What is the difference between the thief and the robber in John 10:1?


John 10:1

ESV - 1 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.

Clarify Share Report Asked August 10 2021 Mini Mj Jensen

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Two different Greek words are used in recording the teaching of Jesus in this verse. The word translated as "thief" is "kleptes" (from which the English word "kleptomania" (a compulsive desire or need to steal) is derived). The word translated as "robber" is "lestes".

These two words appear nearly the same number of times in the New Testament, with several of the involved verses being translated interchangeably in varying English versions of Scripture. (That is, the same verse using either word is translated as "thief" by some versions, and "robber" by others.)

To the extent that a distinction can be made between them, I would say that "kleptes" would more commonly denote an individual who attempts to perform his action stealthily, without confrontation or violence, with the word being most commonly rendered in English as "thief", emphasizing the act of taking the item in question.

By contrast, "lestes" would be an individual who confronts victims directly or openly, and takes their money or possessions by force or violence, and is thus more commonly translated in English as "robber".

Jesus apparently intended his point to encompass all forms of dishonest taking (including the spiritual thievery of deceptive religious teachers, whether done through the corruption of existing doctrine or through the teaching of false doctrines of their own devising).

August 10 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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