John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

When it [the truth] turns out all its own, it guides them and the flock goes along with it because they recognize the sound of it. >

KJV : 

Jhn 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This phrase is another play on words consistent with "teaching the real truth."

First, in the Greek source today, the word translated as the initial "sheep" does not exist in the text. Instead, there is the word that means "all." This is important because it can refer either to the sheep or to his voice, that is, his ideas.

Next, the Greek word translated as "putteth forth" (ekballo) is, in every verse examined previously on this site, used in a very negative "outer darkness" sense. Christ specifically says that he will make sure his followers are not caste out (Jhn 6:37). It could be used here for two reasons: to refer to a future in which his followers are caste out of society and, in a metaphorical sense, when his ideas are caste out of society.

However, it could also be used in the sense of "expose," the idea that the truth reveals its own. Another way of saying this is that it "turns the out" so that they are exposed in society as followers of the truth.

The Greek term translated as "follow" also means to follow the meaning of a discourse or to follow an analogy. So the verse refers his flock physically following him but more importantly, following his ideas even though he uses analogies, such as this one.

The word translated as "know" is actually find of funny, because it means "to see." So Christ is saying that his flock "sees his voice." The word means "to know" in the same sense that we use the word "to see" to mean "know." As in "I see your point."

The final word translated as "voice" refers to the sound or the tone more than the actual words.

So what Christ is saying is that when his followers and ideas are caste out of society, he still leads them. We can understand what he wants of us, not just by the logic of his words, but by the sound, the tone of his teaching, which we learn to understand.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅταν "When" is from (hotan), which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

τὰ ἴδια , "His own" is from idios (idios), which means "one's own", "pertaining to one's self", "private", "personal", "personally attached", "separate distinct", "strange", "unusual", "peculiar," and "appropriate."

πάντα Untranslated is pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

ἐκβάλῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "He putteth forth" is from ekballô (ekballo) and means "throw out", "cast out of a place,"and "expose." Ek means "out of", "from," and "away from." Ballo is "to throw" or "to scatter."

ἔμπροσθεν "Before" is from emprosthen, which as an adverb means [of place]"in front of", "before", "forwards," [of time] "before", "of old," and as a preposition, "facing", "opposite", "in front," [of time] beforehand," and [of degree] "preferred before." It also denotes a ranking.

αὐτῶν "Them" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

πορεύεται, (3rd sg pres ind mp) "He goeth" is from poreuô (poreuomai), which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT.

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

τὰ πρόβατα "Sheep" is from probaton, which means any domesticated four-footed animal, "sheep", "cattle", "herds," and "flocks."

αὐτῷ "Him" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

ἀκολουθεῖ, (3rd sg pres ind act) "Follow" is from akoloutheô (akoloutheo), which means "to follow", "go after", "to go with"(typically of slaves and soldiers), "to be guided by," [of a discourse]"to follow the thread," [of things] "to follow upon", "to be consistent with," and "to follow an analogy."

ὅτι "For" is from hoti (hoti), which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

οἴδασιν (3rd pl perf ind act) "They know" is from oida which is a form of eido, (eido) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

τὴν φωνὴν "Voice" is from phone, which means "sound", "tone", "sound of a voice", "speech", "voice", "utterance", "cry" [of animals], "sounds" [of inanimate objects], "faculty of speech", "phrase", "saying", "rumor," and "report."

αὐτοῦ: "His" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."