John 10:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

1 10. The Allegory of the Door of the Fold

1. Verily, verily ] This double affirmation, peculiar to this Gospel (see on Joh 1:51), never occurs at the beginning of a discourse, but either in continuation, to introduce some deep truth, or in reply. This verse is no exception. There is no break between the chapters, which should perhaps have been divided at Joh 9:34 or 38 rather than here. The scene continues uninterrupted from Joh 9:35 to Joh 10:21, where we have a reference to the healing of the blind man. Moreover Joh 10:6 seems to point back to Joh 9:41; their not understanding the allegory was evidence of self-complacent blindness. This chapter, therefore, although it contains a fresh subject, is connected with the incidents in chap. 9, and grows out of them. The connexion seems to be that the Pharisees by their conduct to the man had proved themselves bad shepherds; but he has found the Good Shepherd: they had cast him out of doors; but he has found the Door: they had put him forth to drive him away; the Good Shepherd puts His sheep forth to lead them. We are not told where these words are spoken; so that it is impossible to say whether it is probable that a sheepfold with the shepherds and their flocks was in sight. There is nothing improbable in the supposition.

He that entereth not by the door ] The Oriental sheepfolds are commonly walled or palisaded, with one door or gate. Into one of these enclosures several shepherds drive their flocks, leaving them in charge of an under-shepherd or porter, who fastens the door securely inside, and remains with the sheep all night. In the morning the shepherds come to the door, the porter opens to them, and each calls away his own sheep.

some other way ] Literally, from another quarter: the word occurs here only in N.T.

the same ] Better, he; literally, that one. It is a pronoun of which S. John is very fond in order to recall with emphasis some person or thing previously mentioned. Comp. Joh 1:18; Joh 1:33, Joh 5:2; Joh 5:39, Joh 9:37, Joh 12:48, Joh 14:21; Joh 14:26, Joh 15:26. In Joh 1:33 (‘the same said unto me’), Joh 5:11, and Joh 12:48 it is inaccurately translated, as here, ‘the same.’

a thief and robber ] Everywhere in this Gospel (8, 10, Joh 12:6, Joh 18:40), as also 2Co 11:26, these words are given correctly as renderings of the Greek equivalents; but everywhere else in N.T. (Mat 21:13; Mat 26:55; Mat 27:38, &c., &c.) the word here translated ‘robber’ is less well translated ‘thief.’ The ‘robber’ is a brigand, a more formidable criminal than the ‘thief;’ the one uses violence, the other cunning.

1 18. “The form of the discourse in the first half of chap. 10 is remarkable. It resembles the Synoptic parables, but not exactly. The parable is a short narrative, which is kept wholly separate from the ideal facts which it signifies. But this discourse is not a narrative; and the figure and its application run side by side, and are interwoven with one another all through. It is an extended metaphor rather than a parable. If we are to give it an accurate name we should be obliged to fall back upon the wider term ‘allegory.’

This, and the parallel passage in chap. 15, are the only instances of allegory in the Gospels. They take in the Fourth Gospel the place which parables hold with the Synoptists. The Synoptists have no allegories distinct from parables. The fourth Evangelist has no parables as a special form of allegory. What are we to infer from this? The parables certainly are original and genuine. Does it follow that the allegories are not?

(1) We notice, first, that along with the change of form there is a certain change of subject. The parables generally turn round the ground conception of the kingdom of heaven. They … do not enlarge on the relation which its King bears to the separate members.… Though the royal dignity of the Son is incidentally put forward, there is nothing which expresses so closely and directly the personal relation of the Messiah to the community of believers, collectively and individually, as these two ‘allegories’ from S. John. Their form seems in an especial manner suited to their subject matter, which is a fixed, permanent and simple relation, not a history of successive states. The form of the allegories is at least appropriate.

(2) We notice next that even with the Synoptists the use of the parable is not rigid. All do not conform precisely to the same type. There are some, like the Pharisee and Publican, the Good Samaritan, &c., which give direct patterns for action, and are not therefore parables in the same sense in which the Barren Fig-tree, the Prodigal Son, &c. are parables.… If, then, the parable admits so much deviation on the one side, may it not also on the other?

(3) Lastly, we have to notice the parallels to this particular figure of the Good Shepherd that are found in the Synoptists. These are indeed abundant. The parable of the Lost Sheep (Luk 15:4-7; Mat 18:12-13).… ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (Mat 15:24).… ‘But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no Shepherd’ (Mat 9:36), which when taken with Mat 11:28-29 (‘Come unto Me all ye that labour,’ &c.), gives almost an exact parallel to the Johannean allegory.” S. pp. 167 169.

Joh 2:13 to Joh 11:57 . The Work

We here enter on the second portion of the first main division of the Gospel, thus subdivided: The Work (1) among Jews, (2) among Samaritans, (3) among Galileans, (4) among mixed multitudes.

Consult other comments:

John 10:1 - Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

John 10:1 - The Greek Testament

John 10:1 - Barclay Daily Study Bible

John 10:1 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

John 10:1 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 10:1 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

John 10:1 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

John 10:1 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

John 10:1 - B.H. Carroll's An Interpretation of the English Bible

John 10:1 - Through the Bible Commentary

John 10:1 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

John 10:1 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

John 10:1 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

John 10:1 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

John 10:1 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

John 10:1 - John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

John 10:1 - Expositors Bible Commentary

John 10:1 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

John 10:1 - Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

John 10:1 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

John 10:1 - Expositor's Dictionary of Text by Robertson

John 10:1 - F. B. Hole's Old and New Testaments Commentary

John 10:1 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

John 10:1 - Gaebelein's Annotated Bible (Commentary)

John 10:1 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

John 10:1 - McGarvey and Pendleton Commentaries (New Testament)

John 10:1 - Geneva Bible Notes

John 10:1 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

John 10:1 - Gnomon of the New Testament

John 10:1 - William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

John 10:1 - Godet Commentary (Luke, John, Romans and 1 Corinthians)

John 10:1 - Grant's Commentary on the Bible

John 10:1 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

John 10:1 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

John 10:1 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

John 10:1 - International Critical Commentary New Testament

John 10:1 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

John 10:1 - Commentaries on the New Testament and Prophets

John 10:1 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 10:1 - William Kelly Major Works (New Testament)

John 10:1 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

John 10:1 - A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

John 10:1 - Cornelius Lapide Commentary

John 10:1 - Lightfoot Commentary Gospels

John 10:1 - Neighbour's Wells of Living Water

John 10:1 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

John 10:1 - An Exposition on the Whole Bible

John 10:1 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

John 10:1 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

John 10:1 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

John 10:1 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

John 10:1 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

John 10:1 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

John 10:1 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

John 10:1 - The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist by Riley

John 10:1 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 10:1 - Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

John 10:1 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 10:1 - Scofield Reference Bible Notes

John 10:1 - The Sermon Bible

John 10:1 - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

John 10:1 - Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 10:1 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

John 10:1 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

John 10:1 - You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

John 10:1 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

John 10:1 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

John 10:1 - Combined Bible Commentary

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