The Meaning of 1 Peter 5:5 Explained

1 Peter 5:5

KJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

YLT: In like manner, ye younger, be subject to elders, and all to one another subjecting yourselves; with humble-mindedness clothe yourselves, because God the proud doth resist, but to the humble He doth give grace;

Darby: Likewise ye younger, be subject to the elder, and all of you bind on humility towards one another; for God sets himself against the proud, but to the humble gives grace.

ASV: Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.

What does 1 Peter 5:5 Mean?

Verse Meaning

"Younger men" is literally "younger ones" and includes females as well as males. [1] Nevertheless younger men were probably in Peter"s mind since the contrast is with older men in 1 Peter 5:1-4.
"In the ancient world the division of society into older people and younger ... was just as much taken for granted as the division into men and women, free men and slaves, etc." [2]
Leaders of the church were normally in the older age group. Peter addressed the younger in this verse. "Elders" here refers to those in the older age group. That he did not mean just the official elders of the church seems clear from the contrast with "younger" (cf. 1 Timothy 5:1; 1 Timothy 5:17).
The younger people in the church were and are to take a position under the authority of the older people. The reason for this, though unexpressed, seems self-evident: the older have more experience in living (cf. Job 32:4).
All Christians, regardless of our age, should put on humility as a garment, (i.e, let it be what others see as we serve; cf. 1 Peter 3:8). The Greek word translated "clothe" is a rare one that comes from a word referring to the apron that slaves put on over their regular clothes. This garment prepared them for service (cf. John 13:4-15). We should be ready and eager to serve one another rather than expecting others to serve us ( Mark 10:45).
"In other words, believers should not insist on having their way over others." [3]
Peter again quoted Proverbs ( Proverbs 3:34) for support. This is the theological reason for his ethical charge (cf. James 4:6). He then proceeded to expound the ideas expressed in this proverb in the following six verses.

Context Summary

1 Peter 5:1-7 - Serving One Another
According to these words Peter, though he stood at a distance, must have been an eyewitness of the Savior's death. He is careful to speak of the glory in the same breath as the sufferings, because if we endure the one, we shall share the other. Positions of influence in the Church in those days involved grave risks, but the Apostle believed that love to Christ would induce men to take the place of under-shepherds to the flock of God, and that they would use their power with gentleness, humility and holy consistency.
The younger men may include the deacons, but the all, 1 Peter 5:5, refers to the entire membership. They were to gird on humility, as a slave his towel, that they might serve one another, John 13:4. Those who humble themselves in the profoundest loyalty toward God stand as rocks before their fellows. Remember Luther's-"Here I stand, I can do no other." You cannot say, "Nobody cares what becomes of me." God cares, and with an infinite tenderness. He cared before you cast your care on Him! God is linked to your little life by His tender regard and care for you. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Peter 5

1  He exhorts the elders to feed their flocks;
5  the younger to obey;
8  and all to be sober, watchful, and constant in the faith;
9  and to resist the cruel adversary the devil

Greek Commentary for 1 Peter 5:5

Be subject [οποταγητε]
Second aorist passive imperative of υποτασσω — hupotassō the elder Dative case. Here the antithesis between younger and elder shows that the word refers to age, not to office as in 1 Peter 5:1. See a like change in meaning in 1 Timothy 5:1, 1 Timothy 5:17. [source]
All [παντες]
All ages, sexes, classes.Gird yourselves with humility (την ταπεινοπροσυνην εγκομβωσαστε — tēn tapeinophrosunēn egkombōsasthe). First aorist middle imperative of εγκομβοομαι — egkomboomai late and rare verb (in Apollodorus, fourth cent. b.c.), here only in N.T., from εν — en and κομβος — kombos (knot, like the knot of a girdle). Εγκομβωμα — Egkombōma was the white scarf or apron of slaves. It is quite probable that Peter here is thinking of what Jesus did (John 13:4.) when he girded himself with a towel and taught the disciples, Peter in particular (John 13:9.), the lesson of humility (John 13:15). Peter had at last learned the lesson (John 21:15-19).The proud Dative plural of υπερηπανος — huperēphanos (James 4:6; Romans 1:30) after αντιτασσεται — antitassetai (present middle indicative of αντιτασσω — antitassō as in James 4:6 (quoted there as here from Proverbs 3:34). [source]
Gird yourselves with humility [την ταπεινοπροσυνην εγκομβωσαστε]
First aorist middle imperative of εγκομβοομαι — egkomboomai late and rare verb (in Apollodorus, fourth cent. b.c.), here only in N.T., from εν — en and κομβος — kombos (knot, like the knot of a girdle). Εγκομβωμα — Egkombōma was the white scarf or apron of slaves. It is quite probable that Peter here is thinking of what Jesus did (John 13:4.) when he girded himself with a towel and taught the disciples, Peter in particular (John 13:9.), the lesson of humility (John 13:15). Peter had at last learned the lesson (John 21:15-19). [source]
The proud [υπερηπανοις]
Dative plural of υπερηπανος — huperēphanos (James 4:6; Romans 1:30) after αντιτασσεται — antitassetai (present middle indicative of αντιτασσω — antitassō as in James 4:6 (quoted there as here from Proverbs 3:34). [source]
Be clothed with humility [τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκομβώσασθε]
The last word is a very peculiar one, occurring only here. It is derived from κόμβος , a roll, band, or girth: a knot or roll of cloth, made in tying or tucking up any part of the dress. The kindred word ἐγκόμβωμα , from which the verb is directly formed, means a slave's apron, under which the loose garments were girt up. Compare Horace's “puer alte cinctus,” a slave girt high. Hence the figure carries an exhortation to put on humility as a working virtue employed in ministry. This is apparent from the evident reminiscence of that scene in which Peter figured so prominently - the washing of the disciples' feet by the Lord, when he girded himself with a towel as a servant, and gave them the lesson of ministry both by word and act. Bengel paraphrases, “Put on and wrap yourselves about with humility, so that the covering of humility cannot possibly be stripped from you.” [source]
Resisteth [ἀντιτάσσεται]
A strong and graphic word. Lit., setteth himself in array against, as one draws out a host for battle. Pride calls out God's armies. No wonder, therefore, that it “goeth before destruction.” [source]
The proud [ὑπερηφάνοις]
See on pride, Mark 7:22. Compare James 4:6. [source]
To the humble []
See on Matthew 11:29. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Peter 5:5

John 13:4 Riseth from supper [εγειρεται εκ του δειπνου]
Vivid dramatic present middle indicative of εγειρω — egeirō From the couch on which he was reclining. Layeth aside Same dramatic present active of τιτημι — tithēmi His garments The outer robe ταλλιτ — tallith Jesus had already rebuked the apostles for their strife for precedence at the beginning of the meal (Luke 22:24-30). A towel Latin word linteum, linen cloth, only in this passage in the N.T. Girded himself First aorist active indicative of διαζωννυω — diazōnnuō (-υμι — umi), old and rare compound (in Plutarch, lxx, inscriptions, and papyri), to gird all around. In N.T. only in John (John 13:4, John 13:5; John 21:7). Did Peter not recall this incident when in 1 Peter 5:5 he exhorts all to “gird yourselves with humility” (την ταπεινοπροσυνην εγκομβωσαστε — tēn tapeinophrosunēn egkombōsasthe)? [source]
Acts 18:6 Opposed themselves [ἀντιτασσομένων]
Implying an organized or concerted resistance. See on resisteth, 1 Peter 5:5. [source]
Acts 18:6 When they opposed themselves [αντιτασσομενων αυτων]
Genitive absolute with present middle (direct middle again) of αντιτασσω — antitassō old verb to range in battle array In the N.T. only here and Romans 13:2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5. Paul‘s fresh activity roused the rabbis as at Antioch in Pisidia and at Thessalonica in concerted opposition and railing (blasphemy). [source]
Romans 13:2 He that resisteth [ὁ ἀντιτασσόμενος]
Lit., setteth himself in array against. See on 1 Peter 5:5; see on Acts 18:6. [source]
Romans 12:10 In honor preferring one another [τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι]
The verb occurs only here. It means to go before as a guide. Honor is the honor due from each to all. Compare Philemon 2:3; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 5:5. Hence, leading the way in showing the honor that is due. Others render antcipating and excelling. [source]
James 4:6 Resisteth []
See on 1 Peter 5:5. [source]
James 4:7 Be subject therefore unto God [υποταγητε ουν τωι τεωι]
Second aorist (ingressive) passive imperative of υποτασσω — hupotassō old verb, to range under (military term also). Same form in 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 5:5. With the dative case τεωι — theōi (unto God). The aorist has the note of urgency in the imperative. Note the ten aorist imperatives in James 4:7-10 (υποταγητε αντιστητε εγγισατε καταρισατε αγνισατε ταλαιπωρησατε πεντησατε κλαυσατε μετατραπητω ταπεινωτητε — hupotagēteαντιστητε δε τωι διαβολωι — antistēteαντιστημι — eggisateδιαβολωι — katharisateπευχεται — hagnisateπευγω — talaipōrēsatepenthēsateklausatemetatrapētōtapeinōthēte). [source]
1 Peter 5:9 Steadfast [στερεοὶ]
Compare 2 Timothy 2:19; and the kindred verb στερεόω , to strengthen (Acts 3:7, Acts 3:16; Acts 16:5). Paul, in Colossians 2:5, uses a cognate noun, στερέωμα , evidently as a military metaphor: “Beholding your order ( τάξιν , compare ἀντιτάσσεται , 1 Peter 5:5) and your solid front or close phalanx ” ( στερέωμα )It might be difficult to find, on the whole, a better rendering than steadfast, yet it falls a little short of the meaning. Steadfast is Anglo-Saxon, stede, a place, andfaest, fast; and hence means firm in its place; but στερεοὶ conveys also the sense of compactness, compact solidity, and is appropriate, since a number of individuals are addressed and exhorted to withstand the onset of Satan as one compacted body. Στερεός implies solidity in the very mass and body of the thing itself; steadfastness, mere holding of place. A rock is στερεός , firm, solid; but a flexible weed with its tough roots resisting all efforts to pull it up, may be steadfast. The exhortation is appropriate from Peter, the Rock. [source]
1 Peter 5:9 Resist [ἀντίστητε]
The Rev., very judiciously, substitutes withstand; resist having been already used in 1 Peter 5:5for ἀντιτάσσεται . Withstand is, moreover, the more accurate rendering; as the verb means rather to be firm against onset than to strive against it. With in withstand is the Saxon wid, against, which appears in the German wider. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Peter 5:5 mean?

Likewise younger [ones] be subject to [your] elders All now one to another - humility gird on because - God [the] proud opposes to [the] humble however He gives grace
Ὁμοίως νεώτεροι ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις πάντες δὲ ἀλλήλοις τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκομβώσασθε ὅτι Θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν

Ὁμοίως  Likewise 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὁμοίως  
Sense: likewise, equally, in the same way.
νεώτεροι  younger  [ones] 
Parse: Adjective, Vocative Masculine Plural, Comparative
Root: νέος  
Sense: recently born, young, youthful.
ὑποτάγητε  be  subject 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Passive, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ὑποτάσσω  
Sense: to arrange under, to subordinate.
πρεσβυτέροις  to  [your]  elders 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Masculine Plural, Comparative
Root: πρεσβύτερος  
Sense: elder, of age,.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
ἀλλήλοις  one  to  another 
Parse: Personal / Reciprocal Pronoun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀλλήλων  
Sense: one another, reciprocally, mutually.
τὴν  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ταπεινοφροσύνην  humility 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ταπεινοφροσύνη  
Sense: the having a humble opinion of one’s self.
ἐγκομβώσασθε  gird  on 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Middle, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἐγκομβόομαι  
Sense: knot or band by which two things are fastened together, to fasten or gird one’s self.
ὅτι  because 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεὸς  God 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ὑπερηφάνοις  [the]  proud 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ὑπερήφανος 
Sense: showing one’s self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent.
ἀντιτάσσεται  opposes 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀντιτάσσω  
Sense: to range in battle against.
ταπεινοῖς  to  [the]  humble 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ταπεινός  
Sense: not rising far from the ground.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
δίδωσιν  He  gives 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
χάριν  grace 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: χάρις  
Sense: grace.