1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(8) Be sober, be vigilant.—Single words in the Greek, and in the tense which bespeaks immediate attention. The best text omits the following “because.” These are the sudden cries of warning of a shepherd who spies the lion prowling round the flock in the darkness, while the guardians of the flock lie drowsy and secure.

As a roaring lion.—The epithet is not only added to lend terror to the description, but the roaring implies hunger and determination.

Walketh about.—Comp. Job 1:7; Job 2:2. St. Peter, however, is not calling attention to the fact that Satan is always prowling about, but he warns the sleeping shepherds that he is especially doing so now. This season of persecution was just his time for picking off one here and another there.

Seeking whom he may devour.—Perhaps still more expressive to say, “seeking which he may devour.” Satan is eyeing all the Christians in turn to see which he has the best chance of, not merely stalking forth vaguely to look for prey.

1 Peter 5:8-9. Be sober — See on 1 Thessalonians 5:6. Keep your appetites and passions under proper restraint and government, or awake, as υηψανε also signifies; namely, to a deep sense of the certainty and importance of things invisible and eternal; be vigilant — Watchful against the subtle and malicious designs of your spiritual enemies. As if he had said, Awake, and keep awake; sleep no more; be this your care, white you cast your temporal and anxious cares on God. How deeply had Peter himself suffered for want of the wakeful vigilance which he here recommends! Because your grand adversary, the devil, full of rage, as a roaring lion — Fierce and hungry, walketh about — Watching for an opportunity to insnare and destroy you; seeking — With all subtlety likewise, whom he may assault with the greatest likelihood of success, and devour — Swallow up both soul and body. This manner of speaking strongly expresses the insatiable rage of this enemy of mankind to hinder their salvation, and the danger we are in from his devices and snares. He sometimes attacks the people of God in person, though not visibly, and sometimes by his ministers, the other evil spirits who are in league with him; and sometimes by wicked men, his subjects, whom he instigates to tempt them by the terror of persecution. This account of the devil’s malice is given with great propriety by Peter, to whom our Lord had said, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee. Whom resist — As you regard your safety and life, be careful to oppose him in all his assaults; steadfast in the faith — Firmly believing the truths and promises of the gospel, and adhering constantly to, and confiding in Christ, in whom all these truths and promises are yea and amen. To show the efficacy of faith, in enabling us to resist temptation, St. Paul calls it a shield, (Ephesians 6:16,) wherewith the fiery darts of the wicked one may be quenched; knowing that the trials with which you are exercised are not peculiar to you, but that the same afflictions which you are called to sustain are accomplished in — That is, suffered by; your brethren that are in the world — Till the measure allotted them is filled up, and you may reasonably hope that the same grace which is their support will be also yours.

5:5-9 Humility preserves peace and order in all Christian churches and societies; pride disturbs them. Where God gives grace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith, and holiness. To be humble, and subject to our reconciled God, will bring greater comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and ambition. But it is to be in due time; not in thy fancied time, but God's own wisely appointed time. Does he wait, and wilt not thou? What difficulties will not the firm belief of his wisdom, power, and goodness get over! Then be humble under his hand. Cast all you care; personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, and cares for the future, for yourselves, for others, for the church, on God. These are burdensome, and often very sinful, when they arise from unbelief and distrust, when they torture and distract the mind, unfit us for duties, and hinder our delight in the service of God. The remedy is, to cast our care upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious disposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels are right, calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too often forget this, and fret themselves to no purpose. Refer all to God's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort and good are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will he not furnish what is fit for us, if we humbly attend on him, and lay the care of providing for us, upon his wisdom and love? The whole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He always is contriving whom he may insnare to eternal ruin. Our duty plainly is, to be sober; to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance. To be vigilant; suspicious of constant danger from this spiritual enemy, watchful and diligent to prevent his designs. Be stedfast, or solid, by faith. A man cannot fight upon a quagmire, there is no standing without firm ground to tread upon; this faith alone furnishes. It lifts the soul to the firm advanced ground of the promises, and fixes it there. The consideration of what others suffer, is proper to encourage us to bear our share in any affliction; and in whatever form Satan assaults us, or by whatever means, we may know that our brethren experience the same.Be sober - While you cast your cares Upon God, and have no anxiety on that score, let your solicitude be directed to another point. Do not doubt that he is able and willing to support and befriend you, but be watchful against your foes. See the word used here fully explained in the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:6.

Be vigilant - This word (γρηγορέω grēgoreō) is everywhere else in the New Testament rendered "watch." See Matthew 24:42-43; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 26:38, Matthew 26:40-41. It means that we should exercise careful circumspection, as one does when he is in danger. In reference to the matter here referred to, it means that we are to be on our guard against the wiles and the power of the evil one.

Your adversary the devil - Your enemy; he who is opposed to you. Satan opposes man in his best interests. He resists his efforts to do good; his purposes to return to God; his attempts to secure his own salvation. There is no more appropriate appellation that can be given to him than to say that he resists all our efforts to obey God and to secure the salvation of our own souls.

As a roaring lion - Compare Revelation 12:12. Sometimes Satan is represented as transforming himself into an angel of light, (see the notes at 2 Corinthians 11:14); and sometimes, as here, as a roaring lion: denoting the efforts which he makes to alarm and overpower us. The lion here is not the crouching lion - the lion stealthfully creeping toward his foe - but it is the raging monarch of the woods, who by his terrible roar would intimidate all so that they might become an easy prey. The particular thing referred to here, doubtless, is persecution, resembling in its terrors a roaring lion. When error comes in; when seductive arts abound; when the world allures and charms the representation of the character of the foe is not of the roaring lion, but of the silent influence of an enemy that has clothed himself in the garb of an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Walketh about, seeking whom he may devour - "Naturalists have observed that a lion roars when he is roused with hunger, for then he is most fierce, and most eagerly seeks his prey. See Judges 14:5; Psalm 22:13; Jeremiah 2:15; Ezekiel 22:25; Hosea 11:10; Zephaniah 3:3; Zechariah 11:3" - Benson.

8. Peter has in mind Christ's warning to himself to watch against Satan, from forgetting which he fell.

Be sober … vigilant—"Care," that is, anxiety, will intoxicate the soul; therefore be sober, that is, self-restrained. Yet, lest this freedom from care should lead any to false security, he adds, "Be vigilant" against "your adversary." Let this be your "care." God provides, therefore do not be anxious. The devil seeks, therefore watch [Bengel].

because—omitted in the oldest manuscripts The broken and disjointed sentences are more fervid and forcible. Lucifer of Cagliari reads as English Version.

adversary—literally, "opponent in a court of justice" (Zec 3:1). "Satan" means opponent. "Devil," accuser or slanderer (Re 12:10). "The enemy" (Mt 13:39). "A murderer from the beginning" (Joh 8:44). He counteracts the Gospel and its agents. "The tempter."

roaring lion—implying his violent and insatiable thirst for prey as a hungry lion. Through man's sin he got God's justice on his side against us; but Christ, our Advocate, by fulfilling all the demands of justice for us, has made our redemption altogether consistent with justice.

walketh about—(Job 1:7; 2:2). So the children of the wicked one cannot rest. Evil spirits are in 2Pe 2:4; Jude 6, said to be already in chains of darkness and in hell. This probably means that this is their doom finally: a doom already begun in part; though for a time they are permitted to roam in the world (of which Satan is prince), especially in the dark air that surrounds the earth. Hence perhaps arises the miasma of the air at times, as physical and moral evil are closely connected.

devour—entangle in worldly "care" (1Pe 5:7) and other snares, so as finally to destroy. Compare Re 12:15, 16.

Be sober: see 1 Peter 1:13 4:7: q.d. Ye have to do with a mad enemy, a raging devil; ye had need yourselves be sober; not only in meats and drinks, &c., but as to the cares of this life, and whatsoever it is that is apt to intoxicate your minds, and expose you to him.

Be vigilant; spiritually watchful and circumspect, careful of your salvation, and aware of Satan’s snares and temptations, Matthew 24:42 Matthew 25:13 26:41 1 Thessalonians 5:6.

Because your adversary; or, that adversary of yours; he that contends with you, is plaintiff against you, Matthew 5:25 Luke 12:58. It answers to the Hebrew word Satan, Zechariah 3:1.

The devil; your accuser, he that maligns you, calumniates you, informs against you: he is so called, Matthew 4:1 13:39, and elsewhere, because of his accusing God to men, Genesis 3:4,5, and men to God, Job 1:7 2:2 Revelation 12:10, as well as each to other, John 8:44.

As a roaring lion; i.e. strong, fierce, cruel, especially when hungry, and seeking his prey and roaring after it.

Walketh about; is diligent and restless in his attempts, either by circumventing or assaulting you: see Job 1:7.

Seeking whom he may devour; not lightly hurt, but swallow up and utterly destroy, by himself or his instruments.

Be sober, be vigilant,.... The apostle had exhorted to each of these before; see 1 Peter 1:13 but thought fit to repeat them; sobriety and watchfulness being exceeding necessary and useful in the Christian life; and the one cannot well be without the other: unless a man is sober in body and mind, he will not be watchful, either over himself or others, or against the snares of sin, Satan, and the world; and if he is not on his watch and guard, he is liable to every sin and temptation. The Syriac version renders the words, "watch", and "be ye mindful", or "remember"; watch with diligence, care, and industry, keeping a good lookout, minding and observing everything that presents, and remembering the power and cunning of the enemy; and the Ethiopic version renders them thus, "be ye prudent, and cause your heart to understand"; referring them not to temperance of body, but sobriety of mind, and to a prudent conduct and behaviour, as having a subtle as well as a malicious enemy to deal with:

because your adversary the devil; he who is a defamer and calumniator; who accuses God to men, and men to God, and is therefore styled the accuser of the brethren; he is the saints' avowed and implacable enemy. Satan is an enemy to mankind in general, but more especially to the seed of the woman, to Christ personal, and to Christ mystical, to all the elect of God: the word here used is a forensic term, and signifies a court adversary, or one that litigates a point in law, or opposes another in an action or suit at law. The Jews (c) have adopted this word into their language, and explain it by , "a law adversary", or one that has a suit of law depending against another. Satan accuses men of the breach of the law, and pleads that justice might take place, and punishment be inflicted, and which he pursues with great violence and diligence:

as a roaring lion; so called, both on account of his strength, and also because of his rage, malice, and cruelty, which he breathes out against the saints, who, though he cannot destroy them, will do all he can to terrify and affright them; so the young lions in Psalm 104:21 are, by the Cabalistic Jews (d), understood of devils; to which, for the above reasons, they may be truly compared:

walketh about; to and fro in the earth; see Job 1:7 as a lion runs about here and there, when almost famished with hunger; and it also denotes the insidious methods, wiles, and stratagems Satan takes to surprise men, and get an advantage of them: he takes a tour, and comes round upon them, upon the back of them, at an unawares, so that they have need to be always sober, and upon their guard:

seeking whom he may devour; this is the end of his walking about: and the like is expressed in the Targum on Job 1:7

"and Satan answered before the Lord, and said, from going about in the earth , "to search into the works" of the children of men, and from walking in it;''

that so he might have something to accuse them of, and they fall a prey into his hands. This is the work he is continually employed in; he is always seeking to do mischief, either to the souls, or bodies, or estates of men, especially the former; though he can do nothing in either respect without a permission, not unless he "may"; and though this, with respect to body and estate, is sometimes granted, as in the case of Job, yet never with respect to the souls of any of God's elect, which are safe in Christ's hands, and out of his reach; this hinders not but that saints should be sober and watchful.

(c) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 41. 4. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 82. fol. 41. 4. & Jarchi & Aruch in Mattanot Cehuna in ib. (d) Lex. Cabal. p. 231, 417.

{11} Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

(11) The cruelty of Satan, who seeks by all means to devour us, is overcome by watchfulness and faith.

1 Peter 5:8. νήψατε (chap. 1 Peter 4:7), γρηγορήσατε, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6; placed in juxtaposition by asyndeton “in nervous conciseness, in virtue of which ὅτι, too, is omitted before ὁ ἀντίδικος” (Wiesinger). Temperance and watchfulness are specially necessary, in order to remain faithful amid all the temptations of suffering. The reason is given in what follows.

ὁ ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν διάβολος] Hensler’s explanation: “slandering opponents,” requires no refutation.

διάβολος is a substantive, in explanatory apposition to ὁ ἀντίδ. ὑμῶν, which latter is used, in this passage only, to designate the devil (corresponding to the Hebrew שָׂטָן, which, however, the LXX. always translate by διάβολος). The word denotes strictly an opponent in a court of justice; but it occurs also in a general sense as “adversary.” Schott would retain the original application, after Zechariah 3:1 ff., Revelation 12:10, in that “the devil will, as it were, compel God to declare in condemnatory judgment that the Christians have forfeited salvation;” but there is no allusion to the divine judgment here, the καταπίνειν is rather indicated as the aim of the devil.

ὡς λέων ὠρυόμενος]

[276] ὠρύεσθαι peculiariter dicitur ἐπὶ λιμῷ κλαιόντων λύκων, ἢ λεόντων, ἢ κυνῶν (Hesych.), cf. Psalm 104:21.

περιπατεῖ (Job 1:7; Job 2:2) ζητῶν τίνα καταπίῃ] περιπατεῖν and ζητῶν belong strictly to each other, so that the comparison with the lion applies to both (Steiger). The efforts of the devil are directed against Christians, who, as such, do not belong to him; as long as they remain faithful to their Christian calling, he can do them no harm (1 John 5:18), therefore he is on the look-out whom (according to the reading: τίνα καταπίῃ) he may devour, or if he may devour any one (according to the reading: τινὰ καταπιεῖν), by alluring to unfaithfulness.[277]

ΚΑΤΑΠΊΝΕΙΝ, “devour,” denotes complete destruction. Chrysostom (Homil. 22, ad popul. Antioch.): circuit quaerens, non quem mordeat vel frangat, sed quem devoret.

[276] Augustin (Sermo 46 de divers. c. ii.): Christus leo propter fortitudinem, diabolus propter feritatem; ille leo ad vincendum, iste leo ad nocendum.

[277] Hofmann irrelevantly remarks that ζητεῖν, followed by an interrogative, means: to consider a thing; the word above is evidently stronger than that.

1 Peter 5:8. νήψατε γρηγορήσατε, cf. 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 4:7. So St. Paul, γρηγορῶμεν καὶ νήφωμενἡμέρας ὄντες νήφωμεν (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8) drawing upon the common source in the Parables of the Householder and Burglar, etc. (Matthew 24:42 ff.) which set forth the sudden coming of the Kingdom.—ὁ ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν διάβολος, your adversary, Satan. (properly adversary in law suit) is used in the general sense of enemy in LXX. Of the description of Satan, as a roaring lion comes from Psalm 22:14, ὡς λέων ὁ ἁρπάζων καὶ ὠρυόμενος; walketh from Job 1:7, where Satan (ὁ διάβολος LXX, Σατάν, Aq.) περιελθὼν τὴν γῆν καὶ ἐμπεριπατήσας τὴν ὑπʼ οὐρανὸν πάρειμι; seeking to devour identifies him with Hades the lord of death; cf. Proverbs 1:12, where the wicked say of the righteous man, καταπίωμεν αὐτὸν ὥσπερ ᾅδης ζῶντα. The present sufferings of the Christians are his handiwork as much as the sufferings of Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 2:8) and of Job.

8. Be sober, be vigilant] The two words are found in a like juxtaposition in 1 Thessalonians 5:6. The tense used here implies an immediate act, as though he said, “Rouse yourselves to sobriety and watchfulness,” rather than a continuous state. The first word has the strict meaning of abstinence from that which inebriates. See note on chap. 1 Peter 4:7.

because your adversary the devil] The word for “adversary” is the same as that used in Matthew 5:25, and carries with it the sense of a plaintiff or accuser in a trial before a judge. The Greek word for “devil’ (διάβολος), uniformly used in the LXX. for the Hebrew “Satan,” expresses the same thought, with the implied addition that the charge is false and calumnious. The comparison with the lion has its starting-point, perhaps, in Isaiah 38:13, where, however, it is used of God as visiting men with pain and sickness; or Psalm 22:21, where its use is more closely parallel with the present passage. The use of the same verb for “roaring” in the LXX. of Psalm 22:13 confirms the inference that that Psalm—the first words of which, it will be remembered, had been uttered by our Lord upon the cross—was present to St Peter’s mind. The word for “devour,” literally, gulp down or swallow, implies the thought of total destruction. It is probable, wide and general as the words are in themselves, that the special form of attack of which the Apostle thought was that of the persecution then raging, and of which, though human agents were prominent in it, Satan was regarded as the real instigator. Comp. 2 Timothy 4:17. When Christ is named as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) we may probably see the suggested thought that in the conflict which His followers have to wage they have with them One who is stronger than their adversary.

1 Peter 5:8. Νήψατς, watch) Let this be your care. Watch with the soul.—γρηγορήσατε, watch) with the body.—ὁ ἀντίδικοςκαταπίῃ, the adversarymay devour) He seeks the righteous at once by the appearance of justice and by violence: Apocalypse, Revelation 12:10.—ὠρυόμενος, roaring) with fury.—ζητῶν, seeking) with treachery.—τίνα, whom) especially of the faithful, Job 1:8.—καταπίῃ, he may devour) First with reference to the soul, and then with reference to the body. But he especially lays snares by means of the sorrow arising from cares, which is injurious to faith.

Verse 8. - Be sober, be vigilant (comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:6). For the first word, νήψατε, see note on 1 Peter 4:7. The second γρηγόρησατε, is the word so often and so emphatically used by our Lord (Mark 13:35, 37; Matthew 26:40, 41, etc.). The imperatives are aorist, as in 1 Peter 4:7; and, as there, either imply that the exhortation was needed by the readers, or are used to express vividly the necessity of instant attention. Because your adversary the devil. The conjunction "because" is omitted in the best manuscripts. The asyndeten, as in the last clause, increases the emphasis. The word rendered "adversary" ἀντίδικος means properly an opponent in a lawsuit, as in Matthew 5:25; but it is also used generally for "adversary," and so is a translation of the Hebrew word Satan. The word διάβολος, devil, means "slanderer," "false accuser." As a roaring lion. He is called a serpent to denote his subtlety, a lion to express his fierceness and strength. The word rendered "roaring" ὠρυόμενος is used especially of the cries of wild beasts when ravenous with hunger (see Psalm 104:21; and comp. Psalm 22:13, 21). Walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (comp. Job 1:7; Job 2:2). The words express the restless energy of the wicked one. He cannot touch those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; but he walketh about, looking eagerly after any lost sheep that may have wandered from the fold. He roars in the craving of his heart for prey, like a hungry lion, seeking whom he may devour, or (for the reading here is somewhat uncertain) to devour some one, or simply to devour. The Greek word means literally "to drink down;" it implies utter destruction. It is the word in 1 Corinthians 15:54, "Death is swallowed up κατεπόθη in victory." Satan now seeks whom he may destroy: "The Lord will destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). 1 Peter 5:8Be sober (νήψατε)

See on 1 Peter 4:7.

Be vigilant (γρηγορήσατε)

Rev., be watchful. See on Mark 13:35; and 1 Thessalonians 5:6, where both verbs occur: watch and be sober. A reminiscence of the scene in Gethsemane: Could ye not watch with me? (Matthew 26:40, Matthew 26:41).

Adversary (ὁ αντίδικος)

The article points to a well-known adversary. From ἀντί, against, and δίκη, a lawsuit. Strictly, an adversary in a lawsuit. Here an adversary in general. Compare Zechariah 3:1-5. Only here, in New Testament, of Satan.

The devil

See on Matthew 4:1.

Roaring (ὠρυόμενος)

Only here in New Testament. The word conveys somewhat of the sense by the sound (oruomenos). It denotes especially the howl of a beast in fierce hunger.


Augustine says, "Christ is called 'a lion' (Revelation 5:5) because of his courage: the devil, because of his ferocity. The one lion comes to conquer, the other to hurt." Seven Hebrew words are used for this animal; six to describe his movements and four to describe his roar. He is mentioned in the Bible about one hundred and thirty times. In Job 4:10, Job 4:11, five different words are used for him. In Judges 14:5; Psalm 21:13; Psalm 103:21 (Sept.), the same word as here is used for the roaring of the lion as a translation of the Hebrew word for the thunder in Job 37:4.

Walketh about (περιπατεῖ)

Compare Job 1:7; Job 2:2. This word gave name to that sect of Greek philosophers known as Peripatetics, because they walked about while teaching or disputing. "St. Peter calls Satan the Peripatetic" (Cox, on Job). The Arabs call him the Busy One. It was to Peter that Christ said, "Satan hath desired to have you," etc. (Luke 22:31).


1 Peter 5:8 Interlinear
1 Peter 5:8 Parallel Texts

1 Peter 5:8 NIV
1 Peter 5:8 NLT
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
1 Peter 5:8 NASB
1 Peter 5:8 KJV

1 Peter 5:8 Bible Apps
1 Peter 5:8 Parallel
1 Peter 5:8 Biblia Paralela
1 Peter 5:8 Chinese Bible
1 Peter 5:8 French Bible
1 Peter 5:8 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Peter 5:7
Top of Page
Top of Page