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.
4. And—"And so": as the result of "being ensamples" (1Pe 5:3).
chief Shepherd—the title peculiarly Christ's own, not Peter's or the pope's.
when … shall appear—Greek, "be manifested" (Col 3:4). Faith serves the Lord while still unseen.
crown—Greek, "stephanos," a garland of victory, the prize in the Grecian games, woven of ivy, parsley, myrtle, olive, or oak. Our crown is distinguished from theirs in that it is "incorruptible" and "fadeth not away," as the leaves of theirs soon did. "The crown of life." Not a kingly "crown" (a different Greek word, diadema): the prerogative of the Lord Jesus (Re 19:12).
glory—Greek, "the glory," namely, to be then revealed (1Pe 5:1; 1Pe 4:13).
that fadeth not away—Greek, "amaranthine" (compare 1Pe 1:4).