John 10:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 10:10, NIV: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

John 10:10, ESV: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

John 10:10, KJV: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

John 10:10, NASB: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, andhave it abundantly."

John 10:10, NLT: "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

John 10:10, CSB: "A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance."

What does John 10:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has made two analogies about His ministry using a topic very familiar to His listeners: shepherding. The first relied on the idea that sheep instinctively listened only to the voice of their particular shepherd, and no other. This, Jesus implies, is why His religious critics reject Him: they are part of another flock, one ultimately owned by the Devil (John 10:1–6; 8:42–47). In the second application, Jesus claims to be "the door," meaning the single narrow opening in sheep pens of that era. This was the sole means by which sheep were able to come and go. Jesus' detractors, then, are like thieves and robbers who are trying to take sheep without using that door.

Here, Jesus begins His third and most detailed analogy. He has already compared the hypocritical, tradition-bound religious leaders to thieves. The purpose of a thief, so far as the flock is concerned, is only to wreak havoc; the robber causes mayhem for his own selfish gain. In the same way, ungodly people who claim to be spiritual cause suffering in others for the sake of their pride and greed (Titus 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:5).

In contrast, Jesus seeks to not just preserve life for the sheep, but to provide it. In the prior analogy, Jesus claimed that as the one and only door, He was the means by which a person could "be saved." That Greek term, sōthēsetai, suggests rescue, protection, and healing. Here, Jesus deepens that claim by saying that His purpose is not only tied to life, but to an abundant life.

That "abundant" life means something more meaningful than material wealth and prosperity (Colossians 3:2–3; Matthew 6:25–32). It begins with salvation from an eternity of suffering the penalty of sin (Romans 6:23). An abundant life is, first and foremost, eternal life (John 17:3). The abundant life means gaining a heavenly perspective (Romans 12:2), leading to a growing trust and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). It means blossoming into a life full of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). While false teachers and false religions offer shallow, temporary relief, only Jesus brings truly everlasting life and spiritual abundance (John 14:6).