Read verses 1-4
Q: To whom does Peter primarily address these opening verses?
A: “The elders among you”. (v1) The words “pastor” (shepherd), “bishop” (overseer), and “elder” (mature leader) all refer to the same office in the New Testament. (See Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:5-7)
Q: What are the things which Peter reminds them about himself that are to serve as an example?
- Peter himself is a “fellow elder” or pastor. He holds himself equally accountable like the rest, not attaching any exception to his being an apostle.
- Peter was both a “witness of the sufferings of Christ” as well as “a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed”. In other words, he knew from experience that glory always follows suffering if we submit to the Lord. He lives what he teaches.
- Peter’s really passing on the same commission he received from Christ to shepherd the flock. (John 21:15-17)
Q: What is supposed to be the primary ministry?
A: “Shepherd the flock”. (v.2)
Application: True, biblical pastors don’t assume an office in much the same way a modern-day CEO heads and runs a corporation, but rather as a shepherd who lives with the flock, feeding and caring for them in the course of leading them.
Q: What is supposed to be the primary motive of their ministry?
A: “Not under compulsion, but voluntarily”. (v.2)
Application: True, biblical pastors serve from the heart, not simply because they have a job to do. They never serve “for sordid gain” (v.2) whether it be money, prestige, power, or position.
Q: What is supposed to be the manner in which they carry out their ministry?
A: They are not overlords, but overseers. (v.3)
Application: True, biblical pastors lead by personal example. They don’t just “talk the talk” but visibly serve as an example of what it means to “walk the walk”. The biblical definition of “leadership” never equates to “dictatorship”.
Q: What is supposed to be the ultimate reward of their ministry?
A: Glory in heaven. (v.4)
Application: True, biblical pastors work for rewards they know are not guaranteed for this present life, but the one to come.
Q: In the context of this teaching, what is significant about Peter’s identification of Christ as “the Chief Shepherd”?
A: It’s a reminder that pastors are really just “under-shepherds” who must submit and be accountable to Christ the Chief Shepherd.
Application: True, biblical pastors are more concerned about pleasing and glorifying Christ than anyone else. And they know that this is accomplished by fulfilling His command to love and shepherd the flock to His glory, not their own.
Point: All that Peter is here admonishing us could be succinctly condensed to, “Be faithful”. He’s describing following through by putting what we know and have been given into practice.