Why did Joseph Smith change John 10:7?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep”

Why did LDS prophet Joseph cross out sheep and insert sheepfold?

I can’t believe this.

Do you believe alongside Joseph that the Bible is in error on this point about the third great “I Am” statement in John’s Gospel?

Quite honestly, I am an Idaho sheep who got led out of the religious fold/establishment by the Shepherd Himself.

12 comments

  1. I don’t see any major change, except that the “change” makes it make sense. Sheep don’t have doors, but pens for sheep (sheepfolds) do. Most of the bible translations I looked at “changed” the verse too, although they went for a different word: “…the door for the sheep.” Either way, nearly every other (i.e., non-KJV) bible translation effectively agrees with JS’s translation on this verse.

  2. Six verses previous the Lord introduced the parable thus:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1)

    Joseph finished the metaphor.

  3. Bryce: Transliterated phonetically, the Greek here is “tane ahlane tone probatone” which is, literally, “the fold of the sheep”.

    At the same time, Strong’s indicates that “probaton” can sometimes be translated “sheepfold”. This is apparently based on non-biblical Greek documents, since I find no instance in the NT where such a translation would be indicated, unless it is the passage under discussion, John 10:7.

    Todd: I wouldn’t push this metaphor too far. Verse 9, after all, speaks of “entering” and “going in and out”. Further, St. Paul calls the Church as “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” another stuctural metaphor, and see I Peter 2:4-5.

  4. Greg, did the blind man get led out of a religious fold in the preceding chapter by the Shepherd? Verily. I hope/seek to be careful on parables, but I can’t divorce ch. 10 from ch. 9. And chapter 10 is wildly exhilarating. I am scampering about and racing around with joy.

    Bryce, Are you saying the “sheepfold” is the one, true Church in verse 1? What if it is just any old courtyard among many residential courtyards in a rural village? And a boy or girl shepherd goes from courtyard to courtyard? Isn’t the main emphasis upon the manners of a spiritual kleptomaniac and worse, etc.? Too many men stand in pulpits today acting as “undershepherds” but they have never gone through the only Door to speak to true sheep. And aunthentic sheep know it, no matter what obscure courtyard they dwell in across the globe.

    Brian, I simply can’t ignore the Greek language. Some KJV preachers very much do just that. 😉

  5. Todd, the sheepfold here, like the Shepherd, is about protection, not bondage. There is no suggestion of a connection, such as you speak of, between chapter nine and chapter ten.

    Again, 10:9 speaks of movement in both directions:
    “I am the door; if any one ENTERS by me, he will be saved, and will go IN and out and find pasture.”

    BTW, I’m glad you don’t ignore the Greek.

  6. Greg, the ultimate protection is Christ. In Christ. In Christ. That is the N.T. motif. That is the protection. That is being saved. Safety.

    Not the fold/establishment.

    (But everybody’s focus is on the external fold–what they can see with their eyes–yet actually people still fear in their folds.)

    That blind man came out of the fold of man-centered Judaism.

  7. Todd, there is only one true sheepfold.

    “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16; cf. 3 Nephi 15:17, 21; 1 Ne. 22:25; 3 Ne. 16:3).

    “And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive” (Mosiah 26:21).

    “Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil… And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold; and ye are his sheep…” (Alma 5:38-39, 60).

  8. Bryce, not many ministers use the KJV anymore.

    But let me mention to you the John Phillips Commentary Series. He utilizes only the KJV in his commentary.

    Intriguing. And even John writes with passion on John 10:16:

    “There is all the difference in the world between a fold and flock. The fold was the nation of Israel. A fold is characterized by a circumference, a wall. A flock is characterized by a center, the shepherd. The great truth announced by Jesus was that he was leading his sheep out of the fold represented by the nation of Israel. He was now gathering a flock. The “lost sheep of the house of Israel” to whom he had come had heard his call. Those who had heard and heeded were to become a new flock, the nucleus of a much larger flock, a flock in which Jews and gentiles would become one, one new flock. The “other sheep” who are “not of this fold” are the gentiles who through ensuing centuries would believe in him. What an enormous flock it has become.”

    The Greek word is poimne, not aule.

  9. The reason that the Propeht Joseph Smith changed that is becasue he recieved prompting from the Holy Ghost that this statement was incorrect from the original statement. He did this in several sections and when I read these it makes more sense with the added phrases than it did before.

  10. Jonathan, the Holy Spirit already has a mighty theme of “probaton” unfolding in John 10.

    And as Jesus said in John 10, the Scripture cannot be broken.

    Right?

  11. wrong he was reffering to the jews as calling themselves gods. he knew he was a god but could not prove it because the people wanted to believe by seeing not by faith alone. All He is doing in verse 35 is rebutling the pharises and the jews. And really ch. ten is talking about how God is our shepherd and Jesus is the advocate with the Father in making sure that we all return through his atonement. The reason Joseph Smith changed it is because Christ is saving all mankind, Just not the jews in Isreal and Palestine.

  12. I’ve heard it said that the sheepfold represents Judaism. That chapter 10 is a continuation of chapter 9 and since chapter 9 refers to spiritual blindess, sheep is simply another metaphor to support that only some hear, only some see.
    I’ve read that Jesus leads the Jews out of the sheepfold of Judaism and into a new flock and a new fold. This fold is where Jesus is the good shepherd and he is the door. This new fold is where Jesus brings the gentiles and the jews who hearken to his name. However, if we are to go in and out and find pasture, it seems as though we are leaving Jesus when we want.
    I have been studying this portion of scripture and I am not sure what to believe.
    Perhaps, Christ isn’t limited to a fold but he is simply the leader/shepherd of a flock.
    Or perhaps, there is a fold where Christ is at the door and protects us.
    However, why would he have to call us out by name from a fold that was meant for his sheep?
    If he is protecting us, why then are there other sheep in the fold that are not his?
    Shouldn’t they be excluded from the fold?
    The chapter seems to say that he calls us out by name so that the right sheep come out.
    If you can tell that i’m confused you are correct.
    Maybe there are several interpretations…
    The greek is ambiguous at best sometimes it seems.
    I know that we are called out of the rest of the world/sheep to him.
    But i also know that we are kept safe and protected by him in the fold, for he a good shepherd.
    The chapter seems to agree with both arguments that have been brought up.
    What do you guys think?

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