1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth. Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24. “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
2. Read 1 Peter 5:3-4
3. Peter continues his charge to church leaders by exhorting them to “be an example to the flock” instead of “domineering over them.” Have you ever been in a situation where you have been led by someone who modeled the behavior you were called to live out? Have you ever been in a situation where you were led by a person who was “domineering over” you? How did these different types of leadership effect you?
4. If you lead anything (small group, ministry setting, workplace, family, club, etc.), how can you “be an example” instead of simply demanding people do certain things? What are the key things to model for your group in the settings where you lead?
5. STUDY NOTE: Leaders in the church are never the “Chief Shepherd.” There is one leader of the church, and it is not your human pastor . . . it is Jesus Christ. Each church has other human leaders, but these Elders/Pastors merely help care for Jesus’ flock in a particular setting. Peter writes to encourage these “under shepherds” that faithful service (as described in 5:1-3) will be rewarded one day when Jesus appears at His second coming. While congregations can be (and should be) affirming to their pastors, a pastors chief reward will come from Jesus Himself in the future, not in earthly benefits today.
6. Peter talks about a “crown of glory” which will come to faithful Elders at the return of Christ. This is not the only “crown” which God speaks of for the Christian in the New Testament. Most scholars do not see these as material crowns, but as symbolic. In other words, 1 Peter 5:4 promises that glory will adorn the faithful Elder like a crown adorns a king. This is much better than a physical crown that can tarnish or be lost. Below, look up the passages listed there and write down some observations about the other spiritual crowns discussed for Christians:
- 1 Corinthians 9:25
- 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- 2 Timothy 4:8
- James 1:12, Revelation 2:10
- 1 Peter 5:4
7. How do these “crowns” promised by God in Scripture serve as motivations for you in your Christian life?
To access the entire “True Grace” study, click here.