John 21:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 21:16, NIV: Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'

John 21:16, ESV: He said to him 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, “Tend my sheep.”

John 21:16, KJV: 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.

John 21:16, NASB: He *said to him again, a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do youlove Me?' He *said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He *said to him, 'Shepherd My sheep.'

John 21:16, NLT: Jesus repeated the question: 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter said, 'you know I love you.' 'Then take care of my sheep,' Jesus said.

John 21:16, CSB: A second time he asked him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me? ""Yes, Lord," he said to him, "you know that I love you.""Shepherd my sheep," he told him.

What does John 21:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter's shame at denying Jesus, three separate times (John 13:36–38) was evident in his remorse (Luke 22:61–62). Now that Jesus has been resurrected, He has asked Peter to affirm his love (John 21:15). Now, He repeats that question using essentially the exact same ideas. Peter probably understands where this is going; if not, he will certainly grasp the symbolism the third time Jesus asks (John 21:17).

The terms used by Jesus and Peter here are not identical in all three instances, but they are meant to imply the same ideas. Jesus' commands use terms for "sheep" and "lambs," but He doesn't mean to draw a distinction between them. In the same way, Jesus uses the Greek term agapaō, referring to "love," in His first two questions. His third question, and all of Peter's replies, use the term phileō. This also refers to love—in separate contexts, these imply different types of love. In this instance, they're intended to mean the same thing.