John 10:8 All that ever came before me

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

The audience doesn't understand Jesus's comments about the sheep knowing the voice of the shepherd. And then he says that he is the door of the sheep.

KJV : 

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

Literal Verse: 

All as many as showed up in order to avoid me are frauds and crooks. Moreover, the sheep don't listen to them.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The wordplay here is in the phrase translated as "came before me"/"have come before me."  It can refer to time, as it is translated in most English Bibles, but since the context is Jesus being a door (John 10:7) it can also mean "in front of" describing those who standing in front of a closed door. However, in relation to preference, this preposition means "in order to avoid me." This is much more consistent with these people avoiding the door in John 10:1.

The word translated as "that ever" and "who" means "as many as" and "as great as."

The Greek verb translated as "came" primarily means "start" and can mean either "to come" or "to go," but it makes no reference to direction. I often use "show up" to try and capture both concepts. The preposition translated "before" can mean "before" or "in front of" in place or "before" in time. Notice that the verb can mean movement, as "go" or "come," or refer to time as "start."

In the source I used, there is more to this verse, but in English translations, it is translated as the next verse, so I will translate there.

My Takeaway: 

We all must pick door number one or door number two.

Greek : 

Wordplay: 

 A play on the two meanings of "in front of" in place and "before" in time.

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάντες [212 verses](adj sg masc nom) "All" is pas, which means "all," "the whole," "every," "anyone," "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way," "on every side," "in every way," and "altogether."

ὅσοι [28 verses](adj pl masc nom) "that ever" is hosos, which means "as many," "as much as," "as great as," "as far as," and "only so far as."

ἦλθον [198 verses] (3rd pl aor ind act) "Came" is  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 [12 verses](prep) "Before" is pro, which means (of place) "before," "in front of," (of time) "before," (of preference) "before" in time, "rather than," "more than," and so on.

ἐμοῦ [239 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou (emou), which means "me," and "mine." As a genitive object means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

κλέπται [9 verses](noun pl masc nom) "Theives" is kleptes, which means a "thief", "cheat," and "knave."

εἰσὶν [614 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Are" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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: [10 verses](noun pl masc nom) "Robbers" is from lestes, which means "robber" or "pirate."

ἀλλ᾽ [154 verses](conj) "But" is alla, which means "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay."

οὐκ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou , 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 [95 verses](3rd pl aor ind act) "Listened" is 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." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

αὐτῶν [720 verses](adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Them" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

τὰ [821 verses](article pl neut nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πρόβατα. [26 verses](noun pl neut nom) "Sheep" is probaton, which means any domesticated four-footed animal, "sheep," "cattle," "herds," and "flocks.

KJV Analysis: 

All -- The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way," "on every side," and "altogether."

that ever -- (CW) The word translated as "that ever " means "as great as," "as much as," and similar ideas of comparison.

came -- The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

before -- The Greek preposition translated as "before" means (of place) "before," "in front of," (of time) "before," (of preference), "rather than," "more than," and so on.

me -- "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.   As a genitive object of a preposition, as here, it means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

are -- The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

thieves - "Thieves" is from the Greek noun that means "thief," "cheat," and "knave."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

robbers, -- The Greek  noun translated as "robbers" means "robber" or "pirate."

but -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead" or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, not doing something, with a positive one, "instead do this."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

sheep -- "Sheep" is Christ's symbol for his followers. The Greek word refers to any domesticated animal and works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." The flock follows the shepherd, which is above them. It is also together, a united group.

did -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

not  -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

hear- -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It is the most common verb that Christ uses meaning "to hear." It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent.

them.-- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  However, with this verb, the genitive object is the one heard from.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that ever" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV : 

John 10:8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.

NIV Analysis: 

All -- The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way," "on every side," and "altogether."

who -- (CW) The word translated as "who" means "as great as," "as much as," and similar ideas of comparison.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

come -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

before -- The Greek preposition translated as "before" means (of place) "before," "in front of," (of time) "before," (of preference), "rather than," "more than," and so on.

me -- "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.   As a genitive object of a preposition, as here, it means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

are -- The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

thieves - "Thieves" is from the Greek noun that means "thief," "cheat," and "knave."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

robbers, -- The Greek  noun translated as "robbers" means "robber" or "pirate."

but -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead" or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, not doing something, with a positive one, "instead do this."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

sheep -- "Sheep" is Christ's symbol for his followers. The Greek word refers to any domesticated animal and works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." The flock follows the shepherd, which is above them. It is also together, a united group.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

not  -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

listened - -- "Listened " is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It is the most common verb that Christ uses meaning "to hear." It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent."

to -- This word "to"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, with this verb, the genitive object is the one heard from.

them.-- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "who" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

If we think about this as about idea getting into our heads, as we have this entire section, since John 10:1, the sense is ideas try to avoid Jesus's perspective are fake.

Front Page Date: 

Jul 2 2022