5:1-4 The apostle Peter does not command, but exhorts. He does not claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. It was the peculiar honour of Peter and a few more, to be witnesses of Christ's sufferings; but it is the privilege of all true Christians to partake of the glory that shall be revealed. These poor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God, redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love and communion, according to the will of God. They are also dignified with the title of God's heritage or clergy; his peculiar lot, chosen for his own people, to enjoy his special favour, and to do him special service. Christ is the chief Shepherd of the whole flock and heritage of God. And all faithful ministers will receive a crown of unfading glory, infinitely better and more honourable than all the authority, wealth, and pleasure of the world.
1Pe 5:1-14. Exhortations to Elders, Juniors, and All in General. Parting Prayer. Conclusion.
1. elders—alike in office and age (1Pe 5:5).
I … also an elder—To put one's self on a level with those whom we exhort, gives weight to one's exhortations (compare 2Jo 1, 2). Peter, in true humility for the Gospel's sake, does not put forward his apostleship here, wherein he presided over the elders. In the apostleship the apostles have no successors, for "the signs of an apostle" have not been transmitted. The presidents over the presbyters and deacons, by whatever name designated, angel, bishop, or moderator, &c., though of the same ORDER as the presbyters, yet have virtually succeeded to a superintendency of the Church analogous to that exercised by the apostles (this superintendency and priority existed from the earliest times after the apostles [Tertullian]); just as the Jewish synagogue (the model which the Church followed) was governed by a council of presbyters, presided over by one of themselves, "the chief ruler of the synagogue." (Compare Vitringa [Synagogue and Temple, Part II, chs. 3 and 7]).
witness—an eye-witness of Christ's sufferings, and so qualified to exhort you to believing patience in suffering for well-doing after His example (1Pe 4:19; 2:20). This explains the "therefore" inserted in the oldest manuscripts, "I therefore exhort," resuming exhortation from 1Pe 4:19. His higher dignity as an apostle is herein delicately implied, as eye-witnessing was a necessary qualification for apostleship: compare Peter's own speeches, Ac 1:21, 22; 2:32; 10:39.
also—implying the righteous recompense corresponding to the sufferings.
partaker of the glory—according to Christ's promise; an earnest of which was given in the transfiguration.