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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 10:11

 

 

"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Adam Clarke Commentary

I am the good shepherd - Whose character is the very reverse of that which has already been described. In John 10:7, John 10:9, our Lord had called himself the door of the sheep, as being the sole way to glory, and entrance into eternal life; here he changes the thought, and calls himself the shepherd, because of what he was to do for them that believe in him, in order to prepare them for eternal glory.

Giveth his life for the sheep - That is, gives up his soul as a sacrifice to save them from eternal death.

Some will have the phrase here only to mean hazarding his life in order to protect others; but the 15th, 17th, and 18th verses, as well as the whole tenor of the new covenant, sufficiently prove that the first sense is that in which our Lord's words should be understood.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 10:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The good shepherd - The faithful and true shepherd, willing to do all that is necessary to defend and save the flock.

Giveth his life - A shepherd that regarded his flock would hazard his own life to defend them. When the wolf comes, he would still remain to protect them. To give his life, here, means the same as not to fly, or to forsake his flock; to be willing to expose his life, if necessary, to defend them. Compare Judges 12:3; “I put my life in my hands and passed over,” etc.; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21. See John 10:15. The Messiah was often predicted under the character of a shepherd.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-10.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.

This portion of this metaphorical passage dominates the whole passage and bears the principal weight of meaning. A background knowledge of the Old Testament concerning the true shepherd of Israel is vital to a proper understanding of what is meant by Jesus here.

Almighty God appears throughout the Old Testament as the true shepherd of Israel. Note:

The Lord is my shepherd (Psalms 23:1).

We are thy people and the sheep of thy pasture (Psalms 79:13).

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock (Psalms 80:1).

For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (Psalms 95:7).

Moreover, the whole 34th chapter of Ezekiel is given over to this metaphor of God as the good shepherd and the false leaders as the evil shepherds. This great chapter is the key to all that is spoken here.

Now, in the light of this very extensive metaphor in the Old Testament making God to be the only true shepherd of Israel, how is one to understand Jesus when twice he thundered the message that "I am the good shepherd"? It is no less a declaration that Jesus is God than if any other words had been employed to say it. That he did intend it thus is proved by the fact that when the Pharisees finally realized what he meant, they attempted to stone him for blasphemy (John 10:33).

But there is a further corollary of this claim of being the Good Shepherd, and that refers to his being the Son of David. Ezekiel prophesied thus:

And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I Jehovah will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I Jehovah have spoken it (Ezekiel 34:23,24).

Ezekiel's prophecy did not refer to the literal king David, long dead, but to the Son of David, the Messiah, who would truly reign over the kingdom upon the throne of David (spiritually). Thus it came to pass that throughout all Israel in the times of Christ, the Messiah was usually spoken of as "the Son of David" (Matthew 22:42f). See the first verse of the New Testament. Thus, they are in error who imagine that John did not stress the Davidic kingdom, this entire passage being full of it.

Layeth down his life for his sheep ... What is this if not a prophecy of the cross? Here the reality far surpasses the metaphor; for, while it was true that shepherds were known to lose their lives in defense of the sheep, there is no record of any having consented to do so voluntarily. Jesus willingly gave himself up to die for men.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I am the good shepherd,.... A shepherd of his Father's appointing, calling, and sending, to whom the care of all his sheep, or chosen ones, was committed; who was set up as a shepherd over them by him, and was entrusted with them; and who being called, undertook to feed them; and being promised, was sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and under the character of a shepherd, died for them, and rose again, and is accountable to his Father for everyone of them; the shepherd, the great and chief shepherd, the famous one, so often spoken and prophesied of, Genesis 49:24. And discharging his office aright, he is the good shepherd; as appears in his providing good pasture, and a good fold for his sheep; in protecting them from their enemies; in healing all their diseases; in restoring their souls when strayed from him; in watching over them in the night seasons, lest any hurt them; in searching for them, when they have been driven, or scattered in the dark and cloudy day; in caring for them, so that he lose none of them; and in nothing more than in what follows,

the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep: not only exposes it to danger, as David did his, for the sake of his father's flock, but gives it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep; in their room and stead, as a ransom for them, that they may be delivered from death, and might have eternal life: the Ethiopic version renders it, "the good shepherd gives his life for the redemption of his sheep"; so Nonnus paraphrases it, the "ransom price of his own sheep": this belongs to Christ's priestly office, and with the Jews priests were sometimes shepherds hence we readF17Misn. Becorot, c. 5. sect. 4. of רועים כהנים, "shepherds that were priests". Philo the Jew speaksF18De Agricultura, p. 195. & de nom. mutat. p. 1062. of God as a shepherd and king; and of his setting his word, his firstborn Son, over the holy flock, to take care of it: and a good shepherd is thus described by theF19Zohar in Exod. fol. 9. 3. Jews;

"as רועה טוב, "a good shepherd", delivers the flock from the wolf, and from the lions, (see John 10:12) so he that leads Israel, if he is good, delivers them from the idolatrous nations, and from judgment below and above, and leads them to the life of the world to come, or eternal life; (see John 10:10).'

Which description agrees with Christ, the good shepherd; and so the Lord is said to be רועה טוב, "the good shepherd", and merciful, and there is none like himF20Aben Ezra in Psal. xxiii. 3. & Kimchi in Psal. xxiii. 2. .


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 10:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-10.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I am the good shepherd — emphatically, and, in the sense intended, exclusively so (Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 13:7).

the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep — Though this may be said of literal shepherds, who, even for their brute flock, have, like David, encountered “the lion and the bear” at the risk of their own lives, and still more of faithful pastors who, like the early bishops of Rome, have been the foremost to brave the fury of their enemies against the flock committed to their care; yet here, beyond doubt, it points to the struggle which was to issue in the willing surrender of the Redeemer‘s own life, to save His sheep from destruction.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-10.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

I am the good shepherd. This title, applied to Jehovah in Psa 23, and in Ezekiel 34:12, Christ here applies to himself. The mark of the good shepherd is {that he giveth his life for his sheep}. In that unsettled country the shepherd had often to defend his flock.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 10:11". "People's New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-10.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

I am the good shepherd (εγω ειμι ο ποιμην ο καλοςegō eimi ho poimēn ho kalos). Note repetition of the article, “the shepherd the good one.” Takes up the metaphor of John 10:2. Vulgate pastor bonus. Philo calls his good shepherd αγατοςagathos but καλοςkalos calls attention to the beauty in character and service like “good stewards” (1 Peter 4:10), “a good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6). Often both adjectives appear together in the ancient Greek as once in the New Testament (Luke 8:15). “Beauty is as beauty does.” That is καλοςkalos

Layeth down his life for his sheep (την πσυχην αυτου τιτησιν υπερ των προβατωνtēn psuchēn autou tithēsin huper tōn probatōn). For illustration see 1 Samuel 17:35 (David‘s experience) and Isaiah 31:4. Dods quotes Xenophon (Mem. ii. 7, 14) who pictures even the sheep dog as saying to the sheep: “For I am the one that saves you also so that you are neither stolen by men nor seized by wolves.” Hippocrates has πσυχην κατετετοpsuchēn katetheto (he laid down his life, i.e. died). In Judges 12:3 ετηκα την πσυχηνethēka tēn psuchēn means “I risked my life.” The true physician does this for his patient as the shepherd for his sheep. The use of υπερhuper here (over, in behalf of, instead of), but in the papyri υπερhuper is the usual preposition for substitution rather than αντιanti This shepherd gives his life for the sin of the world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The good shepherd ( ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς )

Literally, the shepherd the good (shepherd). Καλὸς , though not of frequent occurrence in John, is more common than ἀγαθός , good, which occurs but four times and three times out of the four in the neuter gender, a good thing, or that which is good. Καλὸς in John is applied to wine (John 2:10), three times to the shepherd in this chapter, and twice to works (John 10:32, John 10:33). In classical usage, originally as descriptive of outward form, beautiful; of usefulness, as a fair haven, a fair wind. Auspicious, as sacrifices. Morally beautiful, noble; hence virtue is called τὸ καλὸν . The New Testament usage is similar. Outwardly fair, as the stones of the temple (Luke 21:5): well adapted to its purpose, as salt (Mark 9:50): competent for an office, as deacons (1 Timothy 4:6); a steward (1 Peter 4:10); a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3): expedient, wholesome (Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47): morally good, noble, as works (Matthew 5:16); conscience (Hebrews 13:18). The phrase it is good, i.e., a good or proper thing (Romans 14:21). In the Septuagint καλὸς is the most usual word for good as opposed to evil (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 24:50; Isaiah 5:20). In Luke 8:15, καλὸς and ἀγαθός are found together as epithets of the heart; honest (or virtuous, noble) and good. The epithet καλὸς , applied here to the shepherd, points to the essential goodness as nobly realized, and appealing to admiring respect and affection. As Canon Westcott observes, “in the fulfillment of His work, the Good Shepherd claims the admiration of all that is generous in man.”

Giveth his life ( τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν )

The phrase is peculiar to John, occurring in the Gospel and First Epistle. It is explained in two ways: either (1) as laying down as a pledge, paying as a price, according to the classical usage of the word τίθημι . So Demosthenes, to pay interest or the alien tax. Or (2) according to John 13:4, as laying aside his life like a garment. The latter seems preferable. Τίθημι , in the sense of to pay down a price, does not occur in the New Testament, unless this phrase, to lay down the life, be so explained. In John 13:4, layeth aside His garments ( τίδησι τὰ ἱμάτια ) is followed, in John 13:12, by had taken His garments ( ἔλαβε τὰ ἱμάτια ). So, in this chapter, giveth ( τίδησιν ) His life (John 10:11), and I lay down ( τίδημι ) my life (John 10:17, John 10:18), are followed by λαβεῖν to take it again.” The phrases τὴν ψυχὴν Helaid down His life, and τὰς ψυχὰς θεῖναι tolay down our lives, occur in 1 John 3:16. The verb is used in the sense of laying aside in the classics, as to lay aside war, shields, etc. Compare Matthew 20:28, δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν , to give His life.

For the sheep ( ὑπὲρ )

On behalf of.


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-10.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

I am the good shepherd1: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep2.

  1. I am the good shepherd. The relations of Christ to his people are so abounding and complex as to overburden any parable which seeks to carry them. He is not the only passive doorway to life, but also the active, energizing force which leads his people through that doorway into life.

  2. The good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep. The verses John 10:11-14 set forth the perfect self-sacrifice through which the blessings of Christ have been obtained for us. The world-ruling spirit blesses itself through the sacrifice of the people; the Christ- spirit blesses the people through the sacrifice of self.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 10:11". "The Fourfold Gospel". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-10.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. From the extraordinary affection which he bears towards the sheep, he shows how truly he acts towards them as a shepherd; for he is so anxious about their salvation, that he does not even spare his own life. Hence it follows, that they who reject the guardianship of so kind and amiable a shepherd are exceedingly ungrateful, and deserve a hundred deaths, and are exposed to every kind of harm. The remark of Augustine is exceedingly just, that this passage informs us what we ought to desire, what we ought to avoid, and what we ought to endure, in the government of the Church. Nothing is more desirable than that the Church should be governed by good and diligent shepherds Christ declares that he is the good shepherd, who keeps his Church safe and sound, first, by himself, and, next, by his agents. Whenever there is good order, and fit men hold the government, then Christ shows that he is actually the shepherd But there are many wolves and thieves who, wearing the garb of shepherds, wickedly scatter the Church. Whatever name such persons may assume, Christ threatens that we must avoid them.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-10.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

‘I am the Good Shepherd.’

John 10:11

When our Blessed Lord called Himself the Good Shepherd, and spoke of His loving care for His sheep, those who heard Him felt the full force of the beautiful and original allegory. He spoke to men who came of a shepherd race. He appealed to those who knew what a shepherd’s life was. A more fitting illustration could not have been chosen, and time has only shown how fully and universally the allegory has been appreciated.

I. The Shepherd leads.—How many troubles would be avoided, how much suffering and misery spared, if the sheep of Christ’s flock would only follow Him closely, and with the confidence shown by those sheep for their guardian. But alas! how many professing Christians are like the sheep which have but little confidence in the shepherd, and only follow him with fear and hesitation. The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is ever present to lead us, and if we follow, nothing doubting, when we come to the river of death which lies before us all in the shadows of the future, we shall then feel no fear, no hesitation, but follow eagerly till the eternal fold is reached.

II. The Shepherd knows.—You should, in the next place, try to realise what is meant by the Good Shepherd knowing His sheep. In this country sheep are marked, and a shepherd can thus distinguish his own sheep, but in the East he always learns to know his flock without the aid of marks. Christ, the Good Shepherd, knows each one of His flock, but not by name alone. The character, the weaknesses, and virtues of each one are well known to Him. We cannot stray away from the right path without the watchful Shepherd knowing full well; but there are no trials and temptations through which He will not gladly and lovingly help us; no joys and sorrows with which He will not sympathise. Every true follower of Christ can say, in the words of the Psalmist, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing.… Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.’ In all times of trouble (and who is there who has not or will not have times of trouble?), in all times of temptation and suffering, this thought of the Good Shepherd’s knowledge of our affliction should rise up to bring comfort and peace,

III. The Shepherd seeks.—As you follow the Good Shepherd you will often find that, in some weak moment, you have been tempted to take your eyes off Him and wander aside after some worldly pleasure, tempted, perhaps, by some other wanderer who has strayed away from the right path. But then for our great comfort comes the thought that the Good Shepherd will never leave one of His flock thus wandering without making every effort to bring back the wanderer. No sheep from the flock of this Shepherd ever went astray that was not sought for, and how many, thank God, have been brought back!

—Rev. W. S. Randall.

Illustration

‘One bitter January night the inhabitants of the old town of Sleswick were thrown into the greatest distress and terror. A hostile army was marching down upon them, and new and fearful reports of the conduct of the lawless soldiery were hourly reaching the place. In one large commodious cottage dwelt an aged grandmother with her granddaughter and her grandson. While all hearts quaked with fear, this aged woman passed her time in crying out to her Saviour that He would “build up a wall of defence round about them,” quoting the words of an ancient hymn. Her grandson asked why she prayed for a thing so entirely impossible as that God should build a wall about their house that should hide it; but she explained that her meaning only was that God should protect them. At midnight the dreaded tramp of the soldiers was heard as the enemy came pouring in at every avenue, filling the houses to overflowing. But whilst the most fearful sounds were heard on every side, not even a knock came to their door, at which they were greatly surprised. The morning light made the matter clear, for just beyond the house the drifted snow had reared such a massive wall that it was impossible to get over it to them. “There,” said the old woman triumphantly, “do you not see, my child, that God could raise up a wall around us?” This Christian woman knew what it was to have a perfect trust in the Good Shepherd.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE DIVINE SHEPHERD

‘I am the Good Shepherd.’ Is it not a Self-revelation which comes as a necessary corollary to that interpretation of the Divine relations to mankind which finds expression in the 23rd Psalm and elsewhere in the writings of the Old Testament? If once we accept such a conception of God; if once such a creed takes full possession of our hearts and minds, we are impelled by it to ‘a sure and certain hope’ of such a Self-manifestation as we have in Jesus Christ.

I. The Divine Shepherd!—God is not only the Guide and Mainstay of great bodies of men—of nations and churches, of generations and kingdoms; He is the Guardian and Friend of each individual life. We are all known by Him with a knowledge that is perfect. Nothing is hidden from Him—no temptation, no anxiety, no strain, no failure, no sin, no repentance. His is the hand that has faithfully upheld us and brought us safely through the dangers and troubles which have sorely beset us. Those strange coincidences, which we could not understand at the time, have been realised in the light of subsequent knowledge to have been His loving counsels for our welfare. It has been His ministry that has provided with such sufficiency for our wants. We are all ‘the sheep of His pasture.’ He is, as has been beautifully said of Him, ‘that Eternal Tenderness which bends over us—infinitely lower though we be in nature—and knows the name of each and the trials of each, and thinks for each with a separate solicitude, and gave Itself for each with a Sacrifice as special and a Love as personal as if in the whole world’s wilderness there were none other than that one.’

II. He is our eternal Shepherd of infinite perfection.—He ‘calls’ us ‘by name.’ We may go to Him and thankfully walk in His footsteps and rejoice in the comfort and strength of His protection. We may be certain that there is, and can be, no lowliness, no obscurity, no poverty, no desolation, no suffering, no unmerited reproach which His ‘goodness and mercy’ do not ‘follow’ day by day and hour by hour. We are confident that nothing that we now are or ever have been—no vice, no depravity, no crime, no dishonour—need continue to separate us from Him. He is ever ready to receive us back, to welcome us once more into the shelter of the fold. ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found My sheep which was lost.” We are none of us, even the worst and the vilest, beyond the blessing of His care. Because of His Cross and Passion, because of that supreme victory in which the ‘suffering of death’ issued, because He is ‘stronger than the strong’ and in His own Person has overthrown death and Satan, because He has ‘ascended on high’ and ‘led captivity captive,’ He can be—He is—the Shepherd of us all. In a deeper sense than was ever revealed even to the inspired Psalmist, He will be our Guide along ‘the paths of righteousness’—‘the straitened way that leadeth unto life’—our unseen but ever-present Companion on that last tremendous journey through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’—the valley which leads to the Paradise of God. Whenever we will, He feeds us, from His own sacred table, ‘with the spiritual food of His most precious Body and Blood.’ Aye, and when all here is over and done with, when our time comes sooner or later, expectedly or unexpectedly—

‘To-day, or may be not to-day,

To-night, or not to-night—’

He will receive us, through the wondrous efficacy of His own Self-sacrifice and triumph, into ‘the house of the Lord.’

Rev. the Hon. W. E. Bowen.

Illustration

‘The figure of the Good Shepherd was one which the young Church was glad to depict. It has often been pointed out that the earliest delineations of our Saviour place Him before us, not with the signs and evidences of suffering upon Him, not with worn visage and tired body, but in all the strength and vigour of unwearied manhood. The “Ecce Homo” of these Christians was unmarked by horror and outrage. “Neither the paintings in the Catacombs nor the sculptures in the ancient Christian sarcophagi reveal a single representation of the Passion of our Lord.” It was a later generation that ventured to introduce the Crucifixion into the sacred circle of subjects suitable for Christian art. And sometimes we are asked, indeed urged, to go back to this older type of representation as better, wiser, truer, healthier. It is an invitation which at first makes a strong appeal to us. But none the less we cannot consent to respond to it. An adequate picture of the human Christ will not exclude those deep lines of suffering which came through His voluntary Self-abasement.’

(THIRD OUTLINE)

THE IDEAL SHEPHERD

There are three parables in this chapter. In the first six verses there is the parable of the Shepherd. To the fold mentioned in John 10:1 many flocks would be brought at night. Then their own Shepherd would come in the morning and lead away his flock to pasture. Then in John 10:7 begins the parable of the Door. This was the Door of the day enclosure, where the sheep could go in and out and find food. In John 10:11 there is the parable of the beautiful or ideal Shepherd. Here evening has come, and as the shepherds are leading back their flocks to the fold for the night, the wolf darts forth; but the Good Shepherd flees not like the hireling, but lays down His life for the sheep.

Let us notice three things the beautiful Shepherd is here said to do for His sheep.

I. He knows them.—The words are even more striking in the Revised Version: ‘I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father’ (John 10:14-15). Christ knows His sheep with the same loving knowledge that the Father knows Him, and He knows the Father. The weakest, the feeblest, the very sickliest lamb in the flock the beautiful Shepherd loves and knows. Not one is overlooked, or forgotten, or omitted.

II. He dies for them.—‘I lay down My life for the sheep.’ The prophet had foretold this—‘Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd’ (Zechariah 13:7).

‘One came by with wounded Side,

And for the sheep the Shepherd died.’

III. He gathers them.—‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold (i.e. not Jews): them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock, one Shepherd’ (John 10:16).

IV. ‘The Lord is my Shepherd.’—Can you say, ‘My’? Everything depends on that. If you can say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd,’ then all is yours—the quiet rest by the still waters, the restoring, the leading, the presence in the valley, the rod and the staff to comfort, the prepared table, the ointment for the head, the cup running over, goodness and mercy all the days of your life, and a home beyond the grave; all this is yours if you can say ‘My.’

—Rev. F. Harper.

Illustration

‘Garabaldi and some of his army were marching through the mountains, and as they drew near to where they intended to spend the night they met a shepherd wandering alone. He was taken to the General, and his account of himself was that he was walking across the hill in search of a lost lamb. Garibaldi heard his story, and then called on his men to scatter and seek for the lost. They separated and sought, but without success; and as night closed in the soldiers returned tired and dispirited, without the lamb. They slept well that night; and when the morning call roused them from rest they opened amazed eyes to see a great figure looming through the white mists and advancing towards them. They marvelled, and their wonder was none the less when the new-comer proved to be their General carrying a little lamb in his strong arms. They had slept, but Garibaldi had sought all night, and at dawn he found that which was lost.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 10:11". Church Pulpit Commentary. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-10.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Ver. 11. I am the good shepherd] So he is by an excellency, for he left his glory to seek out to himself a flock in the wilderness. "He feeds them among the lilies," Song of Solomon 2:16; gives them golden fleeces, and shepherds to keep them, after his own heart; watcheth over them night and day in his Migdal Eder, or tower of the flock, Genesis 35:21; seeks them up when lost, bears them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young, Isaiah 40:11; pulls them out of the power of the lion and the bear, punisheth such as either push with the horn or foul with the feet, Ezekiel 34:19; washeth them in his own blood, and so maketh them kings and priests to God, Revelation 1:5, &c., so that they need not fear the spiritual Assyrian, Micah 5:5.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 10:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-10.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 10:11

The Shepherd of our Souls

In those countries of the East where our Lord appeared, the office of a shepherd is not only a lowly and simple office, and an office of trust, as it is with us, but moreover, an office of great hardship and of peril. Our flocks are exposed to no enemies such as our Lord describes. The shepherd here has no need to prove his fidelity to the sheep by encounters with fierce beasts of prey. The hireling shepherd is not tried. But where our Lord dwelt in the days of His flesh it was different. There it was true that the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

I. From the time of Adam to that of Christ a shepherd's work has been marked out with special Divine favour, as being a shadow of the Good Shepherd who was to come. The shepherds of old time were such as Jacob, Moses and David—men at once of peace and of war; men of simplicity indeed, "plain men living in tents"; the "meekest of men," yet not easy, indolent men, sitting in green meadows and by cool streams, but men of rough duties, who were under the necessity to suffer, while they had opportunity to do exploits. And if such were the figures, how much more was the Truth itself, the Good Shepherd, when He came, both guileless and heroic. Jacob endured, Moses meditated, and David wrought. Christ, too, not only suffered with Jacob and Was in contemplation with Moses, but fought and conquered with David. Jacob was not as David, nor David as Jacob, nor either of them as Moses; but Christ was all three, as fulfilling all types—the lowly Jacob, the wise Moses, the heroic David—all in one, Priest, Prophet and King.

II. Christ is our Shepherd, and His sheep know His voice. Let us beware of not following when He goes before. Let us not be content with ourselves; let us not make our own hearts our home, or this world our home, or our friends our home; let us look out for a better country, that is, an heavenly. Let us look out for Him who alone can guide us to that better country; let us call heaven our home, and this life a pilgrimage; let us view ourselves as sheep in the trackless desert, who, unless they follow the shepherd, will be sure to lose themselves, sure to fall in with the wolf.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. viii., p. 230.


Of all the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are none more deeply engraven in the mind of the Church, none more dear to her than these. This is one of the Divine sayings in which there is so much of truth and love, that we seem able to do little more than to record it and ponder on it, to express it by symbols, and to draw from it a multitude of peaceful and heavenly thoughts. Let us, then, consider the surpassing and peculiar goodness of the One True Shepherd.

I. And this He has revealed to the world by His voluntary death. There was never any other but He who came down from heaven, that He might lay down His life for the sheep. While we were yet enemies, Christ died for us, "that He might gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad."

II. Again, His surpassing goodness is shown in the provision He has made of all things necessary for the salvation of His flock in this state of mortality and sin. There can no soul fail of eternal life, of reaching the rest of the true fold in heaven, except by his own free will. As the blood-shedding of the Good Shepherd is a full and perfect ransom for all His flock, so has He pledged the perpetual exercise of His unseen pastoral care, to give us all that is needed for our salvation. (1) And for this He has provided, first of all, in the external foundation and visible perpetuity of His Church. He has secured it by the commission to teach all nations, by the universal preaching of His apostles, by shedding abroad the Holy Ghost, by the revelation of all truth, by the universal tradition of the faith in all the world. For the perpetuity of the Church, He has pledged His Divine word that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;" and in this He has provided for the perpetuity both of truth and grace. What the Church does on earth, it does in His power and name; and He, through it, fulfils His own shepherd care. This, then, is the external ministration of His goodness. (2) But once more. His love and care are shown, not only in the external and visible provision which He thus made beforehand for the perpetual wants of His flock, but in the continual and internal providence wherewith He still watches over it. When He says, "I know My sheep by name," He means that there is nothing in them which He does not know; there is not one forgotten, not one passed over, as He telleth them morning and evening. His eyes are upon us all. And all the complex mystery of our spiritual being, all our secret motions of will, our daily sorrows, fears, and thoughts, are seen and read with the unerring gaze of our Divine Lord. So let us follow Him now "whithersoever He goeth." Be our path through joy or sorrow, in the darkness or in the light, let us follow on to the fold which is pitched upon the everlasting hills; where the true flock shall "pass under the hand of Him that telleth them one by one, till all the lost be found and all His elect come in.

H. E. Manning, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 1.


When our Lord calls Himself the Good Shepherd, is He using a title which has lost its value since He has ceased to live visibly upon earth, or has this title a true meaning for us Christians—for you, for me, at the present day?

I. Here we cannot but observe that, writing some forty years after the ascension, St. Peter calls Jesus Christ the Shepherd, as well as the Bishop of Souls; and St. Paul calls Him the Great Shepherd of the sheep. And in the earliest ages of the Christian Church, when the cruel stress of persecution drove the faithful from the streets and public places of Rome down into those catacombs which were burrowed out beneath the busy life of the vast pagan city, there was one figure above all others which, in the depths of their dark prison homes, Christians delighted to draw in rude outline upon the vaults, beneath which they prayed. It was the figure of the Good Shepherd. And ever since those days of persecution, when Christmas been asked to bless from His throne some work of mercy for relieving suffering, or for teaching the ignorant, or for delivering the captive, or for raising the fallen, it has been as the Great Shepherd of Christians—the Good Shepherd of humanity.

II. Let us briefly reflect what this truth involves as to our relations with our Redeemer. (1) As the Good Shepherd, He knows His sheep. He knows us individually; He knows all about us. It is because He knows us thus perfectly that He is able to help us, to guide us, to feed us—if we will, to save us; ay, to the very uttermost. (2) And besides this knowledge, He, the Good Shepherd, has a perfect sympathy with each of us. He is not a hard guardian, who sets Himself to keep us in order without any bit of feeling for our individual difficulties. He is touched, as His Apostle says of Him, with a feeling of our infirmities. Nothing that affects any one of us, is a matter of indifference to His tender heart. (3) Above all, as the Good Shepherd, the Christ, He is disinterested. He gains nothing by watching, by guarding, by feeding such as we. We can contribute nothing to His majestic glory. He seeks us for our own sakes, not for His.

H. P. Liddon, Penny Pulpit, No. 575.

I. Consider this subject, first of all, in its widest possible range. The vast family in heaven and earth, all created being, is under His guidance as the risen and exalted Redeemer. Not only has He created all things, not only does He uphold all things by the word of His power; but, by virtue of redemption, He exercises a peculiar and special government over all things. However little we may be able to enter into the meaning of such a closer relationship being established by redemption, of the fact itself there can be no doubt. Our blessed Lord has become, in a closer sense than before, the guide and overseer and shepherd of the vast and innumerable flock of created beings, since He was born at Bethlehem, since He was crucified on Calvary, since He rose triumphant over death and hell, and was received up into glory. The Christian claims for His own Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, the lordship and rule over all the chances and changes of human affairs, and the ordering of the unruly wills and affections of sinful men, to the furtherance of His own high and glorious purposes.

II. We have advanced thus far; but it is plain that, so far from exhausting, we have not even yet approached the full and proper meaning of the term "Shepherd," and the office thus designated. Christ rules and orders the universe, and thus He may be said to be its Shepherd; He governs and arranges the nations and events of the world, and, so far, He may be said to be its Shepherd; but there is a sense even closer than any of these, in which our risen and ascended Saviour is the Good Shepherd; in which all the tenderness of that character, all the individual nearness, all the constant personal vigilance felt and leaned on, may be filled up and realised. Let us note His pastoral care of His people, and the consequent condition of and effect on themselves. (1) He is their Almighty Shepherd. (2) He is an ever-watchful Shepherd. (3) He is a tender and compassionate Shepherd. (4) He is an all-wise Shepherd. Lie still, then, little flock, assured by His almightiness, guarded by His watchfulness, rooted in His sympathy, and safe in His unerring wisdom. Seek no other shepherd, for He is all-sufficient. Question Him not, nor distrust Him. However unpromising life may be, He will bring out of it blessing and joy; for thus saith the Lord God, "Behold I, even I, will both search My sheep and seek them out."

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermon, vol. vi., p. 226.


Our Saviour mentions three evidences, which He gave to entitle Him to the name of the Good Shepherd. And

I. He says, "I know My sheep." The Lord Jesus not only knows the number of His great flock, but His acquaintance is so close and intimate, that "He calleth His own sheep by name."

II. "I am known of Mine." We speak of knowing an earthly friend, not because his name, his position, his character, or his occupation, are known, but because we have tested his sincerity, his liberality, his affection. So, too, in regard to the knowledge which Christians have of the Lord Jesus Christ.

III. The third proof which Jesus gives that He is the Good Shepherd, is the most convincing one of all: "I lay down My life for the sheep." He entered the sheepfold by the same door with them; and, having led them through the gate of death, He will go before them also through the gate of the resurrection, to the better land beyond. J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 171.


Christ is the Good Shepherd

I. Because He owns the sheep. He is the proprietor of the flock. It follows naturally, that He would exercise greater vigilance, and risk greater danger, on their behalf. (1) They are His by the gift of the Father. Over and over again in the course of the Gospels, He gives utterance to this truth: "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me." (2) They are His by creative ties. This probably is the deep meaning of the phrase, "His own sheep"—sheep which are His, even before they are called. The anthem of redemption excites reminiscences in the soul of the melody of creation; the Shepherd's voice is not strange, for we have heard it before. The sheep know His voice. (3) They are His also by purchase. He shed His blood, not in His own defence, but for the sake of those whom He came to rescue.

II. Because He knows His sheep. "I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine." (1) He knows the sheep by their faces. When a sinner is converted, he is brought face to face with the Saviour; he looks the Saviour in the face, and the Saviour looks him in the face; and He never forgets any face, once He has a full, fair view of it. (2) He knows you by your names. When men are comparative strangers, they surname and master one another; but the Saviour surnames and masters no one. Like the mother, the sister, or the wife, full of tenderness and affection, He calls you by your Christian names. (3) He, furthermore, is perfectly acquainted with your circumstances. (4) This word "know," means something deeper yet; it means thorough, complete apprehension of your deepest character.

III. Because He feeds His sheep. "They shall go in and out and find pasture." They go in first to the fold. This supposes that they shall rest awhile after their weary wanderings in the desert. (2) They shall go out to graze, Here is safety and satisfaction.

IV. Because He leads the sheep. He leads them (1) Gently, (2) Safely, (3) Through life and death.

J. C. Jones, Studies in St. John, p. 282.


References: John 10:11.—Contemporary Pulpit, vol. v., p. 282; S. Baring Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 154; A. Blomfield, Sermons in Town and Country, p. 85; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 301; H. P. Liddon, Three Hundred Outlines on the New Testament, p. 85. John 10:11-16.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., pp. 239-241; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 222; vol. iv., p. 224; Homiletic Magazine, vol. i., p. 195.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Sermon Bible Commentary". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-10.html.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In these verses our Saviour evidently proves himself to be the true Shepherd of his church, by the marks and signs, by the properties and characters, of a good shepherd; which were eminently found with him; namely, to know all his flock, to take care of them, and to lay down his life for them.

1. Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of his church, hath an exact and distinct knowledge of all his flock: I know my sheep, with a three-fold knowledge, with a knowledge of intelligence and observation: he knows them so as to observe and take notice of them, with a knowledge of care and protection; he knows them so as to defend and keep them. Thus Christ knows his sheep, and is also known of them; that is, he is believed on, beloved, and obeyed by them.

2. He lays down his life for his flock. And for this doth he eminently deserve the title of the good shepherd. (As for his power, he is stiled the great shepherd.) A good shepherd indeed, who not only gives life to his sheep, but gives his own life by way of ransom for his sheep! This example of Christ, the great and good shepherd, in laying down his life for his sheep, teacheth all subordinate and inferior shepherds, to prefer the good of their flock, even before their own lives.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 10:11". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-10.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 10:11. ἐγώ] Repeated again with lively emphasis. It is no other.

ποιμὴν καλός] the good, the excellent shepherd, conceived absolutely as He ought to be: hence the article and the emphatic position of the adjective. In Christ is realized the ideal of the shepherd, as it lives in the Old Testament (Psalms 23; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34; Jeremiah 23; Zechariah 11; also Micah 5:3). With the conception of καλός compare the Attic καλὸς κἀγαθός (also Tobit 7:7; 2 Maccabees 15:12), and the contrary: πονηρός, κακός, ἄδικος.

In the following specification of the things in which the good shepherd proves himself to correspond to his idea, ποιμ. καλός is solemnly repeated.

τιθέναι τ. ψυχήν] As to substance, though not as to the meaning of the words, equivalent to δοῦναι τ. ψ. (Matthew 20:28). It is a Johannean expression (John 13:37 f., John 15:13; 1 John 3:16), without corresponding examples in Greek classical writers (against Kypke, I. p. 388); and must be explained, neither from the simple שׂוּם, Isaiah 53:10 (Hengstenberg), nor from שׂוּם נֶפֶשׁ בְּכַף (Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5), where בכף is essential; but from the idea of the sacrificial death as a ransom that has been paid (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). Its import accordingly is: to pay down one’s soul, impendere, in harmony with the use of τιθέναι in the classics, according to which it denotes to pay (so frequently in Demosthenes and others; see Reiske, Ind. Dem. p. 495, ed. Schaef.; Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 271). Compare Nonnus: καὶ ψυχῆς ἰδίης οὐ φείδεται, ἀλλὰ ἑθήσει λύτρον ἑῶν ὀΐων.

ὑπέρ] for the good of, in order to turn aside destruction from them by his own self-sacrifice. Compare John 11:50 f. It is less in harmony with this specific point of view, from which the sacrifice of the life of Jesus is regarded throughout the entire New Testament, to take τιθέναι, with De Wette, Ebrard, Godet, as denoting merely lay down (as in John 13:4); or to assume the idea which is foreign to the passage, “to offer as a prize for competition” (Ewald).


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 10:11". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-10.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 10:11. ποιμὴν καλός, the Good Shepherd) He, concerning whom it was foretold by the prophets. The Shepherd, whose peculiar property the sheep are: good, as being the One who lays down His life for the sheep; also as being He to whom they are an object of care, John 10:13, “The hireling careth not for the sheep.” In our day, they who tend for pay the flocks of one town, or one village, are called pastors; but in this passage the signification of the term, pastor, is more noble. [The whole and complete office of Christ is contained in this parabolic discourse concerning the pastor and the door.—V. g.]— τίθησιν, lays down) This is five times said, thereby there being expressed the greatest force. In this, the highest benefit, all the remaining benefits conferred by the Shepherd are presupposed, included, and are to be inferred [Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 53:6, When Thou shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His clays, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all],— ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων, for the sheep) Christ here declares what kind of a shepherd He evinces Himself towards the sheep: for which reason, it cannot be inferred from this, that He did not die also for the rest of men.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 10:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-10.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

That good Shepherd prophesied of, Isaiah 40:11. I cannot agree with those who think that Christ here speaketh not of himself as the good Shepherd, with reference to his office, as he was the Messiah, but only in opposition to the hirelings after mentioned. I can allow that he thus calleth himself, both in the one respect and the other; but I cannot allow the latter sense exclusively to the former; for what followeth is peculiar to the Messiah, of whom it was prophesied, Daniel 9:26, that he should be cut off, but not for himself: and though it be true, that the true shepherd will hazard his life for his sheep, as David did, when he encountered the lion and the bear, 1 Samuel 17:34,35; yet it cannot be said to be the duty of the best shepherd to lay down his life for the sheep, for the life of a man is much more valuable than the life of any beast. Our Saviour therefore, doubtless, in this place showeth wherein he was the most excellent Shepherd, far excelling the best shepherds in the world, because he was come, not only to expose, hazard, and adventure his life, but actually, willingly, and freely to lay it down.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 10:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. //www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-10.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

I am the good Shepherd; in respect to the power of admission to God’s fold, Christ has declared himself to be the door; in respect to his care over those within the fold, he now, by another change of the figure, calls himself "the good Shepherd"-the Shepherd of shepherds and of the flock, and the source of good to all.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Family Bible New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-10.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

11. ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ π. ὁ κ. see on John 6:35 : καλός cannot be adequately translated: it means ‘beautiful, noble, good,’ as opposed to ‘foul, mean, wicked.’ It sums up the chief attributes of ideal perfection; comp. John 10:32, John 2:10. Christ is the Perfect Shepherd, as opposed to His own imperfect ministers; He is the true Shepherd, as opposed to the false shepherds, who are hirelings or hypocrites; He is the Good Shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep, as opposed to the wicked thief who takes their lives to preserve his own. Thus in Christ is realised the ideal Shepherd of O.T. Psalms 23; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 34; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 11:7. The figure sums up the relation of Jehovah to His people (Psalms 80:1); and in appropriating it Jesus proclaims Himself as the representative of Jehovah. Perhaps no image has penetrated more deeply into the mind of Christendom: Christian prayers and hymns, Christian painting and statuary, and Christian literature are full of it, and have been from the earliest ages. And side by side with it is commonly found the other beautiful image of this Gospel, the Vine: the Good Shepherd and the True Vine are figures of which Christians have never wearied.

τ. ψ. αὐ. τίθησιν. Layeth down His life. A remarkable phrase and peculiar to S. John (John 10:15; John 10:17, John 13:37-38, John 15:13; 1 John 3:16), whereas δοῦναι τ. ψ. αὐτοῦ occurs Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45. ‘To lay down’ perhaps includes the notion of ‘to pay down,’ a common meaning of the word in classical Greek; if so it is exactly equivalent to the Synoptic ‘to give as a ransom’ (λύτρον). Others interpret, ‘to lay aside’ (John 13:4), i.e. to give up voluntarily. In this country the statement ‘the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep’ seems extravagant when taken apart from the application to Christ. Not so in the East, where dangers from wild beasts and armed bands of robbers are serious and constant. Genesis 13:5; Genesis 14:12; Genesis 31:39-40; Genesis 32:7-8; Genesis 37:33; Job 1:17; 1 Samuel 17:34-35. Ὑπέρ, ‘on behalf of.’


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"Commentary on John 10:11". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/john-10.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

He is a good shepherd, efficient and trustworthy, in contrast to the bad shepherds. He does His job thoroughly, watches over His sheep constantly, has deep affection for them and in the end is ready to give His life for them. But He is also the good Shepherd because He is pleasing to the Father, to Whom true goodness alone is acceptable.

As we know, giving His life for the sheep is what in fact He did, but His listeners would not know that, although they would recognise the picture of One Who had deep concern for His sheep.

The claim to be the good shepherd is at the least a claim to Messiahship (Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24-28 compare Jeremiah 23:4) and to being God’s true Servant (see Psalms 23:1; Psalms 80:1; Isaiah 40:10-11). See also the opening comments above. The shepherd of Israel has come.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-10.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11. The good shepherd—Rather, the noble shepherd; the model and original shepherd. The shepherd does not, as some think, symbolize the mere teacher. It includes the various ideas of government, guardianship, maintenance, training, and leading. Kings were called by Homer the shepherds of the people. Hence, Christ also is called the shepherd and bishop (or overseer) of our souls.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-10.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John 10:7-10 expand the idea of the gate from John 10:1-5, and John 10:11-18 develop the idea of the Shepherd from those verses.

Here is another "I am" claim. Jesus is the Good Shepherd in contrast to the bad shepherds just described ( John 10:8; John 10:10 a). Rather than killing the sheep so He might live, as the bad shepherds did, Jesus was willing to sacrifice His life (Gr. psyche, the total self) so the sheep might live. It is this extreme commitment to the welfare of the sheep that qualified Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The titles "Great Shepherd" ( Hebrews 13:20-21) and "Chief Shepherd" ( 1 Peter 5:4) stress different aspects of Jesus" character as a shepherd. Good shepherding involves protecting, providing, and sacrificing.

"Good" (Gr. kalos) connotes nobility and worth, not merely gentleness. It contrasts Jesus with the unworthy and ignoble shepherds that He proceeded to describe ( John 10:12-13). Laying down His life is a uniquely Johannine expression that describes a voluntary sacrificial death (cf. John 10:17-18; John 13:37-38; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16). Likewise the preposition hyper ("for") usually connotes sacrifice (cf. John 13:37; John 15:13; Luke 22:19; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Most shepherds do not intend to die for their sheep but to live for them; they only die for their sheep accidentally. Yet Jesus came to die for His sheep. Of course, Jesus also came to die for the whole world ( John 6:51; John 11:50-52).


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-10.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 10:11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep. The aspect of the preamble here changes: in the following verses, until the 16th, there is no mention of the fold or of the door, but of the shepherd only and his relation to the flock. The word rendered ‘good’ occurs but seldom in this Gospel: it differs from the word ordinarily so translated (which however John uses still less frequently) in that it is never used to express the idea of kindness, but always signifies what is (outwardly or inwardly) beautiful, noble, excellent of its kind. Both words may be used to denote moral excellence, and with but slight difference of meaning. Here then the epithet has no reference to kindness but to excellence as a Shepherd. Is there a shepherd whose work is not only faithful but all fair, without spot or defect, such a Shepherd of the flock is the Lord Jesus. The highest point which the Shepherd’s faithfulness can reach is His laying down His life for the sheep: when the wolf assaults the flock, the Good Shepherd repels him, although He die in the attempt. Strictly taken these words are general, and may be said of every noble shepherd; but, connected with the first clause, they in effect declare what is done by Jesus Himself. Our Lord’s hearers at the time would understand no more than this, that at the peril of His life He would defend His flock; but it is impossible to read chap. John 11:51 without seeing in the words a reference to the truth declared in chap. John 3:14-15, John 12:32,—the atoning death of the Redeemer which brings life to the world.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-10.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

happy are we in having such a shepherd, so great, so good, so loving, so careful of our true welfare! O he is the true shepherd indeed, that came down from heaven to seek the poor sheep that was lost; and when he found it, took it upon his own shoulders to carry it home with joy to his heavenly fold. How dearly have his sheep cost him, for truly has he made good in himself sentence, that the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. Let us then ever follow and obey, love and embrace this true shepherd of our souls. (Meditations for every Day, vol. ii. p. 417.) The good pastor gives his life for his sheep; he exposes himself to every danger to save them, no inclemency of the weather, no frost or cold, no rains or tempests, can drive him from looking over his sheep, to defend them from the attacks of wolves, &c. and like Jacob he might say, day and night was I parched with heat, and with cold, and sleep departed from my eyes. (Genesis xl.) Or, like David speaking to Saul: "Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion or a bear, and took a ram out of the midst of the flock; and I pursued after them, and struck them, and delivered it out of their mouths; and they arose up against me, and I caught them by the throat, and I strangled them, and killed them." (1 Kings xvii.) This is a model of a true pastor. But Jesus Christ has done more than this for us. He has exposed his life and his repose, he has spilled his blood, he delivered himself to the fury of his enemies, and has offered himself as a victim on the cross to his eternal Father, to free us, his lost sheep, from the most cruel wolf, the devil. And ever since his death he has always protected his Church, assisted and consoled his distressed flock under all their sufferings, pouring into their hearts the consolations of the holy Spirit, and sending to them holy teachers, to govern and lead them in the holy path of salvation. Such were the apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests of the holy Catholic Church, whom he has sent, and will continue to send, to govern his flock to the end of time. (Calmet.)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 10:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I am, &c. See note on John 6:33.

the good Shepherd = the Shepherd-the good [one]. Connect this with death, and Psa 22; connect the "great" Shepherd with resurrection (Hebrews 13:20), and Psa 23; and connect the "chief" Shepherd with glory (1 Peter 5:4), and Psa 24.

giveth His life = layeth down His life. The expression is frequent in John. See verses: John 10:15, John 10:17, John 10:18; John 13:37, John 13:38; John 15:13. 1 John 3:16. Agreeing with the presentation in this Gospel. See page 1511. Compare Matthew 20:35. Mark 10:45.

life = soul. Greek. psuche. See App-110.

for = on behalf of. Greek huper. App-104.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 10:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd - not 'a,' but emphatically "The Good Shepherd," and, in the sense intended, exclusively so (see Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 13:7).

The good shepherd giveth , [ titheesin (Greek #5087)] - rather, 'layeth down;' as the word is properly rendered in John 10:15; John 10:17,

His life for the sheep. Though this may be said of literal shepherds who, even for their brute flock have, like David, encountered "the lion and the bear" at the risk of their own lives, and still more of faithful pastors, who, like the early bishops of Rome, have been the foremost to brave the fury of their enemies against the flock committed to their care; yet here, beyond doubt, it points to the struggle which was to issue in the willing surrender of the Redeemer's own life, to save His sheep from destruction.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) I am the good shepherd.—The central point of the allegory has now passed from the “Door,” through the last verse as the connecting-link, to the “Good Shepherd.” If we think that the whole discourse was suggested by a scene actually occurring (comp. Note on John 10:1), then the prominence of an actual shepherd passing before them would suggest the turn which it now takes.

The word “good” means that which is fair, and is in a physical sense that which is in its own nature excellent, and in a moral sense that which is beautiful and noble. St. John uses the word only in John 2:10, of the “good wine,” and in this chapter here and in John 10:14; John 10:32-33. (Comp. Note on Luke 8:15.) The passage of the Old Testament referred to above has prepared our minds for this thought of Christ, especially Psalms 23; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-16; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24. He is the Shepherd who is ideally good, fulfilling every thought of guidance, support, self-sacrifice that had ever gathered round the shepherd’s name. No image of Christ has so deeply impressed itself upon the mind of the Church as this has. We find it in the earliest Christian literature, as in Tertullian (Works, vol. i., p. 371, in Ante-Nicene Library), or Clement of Alexandria (Works, vol. i., pp. 149, 462, A.N. Lib.). We find it in the very earliest efforts of Christian art, in painting, embroidery, and even statuary. (See Kugler’s Handbook, Italian Schools, Lady Eastlake’s Trans., 4th Ed., pp. 5 and 6.) It comes to us naturally in our hymns and prayers. The pastoral staff is the fit emblem of the Bishop’s work, and the Pastor is the name by which the humble way-side flock thinks of him who in Christ’s name is appointed to be their guide.

Giveth his life for the sheep.—This was true of the actual shepherds, of whose devoted bravery many instances are told. A striking one is that of David himself who rescued the lamb of his father’s flock from the mouth of the lion and the bear (1 Samuel 17:34-37). That self-sacrifice that would lead the shepherd to risk his own life for that of his flock has its ideal fulfilment in Him who is the Good Shepherd, and will give His life for mankind. The word rendered “giveth is life,” should be almost certainly layeth down His life. They are found only in St. John’s writings. The other passages are John 10:15; John 10:17-18; John 13:37-38; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16 (twice).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 10:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
the good
14; Psalms 23:1; 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:12,23; 37:24; Micah 5:4; Zechariah 13:7; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4
giveth
Genesis 31:39,40; 1 Samuel 17:34,35; 2 Samuel 24:17; Isaiah 53:6; Ephesians 5:2; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 10:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-10.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

I am the good shepherd. This title is applied to Jehovah in Psalm 23; Ezekiel 34:11-12. The shepherd often had to defend his flock from enemies. He is willing to die for his sheep!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 10:11". "The Bible Study New Testament". //www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-10.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.


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