Word Study of the Month: Shepherd

This months word study is on the word “Shepherd”.

The Greek word for shepherd is poimén meaning herdsman or shepherd. Hebrew is roi (רֹעִי) which means shepherd. It comes from the word ra’ah (רָעָה) which means to pasture tend or graze. Ra’ah can also mean to keep company with or to be friend of. It is interesting that ra’ah can also mean evil. This is possibly why Jesus made the clarification “I am the Good Shepherd”. Harry Goleman said “As Ancient Hebrew was limited to approximately 7,500 words, a word sometimes had a variety of meanings.  In the case of the word shepherd, ra’ah, it is also the word for… Evil.” (See his post here)

“And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied.
And they are shepherds who have no understanding;
They have all turned to their own way,
Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.” -Isaiah 56:11 (NASB)

Jesus is the one truly good in every way shepherd. He does not make mistakes. He is perfectly just in every way. He is perfect. He is not greedy or self-seeking. He is LOVE itself. He is the true and greater shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” -John 10:11 (NASB)

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” -John 10:14 (NASB)

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” -John 10:16 (NASB)

Jesus was the shepherd that the whole world had waited for, the shepherd prophesied of in all of scripture.

“And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel” -Mathew 2:6 (NASB)

“Behold, the Lord God will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” -Isaiah 40:10-11 (NASB)

“And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.” -Micah 5:4 (NASB)

The tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were: – to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep – to defend the sheep from attackers – to heal the wounded and sick sheep – to find and save lost or trapped sheep – to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust. (here)

Christ does more for us than any other shepherd. He is the Healer, the Defender, the Friend, the Saviour, and through all that, the Shepherd.

According to Psalm 23, since Christ is our Shepherd:

  • We shall not want (Psalm 23:1)
  • We lie down in green pastures and are lead beside still waters (Psalm 23:2)
  • Our souls are restored (Psalm 23:3)
  • We are guided in the paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3)
  • We do not have to fear any evil, even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4)
  • We are comforted by his rod and staff (Psalm 23:4)
  • Our cup overflows and we are anointed with oil (Psalm 23:5)
  • We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6)

Some are called by God to shepherd or to feed his sheep.

“He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”” -John 21:16 (NASB)

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” -Acts 20:28 NASB)

Is God your shepherd? Are you running in green pastures or wandering in desolate places? If God is you shepherd, even if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you need not fear any evil, for God will be with you. Even now, God is calling out to you, that you would walk with the flock and submit to him, and let him be your shepherd. How long will you continue to follow a hired hand who does not care for you, a shepherd who is lost himself? Fall on Jesus and he will care for you.

“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.” -John 10:12 (NASB)

“For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” -1 Peter 2:25 (NASB)

As sheep of the true and greater shepherd, we look forward to the day when he will bring us home to us, and appear as the Chief Shepherd.

“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” -1 Peter 5:4 (NASB)

“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” -Revelation 7:16-17 (NASB)

Isn’t it amazing that our shepherd became a lamb for us, willing to die a horrible death, and not just willing but he did, just so that he could redeem every wandering sheep, so that he could bring us into his sheepfold and wipe every tear from our eyes!

I hope you liked this word study! I could really use ideas for what to do for next month’s word study, so please tell me any ideas that you have here. I really enjoyed writing and researching for this post!

Thank you so much for reading this post! Have a wonderful Monday!

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:20-21 (NASB)

All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation.


Author: Faith on the Farm

I’m just a Christian girl who’s striving to glorify God here on the farm. I love sunsets, roses, my dog, and about everything you can photograph on a farm. As you’ve probably guessed, I love photography. When I’m not reading my bible or working on schoolwork, you’ll probably find me cooking, practicing cello, or somewhere outside with my dog by my side and camera in hand. I also love to sing my heart out to my Saviour.