Notes On Peter’s First Epistle (32)

“Pondering Peter”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!


Servants for Christ’s Sake (Chapter 5 Verses 1-9)

The New Testament uses different words to describe these church officers (vv1-4). Overseer (Act.20.28), shepherd (Acts 20.28; 1Peter 5.1-4), and elder (Titus 1.5). These terms describe the functional aspect of Church leadership. We must be rid of the status, and authority style leadership. It is not Biblical. Jesus is ever our role model. Servanthood, leadership is a serving ministry. The New Testament pattern is always a plurality of elders, it is never a one-person ministry, team work is of the essence (Acts 20.28; Philippians 1.1). A Church was never established until this team was up and running (Titus 1.5). A good broad-based leadership with shared responsibilities, mutual submission (Ephesians 5.21), and learning from each other, is the Scriptural ideal. Within that team of course there must be someone with whom the buck stops. Otherwise the government of, and the Church, can be paralysed. The Holy Spirit leads the Church through dynamic (active) leadership, gifted individuals to whom he has given perception, inspiration. I hesitate to use the word vision, for fear of it being misunderstood. But if that leadership is repressed then so is the perception, inspiration that the officers have for the church, and its growth could be stunted. The end result of that is that the people perish (Proverbs 29.18). There are so many Churches held back by leaders who do not have perception, inspiration, and sadly the Church just exists from one week to the next, going nowhere.

But the church officers must be allowed to govern. That takes humility on the part of the congregation v6. A recognition on the part of the flock that they need to be taught, corrected and yes, sometimes even rebuked. It is recognising that God has given us these men for an example to follow v3. The reverse of this is, that if we resist the God-ordained government of the church, he will resist us, because that stems from pride v5. The opposite to being drunk with pride is to be sober v8, lest we make ourselves targets for the devil. Remember it was pride that brought Satan down, and one of his chief instruments in causing destruction in the church. Only one way to deal with this, that is to stamp firmly upon our pride, thereby resisting, not just once, but steadfastly resisting the devil v9, in faith.

(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)

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