To the Elders

I Peter 5:1-3.

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:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Elders. It had long been the practice among the Jews to select their leaders, judges, and advisors from among the seniors, as we refer to older people today. They were not considered to be useless because of their old age. They were, perhaps, no longer able to leap tall buildings in a single bound :). But, if they had lived for God, they had attained a level of wisdom and perception that the young have not had time to gain.

In the context of this passage, the word in Greek is presbyteros. It denotes, among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches). The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably.

This is not to say that a younger person cannot be an elder. Paul advised Timothy to “let no man despise thy youth” I Tim. 4:12). He was telling Timothy to behave in a manner that would gain the respect of others. Timothy was to be an example of mature Christianity.

Peter could speak with authority on this matter because he, too, was an Apostle and an elder. He had seen the suffering of Christ. He would share in the glory of heaven.

In verse 2, Peter tells the elders to feed their flocks willingly, not out of a sense of being forced to do so. They were to be elders not for financial gain.

There is some controversy over this statement. I will simply tell you that it is not meant to tell the people to keep their pastors/elders in a state of poverty, which would be a shame to the people as well as to the pastor. However, the goal of the elders should never be that of gaining wealth, power, or prestige. Money, too little or way too much, should never be the main consideration of an elder or a congregation. All are to be good stewards of that which they have.

Elders are not to behave as if they are little kings over the congregation. Instead, they are to be examples to the flock. They are to set the standard for godliness, humility, and service; they are not meant to rule with a rod of iron, imposing their will outside of scriptural principles and precepts.

2 thoughts on “To the Elders

  1. Linda, you and I have ben “elders” for a long time haven’t we? Both of us love to teacher, paarticularly love to teach God’s Word. Let/s just keep plugging along like a team of work horses working together in a spiritual harness. You in your field, I in mine. Greet Terry for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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