The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
May 22, 2011
1) 1 Peter 5:10-11 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
1 Peter 5:10-11
by Tom Edwards
After exhorting the brethren to be sober in spirit, to be on the alert,
and to resist the devil who seeks to do them harm, Peter then declares
in 1 Peter 5:10, "And after you have suffered for a little while, the
God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will
Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
Their "suffering" is referring to the persecution in which they were
undergoing; and these adversities can figuratively be spoken of as
having been what the devil had been inflicting upon them, though it was
simply through the enemies of Christ who actually brought this about.
Peter refers to this suffering as being "for a little while." This
phrase is from the Greek word "oligos," which when pertaining to
intensity or degree can mean "light" or "slight"; but also when
pertaining to time, it can mean "short," as Thayer points out. Most
Bible translations I looked this up in show it to be referring to time.
Of course, in both respects the declaration concerning afflictions is
true. For they are short and light when looking to the reward of
heaven, as Paul was able to do: "...For momentary, light affliction is
producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the
things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17,18). In
Romans 8:18, Paul states, "For I consider that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be
revealed to us."
But here in 1 Peter 5:10, "oligos" appears to be focusing on the length
of time the persecutions would have to be endured, which Peter also
expresses in 1 Peter 1:6, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now
FOR A LITTLE WHILE [oligos], if necessary, you have been distressed by
various trials" (emphasis mine).
In 1 Peter 5:10, Peter refers to God as being "the God of all
grace." No one can show grace to the same degree that the Lord
does. For we think of it as being an unmerited favor, and
certainly no greater contrast can there be -- between one not deserving
and one being gracious -- than us compared to God. It was also
Peter who referred to God's grace in 1 Peter 4:10 as being "manifold,"
or as one version says, "God's grace in its various forms" (NIV).
It was by God's grace that the Lord had called these Christians, and
Paul shows that the calling is through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13,14),
which is also referred to as "the word of His grace" in Acts 14:3 and
Peter than speaks of four things that the Lord will do for these
Christians: "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Pet.
The Greek word for "perfect" is "katartizo," which means "to complete
thoroughly, that is, repair (literally or figuratively)..."
(Strong). The RSV and NIV render it as "restore" in
this verse. It's interesting to see the different ways this
word is rendered in the Scriptures. "Perfect" is just one of the
translations -- and used just once in the NASB; but there are also
various other renderings. For instance, it is also translated as
"made complete" and seen in Paul's exhortation to the Corinthians (1
Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11), and he expressed to the Thessalonians that he
had desired to see them that he "may COMPLETE what is lacking in your
faith" (1 Thess. 3:10). It was also the Hebrew writer's desire
that God would "equip" (katartizo) the brethren "in every good thing to
do His will" (Heb. 13:21). Kartartizo is also rendered in the
Scriptures as "fully trained" (Luke 6:40); and as "mending"
(Matt. 4:21), in pertaining to fishing nets; and, in a sense, the
Christian is one who has been "mended" by God's word. It is used in
Hebrews 10:5 about the body that was "prepared" for Christ in order to
be our sacrifice, and the worlds that were "prepared" by the word of
God (Heb. 11:3). Lastly, it is also rendered as "restore" in
pertaining to the winning back of a Christian who has fallen away from
the faith, due to sin (Gal. 6:1). These verses also help us to
see what the true idea is. That it is not a "sinless perfection"
or being "perfect" in the sense that God Himself is perfect. But,
rather, it speaks more of our being made complete in Christ, being
equipped, being fully trained.
The Greek word for "confirm" (1 Pet. 5:10) is "sterizo," which means
"1) to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix 2) to strengthen,
make firm 3) to render constant, confirm..." (Thayer). It's
the same Greek word that Paul uses in Romans 16:25 in speaking of God
"who is able to ESTABLISH you according to my gospel and the preaching
of Jesus Christ...." Of course, there is the need for our
cooperation in that. For example, the Lord wants us to "increase and
abound in love for one another...so that he may ESTABLISH your hearts
without blame in holiness..." (1 Thess. 3:12,13). The most common
rendering of this Greek word is "strengthened." It is seen
in the Lord's instruction to Peter to "strengthen" his brothers (Luke
22:32) and in the Lord's warning to the church at Sardis, for those who
had become spiritually dead, to "Wake up, and STRENGTHEN the things
that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds
completed in the sight of My God" (Rev. 3:2). Paul sought not
only to make new converts, but also to strengthen in the faith those
who had become Christians (cf. Acts 18:23).
The word "strengthen" in 1 Peter 5:10 comes from the Greek word
"sthenoo," which Bullinger defines as "to strengthen, (of bodily health
and strength)." Strong points out also a figurative usage of this
term, and that strengthen means (metaphorically) to "confirm (in
spiritual knowledge and power)." 1 Peter 5:10 is the only verse
in the Bible where this Greek word is used. One commentator
suggests that this term might be likened today to "the strengthening
that comes to steal, or iron, when it is heated with fire and suddenly
cooled, thus 'tempering' it and giving it much greater hardness and
strength. The onset of the fires of persecution would harden and
strengthen the faith of many" (Coffman).
Peter then lastly mentions that the Lord will "establish" you. It is
from the Greek word "themelioo," which Thayer defines as "1) to lay the
foundation, to found; 2) to make stable, establish"
(Thayer). It is also seen in Colossians 1:21-23 with regard
to the Christian's need to "continue in the faith FIRMLY ESTABLISHED
and stedfast...." Also in Matthew 7:25, where Jesus speaks of the house
that had been "FOUNDED on the rock," which was able to withstand the
rain, floods, and winds. In Ephesians 3:15-19, Paul had prayed
for the brethren that they would be "rooted and GROUNDED in
love." In Hebrews 1:10, it is used to speak of the Lord who
"...in the beginning LAID THE FOUNDATION of the earth...."
Peter then says in 1 Peter 5:11, "To Him be dominion forever and
ever. Amen." If you were undergoing persecution, as many of
the early Christians did, what better thing could you do than to simply
keep your faith in God and praise His name? "To Him be dominion
forever and ever. Amen." Peter is exalting the Lord with this
statement of reverence.
The Greek word for "dominion," in this verse, is "kratos," which is
translated mainly as "dominion" in the NASB, but also as "might" (1),
"mightily" (1), "mighty deeds" (1), "power" (1), and "strength"
(2). Twice it is used to refer to the "strength of His might" (in
Eph. 1:19 and Eph. 6:10). Bullinger defines "kratos" as
"strength, power in action, force, superiority."
Interestingly, it is also the same word we see for "power" in
connection with the devil in Hebrews 2:14, that he had the "power of
death"; but by Jesus' sacrificial death at Calvary, He took that power
away from Satan: "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and
blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death
He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the
Prior to Calvary, however, "...the LORD said to Satan, 'Behold, all
that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.'
So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD" (Job 1:12). And
Job 2:6, "So the LORD said to Satan, 'Behold, he is in your power, only
spare his life.'" Of course, even before the Lord took Satan's
power away from him, it had never been as great as God's power.
One demonstration of that was during that unique, temporary period in
which the Lord allowed demon-possession. For the casting out of
those demons by the power of God was not only a miraculous
manifestation, but also one that clearly showed that God's power was
superior to Satan's.
Some translations also include the word "glory" in 1 Peter 5:11, such
as the KJV: "To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Do you know what Greek word the word "forever" and "ever" in this
passage comes from? You'll recognize it right away. It is
the Greek word "aion." The English spelling of this is either
"eon" or "aeon" and is used today to mean primarily "any indefinitely
long period of time; age." Thayer shows the main meaning of the
Greek word to be "1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of
time, eternity." But he also shows it can mean "2) the worlds,
universe"; and "3) period of time, age."
For that third definition, we might also think of "age lasting," such
as those things under the Old Covenant which were said to be
"perpetual" and "everlasting," but came to an end when Jesus did away
with the Old Covenant and established the New Covenant Age by His death
on the cross. For example, the children of Israel were to observe
the Sabbath Day "throughout their generations as a perpetual
observance" (Exod. 31:16). In Exodus 30:8, "perpetual incense"
were to be offered before the Lord. Observing the Feast of
Tabernacles was part of a "perpetual statute" (Lev. 23:41), and
Leviticus 3:17 speaks of OT sacrifices that also were of a "perpetual
statute" (Lev. 3:17). But though these things are referred to as
"perpetual" or "everlasting," they were that way only in the sense of
being "age lasting" -- and specifically until Christ's death at Calvary
(Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:9).
In the case of God, however, we know this would be referring to
eternity in its literal sense. Revelation 10:6, for instance,
uses this same Greek word twice for the phrase "forever and
ever." Here it is, including verse 5: "Then the angel whom I saw
standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven,
and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE
THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE
THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer." In 1
Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only
God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." In this verse, "aion"
is used three times: "eternal," "forever," and "ever." The
eternal nature of God is also seen in what the Lord had told Moses to
refer to Him as when before Pharaoh -- "I AM who I AM" (Exodus
3:13,14). The Arabic paraphrases this as "The Eternal, who passes
not away...." This phrase is seen as referring to God's
"self-existence," and His eternal and unchanging nature.
Corresponding to that is what Hebrews 13:8 says of the Lord: "Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever."
The Lord also indicates His eternal nature in John 8:58, "Jesus said to
them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I
am.'" Abraham had a beginning and dwelt in time. Jesus
never had a beginning, for He has always been. He is from
eternity, where there is no time. In Micah 5:2, the prophecy is
given concerning the place where Jesus would be born: "But as for you,
Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From
you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth
are from long ago, From the days of eternity."
Jesus' statement, that "before Abraham was born, I am," can also be
compared with Psalm 90:2: "Before the mountains were born Or You gave
birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting,
You are God." Notice here that the Psalmist does not say, "You
WERE God" (before the Creation) -- or that, "You WILL be God" (in the
future). But what does he say? He states, "You ARE
God...from everlasting to everlasting."
So though we probably will never suffer to the same degree for the
cause of the Lord as many of these early Christians did, we can still
be like them in finding much hope and comfort in looking by faith to
the eternal God of all grace, who never changes, who forever reigns,
and who wants always to have His children in heaven that He may bless
them forevermore. Any sacrifice one would need to make to obtain
to that will, therefore, be truly worth it.
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be praying that things will turn out
well for R.J. Evans, preacher
for the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana. A few
years ago he was battling cancer and had major surgery for it.
Since then, doctors have been keeping periodic watches on him.
Last January, his PSA level was up a little too high, so he was put on
an antibiotic. He found out recently that his PSA level, which
can sometimes indicate the presence of cancer, is still high and,
therefore, a cause for concern. He is now on a new antibiotic and
hoping that it will bring his PSA level down to where it should
be. Let us pray that R.J. will
in good health.
Doris Crews, wife of Bill who had preached many years
for the Park Forest church of Christ in Baton Rouge, recently had her
gall bladder removed. Let us pray that she will heal up well from
Let us also continue praying for all the folks over the last couple
months who have suffered the loss of property, personal injury, or even
the loss of loved ones -- due to the recent tornadoes or
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
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