My Sheep Hear My Voice: What Does John 10:27 Mean?


John 10:27 reads, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationJohn 10:27
ESVMy sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
NASBMy sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
NIVMy sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
NLTMy sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

My Sheep Hear My Voice: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

10:22-30 All who have any thing to say to Christ, may find him in the temple. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves doubt.

The Jews understood his meaning, but could not form his words into a full charge against him.

He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and none of them should perish; for the Son and the Father were one.

Thus he was able to defend his sheep against all their enemies, which proves that he claimed Divine power and perfection equally with the Father.

John 10:27| Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Verses 27-30. –

(2) Christ’s claim to equality of power and essence, and similarity of gracious operation with the Father. Verses 27, 28. – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand.

Commentators have differed as to the arrangement of these two verses – whether the six assertions should be regarded as two triplets, in the first of which the sheep of Christ are made prominent, and in the latter of which the Shepherd; thus –

(l) The sheep –

“My sheep hear my voice” (their receptivity).

“And I know them” (the Lord’s response to their faith).

“And they follow me” (their active obedience).

(2) The Shepherd –

“I give them eternal life” (involving freedom from peril and death).

“They shall not perish forever.”

“No one (not man or devil, wolf or hireling)

shall pluck them out of my hand.”

This is not so satisfactory as the arrangement which puts this weighty saying into three couplets instead of two triplets; in which the sheep are the prominent theme of each proposition. The three couplets display the climacteric character of the wondrous rhythm and interchange of emotion between the Divine Shepherd and the sheep-

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them” = mutual recognition.

“They follow me, and I give them eternal life” = reciprocal activity.

“They shall not perish forever, and no one shall pluck them out of my hand” = an authoritative assurance, and its pledge or justification.

Christ’s knowledge of the sheep corresponds with their recognition of his supreme claims; theft active trust is rewarded by his greatest gift; their indefeasible birthright is guaranteed by his limitless authority and power to protect them.

It would be gross perversion of the passage to urge this indefeasible birthright on the ground of a few occasional flashes of conscious assurance and without any recognition of all the terms of the relation.

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