John 21:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

New Living Translation
"I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go."

English Standard Version
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

New American Standard Bible
"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."

King James Bible
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don't want to go."

International Standard Version
"Truly, I tell you emphatically, when you were young, you would fasten your belt and go wherever you liked. But when you get old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten your belt and take you where you don't want to go."

NET Bible
I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Amen, amen, I tell you, that when you were young, you were girding your loins and you were walking where you wanted, but when you are old, you shall reach out your hands and others shall gird your loins for you and shall escort you to where you do not want.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I can guarantee this truth: When you were young, you would get ready to go where you wanted. But when you're old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will get you ready to take you where you don't want to go."

Jubilee Bible 2000
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou didst gird thyself and walk where thou wouldest, but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and carry thee where thou wouldest not.

King James 2000 Bible
Verily, verily, I say unto you, When you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall dress you, and carry you where you would not.

American King James Version
Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

American Standard Version
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

Darby Bible Translation
Verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst where thou desiredst; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and bring thee where thou dost not desire.

English Revised Version
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

Webster's Bible Translation
Verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast young, thou didst gird thyself and walk whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not.

Weymouth New Testament
"In most solemn truth I tell you that whereas, when you were young, you used to put on your girdle and walk whichever way you chose, when you have grown old you will stretch out your arms and some one else will put a girdle round you and carry you where you have no wish to go."

World English Bible
Most certainly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don't want to go."

Young's Literal Translation
verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou wast girding thyself and wast walking whither thou didst will, but when thou mayest be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another will gird thee, and shall carry thee whither thou dost not will;'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

21:15-19 Our Lord addressed Peter by his original name, as if he had forfeited that of Peter through his denying him. He now answered, Thou knowest that I love thee; but without professing to love Jesus more than others. We must not be surprised to have our sincerity called into question, when we ourselves have done that which makes it doubtful. Every remembrance of past sins, even pardoned sins, renews the sorrow of a true penitent. Conscious of integrity, Peter solemnly appealed to Christ, as knowing all things, even the secrets of his heart. It is well when our falls and mistakes make us more humble and watchful. The sincerity of our love to God must be brought to the test; and it behoves us to inquire with earnest, preserving prayer to the heart-searching God, to examine and prove us, whether we are able to stand this test. No one can be qualified to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ, who does not love the good Shepherd more than any earthly advantage or object. It is the great concern of every good man, whatever death he dies, to glorify God in it; for what is our chief end but this, to die to the Lord, at the word of the Lord?

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 18. - Verily, verily, I say unto thee. This form of address links the pre-resurrection life to that which follows, proclaims the identity of the being and the unity of the Person of the Christ under new conditions. More than that, much solemnity is conferred on this final word of the Master. When thou wast younger than thou art now; i.e. before thou camest under my sway; when thou wert supreme ruler of the fishing-fleet of Capernaum, with wife and family dependent on thee; when Andrew, James, and John (thy partners) were in a measure all doing thy will, following in thy train, submitting to thy behests, - thou girdodst thyself for whatever task was set before thee; thou hadst the choice of duties and pleasures; thou hadst time at thy disposal, thy method of service in thine own hands, even as now it was thy will to gird thee for the task of swimming to my feet (see Isaiah 45:5; Proverbs 31:17; 1 Kings 18:46; John 13:4, 5, διαζώννυμι; Luke 12:35-37; Luke 17:8; Acts 12:8, περιζώννυμι; 1 Peter 1:13, ἀναζώννυμι. The simple verb is used here in reference to all kinds of "girding"). So that the Lord reminds him of his natural self-will, so conspicuous and prominent, the secret of all his weakness and much of his individuality. And thou walkedst whither thou wouldest; or literally, thou wert in the habit of walking whithersoever thou weft willing or desiring to do; i.e. thine outward conduct, and the whole line of thy daily enterprise and duty, was not only an utterance of thine own self-mastery, but even thy wishes, the momentary waywardness of thy purposes, found immediate gratification. But a great change has come over thee; thou hast passed through a new experience. Already thou feelest that thou art not thine own; thy heart and strength, thy hands, thy feet, thy very girdle and sandal, are beginning to seem to thee no longer at thine own disposal. Thy self-will is checked, thy natural audacity and power of initiation are repressed into much narrower limits. Thou-hast found thyself weaker than a little child; thou art in need of this Divine principle of "love," deep and fervent, reverential as well as personal, not only to utter bold expressions of regard, but to form the very focus and new central force of thy whole being; and so it will come to pass that this new force will more than master thee; and when thou shalt be old and gray with years, thy service to that other and higher wilt shall be complete: thou wilt stretch forth thy hands in token of entire submission to the will of another, however it may be revealed to thee - whether at the instance of "the angel" or "Herod," of "Cornelius" or Nero's executioner! This remarkable phrase has often been supposed to mean the "stretching forth of the hands of the crucified" on his being appended to the cross. But such a process would follow rather than precede the "girding," which is, on such an interpretation, taken literally of the girding that preceded the nailing. There can be no doubt, from the language of St. John, that this was the final and forcible illustration of the new principle that would take full possession of Simon Peter. But meanwhile it was a long life of willing surrender to the Supreme Will which gives its highest meaning to these words. And another shall gird thee, and carry thee(or, bring thee) whither thou art not wishing to go. The old self-will, though it be indeed mastered, will not have utterly vanished. If it be not so, where would be the sacrifice? Even the blessed Lord himself said, "Not my will, but thine be done." Verily, even the sanctified nature of the sinless Man, prepared in the spotless womb of the blessed Virgin by the Holy Ghost, anointed by the Spirit, and in living absolute union with the only begotten Son, - even he was, in human consciousness, disposed to cry, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me," etc. We need not wonder, then, that to the very last, when the supreme will was manifested to Peter in the approaches of violent death, he should feel the will of the flesh thwarted. The exquisite legend embodied in the "Domiue, quo vadis?" (see John 13:33) confirms the entire representation of the character of Peter. So also does the story, preserved by Tertullian ('De Pries.,' 35; ' Ad Scorp.,' 15) and Eusebius ('Hist. Eccl.,' 3:1), that the apostle preferred crucifixion with his head downwards, on the plea that to be crucified as his Master was too great an honor for one that had denied his Lord.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto thee,.... A way of speaking often used by Christ, when about to deliver anything of considerable moment, partly to raise the attention, and partly for the more strong asseveration of what is spoken; and may have reference both to what went before, confirming Peter's declaration of his love, which would be demonstrated by dying for him, and the testimony of his omniscience, by foretelling his death, and the kind of it; and to what follows after, which contains an account of Peter in his younger years, and a prophecy of what should befall him in old age:

when thou wast young; not that he was old now, and capable he was of doing, and he did do but just now, what our Lord ascribes to his younger years:

thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldst; that is, he could put on his clothes himself, and gird them about him with a girdle, as was the custom of the eastern nations, who usually wore long garments; and as he, a little before, had girt his fisher's coat about him, and walked where he pleased; denoting the liberty of his will in things natural and civil, which every man is possessed of, though not in things spiritual, without the grace of God; and also his power of doing what was most grateful to him, without being hindered by, or obliged to ask the leave of others:

but when thou shalt be old; implying, that he should live to a good old age, and be continued to be useful and serviceable in the cause of Christ, in preaching his Gospel, and feeding his lambs and sheep, as he did; for he lived to the times of Nero (c), under whom he suffered, about forty years after this:

thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee. This refers not so much to an inability through old age to gird himself, and therefore should stretch forth his hands, that another might with more ease do it for him, and which would be the reverse of his former and present case; for the word gird is used in another sense than before, and signifies the binding of him as, a prisoner with cords, or chains; so "girding", with the Jews, is the same as , "tying and binding" (d): but either to the stretching out of his hands upon the cross, when he should be girt and bound to that; for persons were sometimes fastened to the cross with cords, and not always with nails (e): or, as others think, to his carrying of his cross on his shoulders, with his hands stretched out and bound to the piece of wood which went across; though his being girded or bound may as well be thought to follow the former, as this: indeed, what is added best suits with the latter,

and carry thee whither thou wouldst not; to a painful, cruel, shameful, and accursed death, the death of the cross; not that Peter in spirit would be unwilling to die for Christ, nor was he; but it signifies, that he should die a death disagreeable to the flesh.

(c) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 25. (d) R. David Kimchi, Sepher Shorash. rad. (e) Lipsius de Cruce, l. 2. c. 8. Bartholinus de Cruce, p. 57. 112.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18, 19. When thou wast young—embracing the whole period of life to the verge of old age.

thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest—wast thine own master.

when … old thou shalt stretch forth thine hands—to be bound for execution, though not necessarily meaning on a cross. There is no reason, however, to doubt the very early tradition that Peter's death was by crucifixion.

John 21:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Reinstates Peter
17He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep. 18"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." 19Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"
Cross References
Luke 12:37
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.

John 13:36
Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."

John 21:17
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

John 21:19
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Treasury of Scripture

Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

but.

John 13:36 Simon Peter said to him, Lord, where go you? Jesus answered him, …

Acts 12:3,4 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take …

another.

Acts 21:11 And when he was come to us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his …

thou wouldest not.

John 12:27,28 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from …

2 Corinthians 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not …

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