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1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.


John 10:1-21 is the good shepherd discourse. This address by Jesus continued the same setting as chapter 9, where the spiritually blind Pharisees were seen as unbelievers and the blind man who saw as a believer (Jn 10:21).

The Bible makes frequent analogy between leaders as shepherds and people as sheep. Jesus contrasted Himself with false shepherds in this chapter. He also identified Himself as the true Shepherd.

1 “Most assuredly [amen, amen],

The words “most assuredly” or “amen, amen” indicate a strategic statement by Jesus of the Pharisees’ culpability toward truth (Jn 9:41).

I say to you,

Jesus introduced a parable of the shepherd and sheep. The shepherd led his sheep in the countryside during the day and brought them back to a collective sheepfold in town for the evening.

he who does not enter the sheepfold [sheep pen] by the door,

The “sheepfold” was a courtyard bordered by a stone wall. Many shepherds might share the same sheepfold, where several flocks resided. A gatekeeper guarded the entrance, permitting authentic shepherds to enter. It was a place of security.

The context indicates that the “sheepfold” was Israel, not heaven or the church.

but climbs up some other way,

Anyone who came into the sheepfold by any other way than by the entrance was illegitimate. The “door” was the only legitimate way to enter or exit the sheepfold.

the same is a thief and a robber.

Those who attempt to enter the sheepfold by a way other than the door are illegitimate. In context, these are the Pharisees (chapter 9) who fleece the sheep with false doctrine and put them in eternal peril. False teachers are both covert (thief) and seek to deprive (robber) people of the truth.


Unauthorized religious leaders will seek to destroy God’s flock.


The Old Testament warns about false shepherds in Israel (Isa 56:10-11; Jer 10:21; 12:10; 23:1-2; 50:6; Ezek 34:2-10). These “shepherds” led Israel astray. Paul warned that false teachers will not spare the flock (Acts 20:29).