The Meaning of John 10:16 Explained

John 10:16

KJV: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

YLT: and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock -- one shepherd.

Darby: And I have other sheep which are not of this fold: those also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

ASV: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one flock, one shepherd.

What does John 10:16 Mean?

Study Notes

other sheep
i.e. not of the Jewish fold, but Gentiles. John 10:4 ; Isaiah 56:8 ; John 17:20 ; Acts 15:7-9 .

Verse Meaning

The other sheep in view refer to Gentiles outside the fold of Israel who would believe in Jesus (cf. John 10:3-4). This is one of a few intimations in the Gospels that a new body would replace Israel as the people of God in the present age (cf. John 17:20; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 3:6). These sheep, with those from Israel, would compose one fold, namely, the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32). This rules out the possibility of a Jewish church and a Gentile church. That fold would have one shepherd, namely, Jesus, who would become, to change the figure, the Head of the church. Jesus knew these sheep ( John 10:14-15) as well as those who would believe on Him in Israel, "this fold" (cf. Psalm 100:3).

Context Summary

John 10:7-18 - Jesus The Good Shepherd
He who came in by the door which John the Baptist opened has become the door. It stands open to all comers-if any man. The salvation here mentioned refers to the entire process of soul-health: go in for fellowship; go out for service.
Wherever destruction is uppermost in speech or act, you may detect the presence of the great enemy of souls. Christ is ever constructive, saving, life-giving. Let us not be content until our life has become abundant life. Our life cost the Shepherd's life. He did not hesitate to interpose Himself between the sheep and the wolf of hell. There is possible between our Lord and ourselves an intimacy of knowledge which can be compared to nothing less than that which subsists between the Father and Himself.
Note how our Lord looked beyond the hurdles of the Jewish fold and thought tenderly of the Gentile sheep that were far away. In the revelation committed to the Apostle Paul He gave vent to His love, and through the succeeding centuries He has ever sought them. There may be many folds, but there can be only one flock. Men die because they cannot help it; Christ was born that He might die; He died because He would. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 10

1  Jesus is the door, and the good shepherd
19  Diverse opinions of him
23  He proves by his works that he is Jesus the Son of God;
31  escapes the Jews;
39  and goes again beyond Jordan, where many believe on him

Greek Commentary for John 10:16

Other sheep [αλλα προβατα]
Sheep, not goats, but “not of this fold” See John 10:1 for αυλη — aulē Clearly “his flock is not confined to those enclosed in the Jewish fold, whether in Palestine or elsewhere” (Westcott). Christ‘s horizon takes in all men of all races and times (John 11:52; John 12:32). The world mission of Christ for all nations is no new idea with him (Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28). God loved the world and gave his Son for the race (John 3:16). Them also I must bring Second aorist active infinitive of κακεινα δει με αγαγειν — agō with αγω — dei expressing the moral urgency of Christ‘s passion for God‘s people in all lands and ages. Missions in Christ‘s mind takes in the whole world. This is according to prophecy (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 56:8) for the Messiah is to be a Light also to the Gentiles. It was typified by the brazen serpent (John 3:14). Christ died for every man. The Pharisees doubtless listened in amazement and even the disciples with slow comprehension. And they shall hear my voice Future middle indicative of και της πωνης μου ακουσονται — akouō with the genitive ακουω — phōnēs These words read like a transcript from the Acts and the Epistles of Paul (Rom 9-11 in particular). See especially Paul‘s words in Acts 28:28. Present-day Christianity is here foretold. Only do we really listen to the voice of the Shepherd as we should? Jesus means that the Gentiles will hearken if the Jews turn away from him. And they shall become one flock, one shepherd Future middle indicative of γινομαι — ginomai plural, not singular γενησεται — genēsetai as some MSS. have it. All (Jews and Gentiles) will form one flock under one Shepherd. Note the distinction here by Jesus between ποιμνη — poimnē (old word, contraction of ποιμενη — poimenē from ποιμην — poimēn shepherd), as in Matthew 26:31, and αυλη — aulē (fold) just before. There may be many folds of the one flock. Jerome in his Vulgate confused this distinction, but he is wrong. His use of ovile for both αυλη — aulē and πομνιον — pomnion has helped Roman Catholic assumptions. Christ‘s use of “flock” (ποιμνη — poimnē) here is just another metaphor for kingdom (βασιλεια — basileia) in Matthew 8:11 where the children of the kingdom come from all climes and nations. See also the various metaphors in Ephesians 2 for this same idea. There is only the one Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20), Jesus Christ our Lord. [source]
Bring [ἀγαγεῖν]
Better, lead, as Rev., in margin. Compare John 10:3, leadeth them out. The idea is not bringing them together (as συναγάγῃ , John 11:52), or conducting them to one place, but assuming the guidance. [source]
Fold [αὐλῆς]
From ἄω , to blow, hence, strictly, a place open to the air; an uncovered space enclosed by a wall. So Homer, of the cave of the Cyclops:“But when we came upon that neighboring coast,We saw upon its verge beside the sea A cave high-vaulted, overbrowed with shrubs-DIVIDER-
Of laurel. There much cattle lay at rest,-DIVIDER-
Both sheep and goats. Around it was a court ( αὐλή ),-DIVIDER-
A high enclosure of hewn stone.”“Odyssey,” ix., 181-186. Dr. Thomson says: “The low building on the hill-side which we have just passed, with arches in front, and its enclosure protected by a rubble wall and thorny hedge, is a sheepfold or marah … . The marahs are generally built in a valley, or on the sunny side of a hill, where they are sheltered from the winter winds. In ordinary weather the sheep and goats are gathered at night into the enclosed yard; but when the nights are cold and stormy the flocks are shut up in the marah. The sharp thorn-bushes on the top of the wall that surrounds the yard are a defense which the prowling wolf will rarely attempt to scale. The leopard and panther of this country, however, when pressed with hunger, will sometimes overleap this thorny hedge, and with one bound land amongst the frightened fold” (“Central Palestine and Phoenicia,” p. 591). Compare Homer:“As a lion who has leapedInto a fold - and he who guards the flock Has wounded but not slain him - feels his rage-DIVIDER-
Waked by the blow; - the affrighted shepherd then-DIVIDER-
Ventures not near, but hides within the stalls. -DIVIDER-
And the forsaken sheep are put to flight,-DIVIDER-
And huddling, slain in heaps, till o'er the fence-DIVIDER-
The savage bounds into the fields again.”“Iliad,” v., 136-142. [source]

There shall be [γενήσεται]
More correctly, shall come to be. Some editors read γενήσονται , they shall become. [source]
One fold [μία ποίμνη]
The A.V. entirely ignores the distinction between αὐλή , fold, and ποίμνη , flock. The latter word is found Matthew 26:31; Luke 2:8; 1 Corinthians 9:7, and always distinctly meaning a flock, as does also the diminutive ποίμνιον , little flock (Luke 12:32; 1 Peter 5:2, etc.). Render, as Rev., one flock, one shepherd. So Tyndale's Version of the New Testament. Compare Ezekiel 34:23. We are not, however, to say with Trench (“A.V. of the New Testament”), that the Jew and the Gentile are the two folds which Christ will gather into a single flock. The heathen are not conceived as a fold, but as a dispersion. See John 7:35; John 11:52; and, as Meyer observes, “the thought of a divine leading of the heathen does not correspond at all to the figure of fold, of which the conception of theocratic fellowship constitutes an essential feature.” So Bengel. “He says, other sheep, not another fold, for they were scattered abroad in the world.” When Jesus speaks of the other sheep who are not from this fold, the emphasis is on fold, not on this. Compare Romans 11:17sqq. Nor, moreover, does Jesus mean that the Gentiles are to be incorporated into the Jewish fold, but that the unity of the two is to consist in their common relation to Himself. “The unity of the Church does not spring out of the extension of the old kingdom, but is the spiritual antitype of that earthly figure. Nothing is said of one fold under the new dispensation” (Westcott). It will readily be seen that the incorrect rendering fostered by the carelessness or the mistake of some of the Western fathers, and by the Vulgate, which renders both words by ovile, fold, has been in the interest of Romish claims. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 10:16

John 6:60 Hear it [αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν]
Αὐτοῦ may be rendered Him, but this is not probable. Hear means a docile hearing, with a view to receiving what is heard. Compare John 10:3, John 10:16, John 10:27; John 12:47; John 18:37. [source]
John 10:1 Sheepfold [αὐλὴν τῶν προβάτων]
Literally, fold of the sheep. So Rev., better, because the two ideas of the flock and the fold are treated distinctly. Compare John 10:16. [source]
John 10:1 Verily, Verily [Αμην αμην]
Solemn prelude by repetition as in John 1:51. The words do not ever introduce a fresh topic (cf. John 8:34, John 8:51, John 8:58). So in John 10:7. The Pharisees had previously assumed (Vincent) they alone were the authoritative guides of the people (John 9:24, John 9:29). So Jesus has a direct word for them. So Jesus begins this allegory in a characteristic way. John does not use the word παροιμια — parabolē but εις την αυλην των προβατων — paroimia (John 10:6), and it really is an allegory of the Good Shepherd and self-explanatory like that of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. He first tells it in John 10:1-5 and then explains and expands it in John 10:7-18. Into the fold of the sheep (αυλη — eis tēn aulēn tōn probatōn). Originally αω — aulē (from αναβαινων — aō to blow) in Homer‘s time was just an uncovered space around the house enclosed by a wall, then a roofless enclosure in the country where flocks were herded as here and John 10:16. It later came to mean the house itself or palace (Matthew 26:3, Matthew 26:58, etc.). In the papyri it means the court attached to the house. Climbeth up (αναβαινω — anabainōn). Present active participle of αλλαχοτεν — anabainō to go up. One who goes up, not by the door, has to climb up over the wall. Some other way (αλλοτεν — allachothen). Rare word for old εκεινος — allothen but in 4Macc 1:7 and in a papyrus. Only here in N.T. The same (κλεπτης εστιν και ληιστης — ekeinos). “That one” just described. Is a thief and a robber (κλεπτω — kleptēs estin kai lēistēs). Both old and common words (from ληιζομαι — kleptō to steal, κλεπτης — lēizomai to plunder). The distinction is preserved in the N.T. as here. Judas was a kleptēs (John 12:6), Barabbas a robber (John 18:40) like the two robbers (Matthew 27:38, Matthew 27:44) crucified with Jesus erroneously termed thieves like “the thief on the cross” by most people. See Mark 11:17. Here the man jumping over the wall comes to steal and to do it by violence like a bandit. He is both thief and robber. [source]
John 6:60 A hard saying [σκληρος]
“This saying is a hard one.” Old adjective, rough, harsh, dried hard (from σκελλω — skellō to dry), probably the last saying of Jesus that he was the bread of life come down from heaven and they were to eat him. It is to be hoped that none of the twelve joined the many disciples in this complaint. Hear it Or “hear him,” hear with acceptation. For ακουω — akouō with the genitive see John 10:3, John 10:16, John 10:27. [source]
John 10:2 The shepherd of the sheep [ποιμην εστιν των προβατων]
No article with ποιμην — poimēn “a shepherd to the sheep.” He comes in by the door with the sheep whom he leads. Old word is ποιμην — poimēn root meaning to protect. Jesus applies it to himself in John 10:16 and implies it here. It is used of Christ in 1 Peter 2:25; Hebrews 13:20. Paul applies it to ministers in Ephesians 4:11. Jesus uses the verb ποιμαινω — poimainō to shepherd, to Peter (John 21:16) and Peter uses it to other preachers (1 Peter 5:2) and Paul uses it for bishops (elders) in Acts 20:28. Our word pastor is simply Latin for shepherd. Christ is drawing a sharp contrast after the conduct of the Pharisees towards the blind man between himself and them. [source]
John 11:52 But that he might also gather together into one [αλλ ινα συναγαγηι εις εν]
Purpose clause with ινα — hina and the second aorist active subjunctive of συναγω — sunagō Caiaphas was thinking only of the Jewish people The explanation and interpretation of John here follow the lead of the words of Jesus about the other sheep and the one flock in John 10:16. That are scattered abroad (διασκορπιζω — ta dieskorpismena). Perfect passive articular participle of εις εν — diaskorpizō late verb (Polybius, lxx) to scatter apart, to winnow grain from chaff, only here in John. The meaning here is not the Diaspora (Jews scattered over the world), but the potential children of God in all lands and all ages that the death of Christ will gather “into one” (eis hen). A glorious idea, but far beyond Caiaphas. [source]
John 12:22 Andrew [τωι Ανδρεαι]
Another apostle with a Greek name and associated with Philip again (John 6:7.), the man who first brought his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1:41). Andrew was clearly a man of wisdom for a crisis. Note the vivid dramatic presents here, cometh What was the crisis? These Greeks wish an interview with Jesus. True Jesus had said something about “other sheep” than Jews (John 10:16), but he had not explained. Philip and Andrew wrestle with the problem that will puzzle Peter on the housetop in Joppa (Acts 10:9-18), that middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile that was only broken down by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22) and that many Christians and Jews still set up between each other. Andrew has no solution for Philip and they bring the problem, but not the Greeks, to Jesus. [source]
Acts 20:28 To all the flock [παντι τωι ποιμνιωι]
Contracted form of ποιμενιον ποιμνη — poimenion ̂ poimnē (John 10:16) already in Luke 12:32 and also in Acts 20:29; 1 Peter 5:2, 1 Peter 5:3. Common in old Greek. Hath made (ετετο — etheto). Did make, second aorist middle indicative of τιτημι — tithēmi did appoint. Paul evidently believed that the Holy Spirit calls and appoints ministers. Bishops The same men termed elders in Acts 20:17 which see. To shepherd (ποιμαινειν — poimainein). Present active infinitive of purpose of ποιμαινω — poimainō old verb to feed or tend the flock (ποιμνη ποιμνιον — poimnēποιμην — poimnion), to act as shepherd (βοσκε — poimēn). These ministers are thus in Paul‘s speech called elders (Acts 20:17), bishops (Acts 20:28), and shepherds (Acts 20:28). Jesus had used this very word to Peter (John 21:16, twice την εκκλησιαν του τεου — boske feed, Acts 21:15, Acts 21:17) and Peter will use it in addressing fellow-elders (1 Peter 5:2) with memories, no doubt of the words of Jesus to him. The “elders” were to watch over as “bishops” and “tend and feed as shepherds” the flock. Jesus is termed “the shepherd and bishop of your souls” in 1 Peter 2:25 and “the great Shepherd of the sheep” in Hebrews 13:20. Jesus called himself “the good Shepherd” in John 10:11. The church of God The correct text, not “the church of the Lord” or “the church of the Lord and God” (Robertson, Introduction to Textual Criticism of the N.T., p. 189). He purchased (περιποιεω — periepoiēsato). First aorist middle of περιποιησιν — peripoieō old verb to reserve, to preserve (for or by oneself, in the middle). In the N.T. only in Luke Luke 17:33; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:13. The substantive δια του αιματος του ιδιου — peripoiēsin (preservation, possession) occurs in 1 Peter 2:9 (“a peculiar people” = a people for a possession) and in Ephesians 1:14. With his own blood Through the agency of (του τεου — dia) his own blood. Whose blood? If tou theou (Aleph B Vulg.) is correct, as it is, then Jesus is here called “God” who shed his own blood for the flock. It will not do to say that Paul did not call Jesus God, for we have Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13 where he does that very thing, besides Colossians 1:15-20; Philemon 2:5-11. [source]
Romans 1:16 To the Jew first, and also to the Greek [Ιουδαιωι τε πρωτον και ελληνι]
Jesus had taught this (John 4:22; John 10:16; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). The Jew is first in privilege and in penalty (Romans 2:9.). It is not certain that πρωτον — prōton is genuine, but it is in Romans 2:9. [source]
Ephesians 2:14 Both one [τα αμποτερα εν]
“The both” (Jew and Gentile). Jesus had said “other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (John 10:16). One (εν — hen) is neuter singular (oneness, unity, identity) as in Galatians 3:28. Race and national distinctions vanish in Christ. If all men were really in Christ, war would disappear. Brake down the middle wall of partition “Having loosened (first aorist active participle of λυω — luō see note on John 2:19) the middle-wall (late word, only here in N.T., and very rare anywhere, one in papyri, and one inscription) of partition See the uproar when Paul was accused of taking Trophimus beyond this wall (Acts 21:28). [source]

What do the individual words in John 10:16 mean?

And other sheep I have which not are of the fold this those also it behooves Me to bring voice of Me they will hear there will be one flock with one shepherd
καὶ ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης κἀκεῖνα δεῖ με ἀγαγεῖν φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσιν γενήσονται μία ποίμνη εἷς ποιμήν

ἄλλα  other 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἄλλος  
Sense: another, other.
πρόβατα  sheep 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: προβάτιον 
Sense: any four footed, tame animal accustomed to graze, small cattle (opp. to large cattle, horses, etc.), most commonly a sheep or a goat.
ἔχω  I  have 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: ἔχω  
Sense: to have, i.e. to hold.
αὐλῆς  fold 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: αὐλή  
Sense: among the Greeks in Homer’s time, an uncovered space around the house, enclosed by a wall, in which the stables stood, hence among the Orientals that roofless enclosure by a wall, in the open country in which the flocks were herded at night, a sheepfold.
ταύτης  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
κἀκεῖνα  those  also 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: κἀκεῖνος  
Sense: and he, he also.
δεῖ  it  behooves 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δεῖ  
Sense: it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper.
με  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἀγαγεῖν  to  bring 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἄγω  
Sense: to lead, take with one.
φωνῆς  voice 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: φωνή  
Sense: a sound, a tone.
μου  of  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἀκούσουσιν  they  will  hear 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
γενήσονται  there  will  be 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Plural
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
μία  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
ποίμνη  flock 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ποίμνη  
Sense: a flock (esp.) of sheep.
εἷς  with  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
ποιμήν  shepherd 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ποιμήν  
Sense: a herdsman, esp. a shepherd.