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John 15:4-7

Context
15:4 Remain 1  in me, and I will remain in you. 2  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, 3  unless it remains 4  in 5  the vine, so neither can you unless you remain 6  in me.

15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains 7  in me – and I in him – bears 8  much fruit, 9  because apart from me you can accomplish 10  nothing. 15:6 If anyone does not remain 11  in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, 12  and are burned up. 13  15:7 If you remain 14  in me and my words remain 15  in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. 16 

1 tn Or “Reside.”

2 tn Grk “and I in you.” The verb has been repeated for clarity and to conform to contemporary English style, which typically allows fewer ellipses (omitted or understood words) than Greek.

3 sn The branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it remains connected to the vine, from which its life and sustenance flows. As far as the disciples were concerned, they would produce no fruit from themselves if they did not remain in their relationship to Jesus, because the eternal life which a disciple must possess in order to bear fruit originates with Jesus; he is the source of all life and productivity for the disciple.

4 tn Or “resides.”

5 tn While it would be more natural to say “on the vine” (so NAB), the English preposition “in” has been retained here to emphasize the parallelism with the following clause “unless you remain in me.” To speak of remaining “in” a person is not natural English either, but is nevertheless a biblical concept (cf. “in Christ” in Eph 1:3, 4, 6, 7, 11).

6 tn Or “you reside.”

7 tn Or “resides.”

8 tn Or “yields.”

9 tn Grk “in him, this one bears much fruit.” The pronoun “this one” has been omitted from the translation because it is redundant according to contemporary English style.

sn Many interpret the imagery of fruit here and in 15:2, 4 in terms of good deeds or character qualities, relating it to passages elsewhere in the NT like Matt 3:8 and 7:20, Rom 6:22, Gal 5:22, etc. This is not necessarily inaccurate, but one must remember that for John, to have life at all is to bear fruit, while one who does not bear fruit shows that he does not have the life (once again, conduct is the clue to paternity, as in John 8:41; compare also 1 John 4:20).

10 tn Or “do.”

11 tn Or “reside.”

12 sn Such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire. The author does not tell who it is who does the gathering and throwing into the fire. Although some claim that realized eschatology is so prevalent in the Fourth Gospel that no references to final eschatology appear at all, the fate of these branches seems to point to the opposite. The imagery is almost certainly that of eschatological judgment, and recalls some of the OT vine imagery which involves divine rejection and judgment of disobedient Israel (Ezek 15:4-6, 19:12).

13 tn Grk “they gather them up and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

14 tn Or “reside.”

15 tn Or “reside.”

16 sn Once again Jesus promises the disciples ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. This recalls 14:13-14, where the disciples were promised that if they asked anything in Jesus’ name it would be done for them. The two thoughts are really quite similar, since here it is conditioned on the disciples’ remaining in Jesus and his words remaining in them. The first phrase relates to the genuineness of their relationship with Jesus. The second phrase relates to their obedience. When both of these qualifications are met, the disciples would in fact be asking in Jesus’ name and therefore according to his will.



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