John 10:8 All that ever came before me

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

All those who confront (go around) me are frauds, and crooks. Moreover, the flocks don't listen to them.>

KJV : 

Jhn 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The phrase translated as "came before me" is very misleading in English. In the Greek, it has a couple of different meanings, both of which fit better in this context that "came before."

The Greek word translated as "came" primarily means "start" and can mean either to come or to go, since it makes no reference to direction. We use the phrase "he set out" or "he makes his way" in the same manner.

The Greek word translated as "before" can also means "against" or "on the side of." It refers to a sense of place and position, not usually time. Translating it as "before" in English gives it the sense that it refers to time. Since the forefathers, prophets, and John the Baptist came "before" Christ in the sense of time, this is misleading. Since it refers to place, it might be translated as "all those who came in my presence." However, this is also misleading because not only his challengers came before him physically. Many supporters came before him too and they were not thieves and liars.

There are two better translations here. They come from the fact that the Greek word translated as "before" can also be translated as either "against" or a "to the side."

Using the "against" sense of the word, the meaning is something like "all those who came out against me." Our English word "confront" captures this more meaningful idea of "came before." Christ's challengers came in front of him to confront him.

However, using the "to the side of" meaning, we get another idea. Given the larger context, this phase also has the meaning of "going around" Christ. Christ has declared himself the "door." (Jhn 10:7), but in Jhn 10:1, Christ says frauds don't enter by the door. We don't go "to the side" or "next to" or "in front" of a door. We go "in" or "through" a door. In using the Greek word translated as "before," (pros) Christ is making it clear that these people are not using him as their entry point.


 A play on the two meanings of "came in front of me." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάντες "All" is from pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

ὅσοι "That ever" is from hosos (hosos), which means "as many", "as much as", "as great as", "as far as," and "only so far as."

ἦλθον (3rd pl aor ind act) "Came" 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.

πρὸ "Before" is from pros (pros), which means "from (place)", "on the side of", "toward", "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before."

ἐμοῦ "Me" is from moi, which means "I", "me", and "my".

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

εἰσὶν 3rd pl pres ind act) "Are" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

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."

λῃσταί: "Robbers" is from lêistês (lestes), which means "robber" or "pirate."

ἀλλ᾽ "But" is from alla (alla), which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

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.

ἤκουσαν "3rd pl aor ind act) "Did...hear" is from akouô (akouo), which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

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."

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