and to express their anxieties about the Christian life to Him (verse 7).  Peter assures his audience that God will hear His people, because He loves them.

In verse 8 Peter instructs the new Christians to exercise self-control and to be alert against the Devil’s snares.  These could be doubt, ridicule, persecution — anything that could lead to their apostasy.  He knows that the churches are going through discouraging times — this never changes — and he encourages them to resist Satan and ‘stand firm in the faith’ (verse 9).  Even today, we must prepare ourselves for all the things the early Christians experienced and steel ourselves against them.  We must not be caught unawares.

Peter tells the people that God, who called them to salvation through Jesus Christ, will send His grace to strengthen them in their faith (verse 10).  Note the wording, which alludes to God’s grace being similar to nourishment and fortification: ‘will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast‘.  This is why we must pray with a sincere heart daily, read the Word and worship Him.  We cannot hope to be firm in our faith without them.  And we must never forget that He is our all-powerful, sovereign Creator and God of grace, to whom we owe all glory and honour.

Note the words in verse 10: ‘after you have suffered a little while’.  Peter doesn’t tell his people that they will never suffer, that the Christian life is an easy one.  But he does intimate that God will keep the faithful close to Him, preserve them in their times of trial and raise them up on the last day (verse 11).   

Silas (verse 12) is the messenger for this particular letter.  He is the one delivering Peter’s message of encouragement —‘stand fast’ — to the people.  Verse 13 discusses the Church (‘she’) in Babylon, where God’s elect also are — ‘chosen together’ — with Silas’s audience.  The Church of Babylon sends its greetings to them as does Peter’s spiritual son, the apostle Mark (of the Gospel). 

Peter concludes (verse 14) by instructing the faithful to greet each other with a sign of Christ’s peace.  Whilst this does not necessarily mandate an interruption of church services for that particular exercise, it does exhort us to fellowship with each other not only in our neighbourhood church community but in the worldwide Church.  We are all sons and daughters of Christ and are called to encourage and support each other in doing the Lord’s work here on Earth. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary has more.

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