John 15
Vincent's Word Studies
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
The true vine (ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινὴ)

Literally, the vine, the true (vine). True, genuine, answering to the perfect ideal. See on John 1:9. The vine was a symbol of the ancient church. See the passages cited above, and Hosea 10:1; Matthew 21:33; Luke 13:6.

Husbandman (γεωργός)

From γῆ, the earth, and ἔργω, to work. The vine-dresser is ἀμπελουργός, occurring only at Luke 13:7; but the office of the vine-dresser is a subordinate one, while γεωργός may indicate the proprietor. See 2 Chronicles 26:10 (Sept.), where the word is applied to King Uzziah. So of Noah, Genesis 9:20. In Matthew 21:33-41, the γεωργοὶ represent the chiefs and leaders of the Jews. Wyc., an earth-tiller.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Branch (κλῆμα)

Occurring only in this chapter. Both this and κλάδος, branch (see on Matthew 24:32; see on Mark 11:8) are derived from κλάω, to break. The word emphasizes the ideas of tenderness and flexibility.

Purgeth (καθαίρει)

Cleanseth, Rev.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Clean (καθαίρει)

Etymologically akin to καθαίρει, purgeth. The Rev. indicates this by rendering καθαίρει, cleanseth.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Of itself (ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ)

Properly, from itself. See on John 7:17.

No more can ye (οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς)

Literally, so neither can ye. So Rev.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Without me (χωρὶς ἐμοῦ)

Properly, apart from me. So Rev. Compare John 1:3; Ephesians 2:12.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
He is cast forth (ἐβλήθη ἔξω)

The aorist tense. Literally, was cast forth. The aorist, denoting a momentary act, indicates that it was cast forth at the moment it ceased to abide in the vine. Forth signifies from the vineyard; ἔξω, outside.

As a branch (ὠς τὸ κλῆμα)

Strictly, the branch: the unfruitful branch.

Is withered (ἐξηράνθη)

The aorist, as in was cast forth. Wyc, shall wax dry.

Men gather

Or, as Rev., they gather. Indefinite. Compare Isaiah 27:11; Ezekiel 15:5.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Ye shall ask (αἰτήσεσθε)

The best texts read the imperative, αἰτήσασθε, ask.

Shall be done unto you (γενήσεται ὑμῖν)

Literally, it shall come to pass for you.

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Herein (ἐν τούτῳ)

Commonly referred to what follows. My Father is glorified in this, namely, that ye bear much fruit. It is better to refer it back to John 15:7. In the perfect unity of will between the Son and the disciple, which results in the disciple's obtaining whatever he asks, the Father is glorified. To this effect is John 14:13, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." The design of this glorification is that (ἴνα) you may bear much fruit. This retrospective reference of ἐν τούτῳ, in this, or herein, occurs in John 4:37; John 16:30; 1 John 4:17.

Is glorified (ἐδοξάσθη)

The aorist tense; was glorified. As in John 15:6, marking the point when the Father's glory was realized in the perfect union of the believer's will with Christ's.

So shall ye be (καὶ γενήσεσθε)

Literally, and ye shall become. Some editors, however, read γένησθε, and connect, in the same construction with the preceding clause, rendering, "Herein is (was) my Father glorified, that ye might bear much fruit and become my disciples." Note that the word is become, not be. Christian discipleship implies progress and growth.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
In my love (ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐμῇ)

Literally, in the love, that which is mine. Not only the love of the disciple for Christ, nor the love of Christ for the disciple, but the Christ-principle of love which includes both. See the same form of expression in the joy that is mine, John 15:11; John 3:29; John 17:13; the judgment (John 5:30; John 8:16); the commandments (John 14:15); peace (John 14:27).

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
My joy

The joy that is mine; characteristic of me. See on John 15:9.

Might remain (μείνῇ)

The best texts read ᾖ, may be.

Might be full (πληρωθῇ)

Rev., more correctly, may be fulfilled. The A.V. loses the distinction between the absolute joy which is Christ's, and the progressive, but finally consummated joy which is the disciple's.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
My commandment (ἡ ἐντολὴ ἡ ἐμὴ)

The commandment which is mine.

That ye love (ἵνα)

Indicating not merely the nature of the commandment, but its purport.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Greater love hath no man than this, that (ἵνα)

Some of the more subtle phases of John's thought cannot be apprehended without a careful study of this often-recurring conjunction. It is still claimed by some grammarians that it is used to mark, not only design and end, but also result. But it may fairly be claimed that its predominant sense is intent, purpose, purport, or object. Hence that, as representing ἵνα, is to be taken in the sense of to the end or intent that; in order that. Here the use of the word is very subtle and suggestive, as well as beautiful. No man hath greater love than this (love), which, in its original conception, was intended and designed to reach to the extent of sacrificing life for a friend. Christ, therefore, here gives us more than a mere abstract comparison and more than a merely human gauge of love. He measures love according to its divine, original, far-reaching intent.

Lay down his life

See on John 10:11.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
I command (ἐντέλλομαι)

Of several words for command in the New Testament, this one is always used of giving a specific injunction or precept. The kindred noun, ἐντολή, means an order, a charge, a precept and hence is used of a separate precept of the law as distinguished from the law as a whole (νόμος). See Matthew 22:36, Matthew 22:38. It is, however, sometimes used of the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity. See on John 13:34. The sense of specific commands here falls in with the reading of the Rec. Text, ὅσα, whatsoever, literally, as many things as.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Henceforth - not (οὐκέτι)

Rev., better, no longer. No longer servants, as you were under the dispensation of the law. Compare Galatians 4:7.

Servants (δούλους)

Strictly, bond-servants.

Knoweth not (οὐκ οἶδέ)

Has no instinctive perception. See on John 2:24.


The position of the pronoun in the Greek is emphatic: "You I have called friends."

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Ye - chosen

The pronoun is emphatic: "It was not ye that chose me."

Ordained (ἔθηκα)

Rev., appointed is better, because it divests the word of its conventional meaning. Ordain is from the Latin ordinare, and means to set in order. Thus, Robert of Gloucester's "Chronicle:" "He began to ordain his folk," i.e., set his people in order. Hakluyt, "Voyages:" "He ordained a boat made of one tree." The Greek verb means to set, put, or place. Hence of appointing one to service. See 1 Timothy 1:12. Wyc., Matthew 24:47 : "Upon all his goods he shall ordain him."

Should go (ὑπάγητε)

Withdraw from His personal society and go out into the world.

That whatsoever, etc. (ἵνα)

Coordinated with the preceding ἵνα, that, as marking another result of their choice and appointment by Christ. He has appointed them that they should bring forth fruit, and that they should obtain such answers to their prayer as would make them fruitful.

These things I command you, that ye love one another.
That (ἵνα)

All my teachings are to the end that you should love one another.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If the world hate (εἱ μισεῖ)

Literally, hates. The indicative mood with the conditional particle assumes the fact as existing: If the world hates you, as it does.

Ye know (γινώσκετε)

This may also be rendered as imperative: Know ye.

It hated (μεμίσηκεν)

The perfect tense, hath hated. The hatred continues to the present time.

Before it hated you (πρῶτον ὑμῶν)

Literally, first in regard of you. See on John 1:15.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Of the world (ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου)

Sprung out of the world. See on of the earth, John 3:31.

Would love (ἂν ἐφίλει)

The verb for natural affection. See on John 5:20.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Persecuted (ἐδίωξαν)

The verb means originally to put to flight; thence to run swiftly in order to overtake or attain, as the goal or the competitor in the race. Thus Sophocles ("Electra," 738): "He urged his swift steeds vehemently with shouts that pierced their ears, and makes for him (διώκει)." Compare I follow after (διώκω, Philippians 3:12). Hence to pursue with hostile intent, and, generally, to molest, harass, persecute. Persecute is from the equivalent Latin persequor, to follow up, and is used earlier, in the sense of pursue, while pursue, in turn, is used in the sense of persecute. Thus Wyc, Matthew 5:44, for men pursuing you. Sir Thomas More ("Utopia"), "Whiles their enemies rejoicing in the victory have persecuted (i.e., pursued) them."

But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
For my name's sake (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου)

Literally, on account of my name. The name of Christ represented the faith, the attitude, the claims, and the aim of the disciples. His name was their confession. Luther says: "The name of Christ from your mouth will be to them nothing but poison and death."

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
Had sin (ἁμαρτίαν εἶχον)

See on John 9:41; see on 1 John 1:8.

Cloke (πρόφασιν)

From πρό, before, in front of, and φημί, to say or affirm. Hence something which is placed in front of the true cause of a thing, a pretext. Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:5; Acts 27:30. Pretext carries the same idea, Latin, proetextum, something woven in front, with a view to concealment or deception. Rev., excuse. Wyc, excusation. The A.V. follows Tyndale: nothing to cloke their sin withal. Latimer ("Sermons"): "By such cloaked charity, when thou dost offend before Christ but once, thou hast offended twice herein." The word appears in the low Latin cloca, a bell (compare the French cloche, and English clock), and the name was given to a horseman's cloak because of its resemblance to a bell. The word palliate is from the Latin pallium, a cloak.

He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Without a cause (δωρεάν)

Gratuitously. Akin to δίδωμι, to give. Their hatred was a voluntary gift.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Shall bear witness (μαρτυρεῖτε)

Present tense, bear witness. So Rev. Or, it may be taken as imperative: bear ye witness.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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