Feed the Flock and Humble Yourselves, 1 Pet 5:1-7

We are studying 1 Pet 5:1-7 in this lesson.  1 Pet 5:1-4 contain some instructions to pastors.  1 Pet 5:5-7 contain an exhortation to Christians to be humble.

Instructions to pastors.

Elders, in this passage, are pastors – 1 Pet 5:1 – as in Acts 14:23; 20:17; 20:28.  The term, elder, refers to the pastor’s oversight [1 Pet 5:1-3].  The term, bishop, refers to the pastor’s office [Titus 1:5-7; 1 Tim 3:1].  The term, pastor, refers to the pastor’s ministry [Eph 4:11-12].  Peter was an elder [over the church at Babylon, 1 Pet 5:13].  In addition, he witnessed the sufferings of Christ.  And he will be a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed [1 Pet 1:11; Rom 8:17-18].

Elders feed the flock –  1 Pet 5:2 – The primary function of the pastor is to feed the flock of God [Acts 20:28; Jer 3:15].  Jesus dealt with Peter, specifically, about this duty [Jn 21:15-17].

Elders take the oversight of the flock – 1 Pet 5:2-3 – oversight is “watchful and responsible care.”  When Paul was in Ephesus, he protected the flock from grievous wolves entering in and from men drawing away disciples after themselves [Acts 20:29-30].

  • Not by constraint – 1 Pet 5:2 – pastors should willingly oversee the flock because they care for the sheep; not because they have been “roped into” doing it.  If a man only oversees the flock because he has to, he won’t exercise the same loving care that a pastor will who wants to shepherd the flock.  
  • Not for filthy lucre – 1 Pet 5:2 – pastors shouldn’t be in the ministry for the money [1 Tim 3:3].   They should have a “ready mind,” [2 Cor 8:19].  That is, they should be willing, not reluctant, and cheerful to do the work regardless whether they are compensated.  In truth, while they are worthy of adequate remuneration [1 Cor 9:7-14; Gal 6:6], pastors should preach and minister even if they have to support themselves [Acts 20:33-35].
  • Not as being lords – 1 Pet 5:3 – the flock is God’s heritage.  It is the church of God which he purchased with his own blood [Acts 20:28].  Thus, the church doesn’t belong to the pastor.  Nevertheless, the pastor maintains “the rule,” [Heb 13:7, 17].  And he leads by example.  Pastors are to be “ensamples to the flock.”  As such, they give the sheep an example to follow [1 Tim 4:12; 1 Cor 11:1].

Elders are rewarded with a crown of glory – 1 Pet 5:4 – Jesus is called the chief Shepherd; so, pastors are under-shepherds.  When Jesus shall appear, pastors who have followed Peter’s instructions will receive a crown of glory.  This will take place at the judgment seat of Christ.  This crown will not fade away.  

Exhortation to be humble.

The younger should submit to the elder – 1 Pet 5:5 – so younger people should submit to older people.  Lev 19:32 says, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man…”.

All should be subject one to another – 1 Pet 5:5 – Paul said, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another,” [Rom 12:10].  In Phil 2:3, Paul said, “… in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  The reason is that God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  We need grace to get along.

All should humble themselves to God – 1 Pet 5:6 – we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  He is certainly mightier than we are.  And in due time, he will exalt us.  Today, we are servants to God.  In due time, we will be kings and priests unto him [Rev 1:5-6].

All should cast their care upon God – 1 Pet 5:7 – no man will care for your soul the way the Lord will [Ps 142:4].  Therefore, we are to cast all our care upon him.  If you’re dealing with something God needs to take care of, he will take care of it.

Conclusion: This passage in 1 Peter 5 is about the pastor’s relationship to the flock as an elder, and the relationship of the sheep to each other and to God.  Humility is the key to the success of all these relationships.