Life-Study of 1 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall begin to consider 5:5-11, a section concerned with the mighty hand of God and its goal. We shall proceed verse by verse through 5:5-9.
Verse 5 says, “In like manner, younger men, be subject to elders, and all of you gird yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Once again Peter uses the phrase “in like manner.” In this verse “in like manner” must refer to what Peter has already spoken concerning submission or subjection (2:18; 3:1). Wives are to be subject to their husbands, and servants, to their masters. As we have pointed out, to some extent at least, husbands should subject themselves to their wives. Now in 5:5 Peter goes on to say that in the church life the younger men should be subject to elders.
Although the Greek word rendered “elders” in verse 5 is the same as that used in verse 1, here it should, in principle, refer to all older men. This means that the younger men should be subject not only to the elders of the church, but to all older brothers. I believe that the principle is the same concerning the younger sisters subjecting themselves to older sisters.
In 5:5 Peter says that all of us should gird ourselves with humility toward one another. Everyone in the church, including the elders, should gird himself with humility. In 1:13 Peter charges us to gird up the loins of our mind, but here he indicates that our entire being needs to be girded.
The Greek word for “gird” here is derived from a noun meaning a slave’s apron, which girds up his loose garments in the service. It is used here as a figure of speech, signifying the putting on of humility as a virtue in service. This figure comes evidently from Peter’s impression of how the Lord girded Himself with a towel when He humbled Himself to wash the disciples’ feet, especially Peter’s (John 13:4-7).
Today carpenters and printers often wear aprons while they are working. In ancient times the people wore clothing that was loose. Therefore, because this loose clothing made it difficult to work, the slaves wore an apron to bind up their loose clothing. Peter uses this as a metaphor to indicate that in the church life we all must learn how to gird up ourselves. We should not be loose in any way. If we are loose, we may automatically become proud. We need to gird ourselves with humility. If we are girded with humility, we shall become humble, careful persons. We shall not be loose or careless. In the church life we all should put on the apron of humility.
According to Peter’s word, we should be girded with humility “because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The Greek word translated “resist” is a strong word for an army preparing to resist the enemy. Peter uses this word to show how strong God is in resisting those who are proud.
The Greek word rendered “proud” in verse 5 literally means showing above (others). To be proud is to show ourselves above others. God resists the one who lifts himself above others and regards himself as better than others. Instead of being proud and showing ourselves above others, we should gird ourselves with the apron of humility. Putting on such an apron will always bring us down and cause us to be lowly.
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