Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
‘God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.’
submit yourselves to your elders.
“Submit” means to subordinate. The grammar also indicates that “submit” means to “allow” yourselves (passive voice) to be under subordination to the leaders of the local church. Evidently, there were people in Asia Minor churches who did not submit themselves to the authority of their leaders. Peter’s solution to the problem is decisive submission [aorist imperative] to authority. God wants those in subordination to obey the leadership of the church.
Peter had already proscribed that Christians as a whole to submit to government (2:13-14), that slaves submit to their masters (2:18) and wives submit to their husbands (3:1). No organization can function without authority. No organization can have two equal heads or leaders without imbibing sever problems. Conflict always comes at the point of crucial decisions. An army cannot have two Major Generals commanding the same division. If the church has two heads, it will have confusion.
The church cannot function properly without authority.
If you cannot submit to the leadership of the local church, you will make yourself miserable and you will open the possibility of a church split. Submission to “elders” makes for a well-run church.
Suppose that you get a box of chocolate candy for your birthday. You are under stress so you kill the whole box in one sitting. You will have a weight problem eventually. If you have the discipline to eat one piece, you possess authority over yourself [the authority of self-discipline]. Self-discipline is the basis of authority. Discipline is necessary for every area of life. The most consistent athletes are self-disciplined.
It is amazing how many people think that the church should operate without authority. “No one has a right to have authority over me in the local church.” Many people revolt against authority in the local church because they are not self-disciplined in the first place and therefore cannot recognize the intrinsic value of authority.