“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.’”
In the first four verses, Peter addresses his remarks to the leadership of the local church. Now he addresses his comments to the congregation. There are two different crowds in the opening verses of 1 Peter 5:
1) elders that rule over (5:1-4) and
2) the “younger” — all the saints, the rank, and file Christians (5:5f) or, in this context, the congregation.
Turning to the function of the congregation, Peter now makes the point that an assembly cannot function properly without recognition of leadership. God dedicates this passage to those who do not believe that the church should have jurisdiction over their lives. He sets up principles of control in all aspects of our lives. There is little difference between the church and other organizations such as the military, a business, or a successful athletic team in this respect. Before we can have a dynamic church, we must accept who is responsible for leading it (1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7,17).
Likewise you younger people
“Likewise” connects the previous section for pastors (1 Pe 5:1-4) with this section, making it a connection to the congregation. Peter here challenges another category of people to respond to the principles of a healthy church. He sets the words “younger people” in parallelism to “elders” of the first verse with the word “likewise.” By paralleling the words “younger people” to the “elders” of verse one, we understand that “younger” refers to the congregation. As “elders” does not primarily mean older in age but higher in authority, so “younger” does not mean younger in age but lower in responsibility. “Younger” deals with rank, not age, in this context.
While the first four verses deal with leadership, verse five and following consider people who follow. The Greek word “younger” carries nuances of fresh or new. “Younger” here probably means those newly under the leadership of elders. So then, these are people under the rule of the leaders of the congregation.
People in any congregation are under the leadership of their leaders.
Excuses that reject the authority of leadership in the church are not valid with the Lord. These excuses include: “I could not get along with the leadership of the church,” “I did not like the pastor,” “I did not feel appreciated by the leadership.”
Many of us do not get involved in the local church because we reject the idea of someone having leadership over us. However, authority is essential for advancing the gospel. Leaders establish the goals for advancing the gospel, and members of the congregation must accept those goals to move the church forward. We must get involved. Just because we can’t do everything, it does not mean that we can’t do anything.