|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-5 Here is a parable or similitude, taken from the customs of the East, in the management of sheep. Men, as creatures depending on their Creator, are called the sheep of his pasture. The church of God in the world is as a sheep-fold, exposed to deceivers and persecutors. The great Shepherd of the sheep knows all that are his, guards them by his providence, guides them by his Spirit and word, and goes before them, as the Eastern shepherds went before their sheep, to set them in the way of his steps. Ministers must serve the sheep in their spiritual concerns. The Spirit of Christ will set before them an open door. The sheep of Christ will observe their Shepherd, and be cautious and shy of strangers, who would draw them from faith in him to fancies about him.
Verse 4. - In like manner, our Lord continues to describe what every true shepherd of men has done and ever will do: When he hath put forth all his own, and not another's, drawn them by the music of his voice, or constrained them by the sweet violence of his love, or even compelled them to go forth from a fold in which they may find security, but not pasture; and when he has marshaled them into obedience and into thankful trust by the strength of his sympathy and knowledge of their need, he goeth before them. He is their leader and example; he shows them in his own life the kind of provision made for them; he shares with them the perils of the wilderness, and first of all is prepared to grapple with their fierce foes, "He drinks of the brook in the way." The highest meaning, the only complete interpretation, of this passage is found when Christ himself is the Shepherd, who does summon from the old enclosure "all his own," all who have entered into living harmony with himself. And the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. Nothing is here said of "lost sheep" or of "goats;" these are all the "ideal sheep" of the flock, individuals who recognize the voice of the true Leader, and discriminate their own shepherd from all others, whether pretenders to their affections or destroyers of their lives - wolves or butchers, thieves or robbers. Should we persist in interpreting the apologue as it stands, a question arises about the πρόβατα that are not the shepherd's" own." Some have answered it by supposing that the latter are the chief of his own flock, who will bring the rest after them. The truth is not obscurely hinted of that election to highest privileges and duties, which does not declare that the rest are not sheep at all.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when he putteth forth his own sheep,.... The Ethiopic version reads, "when he leads them all out"; in order to bring them into proper pastures:
he goeth before them; in allusion to the eastern shepherds, who when they put out their flocks, did not, as ours do, drive them before them, and follow after them, at least not always, but went before them: so Christ, the great shepherd, goes before his flock, not only to provide for them, but by way of example to them; in many instances he is an ensample to the flock, as under shepherds, according to the measure of grace received, should be: he has left them an example in many respects, that they should tread in his steps:
and the sheep follow him; in the exercise of the graces of humility, love, patience, self-denial, and resignation of will to the will of God; and in the discharge of duty, walking, in some measure, as he walked.
For they know his voice; in the Gospel, which directs and encourages them to exercise grace in him, and to walk in the path of duty: this they know by the majesty and authority of it; and by the power with which it comes to their souls; and by its speaking of him, and leading to him; and by the evenness, harmony, and consistency of it. The Persic version renders the whole thus; "when he calls and leads out the sheep, they go before him, and their lambs after them, for they know his voice".
John 10:4 Parallel Commentaries
John 10:4 NIV
John 10:4 NLT
John 10:4 ESV
John 10:4 NASB
John 10:4 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible