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.
3. being lords—Greek, "lording it": implying pride and oppression. "Not that we have dominion over your faith."
God's heritage—Greek, "the inheritances," that is, the portions of the Church committed severally to your pastoral charge [Bengel]. It is explained by "the flock" in the next clause. However, in 1Pe 5:2, "flock of God which is among you," answering to "(God's) heritages" (plural to express the sheep who are God's portion and inheritance, De 32:9) committed to you, favors English Version. The flock, as one whole, is God's heritage, or flock in the singular. Regarded in relation to its component sheep, divided among several pastors, it is in the plural "heritages." Compare Ac 1:17, 25, "part" (the same Greek). Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote to Pope Eugene, "Peter could not give thee what he had not: what he had he gave: the care over the Church, not dominion."
ensamples—the most effective recommendation of precept (1Ti 4:12). Tit 2:7, "patterns." So Jesus. "A monstrosity it is to see the highest rank joined with the meanest mind, the first seat with the lowest life, a grandiloquent tongue with a lazy life, much talking with no fruit" [Bernard].