John 10:1-10

John 10:1-10
Fourth Sunday of Easter A


“Very truly,I I tellII you, anyone who does not enterIII the sheepfoldIV by the gateV

Notes on verse 1a

I “very truly” = amen + amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
II “tell” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
III “enter” = eiserchomai. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.
IV “sheepfold” = aule + ho + probaton. Aule is 12x in NT. Perhaps from the same as aer (air that we breathe); from aemi (to breathe or blow). This is a building that has a courtyard within it – an area that has no roof, but does have walls and is open to the air. It could also imply a palace or mansion as larger buildings that would include courtyards. Probaton is probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.
V “gate” = thura. This is opening or closure so it’s a door, gate, or entrance. Figuratively, this can refer to an opportunity.

but climbs inVI by another wayVII isVIII a thiefIX and a bandit.X 

Notes on verse 1b

VI “climbs in” = anabaino. Related to “sheepfold” in v1. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + the same as basis (see note IV above). This is to come up in a literal or figurative sense – ascent, rise, climb, enter.
VII “another way” = allachothen. 2x in NT. From allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type). This is neighboring, from somewhere else, another way.
VIII “is” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
IX “thief” = kleptes. 16x in NT. From klepto (to steal secretively). This is a thief that steals using stealth rather than violence. It is a thief in a literal or figurative sense.
X “bandit” = lestes. 15x in NT– 3x “you are making [my house] a den of robbers” when Jesus cleanses the temple, 3x of Jesus’ arrest “did you come for me…as though I were a bandit?”; 3x of bandits crucified on Jesus’ left and right; 2x of the man falling into the hands of robbers in the Good Samaritan parable; 2x of the Good Shepherd speech (anyone who doesn’t come in by the gate is a bandit) in John 10:1, 8; 1x of Barabbas as a bandit; and 1x Paul writes he is in danger from bandits. From leis (booty); from leizomai (to plunder). This is a bandit or thief – one who steals by violence/force out in the open as opposed to by stealth. These were part of armed gangs.

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherdXI of the sheep.XII The gatekeeperXIII opensXIV the gate for him,

Notes on verses 2-3a

XI “shepherd” = poimen. 18x in NT. This is shepherd or pastor – one who protects. It is also used figuratively to mean ruler. 
XII “sheep” = probaton. Same as “sheepfold” in v1. See note IV above. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (see note IV above)}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.
XIII “gatekeeper” = thuroros. Related to “gate” in v1. 4x in NT. From thura (see note V above). This is gatekeeper or porter.
XIV “opens” = anoigo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open). This is to open in literal or figurative sense.

and the sheep hearXV his voice.XVI He callsXVII

Notes on verse 3b

XV “hear” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
XVI “voice” = phone. Probably from phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.
XVII “calls” = phoneo. Related to “voice” in v3. From phone (see note XVI above). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.

his ownXVIII sheep by nameXIX and leads them out.XX 

Notes on verse 3c

XVIII “his own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
XIX “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
XX “leads…out” = exago. 12x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide). This is to lead out or forth. It can be one being led to their death.

When he has brought outXXI allXXII his own, he goesXXIII ahead of them, and the sheep followXXIV him because they knowXXV his voice. 

Notes on verse 4

XXI “brought out” = ekballo. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.
XXII “all” = pas. This is all, every.
XXIII “goes” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
XXIV “follow” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
XXV “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.

They will not follow a stranger,XXVI but they will runXXVII from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” JesusXXVIII used this figure of speechXXIX with them, but they did not understandXXX what he was saying to them.

Notes on verses 5-6

XXVI “stranger” = allotrios. Related to “another way” in v1. 14x in NT. From allos (see note VII above). This is something or someone that belongs to others. By extension, this is another, stranger, foreign, or foreigner.
XXVII “run” = pheugo. This is to run away in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be to flee, escape, shun, or vanish.
XXVIII “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
XXIX “figure of speech” = paroimia. 5x in NT. From paroimos (by the way); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + perhaps from oiomai (to think, imagine, suppose, expect); {from hoios (such as, what kind of); from ho (the)}}. This is a parable, allegory, or proverb. It is used for figurative language or an adage.
XXX “understand” = ginosko. Related to “name” in v3. See note XIX above.

So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who cameXXXI before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listenXXXII to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be savedXXXIII and will come inXXXIV and go outXXXV

Notes on verses 7-9a

XXXI “came” = erchomai. Related to “enter” in v1. See note III above.
XXXII “listen” = akouo. Same as “hear” in v3. See note XV above.
XXXIII “be saved” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.
XXXIV “come in” = eiserchomai. Same as “enter” in v1. See note III above.
XXXV “go out” = exerchomai. Related to “enter” in v1 & “came” in v8. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note III above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.

and findXXXVI pasture.XXXVII 10 The thief comes only to stealXXXVIII and killXXXIX and destroy.XL

Notes on verses 9b-10a

XXXVI “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
XXXVII “pasture” = nome. 2x in NT. From the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); from nemo (to parcel out, assign). This is pasture, feeding. Figuratively, it can refer to growth, as in the way gangrene spreads.
XXXVIII “steal” = klepto. Related to “thief” in v1. 13x in NT. See note IX above.
XXXIX “kill” = thuo. 14x in NT. This is to rush along, breathe violently. It can also mean to offer sacrifice, specifically by fire (in reference to the blowing smoke).
XL “destroy” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.

I came that they may haveXLI lifeXLII and have it abundantly.XLIII

Notes on verse 10b

XLI “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
XLII “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
XLIII “abundantly” = perissos. From peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently.

Image credit: “Shepherds, Sheep and Sheepfolds” by David Padfield, 2015.

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