I can’t sleep

This last Wednesday, we looked at Isaiah 56 as the next chapter in our inductive study.

Tomorrow, we shall examine John 10:11-18.

It is an incredible, radical Isaianic-Johannine connection.

John’s hinge back to Isaiah is verse 16.  Do you see it?

How does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2008 deal with this verse?

It’s 11:44 pm.  I am wide awake.


  1. And a question for Greg, how does the Roman Catholic Church translate and interpret John 10:16 in 2008?

  2. Subbing for a friend’s paper route while he’s on vacation. I am also awake.

    What exactly was supposed to be problematic for LDS in these passages? Or for Catholic traditions?

  3. Hey Todd. Sorry you couldn’t sleep. We prayed for you and your community today in the course of offering the Qurbana. Seth, hope the paper route went well.

    Todd, I’m not sure why you’re asking me about RCC interpretation specifically. I don’t speak for the Roman Church; however, standard exegesis, whether RC, Orthodox (either kind), or Protestant, would view Christ as speaking here of the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in the one Body of Christ, the “the one flock under one shepherd,” as also spoken of in Isaiah 56, as you point out, as well as in Isaiah 66 and a them which, of course, figures prominently in St. Paul’s writings, and this is essentially the understanding found in the RC “Jerome Biblical Commentary”.

    Are you also asking about differences in ecclesiology vis-a-vis Rome vs. Orthodoxy vs. Evangelicalism, perhaps specifically the maxim, held by the Orthodox and Rome alike, that “outside the Church there is no salvation?”

  4. And Mormons typically view the verses as referring to the gathering in one of scattered Israel, as well as gentiles. I need Todd to be more specific before much response can be given.

  5. Seth,

    In his volume, John 1-11, from The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (Broadman & Holman Publishers, copyright 1996, 2000, 2002) Gerald L. Borchert writes about John 10:16 on page 335:


    “The question is: What did Jesus mean by this statement? It certainly is a stretch in logic to suppose with the Mormons that Jesus was here referring to North America and Indian ancestors on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean. [265] Such an idea has to be read into the text and not interpreted from the text.

    [265] The North American Indians in the Mormon tradition are placed on a parallel plain with the people of Israel; thus a second history emerges that permits another set of revelations and opens the possibility to a second community parallel to that of the development in Israel. For the role of the Jews and Indians see The Book of Mormon, 22-31. Concerning the role of Jesus in Mormonism see W. Linn, The Story of the Mormons (New York: Macmillan, 1902), 94-96. For the Mormon arguments from Scripture see I. M. Smith, The Book of Mormon Vindicated (Independence, Mo.: Ensign, 1900), 35-78, esp. pp. 72-73. For a collection of Mormon writings see Mormonism II: Pro-Mormon Writings of the Twentieth Century, ed. G. Ward (New York: Garland, 1990), 39-82. For a critical view see B. McKeever and E. Johnson, Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1994),and D. Reed and J. Farkas, Mormons (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), 73-75.”


    It is interesting how this Baptist professor references LDS works dated back to the beginning of the 20th century and then directs us to McKeever and Johnson for a critical evaluation. I would like to know what is the up-to-date 2008 LDS interpretation of John 10:16 by (1) the General Authorities, and by (2) the LDS academia.

    And then how does this compare with Joseph Smith and his interpretation of the Standard Works?


    I am interested in why the KJV and the Geneva Bible followed with the English word, fold, instead of Tyndale’s translation in the last phrase of John 10:16. I am thankful for being lead out of a religious “fold” to be a part of a “flock”. (And I noticed you followed the latter in translation, “flock”.)

    This verse, describing the work and proving the worth of the Shepherd, is incredible.

    I hope you both had a good weekend.

  6. The modern Mormon view is that the “other sheep” refer to people in the Book of Mormon. Interestingly, I believe Jesus, when he visited the people of the Book of Mormon also spoke of visiting others – whom we assume to be some of the scattered lost tribes of Israel.

    As for the Mormon scholarly view….

    Mr. Borchert is a bit incorrect here. Mormon scholars largely believe the Book of Mormon events to have taken place in a small limited geographical area, probably not much bigger than present day Israel, or perhaps Alabama – located somewhere in Central America.

    It is true that Joseph Smith himself assumed that the events had taken place across the entire North and South American continents. Many modern day Mormons – though not all, or even most – also believe in the “Continental Geography” of the Book of Mormon. A careful study of the text – especially the accounts of the Nephite-Lamanite wars in Alma shows this to be mistaken. If you calculate the times it took Nephite armies to march between cities, the area couldn’t have been much larger than Guatemala.

    I prefer what the actual revealed text says over what Joseph Smith opined about said text.

    Fringe scholars have theorized the BoM events may have taken place on an Island in the Caribbean, or perhaps in the Great Lakes region. One has even suggested Malaysia as a possible site (which seems a bit “out-there” to me).

    But all are agreed that the geography of the Book of Mormon is much more limited than what Joseph Smith assumed. A few scholars have persisted in arguing the continental geography model. But the vast majority subscribe to the “Limited Geography Model” and most place it somewhere in Central America (and probably not on top of the Mayan civilization).

    Modern theory also assumes that other people lived on the continents of North and South America at the same time as the Nephites and Lamanites, and probably mixed and traded and fought with them.

    But anyway… modern LDS do unanimously interpret “other sheep” as referring to the Book of Mormon people.

  7. Todd:

    The Greek has “flock”, the Latin Vulgate (originally translated by Jerome) has “fold”, so, in the absence of extant Greek variants, “flock” is to be preferred. In contemporary RC translations, the Jerusalem Bible has “flock” with “fold” as a footnote. The New American Bible has “fold”. The RSV, approved for RC use, has “flock”. However, given vss. 7-9 and 16a, it looks like these terms are synonymous, a usage perhaps influenced by the parallelism we find so often in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms.

    I am interested in the fact that you connect this with Isaiah 56 (and, I assume, the latter part of Isaiah 66 as well). These passages from Isaiah, especially 56:7 and 66:21, indicate a continuance of liturgical, sacrificial worship. (See also Malachi 1:11, which, since at least the Didache, written c. AD 100, has been identified with the Eucharist.)

  8. Here is the million dollar question, Seth. Does the BoM use the same language as the KJV for the last phrase in verse 16?

    Does the BoM commit the same error in English?

    Did Joseph Smith like the KJV translators ignore Tyndale on this verse?

    Now, I need to go find my BoM. I have been looking for it all day, and I haven’t found it.

  9. The only thing I can say on this (and I am a late comer) is that yes mormons believe that the other people mentioned by christ are the people in the BOM. Many people argue where the events in the BOM took place. THe best answer for that comes from the 9th Article of Faith ” We believe in all that God has revealed all that he does now reveal and we believe He will yet reavel many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of god.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s