John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The false does not persist except so one/you might conceal and tear to pieces and demolish. I persist so that [everyone] might have a living and might have abundance. >

KJV : 

Jhn 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There is a lot going on here.

First, these two sentences are set up in parallel to oppose to each other. The first sentence is in the negative because it represents the negative view to set off the positive sentence about Christ that follows. In English, this seems clumsy, but the Greek is much simpler. In English, you cannot see that it uses a "double negative" (to different words for "not" both the objective and subjective forms) which unlike in English renders it, not as a positive, but as especially negative. The second not is hidden in the word "but" in the KJV and "except" in my alternative. In Greek, it is two words "if not."

The word translated as "thief" generally means a crook of any sort. In a metaphorical sense that Christ uses it, it means a fraud, a faker. Not just someone who lies, but someone who tries to profit from dishonesty.

The word translated as "come" (erchomai) means to come or to go, but primarily it means to start or, generally, just to to make progress. Come works here, but this translation is often misleading.

The word translated as "for" (hina) introduces an explanatory phrase, that is, a phrase that explains the "why" of the sentence. It is often translated as "because" or "in order that" or simple as "that." Here, it explains why the thief comes, to do something or, as in the alternative, to cause people to do something.

The form of the three verbs in the first sentence, in the KJV, "to steal and to kill and to destroy," is interesting. Though they can be rendered in the third person as in the KJV, the form of all three words is more commonly used for the second person. There is no pronoun used to indicate the third person or the second person. The person if refers to comes from the verb ending which depends on its class.

The result in creates a double meaning referring to both the thief (3rd person) and subtly to Christ's listener "you" (second person). So it would be heard "so he might steal etc." and, more subtly, "so you might etc." or, since the form is also the future, "you will steal etc." This seems totally intentional. All three of the verbs belong to the same class of verbs which is the only class that would have this double meaning. These words, especially the one translated as "to kill," are very not commonly used by Jesus and seem to be used, at least partly, so that all could have the same form. We seldom see three verbs together that belong to the same class. It is unlikely to happen by accident. One interesting result is the these verbs all kind of rhyme because they use the same endings.

The first two of these words also means something different than you might think from the KJV. This is especially true if we are looking a how Christ is using this verse to explain "the truth" or "reality.

The word translated as "steal" has a lot of different meanings, but all of them revolve around concealment. This isn't open theft, but any concealed dishonest act. In terms of the "truth" it refers to concealing. The Greek word for truth means literally "not hidden."

The word translated as "to kill" is not the word usually translated as "to kill." It specifically means "to kill for a sacrifice." In all other cases in the NT, it is used that way, always referring to a sacrifice or the Passover sacrifice. The best way to translate is "to slay for a sacrifice." However, its metaphorical meaning is "tear to pieces," which works extremely well if we think of this verse are referring to the truth. However, its meaning as "to offer sacrifice" is also interesting, suggesting that the thief comes into the fold so that it can offer sacrifice to his god or that he comes into the fold so that we will offer sacrifice perhaps to him.

The second sentence is much more straightforward. It is the positive parallel to the first sentence.

In this sentence, it is clear that the second part "have life" and "have it abundantly" do not refer to what Christ wants to do, but what is wants others to do. The "they" is not a separate pronoun, but part of the verb ending as in the first sentence. However, here the ending indicates "3rd person plural." What is not clear is who "they" are. The last plural noun used was the Greek word for flocks, translated in KJV as "sheep" but that was way back in Jhn 10:7 , many sentences ago, before this who "truth" section where Christ is explaining his meaning. This leaves the meaning opening, perhaps referring to "everyone."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

κλέπτης "The thief" is from kleptês (kleptes), which means a "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἔρχεται (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

εἰ μὴ "But" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not", "but," and "except." εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

ἵνα "For" is from hina (hina), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

κλέψῃ (2nd sg fut ind mid or 2nd sg aor subj mid or 3rd sg aor subj act) "To steal" is from klepto (klepto) which means "to steal", "to cheat", "to spirit away", "to conceal", "to keep secret", "to do secretly", "to seize or occupy secretly", "to bring about secreand "to do secretly or treacherously."

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."

θύσῃ (2nd sg fut ind mid or 2nd sg aor subj mid or 3rd sg aor subj act) "To kill" is from thyo, which means "to offer by burnt sacrifices", "to sacrifice", "to slay [a victim]", "to celebrate [with offerings]", "to slaughter", "to cause [a victim] to be offered," and, metaphorically, "to tear to pieces."

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."

ἀπολέσῃ 2nd sg fut ind mid or 2nd sg aor subj mid or 3rd sg aor subj act) "To destroy" is from apollumi (apollymi), which means "to demolish", "to lay waste", "to lose", "to perish", "to die", "to cease to exist," and "to be undone."

ἐγὼ "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "Am come" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

ἵνα "That" is from hina (hina), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

ζωὴν "Life" is from zôê (zoe), which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

ἔχωσιν (3rd pl pres subj act) "They might have" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

καὶ 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."

περισσὸν "It more abundantly" is from perissos, which means "beyond the regular number of size", "out of the common", "extraordinary" "more than sufficient", "superfluous", "useless", "excessive", "extravagant", "over-wise", "over-curious", "abundantly," and "remarkable."

ἔχωσιν (3rd pl pres subj act) "They might have" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."