5 Qualities of the Elders 1 Peter 5:5-9

 Qualities of the Elders: Leading with Humility and Vigilance

The qualities that are essential for those who serve as elders in the church. The Apostle Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, provides us with valuable insights into the characteristics that should define those who lead God's people. Let us examine these qualities and learn how to emulate them in our lives, regardless of our role in the church.

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I. Elders should be Humble (1 Peter 5:5-6)

The first quality of a godly elder is humility. Peter reminds us that elders should not lead with a sense of pride or arrogance but with a humble heart, recognizing that they are servants of God and stewards of His flock. Humility involves acknowledging our dependence on God's grace and leading with a servant's heart, caring for God's people with gentleness and compassion.

1. Means:

  • a. Self-denial, modest , sense of own smallness
  • b. Opposed to proud (v. 6) – not haughty, arrogant or places self above others
  • c. Gird = tie with a knot – thus tie on humility like an apron (cf. Jno. 13)

II. Elders should be Trust in God (1 Peter 5:7)

Elders must have unwavering trust in God. The responsibilities of shepherding God's people can be daunting, but elders should cast all their anxieties upon the Lord, knowing that He cares deeply for His flock. Trusting in God's wisdom and guidance allows elders to make decisions in alignment with His will, seeking His direction in all matters.

  • 1. Life without worry, fretfulness, anxiety
  • 2. Matt. 6:25-ff
  • 3. May refer to Psa. 55:22
  • 4. Even in the midst of suffering

III. Elders should be Sober (1 Peter 5:8a)

The term "sober" here refers to spiritual vigilance. Elders should maintain a clear and focused spiritual mindset, recognizing the spiritual battles that surround them. They should not be easily swayed by worldly influences or distractions. Instead, they must be discerning and spiritually aware, diligently guarding the flock against false teachings and spiritual dangers.

  • 1. Calmness of mind – self controlled
  • 2. Well balanced – serious approach to life
  • 3. Same word translated “watch” (4:7)

IV. Elders should be Vigilant (1 Peter 5:8b)

Closely related to being sober, elders should be vigilant in their watchfulness. Just as a shepherd carefully watches over their sheep, elders must keep a keen eye on the spiritual well-being of the congregation. They must be attentive to signs of spiritual drift, conflict, or potential dangers, intervening with godly wisdom and love.

  • 1. On alert, watchful
  • 2. Stay awake – spiritual alertness (Vine)
  • 3. Casting care upon God does not mean we have nothing to do

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V. Elders should be Resist the Devil (1 Peter 5:8b-9)

Elders should be firm in resisting the devil's schemes, recognizing that spiritual battles are part of their role. They should stand against the enemy's attempts to divide, discourage, and undermine the church. Instead of being fearful, they should rely on the power of God, knowing that the victory has already been won through Christ.

  • 1. Adversary – opponent in lawsuit
  • 2. Roaring – fierce
  • 3. Lion – stalks & destroys
  • 4. Walks about – restless energy seeking….

5 Qualities of the Elders 1 Peter 5:5-9

  1. Sermon on Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd: Experiencing God's Abundant Provision
  2. 4 certainties you must have as a Christian.


Dear friends, being an elder in the church is a great privilege and responsibility. As we examine the qualities outlined by Peter, may we all seek to emulate them in our lives, regardless of our roles in the body of Christ. Let us lead with humility, trusting in God's guidance and casting all our anxieties upon Him.

May we be spiritually vigilant and sober, recognizing the spiritual battles that surround us and diligently guarding against false teachings. Let us be resolute in resisting the devil's schemes, standing firm in the victory of Christ.

By embodying these qualities, we become effective shepherds, guiding and caring for God's flock with love and dedication. May the Holy Spirit empower us to display these qualities, bringing glory to God and edification to His church. In the name of Jesus, our Chief Shepherd, we pray. 

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John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (NVI)