What does John 10:27 mean?
ESV: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
NIV: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
NASB: My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
CSB: My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.
NLT: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
KJV: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Verse Commentary:
This continues Jesus' repetition of an analogy He made several months prior, after healing a man born blind (John 9). There, He pointed out that sheep only recognize the voice of their particular shepherd—those who don't listen to the witness of Jesus are proving they're not part of His "flock" (John 10:1–6). In another analogy, Jesus stated that He was the only means of salvation (John 10:7–9), separating all people into two basic groups: saved and unsaved. Those who refuse to come to Christ are, by definition, part of the group mastered by Satan (John 8:42–47).

Jesus makes this statement under dire circumstances. His critics have trapped Him in a corner of the temple (John 10:24), daring Him to repeat His claims, and apparently prepared for violence (John 10:31). In typical fashion, Jesus not only responds with brave truth, He continues, as shown in the following verses (John 10:28–29), culminating in a statement that seems almost deliberately intended to enrage His critics (John 10:30).
Verse Context:
John 10:22–42 happens a few months after the controversy described in chapter 9 through the first half of chapter 10. Here, Jesus is cornered, in an overt threat, by the same religious leaders He has been castigating for years. He echoes the metaphors of sheep and shepherd He employed after giving sight to a blind man. Jesus points out that His teachings and miracles are all consistent with predictions of the Messiah, but these men refuse to accept Him. This culminates in another attempt on Jesus' life, which He somehow avoids. This represents the last time Jesus will publicly teach prior to His crucifixion.
Chapter Summary:
This passage continues Jesus' discussion with the religious leaders of Jerusalem, seen in chapter 9. Jesus lays out three separate analogies about His ministry, using the concept of sheep and shepherds. In those statements, Jesus explains why some people refuse to accept Him, declares Himself the only means of salvation, and again predicts His sacrificial death. This leads to controversy. Later, Jesus is cornered by a mob in the temple grounds. They once again try to stone Him as He repeats His divine claims, but He escapes in some way not fully described by the text. After this, Jesus leaves the area and returns to the region where John the Baptist had once preached.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 7, the gospel of John describes Jesus' preaching at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. Through chapters 7 and 8, He debates with critics and attempts to explain spiritual truths. On the way out of the city, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind, as shown in chapter 9. That begins an extended debate which continues in this chapter. Jesus gives analogies of His mission using shepherding as a theme. Months later, He repeats those ideas when cornered by an aggressive mob in the temple. This sets the stage for His grandest miracle, the raising of Lazarus, seen in chapter 11.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/18/2024 7:45:08 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.