Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 5:4 | Notes on the Petrine Epistles
Jesus is referenced as “the chief Shepherd.” This would emphasize again that the flock really belongs to Jesus; he is the true shepherd. John 21:15-17. Hebrews 13:20. John 10:11, 14. The term “chief shepherd” was used in Greek literature to refer to one who had other shepherds under him. Since Jesus is the chief Shepherd, elders serve under him.
The chief Shepherd will be manifested—this obviously refers to Jesus’s second coming.
When Jesus is revealed, elders will receive the unfading crown of glory. “Obtain” refers to receiving a payment or collecting a reward. Peter used this same verb in 1:9 to refer to our receiving salvation. Peter’s use of the verb here seems to refer back to elders’ not leading for shameful gain. The idea is that if elders do not lead on earth just to get rich they shall receive an eternal payment.
Their reward is “the unfading crown of glory.” “Crown” refers to the victor’s wreath; this is divinely bestowed honor. “Glory” serves here really as a synonym for “crown”—the idea is that the crown is glory. This crown is “unfading.” Victors’ wreaths were made with flowers; these flowers, of course, faded. The glory the elders will receive will never fade.