What does John 10:7 mean?
ESV: So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
NIV: Therefore Jesus said again, 'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
NASB: So Jesus said to them again, 'Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
CSB: Jesus said again, "Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
NLT: so he explained it to them: 'I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
KJV: Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has just finished comparing His ministry to the voice of a shepherd. In that era, sheep were housed in pens with high walls and a single narrow opening. Sheep would move in or out at the sound of their shepherd's voice—and only the voice of their shepherd. Jesus uses this analogy to explain that those who reject Him are proving that they're not part of "His" flock (John 10:1–6). His second analogy, starting here, is separate from the first, though it is meant to follow in a similar meaning.

Now Jesus makes the third of seven "I am" statements found in the gospel of John. In these remarks, Jesus evokes the words spoken to Moses by God in Exodus 3:14. Jews of that era knew exactly what such claims implied—when Jesus used those words in reference to Abraham earlier, they interpreted it as blasphemy and tried to kill Him (John 8:58–59).

Here, Jesus makes a separate metaphor, which is only partly related to the one just completed. The sheep pens of that time were constructed with only one slim opening in otherwise high walls. This made it easier to prevent sheep from wandering out, wild animals from getting in, and controlling who had access to the sheep. This gap was guarded by a doorkeeper, mentioned by Jesus in His first analogy (John 10:3). Since the pen needed close and constant guarding, the doorkeeper would typically lay across the opening to rest or sleep. In that way, the gatekeeper very literally became "the door" of the sheep pen.

Here, Jesus is implying that He, and He alone, is the means by which God intends people to come to God. His comment in the next verse, in particular, is meant to state that the prior religious leaders of the people were not the "true" leaders God intended. This concept also echoes, at least subtly, the single door God placed on the ark built by Noah—the one and only doorway through which mankind was saved from the wrath of God (Genesis 6:16).
Verse Context:
John 10:1–21 continues directly from Jesus' encounter with local religious leaders, after giving sight to a man born blind (John 9). Jesus' references here to shepherds and shepherding are pointed barbs at these hypocritical, self-serving figures. In this section, Jesus actually creates three separate metaphors; these are not meant to be understood as a single analogy. The first comes in verses 1 through 6, the second in verses 7 through 9, and the third in verses 10 through 18. In doing so, Jesus explains how He differs from the corrupt leaders He confronts. He also delivers His third and fourth ''I am'' statements, out of seven in this gospel.
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.
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