1 Peter 5, Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus

Jesus stands with his arms outstretched in a welcoming manner.

In this chapter summary, we will discuss the significance of this chapter and what it means for us today. 

How would you caption the chapter?

Peter offers a word of encouragement to Christians who are facing trials and suffering. He gives instructions to both the elders and the younger generation, encouraging them to be the best followers of Christ they can be while testifying to the true grace of God.

What are the contents?

1 Peter 5 contains several important instructions for Christians:

In verses 1-4, Peter appeals to the elders, telling them to shepherd the flock and watch over them. They are not to do this not as a requirement, but as a willing contribution that comes from an eager-to-serve heart. He also exhorts them to be great examples and, when the time comes, they will be rewarded with “the crown of glory.” 

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:3-4, ESV

In verses 5-11, Peter admonishes young Christians to resist the devil and to remain faithful even when suffering persecution, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles. He encourages them to submit to and respect their fellow elder, and to show humility as “God opposes the proud.”

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for
“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5, NLT

Finally, in verses 12-14, he urges Christians to remain steadfast in their hope, despite the trials and tribulations they may face.

I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark.

1 Peter 5:12-13, NLT

These verses contain a wealth of wisdom for Christians of all ages, and they provide a powerful reminder of the need for faith and perseverance in the face of difficulties. By remaining rooted in our faith and resisting temptation, we can overcome any obstacle that Satan throws our way.

Who are the important figures?

Peter: One of the most important figures in this chapter is the author himself, Peter. As one of Jesus’ disciples, he was an eyewitness to Christ’s ministry and teachings. After Jesus’ crucifixion, he became the leader of the early church and wrote several New Testament books, including 1 Peter

In this letter, he urges believers to remain faithful amid persecution. He also reminds them that they are chosen by God and that they have an inheritance waiting for them in heaven.

Jesus Christ: While he is not directly quoted in this passage, his sacrifice and resurrection are central to its message. Christ died for our sins and rose again, defeating death itself. Because of this, we can have hope even in the darkest of times. When we face trials and suffering, we can know that Christ understands our pain and that He will one day make all things right.

As the chapter comes to a close, Peter also makes it very clear that all he has encouraged is a testament to the true grace of God.

The Elders: Their primary responsibility is to care for the flock of God. This includes leading by example and not taking advantage of their position; caring for the younger generations out of willingness and desire, as opposed to doing it out of dishonest gain.

The Younger: The younger generation is to submit to their elders. They are to show humility to one another as God shows favor to the humble. They shall “cast all your anxiety on him” and recognize that the trials and tribulations they may be going through are shared throughout the world.

A man comforts a woman who appears to be distressed.

Which verse(s) best represent, or stand out, in the chapter?

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7, NIV

Verses 5-7 stand out because it emphasizes the importance of humility. In a world where so many people are striving for success and recognition, it is easy to get caught up in our own egos. 

However, as these verses remind us, humility is an essential virtue that can help us to find true happiness and satisfaction. By humbling ourselves before others and before God’s mighty hand, we can receive his grace and find true peace and contentment.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8, NLT

Verse 8 captures the ferocity of Satan and his relentless attacks on Christians. However, it also conveys the hope and assurance that Christians have in Christ. 

Just as a lion cannot devour a whole flock of sheep at once, Satan cannot defeat all Christians simultaneously. Though he may isolate and attack individuals, he will ultimately be unsuccessful in his efforts to destroy the body of Christ. 

This verse, therefore, encourages Christians to remain vigilant against Satan’s schemes and to stand firm in their faith, knowing that they are part of a larger community that cannot be defeated, while concurrently knowing they are not alone in their struggles.

Cross-reference the chapter against others, are there any other passages connecting to this chapter?

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 12:17-18, NLT

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Romans 12:21, NLT

In Romans 12:17-21, Paul writes about how Christians should not take revenge against those who wrong them, but instead should leave justice up to God. This is similar to what Peter says in 1 Peter 5:9, where he urges Christians to resist the devil and not give in to evil. 

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27, NLT

In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul also talks about how Christians should not be angry with each other, but should instead try to resolve their differences. Again, this is similar to what Peter says in 1 Peter 5:5, where he urges Christians to be humble and gentle with each other and later emphasizes that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

By giving into anger, we give in to the devil.

How is Jesus Christ involved or tied to this chapter?

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:4, ESV

Jesus Christ is mentioned as the “chief shepherd” and this title is significant because it shows that Jesus is the leader of God’s people, and that He has ultimate authority over His followers. Furthermore, the title of “chief shepherd” emphasizes Jesus’ power and greatness, also demonstrating that He is the one who provides care and protection for God’s flock. 

Jesus Christ is also mentioned in verses 10 and 11, where Peter urges his readers to stand firm in the faith and resist the devil, reminding Christians that they have power over the devil through Christ Jesus. It is through Christ’s sufferings that we have forgiveness and it is through Him that we have the faith to resist temptation. He will support and strengthen those that follow him and the Holy Bible.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:10-11, ESV

What are the central themes and lessons?

Faith: We are urged to remain firm in our faith despite the trials and persecutions we are facing. Faith is paramount within Christianity and particularly within this chapter, we are to have faith, especially in our battle against the devil, reminding ourselves that we are not alone in our suffering and that we will be lifted up by Him.

Humility: Christians are to be humble as “God opposes the proud” and to take care of one another. We are amongst a family of believers and are to look out for more than just ourselves.

Perseverance and Unity: Unity is vital to the health of any church. When we stand together, we are much more likely to weather whatever storms come our way. It is through this unity that we can persevere and defeat the prowling and temptations of the devil.

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

1 Peter 5:9, NLT

How can you apply what you’ve learned to your own life?

As Christians, we are called to follow Peter’s instructions in our own lives. 

  • Humility allows us to see ourselves as we truly are – creatures made in God’s image who are both sinful and in need of His grace. When we come to Him with humility, He can work in our hearts and transform us into His likeness. 
  • Casting our anxieties on God frees us from worry and helps us to trust in His sovereign care. This means that we should not worry about things that are beyond our control. Instead, we should place our trust in God and allow him to handle those things. 
  • And finally, resisting the devil means putting on the armor of God and taking every thought captive for Christ. 

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6, ESV

As we apply these truths to our lives, we can be confident that God will work in us for our good and His glory. To revisit the final verse of the chapter:

“Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.”

For more on the book of 1 Peter, please reference our articles here.

This article references verses written from the King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), and New King James Version (NKJV) translations of the Bible.