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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 5 - Verse 3

Verse 3. Neither as being lords. Marg., overruling. The word here used (katakurieuw) is rendered exercise dominion over, in Mt 20:25; exercise lordship over, in Mr 10:42; and overcame, in Ac 19:16. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It refers properly to that kind of jurisdiction which civil rulers or magistrates exercise. This is an exercise of authority, as contradistinguished from the influence of reason, persuasion, and example. The latter pertains to the ministers of religion; the former is forbidden to them. Their dominion is not to be that of temporal lordship; it is to be that of love and truth. This command would prohibit all assumption of temporal power by the ministers of religion, and all conferring of titles of nobility on those who are preachers of the gospel. It needs scarcely to be said that it has been very little regarded in the church.

Over God's heritagetwn klhrwn. Vulgate, in cleris—over the clergy. The Greek word here (klhrovkleros) is that from which the word clergy has been derived; and some have interpreted it here as referring to the clergy, that is, to priests and deacons who are under the authority of a bishop. Such an interpretation, however, would hardly be adopted now. The word means properly,

(a.) a lot, die, anything used in determining chances;

(b.) a part or portion, such as is assigned by lot; hence

(c.) an office to which one is designated or appointed, by lot or otherwise; and

(d.) in general any possession or heritage, Ac 26:18; Col 1:12. The meaning here is, "not lording it over the possessions or the heritage of God." The reference is, undoubtedly, to the church, as that which is peculiarly his property; his own in the world. Whitby and others suppose that it refers to the possessions or property of the church; Doddridge explains it—"not assuming dominion over those who fall to your lot," supposing it to mean that they were not to domineer over the particular congregations committed by Providence to their care. But the other interpretation is most in accordance with the usual meaning of the word.

But being ensamples to the flock. Examples. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:12".

Peter has drawn here with great beauty, the appropriate character of the ministers of the gospel, and described the spirit with which they should he actuated in the discharge of the duties of their office. But how different it is from the character of many who have claimed to be ministers of religion; and especially how different from that corrupt communion which professes in a special manner to recognise Peter as the head, and the vicegerent of Christ. It is well remarked by Benson on this passage, that "the church of Rome could not well have acted more directly contrary to this injunction of St. Peter's if she had studied to disobey it, and to form herself upon a rule that should be the reverse of this."

{2} "being Lords" "overruling" {d} "being" 1 Ti 4:12 {+} "ensamples" "examples"

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