The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes on 1 Peter 5:5-14 for the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 25, 2008

1 Peter 5:5b-14

5b. Put on humility. The Greek implies the act of clothing ones self with an apron such as slaves wore, this is an appropriate symbol inasmuch as the saint has, at the start of verse 5, told his readers to be subordinate to one another. That husbands and wives, slaves and masters, parents and children are to be subordinate to one another may sound contradictory, but obviously the saint means that we are to serve others according to our state in life and the gifts we have. The Greek word for humility is tapeinophrosyne which is a compound word. Tapeinos refers to something which stays close to the ground, while phren can refer to the heart or mind. The word conveys the idea of not being arrogant or self-seeking.

For God resists the proud but bestows his grace on the humble . Establishes the foundation for the call to subordination and humility (see James 4:6; also Prov 3:34). Recall that in the first half of verse 5 (not part of the liturgical text) Christians are told to be subordinate to one another. The Geek word used there is hupotasso, from the root tasso, the same root as resist here (antitassomai).

6. Be you humble therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in time. Humility and the subordination/service it fosters will not be without its reward at the “time” (judgment). The one who is humble now will be exalted then, while the one who is proud now will be brought low, for God “resists (literally battles against) the proud. The thought reminds me of Isaiah 2:9-17 and Mary’s canticle in Luke 1:46-55.

7. Casting all your cares upon him, for he hath care for you. Notice how the second half of the verse provides motive for the imperative that opens it. But also notice that the previous verse also provides motive. There is intense irony in the phrase casting all your cares upon him because the Greek word translated “casting” implies something done carelessly. Because God cares for us, our cares should be seen as of no account. Recall the teaching from the Sermon on the Mount:

  • Mat 6:24-34  No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to day, and to morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying: What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

8. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. the word for sober is nepho, which can mean either “be sober” or “be watchful” (for the latter usage see 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Pet 4:7). Perhaps the Apostle wants to be emphatic here, in which case we could translate “be vigilant and watch”, or, “watch and watch some more.” Precisely because the devil is seeking (see-king) our ruin is why we should keep watch (see the repeated appeals to watch, look out, take heed, in Mark’s end-time discourse, chapter 13).

9. Whom resist ye, The word for resist used here is different from-but synonymous with- the word for resist in verse 5. If God resists the proud, then we are called upon to resist the king of arrogance, Satan, who is our adversary (resistor).

strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. the strength of our resistance is faith, which is a shield against “all the fiery darts of the most wicked enemy” (Eph 6:16). The words resist and strong in this verse are derived from the same root in Greek. Our faith is our resistance. We should take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our struggle. We have brothers-in-arms.

10-11. But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and strengthen you, and establish you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen God has freely called us to eternal life, but the call entails struggle and suffering on our part; if we remain strong in our resistance he will establish (Greek sterizo), confirm (sthenoo) and perfect (kataritzo) us. In various ways, all these verbs relate to “strong” and “resist” in verse 9.
12. I write you rather briefly through Silvanus, a faithful brother,, beseeching and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you must stand firm. Silvanus may be the Silvanus/Silas who sometimes accompanied St Paul on his missions (see 1 Thess 1:1; Acts 15:40). The word “beseeching” translates the Greek parakalon, and would be better translated as “encouraging.” The same word is used in 2:11and 5:1. In the first usage it introduces an exhortation on how Christians are to conduct themselves in the world. In the second usage it introduces an exhortation to serve others. These are two of the major themes of the letter. Testifying is the Greek word epimartyron, derived from the word martyr (witness); in 5:1 St Peter had identified himself as a witness to the sufferings of Christ. Not being conformed to the world but sharing in and witnessing to the sufferings of Christ is the true grace of God in which (they) must stand firm. The word stand is histemi and is from the same root as the word “resist” in verse 9, and the word “establish” in verse 10. The word connotes the idea of steadfastness or stability, a key theme of both 1&2 Peter (see 1 Pt 1:4; 2 Pt 1:10-12; 3:16-17).

13. The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you, and so does my son Mark. Salute one another with a holy kiss. Grace to all of you, who are in Christ Jesus. Amen. Babylon was a code name for Rome among early Christians. That St Peter was writing from the heart and soul of the pagan world at a time of persecution probably accounts, at least in part, for the subject matter of the letter; not being conformed to the world, but conforming oneself to the suffering Christ. In a letter so focused on endurance and steadfastness, Mark’s name is not without significance. Chosen to accompany Saints Paul and Barnabas on a mission proclaiming the Gospel, St mark lost heart and abandoned his companions; a very pre-resurrection, Peter-like thing to do (see Acts 12:25-13:13). yet like father, like son, Mark repented and persevered, and again became a companion of Paul (see Col 4:10). In 2 Tim 4:11 St Paul witnesses to how useful St Mark was to him. Thus, like his “father” Peter, St Mark stands as a witness to the value of repentance, conversion, and re-commitment and as a sign of hope for all thus who struggle as sojourners (1:1) in this world.

7 Responses to “My Notes on 1 Peter 5:5-14 for the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist”

  1. […] Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14. […]

  2. […] Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14. […]

  3. […] My Notes on 1 Peter 5:5-14. […]

  4. […] My Notes on 1 Peter 5:5-14. […]

  5. […] Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14. […]

  6. […] Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14. […]

  7. […] Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14. […]

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