In John 18:9 KJV Jesus (or John) says:

...That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

This apparently alludes to the saying which Jesus pronounced in John 17:12 (KJV):

...and none of them is lost ... that the scripture might be fulfilled

However, I couldn't find what scripture is being quoted in John 17:12 (KJV). I checked every verse in the Bible for the words loss/lose/lost and came up with nothing. (There were only 32 search hits).

So is this a quote of some scripture that is not in the Bible?

  • It's normally taken as 17:12 (+ see below); there's also John 6:39. And do you mean: "In John 18:9 Jesus (or John [?]) says:..."? Also: "Note: this is NOT a quote of Jesus...": but ὁ λόγος ὃν εἶπεν = "the word which he spoke..." must have its antecedent as Jesus, so not sure what you're seeing here.
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 12:16
  • 1
    @Davïd I think the OP is wondering what scripture Jesus is alluding to in 17:12, which seems to be a good question, but I don't understand why this starts with 18:9. User16975, if that's what you meant would you consider clarifying? The question you posed David has answered in the comment, but I think you already understood that?
    – Susan
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 13:32
  • @Susan, yes I presented my question in an backwards manner. Edited for clarification. John 17:12 is what we're after here.
    – user16975
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 15:05

5 Answers 5


Christ was not quoting a passage from the Old Testament. He was referencing something that had been revealed to him previously about the Father's will–seen in John 6:39;

"And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (John 6:39;)

Essentially, God tells Jesus that it is his will for Christ to save all of his children.

In John 18:8-9 Jesus Christ offered Himself to His enemies if they would let His disciples go free. This ensured the immediate physical safety of the Apostles, who would become the leaders of the Church following Jesus’s death. This small detail is a reflection of the larger event that was then taking place, a mirror of the Atonement of Christ. The Savior gave Himself so all of us could be set free from the eternal enemies of sin and death ("Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.").

Christ is the good shepherd and we are his sheep, these scriptures communicate that he has made sure that not a single one of his flock will be lost.

Prophets have used similar phraseology to refer to the people they've been commanded to preach to:

"Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me..." (Isaiah 8:18)

which is quoted in Hebrews:

"And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me." (Hebrews 2:13)

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    – Tau
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 0:15
  • This is an excellent answer, and I see you have already read our site directives. Thank you for your contribution and I hope we hear more from you!
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    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 0:19
  • 1
    Hello and welcome. I know the question was asked differently on CSE, but you posted this answer here where the question specifically asks what scripture 17:12 is alluding to ("that the scripture might be fulfilled"). Please edit your answer to address this.
    – Susan
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 7:16
  • I have edited my answer.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 16:14
  • @ShemSeger, how could the revelation from the Father be called "the scripture" in John 17:12? It was not yet scripture.
    – user16975
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 20:05

The full verse is: "Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction, so that the scripture could be fulfilled." (NET)

The event in which the scripture became fulfilled was the loss of the one destined for destruction rather than the preservation of all the others. The NET Bible provides this very helpful footnote to this verse:

A possible allusion to Ps 41:9 or Prov 24:22 LXX. The exact passage is not specified here, but in John 13:18, Ps 41:9 is explicitly quoted by Jesus with reference to the traitor, suggesting that this is the passage to which Jesus refers here. The previous mention of Ps 41:9 in John 13:18 probably explains why the author felt no need for an explanatory parenthetical note here. It is also possible that the passage referred to here is Prov 24:22 LXX, where in the Greek text the phrase “son of destruction” appears.


This is my first post and it's a rather intimidating topic to address coming from the angle I'll be presenting :)

I recall years ago reading a passage that struck me as having a striking resemblance to what Jesus perhaps was referring to in John 18:19 and John 17:12. This would require one to be a bit open minded to appreciate it, but the resemblance is definitely there.

The passage is from an Apocryphal writing, which seems to contains a hidden reference to Christ, symbolized as the Mother of Israel and the Prophets within the context of the passage. The passage is 2 Esdras 2:26 - https://biblia.com/books/kjvapoc/2Esd2.26

26 As for the servants whom I have given thee, there shall not one of them perish; for I will require them from among thy number.

Under this interpretation, the servants could be identified as those Jesus kept. It is beyond the scope of this particular Q/A, but there are other noteworthy sayings in 2 Esdras I believe are worth exploring as well that the avid learner would appreciate.

Will be curious to see what others have to say about this passage from 2 Esdras. I also realize the Apocryphal writings have always been under high scrutiny. Take it with a grain of salt.

  • Hi RCorley welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. This is an insightful observation from 2 Esdras, thanks, upvoted +1. Please be sure to take the site tour and read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web. Thanks! Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 0:38
  • thank you @HoldToTheRod I'm glad I found this site. i will be sure to check out the site tour and the 2nd link you supplied. I have been looking for an outlet like this for a long time. Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 3:11

I think the verse you may be looking for is John 10:28-29:

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.(NIV)

The antecedent to 'them" and "they" here is the sheep being referred to in the two immediate preceding verses of this pericope:

John 10:26-27

26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (NIV)

Being the actual word "sheep" is not repeated in the verses (that I think) you were looking for, but is replaced with a referent, it is hard to find this passage using a search engine when you recall the word sheep. The search engine will return a null set.

  • I think there are closer matches. But thanks and welcome to the site.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 18:41

I think there is confusion as to the original question being posted due to variances in this passage among different translations.

In the KJV red letter edition, the entire verse John 18:9 is attributed to Jesus' speaking: "That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none". This leads to the question: Who is "he" that spoke the passage Jesus is referring to? And where is it to be found in the Bible?

Other translations attribute the words: 'That the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake' to the author of the gospel, not to Jesus, thereby leading the reader to assume that Jesus was He who spoke the passage at some earlier time.

I believe the original question was posted by a reader of a KJV red letter edition and is asking to what speaker and passage was Jesus referring. I don't have the answer as to whether one translation is correct and another is not, I just know that I was also confused by these differences so I understand the question that is being posed.

  • Hi there and welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 10:25

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