1 Peter 5:1
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…
(Artc. 1). "The elders therefore among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder," etc. With the word "well-doing" in the last sentence of the preceding chapter ringing in our ears, we easily understand why the apostle thus proceeds to exhort men to their duties as office-bearers in the Christian Church. We notice, as here indicated -
I. THE SPIRIT OF OFFICE-BEARERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. The word "elders," according to Dean Alford, simply here means" leaders" in the Church. Subsequently it becomes clear that there were two orders of "eiders," viz. bishops and deacons. But at this time these offices had not crystallized thus. All were included in the term here used. Their spirit is indicated by Peter's use of the word "fellow-elders" as describing himself, and "exhort" as denoting his relationship to them. There is none of the spirit of an ecclesiastical princeling; no arrogance. But brotherliness permeates all the intercourse. That is the supreme spirit of true office-bearers.
II. THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR TRUE SERVICE IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
1. Fellowship in sympathy. "Fellow-elder;" burdened with the same cares, stirred with the same inspirations, etc.
2. Witness-bearing to most solemn realities. "Witness of the sufferings of Christ." All through this Epistle those sufferings are conspicuous as the theme of thought, the constraint of will. The word "witness" implies that Peter felt he was, as regarded these sufferings,
(1) a spectator;
(2) a testifier. Ruskin says, "You look at marble which is the delight of the eyes, the wealth of the architecture of all civilized nations, and you find there is not a purple vein or flaming zone that is not the record of its ancient torture in raging fire and stormful convulsion." So is it with the beauty of the Christ, our Foundation-stone, our Cornerstone.
3. Possession of a sublime inheritance. "Partaker of the glory," etc.
(1) The glory of character.
(2) That glory at present partially hidden.
(3) Yet a Christian already possesses it. What wealth! what dignity! How unspeakably richer than the mere millionaire, and more honorable than the mere hero, is the true Christian worker! - U.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: