John 21:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 21:3, NIV: I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

John 21:3, ESV: Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

John 21:3, KJV: Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

John 21:3, NASB: Simon Peter *said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They *said to him, 'We are also coming with you.' They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

John 21:3, NLT: Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.' 'We'll come, too,' they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

John 21:3, CSB: "I'm going fishing," Simon Peter said to them."We're coming with you," they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

What does John 21:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior to being called by Christ, many of the disciples were fishermen (John 1:35–42). After His resurrection, Jesus told the men to meet Him in their home region of Galilee (Matthew 28:9–10). Prior to this moment, He has already appeared to these men (John 20:19, 26), but we're not told if they were given further directions. Seven men are in a group (John 21:2), including Peter. He once again takes charge and plans to resume fishing. Whether he's simply looking to earn money, or catch food, or stave off boredom, Scripture does not say.

Nighttime fishing is not unusual (Luke 5:5), and it's not abnormal for experienced fishermen to come up without much of a catch on some trips. In this case, however, the lack of fish will serve to make a useful point. Jesus has called these men to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). That is, their purpose is now to evangelize others. When Christ appears on the shore, and miraculously directs their net (John 21:4), it's proof He can provide for their needs. Unless their efforts are aligned with His purpose, they won't succeed.