1 Peter 5:12-14
By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting…
I. NOTICE REGARDING THE LETTER.
1. The bearer. "By Silvanus, our faithful-brother, as I account him, I have written unto you briefly." Peter has written at considerable length, and yet, in comparison with the crowding of thoughts on his mind, briefly, being able to be brief because he had so qualified a messenger in Silvanus. This Silvanus or Silas is a link between Peter and Paul. He was associated with Paul in the writing of the two letters to the Thessalonians. He had assisted Paul in the founding of the Churches here addressed. This associate and assistant of Paul's Peter accounted a faithful brother. As he had been faithful in past services to the Churches, he would also be faithful in this.
2. Aim. "Exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God: stand ye fast therein." "He proposed an exhorting and a testifying, both in close connection with each other, as- the immediate juxtaposition of the ideas shows. The occasion of them lay in this, that the readers, as professing Christians, had to endure severe afflictions through the slanders of the heathen. In view of the dangers lying therein, the apostle was careful, on the one hand, to exhort them to patience, by directing their minds to the future inheritance, as also to the continuance in holiness, and to a conduct towards each other and towards the heathen, such as would lead the latter to see how groundless their slanders were; and, on the other hand, that his exhortation might not be without a firm basis, to assure them that a state of suffering was the true Divine state of grace" (Huther). Having stated his aim, he also exemplifies it. Having testified to their standing in the true grace (we. may understand through Pauline preaching, which thus agreed with Petrine preaching) he exhorts them to stand fast therein.
1. The Church in Babylon. "She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you." It is significant of the widespread activity of Peter that he was at this time writing from Babylon. He was attracted to this city (changed from what it had once been) by the number of Jews that were resident there· Christianity had found a congenial soil among them; and now, on the occasion of Peter writing to the elect Churches of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia the co-elect Babylonian Church sends greeting to them.
2. Mark. "And so doth Mark my son." As Timothy to Paul, so was Mark to Peter, his son, i.e. convert, companion, helper. It was to the house of Mary the mother of Mark that Peter went when he was miraculously delivered from prison; it is pleasing to see the old friendship kept up. Thus associated, we can scarcely think of Mark writing his Gospel without consulting with Peter.
3. Mutual salutation. "Salute one another with a kiss of love." What Paul calls the holy kiss, Peter calls the kiss of love, i.e. Christian brotherly love. When this Epistle was read aloud in open assembly, at the close of the reading, the men were to kiss each other, and the women, sitting apart, were also to kiss each other. The fraternal kiss, with which every one, after being baptized, was received into the particular community - which the members bestowed on each other just before the celebration of the communion, and with which every Christian saluted his brother, though he never saw him before - was not an empty form, but the expression of Christian feeling; a token of the relation in which Christians conceived themselves to stand to each other. It was this, indeed, which in a cold and selfish age struck the pagans with wonder; to behold men of different countries, ranks, stages of culture, so intimately bound together; to see the stranger who came into a city, and by his letter of recognition made himself known to the Christians of the place as a brother beyond suspicion, finding at once among them, to whom he was personally unknown, all manner of brotherly sympathy and protection (Neander).
III. BENEDICTION. "Peace be unto you all that are in Christ." Christ said, "Peace be unto you." The addition made by Peter to the Master's words defines the range within which he invokes peace. Let none that are in Christ want the peace of the Divine forgiveness, of the Divine keeping. - R.F.
Parallel VersesKJV: By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.