Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 21:16

He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Apostles;   Discipleship;   Faith;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jonas;   Minister, Christian;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Duty;   Fall;   Love;   Love-Hatred;   Ministers;   Peter;   Service;   Simon Peter;   Work, Religious;   Work-Workers, Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Love to Christ;   Ministers;   Sheep;   Titles and Names of Saints;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Peter;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apostacy;   Church;   Denial;   Pastor;   Peter;   Sheep;   Shepherd;   Tongue;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Jesus Christ;   Teach, Teacher;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jonas;   Love;   Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - James;   Peter;   Peter, the Epistles of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   Jona;   Pastor;   Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John;   John, Gospel of;   Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Assumption of Moses;   Caesarea Philippi;   Character;   Church (2);   Confession (of Christ);   Discourse;   Flock;   John (2);   Judgment;   Justice (2);   Love;   Love (2);   Pastor;   Rufus;   Sheep, Shepherd;   Surname;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 28 To Feed, Shepherd;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Jo'nas;   Pe'ter;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Andrew;   Bar-Jonah;   Ethics of Jesus;   Jonas (2);   Love;   Peter, the First Epistle of;   Shepherd;   Teach;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - New Testament;   Simon Cephas;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Feed my sheep - The word here rendered “feed,” as has been remarked, is different from the word in the previous verse. It has the sense of governing, caring for, guiding, protecting - the kind of faithful vigilance which a shepherd uses to guide his flock, and to make provision against their wants and dangers. It may be implied here that the care needed for the young in the church is to instruct them, and for those in advanced years both to instruct and govern them.

My sheep - This term commonly denotes the church in general, without respect to age, John 10.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-21.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He saith to him again a second time, Simon son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep.

See under preceding verse.

Tend my sheep ... There is one charge here, that of taking care of, teaching, and nurturing the spiritual body of Christ.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He saith unto him again the second time,.... Willing to have the expressions of his love repeated and confirmed;

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? he leaves out the words, "more than these", though Nonnus expresses them; he saw Peter's heart, and observed the modesty of his answer, and would not urge him any more in that comparative way, only required a repetition of his sincere and hearty love to him:

he saith unto him, yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee; expressing himself in the same language as before; and it is, as if he should say, Lord, what can I say more? I can say no more than I have done, and by that I abide:

he saith unto him, feed my sheep; both the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and his other sheep among the Gentiles, whom the Father had given him, and he had paid a price for, and must be brought in; these being called, he would have fed with the word and ordinances, with the bread of life, and water of life, not lorded over, and fleeced, and much less worried and destroyed; every instance of care and love shown to these, he takes as a mark of affection and respect to himself.

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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 Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 21:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

He saith to him … the second time … lovest thou me, etc. — In this repetition of the question, though the wound was meant to be reopened, the words “more than these” are not repeated; for Christ is a tender as well as skilful Physician, and Peter‘s silence on that point was confession enough of his sin and folly. On Peter‘s repeating his protestation in the same words, our Lord rises higher in the manifestation of His restoring grace.

Feed — keep.

my sheep — It has been observed that the word here is studiously changed, from one signifying simply to feed, to one signifying to tend as a shepherd, denoting the abiding exercise of that vocation, and in its highest functions.

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-21.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Feed my sheep. A second time the Lord probes Peter with the question. Let it be noted that he does not call him {Peter,} "the rock," any longer. So frail a disciple could only be called Simon. The Christ again commissions him to work, "Feed my sheep." Not only the lambs, but he may look after the sheep of the fold, watch over the disciples of the Lord, young and old. Three times Peter had denied the Master; three times the Master questions his love; three times he gives him charge concerning his work. The questioning was painful, Peter was grieved, but the grief was wholesome, and Peter's whole subsequent life bore proof of the discipline. His rashness was forever gone.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 21:16". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-21.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Lovest thou me? (αγαπαις μεagapāis me). This time Jesus drops the πλεον τουτωνpleon toutōn and challenges Peter‘s own statement. Peter repeats the same words in reply.

Tend my sheep (ποιμαινε τα προβατιαpoimaine ta probatia). Present active imperative of ποιμαινωpoimainō old verb from ποιμηνpoimēn (shepherd), “shepherd my lambs” (προβατιαprobatia diminutive of προβατονprobaton sheep).

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Lovest ( ἀγαπᾷς )

Again the colder word, but more than these is omitted.

I love ( φιλῶ )

Peter reiterates his former word expressive of personal affection.

Feed ( ποίμαινε )

A different word: tend, as Rev. See on 1 Peter 5:2.

Sheep ( πρόβατα )

Some of the best texts read προβάτια , diminutive, little sheep.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-21.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

He saith to him again a second time, Simon, [son] of John, lovest thou me1? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep2.

  1. Simon, [son] of John, lovest thou me? See .

  2. Tend my sheep. For if you love me better than fishing, you are a fisherman no longer, but a shepherd.* See .

    *NOTE.--Rather, "If you love me better than the others do, take the place which I have assigned you as chief servant of the flock" (Matthew 16:18,19; Luke 22:26)--Philip Y. Pendleton.

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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.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 21:16". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-21.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Паси овец Моих. Не всех без разбора Христос поручает Петру и прочим апостолам, но лишь Своих агнцев и овец. В другом месте Он уточняет, кого именно причисляет к Своему стаду. Овцы, – говорит Он, – слушаются гласа Моего и следуют за Мной, а голоса чужака не слушают. Верные учителя должны стараться всех привлечь ко Христу, и, поскольку они не могут отличить овец от диких зверей, надо всеми способами стремиться укротить и тех, кто больше похож на волков, нежели на овец. Но когда все попытки будут предприняты, труд пастырей поможет лишь избранным овцам. Их вера и обучаемость происходят оттого что Небесный Отец передал в управление Сыну лишь тех, кого избрал прежде создания мира. Кроме того, это место учит нас: никто не может быть пасомым в евангельском учении, кроме смиренных и обучаемых. Ибо Христос не напрасно сравнивает Своих учеников с овцами и агнцами. Одновременно следует отметить, что Дух Божий укрощает и тех, кто по природе подобен волкам и львам.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-21.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

lovest (Greek - καταφιλέω, deeply love; used of divine love John 14:21 and of that love which the law demands Luke 10:27

love (Greek - καταφιλέω, am fond of). It is a lesser degree of love than agapas.

Feed tend; 1 Peter 5:1-3

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 21:16". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-21.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Ver. 16. Feed my sheep] That is, Supremum is Ecclesia Dominium tibi assere. Lord it over the Church, saith Baronius. Regio more impera, reign as a king, saith Bellarmine. Christ, on the contrary, saith, The kings of nations exercise dominion over them, but ye shall not do so. And Peter himself saith to his fellow elders, Feed the flock of God, not as lording it over God’s heritage, 1 Peter 5:2-3. Indeed ποιμαινω, here used, sometimes signifies to govern (usually to feed), but βοσκω, the other word twice used here in this text, always signifies to feed. But they catch at government, let go feeding. It is as rare a thing to hear a bishop preach among them, said Dr. Bassinet, as to see an ass fly. Fisco potius apud multos consulitur quam Christo; attonsiona potius gregis quam attentioni.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 21:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-21.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

16. πάλιν δεύτερον] The words are found together in John 4:54.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 21:16". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-21.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 21:16. ποίμαινε, feed) This verb Peter has repeated in his first Epistle, ch. John 5:2.— πρόβατα, sheep) The Latin Vulg. has, in the second answer, ‘agnos’:(407) although it comes to the same thing, as we shall presently see. By far the most frequent form in which this saying was quoted, was, Feed My sheep. Therefore more modern transcribers have introduced into John the formula which Ancient writers employed; and John seems to have written ἀρνία in this second place. [A different judgment is passed upon this reading in the margin of both Ed. and in Vers. Germ., wherein the word ἀρνία is approved of only in the first place, John 21:15 : however, the subject itself, exhibiting as it does three periods, equally favours each of the two views.—E. B.]; (and the more recent Greeks seem to have laid hold of πρόβατα); so that thus there are three distinct sentences in John 21:15-17, βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία ΄ου· ποί΄αινε τὰ ἀρνία ΄ου· βόσκε τὰ πρόβατά ΄ου. In these three sentences the flock that is committed to Peter is distributed into three ages; and the flock of the first age comes under the appellation, lambs; that of the third age, under the appellation, sheep (which, however, are never without lambs growing up to maturity); therefore the flock of the second age fall under the appellation of sheep still somewhat tender, or of lambs already become somewhat hardy. The distinction between the nouns, which the Greek language hardly admitted of, is compensated for by the distinction of the verbs, βόσκε and ποί΄αινε: βόσκειν is a part of ποι΄αίνειν. And, though the Hebrew language did not admit of these distinctions in the words, it does not follow that John could not have expressed the sense of our Lord by the convenient propriety of distinctions which the Greek words afforded. It is with this meaning that the Syr(408) Version puts, in John 21:15-17, after the verb, Feed, three different nouns, to which lambs, little sheep (‘oviculæ’), sheep, correspond. And similarly Ambrosius writes on Luke 24., “In fine, in the third instance Peter is desired to feed, not the lambs, as in the first instance, nor the little sheep (oviculas), as in the second instance, but the sheep; i.e. that having become more perfect himself, he should govern the more perfect.” Maximus says, in his discourse concerning SS. Peter and Paul, that the little sheep were commended to Peter, as also the sheep. Neither of these writers, indeed, reads in John 21:16, προβάτια, as Bellarmine contends in his B. I. concerning the Roman Pontiff, ch. 16., whilst seeking to find marvellous classes of sheep, subject to the Pope: but at all events those ancient writers acknowledged the gradation in the three sentences, which most delightfully accords with 1 John 2:13-14, “Fathers—young men—little children.” Between this discourse and the death of Peter there elapsed thirty-six years: and this discourse itself divides that space of time into almost three equal periods. During the first. Peter fed the tender age of the Christian Church, or in other words the lambs; the appellation of which is in consonance with that appellation which is found in Acts, viz. disciples, to which afterwards the appellation, brethren, succeeded. See on Matthew 10:1-2. [The Apostles were often called disciples before Pentecost; after it never, but apostles. In Acts, those who either had learned with, or were learning from the apostles, were called disciples. After Acts 6:1; Acts 21:16, the term disciples does not occur in the New Testament, but they are called brethren, Christians, believers, saints, etc.] In the second period, he brought to him, ruled, and gathered together, the sheep. In the third, he fed the Church collected out of Jews and Gentiles up to the time of his martyrdom.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 21:16". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-21.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 16,17. Divines here raise a question, why our Saviour propounds this question thrice to Peter. The most of the ancients agree, that it was because Peter had thrice denied him. Some say, it was to show his great love to his church, which he could not commit to Peter but after three inquiries if he truly loved him, who was the Lord of it. Others refer it to the three ways by which good pastors ought to feed the church; prayer, preaching, and a holy life. Others think, that it hath reference to the three flocks that Peter was to feed; the Jews in Judea, the Gentiles, the dispersed amongst the Gentiles.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 21:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-21.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Sheep; more advanced Christians.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-21.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16.Lovest thou me?—Jesus still uses the moral term for love, and omits the comparison which Peter had declined to accept. Peter still refers to Jesus’s knowledge, and again uses the affectional term for love. Thus: Prizest thou me? Answer: Thou knowest I love thee.

Feed my sheepRather shepherd my sheeplings. Before the word was to feed; now it is to perform the whole shepherd’s office. Before it was lambs; now the Greek word for young and not full-grown sheep is used.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-21.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘He says to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Joanes, do you love me?” He says to him, “Indeed, Lord, you know that I love you.” He says to him, “Shepherd my sheep”.’

The same question is repeated by Jesus and the same answer brings confirmation that Peter has (along with the other disciples) been chosen to feed and watch over The Shepherd’s sheep (the verb is different from that in the first and third statements, again in order to prevent monotony).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-21.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 21:16. He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? The same verb (‘lovest’) which had been used by our Lord in His first question again occurs here, and the question only differs from the first in the gracious omission of the words more than these. Jesus had appreciated the motive which had led peter in his previous reply to avoid all comparison between his own love to Jesus and that of others. He accepts the evidence of humility afforded by His apostle, and in that direction at least will no longer test him.

He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. Peter’s reply is in exactly the same tetras as before; the word ‘I love’ being that which he had previously used, and not that used by Jesus.

He saith unto him, Be shepherd of my sheep. See on next verse.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-21.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 21:16. To this confession, the Lord responds, , “Feed my lambs,” showing that Jesus could again trust him and could leave in his hands those whom He loved. “Lambs” is used instead of “sheep” to bring out more strongly the appeal to care, and the consequent complete confidence shown in Peter. . The second inquiry is intended to drive Peter back from mere customary or lip-profession to the deep-lying affections of his spirit. But now no comparison is introduced into the question, which might be paraphrased: “Are you sure that love and nothing but love is the bond between you and me?” This test Peter stands. He replies as before; and again is entrusted with the work in which his Lord is chiefly interested, . No different function is intended by : it repeats in another form the commission already given.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 21:16". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-21.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

-17 lambs and the sheep of our Saviour here mean the faithful, who compose his Church, without any distinction of Jew or Gentile. St. Peter, by these words, is appointed to take charge of the whole flock, as being the chief and prince of the apostles. He is, in some manner, the pastor, not of the sheep only, but of the pastors themselves. They have each their own flock to look after; but to him is committed the care of all; he alone is the pastor of all. (Calmet) --- Feed my sheep. Our Lord had promised the spiritual supremacy to St. Peter; (St. Matthew xvi. 19.) and here he fulfils that promise, by charging him with the superintendency of all his sheep, without exception; and consequently of his whole flock, that is, of his whole Church. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 21:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the = a.

Feed = Shepherd. Greek poimaino. Occurs eleven times, translated "rule "in Matthew 2:6. Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15. Compare poimen, John 10:2, John 10:11, John 10:12, John 10:14, John 10:16 (Shepherd); Ephesians 4:11 (pastors).

sheep. Greek probaton.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 21:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. In this repetition of the question, though the wound was meant to be re-opened, the words, "more than these" are not repeated; for Christ is a tender as well as skillful Physician, and Peter's silence on that point was confession enough of his sin and folly. On Peter's repeating his protestation in the same words, our Lord rises higher in the manifestation of His restoring grace.

He saith unto him, Feed (or 'Keep') my sheep. It has been observed, particularly by Trench, who has some beautiful remarks on this subject in his 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' that the word here is studiously changed from one signifying simply to 'feed' [ boskoo (Greek #1006)] to one signifying to 'tend' as a shepherd [ poimainoo (Greek #4165)], denoting the abiding exercise of the pastoral vocation and its highest functions.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) He saith to him again the second time.—The question is repeated in exactly the same form, except that our Lord does not continue the comparison “more than these.” He uses the same word for the higher, more intellectual love, and Peter replies by the same declaration of personal attachment, and the same appeal to his Master’s knowledge of him.

Feed my sheep.—Better, be a shepherd of My sheep. The Vatican and Paris MSS. read “little sheep” here, and in the following verse. (See Note there.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
the second
18:17,25; Matthew 26:72
my sheep
10:11-16,26,27; Psalms 95:7; 100:3; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 25:32; Luke 15:3-7; 19:10; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 33:10 - They shall teach;  John 21:15 - son;  John 21:17 - Feed

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 21:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-21.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 16. "He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me"? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him. Feed My sheep."

The second question differs from the first, in that Jesus omits the "more than these." Peter again substitutes for ἀγαπῶ his φιλῶ. Not until he had done this twice, does our Lord take up his φιλῶ into His question, as if in recognition of it. πάλιν is connected with δεύτερον also in ch. John 4:54. "Again" indicates that Jesus went beyond the first question;" a second time" points forward to the third in ver. 17. The reading πρόβατία, here and ver. 17 is merely an imitation of ἀρνία. πόβατίον is not known in the Old Testament, or in the Septuagint, or in the Apocrypha. Everywhere we have only πρόβατα and ἀρνία: the latter in the Sept. of Jeremiah 50:45, and Psalms 113:4; Psalms 113:6.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 21:16". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-21.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16.Feed my sheep. Christ does not give to Peter and others the office of feeding all sorts of persons, but only his sheep or his lambs. He elsewhere describes who they are whom he reckons to belong to his flock.

My sheep, says he, hear my voice, and follow me; they hear not the voice of a stranger,
(
John 10:5.)

True, faithful teachers ought to endeavor to gather all to Christ; and as they cannot distinguish between sheep and wild beasts, they ought to try by all methods if they can tame those who resemble wolves rather than sheep. But after having put forth their utmost efforts, their labor will be of no avail to any but the elect sheep; for docility and faith arise from this, that the heavenly Father delivers to his Son, that they may obey him, those whom he elected before the creation of the world. Again, we are taught by this passage, that none can be fed to salvation by the doctrine of the Gospel but those who are mild and teachable; for it is not without reason that Christ compares his disciples to lambs and sheep; but it must also be observed, that the Spirit of God tames those who by nature were bears or lions.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 21:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-21.html. 1840-57.