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 Acts 20:32.  

Peter than speaks of four things that the Lord will do for these Christians: "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Pet. 5:10):

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 devil."

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 be 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 that.

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 floods.  

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; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

Park Forest

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
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