John 15

John 15


“I amI the trueII vine,III and my FatherIV is the vinegrower.V 

Notes on verse 1

I “am” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
II “true” = alethinos. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to the test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic); {from a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares)}. This is literally made of truth – that which is true or real, authentic. Something that is true from its source and has integrity.
III “vine” = ampelos. 9x in NT. Perhaps from the base of amphoteros (both, all); {from amphi (around) + halon (the threshing floor where grain is rolled to separate from the chaff); {from halos (threshing floor); probably from helisso (to roll up, coil, wrap)}}. This is vine or grapevine as that which coils around.
IV “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
V “vinegrower” = georgos. 19x in NT. From ge (earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area) + ergon (word, task, action, employment); {from ergo (to work, accomplish) or from erdo (to do)}. This is wine-dresser, farmer, someone who works the land. It is also where the name “George” comes from.

He removesVI everyVII branchVIII in me

Notes on verse 2a

VI “removes” = airo. This is to lift up in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could mean to lift, carry, or raise. It could also imply lifting something in order to take it away or remove it. Figuratively, this can be used for raising the voice or level of suspense. It can mean sailing off as raising the anchor. It can also correspond to a Hebrew expression for atonement of sin (lift/remove sin).
VII “every” = pas. This is all or every.
VIII “branch” = klema. 4x in NT– all in this passage. From klao (to break, to break in pieces as one breaks bread). This is a shoot or branch as something broken off.

that bearsIX no fruit.X Every branch that bears fruit he prunesXI to make it bear moreXII fruit. 

Notes on verse 2b

IX “bears” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
X “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.
XI “prunes” = kathairo. 1x in NT. From katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying). This is to cleanse, purge, or prune. It is to purify by removing what is unwanted. Figuratively, it is to expiate.
XII “more” = pleion. From polus (much, many, abundant). This is many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent.

You have already been cleansedXIII by the wordXIV that I have spoken to you. AbideXV in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannotXVI bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 

Notes on verses 3-4

XIII “cleansed” = katharos. Related to “prunes” in v2. See note XI above.
XIV “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
XV “abide” = meno. This is to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure. It can mean to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition or to continue with hope and expectation.
XVI “cannot” = ou + dunamai. Dunamai is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear muchXVII fruit, because apart fromXVIII me you can doXIX nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrownXX away like a branch and withers;XXI

Notes on verses 5-6a

XVII “much” = polus. Related to “more” in v2. See note XII above.
XVIII “apart from” = choris. From chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is apart from, separate from.
XIX “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XX “thrown” = ballo. This is to throw, cast, rush, place, or drop. It is throwing, but it could be with more or less velocity and with more or less force/violence.
XXI “withers” = xeraino. 15x in NT. From xeros (dry, arid, withered; can also refer to dry land or imply something that is shrunken). This is to dry up, wither, ripen, pine.

such branches are gathered,XXII thrown into the fire,XXIII and burned.XXIV If you abide in me and my wordsXXV abide in you, askXXVI for

Notes on verses 6b-7a

XXII “gathered” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
XXIII “fire” = pur. This is fire, lightning, heat from the sun. Figuratively, it can refer to strife or trials.
XXIV “burned” = kaio. 11x in NT. This is to kindle, light, blaze. It is light in a literal or figurative sense.
XXV “words” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
XXVI “ask” = aiteo. This is to ask, demand, beg, desire.

whatever you wish,XXVII and it will be doneXXVIII for you. My Father is glorifiedXXIX by this, that you bear much fruit and becomeXXX my disciples.XXXI 

Notes on verses 7b-8

XXVII “wish” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
XXVIII “be done” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XXIX “glorified” = doxazo. From doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate. This is ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence.
XXX “become” = ginomai. Same as “be done” in v7. See note XXVIII above.
XXXI “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.

As the Father has lovedXXXII me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.XXXIII 10 If you keepXXXIV

Notes on verses 9-10a

XXXII “loved” = agapao. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
XXXIII “love” = agape. Related to “loved” in v9. From agapao (see note XXXII above). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
XXXIV “keep” = tereo. From teros (a guard or a watch that guards keep); perhaps related to theoreo (gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning; looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means; the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning); from theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is to guard, observe, keep, maintain, or preserve. It can also be used f iguratively for spiritual watchfulness. It is guarding something from being lost or harmed – keeping an eye on it. Contrast the Greek phulasso, which is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape. Also contrast koustodia, which generally denotes a fortress or military presence. This word can mean fulfilling commands, keeping in custody, or maintaining. It can also figuratively mean to remain unmarried.

my commandments,XXXV you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joyXXXVI may be in you and that your joy may be complete.XXXVII

Notes on verses 10b-11

XXXV “commandments” = entole. From entellomai (to charge, command, give orders or instructions) {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish); {from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one)}}. This is an order, command, ordinance, or law. It focuses on the purpose of the command and its end result.
XXXVI “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
XXXVII “be complete” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one hasXXXVIII greaterXXXIX love than this, to lay downXL one’s lifeXLI for one’s friends.XLII 

Notes on verses 12-13

XXXVIII “has” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
XXXIX “greater” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
XL “lay down” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
XLI “life” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
XLII “friends” = philos. This is dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person.

14 You are my friends if you do what I commandXLIII you. 15 I do not callXLIV you servantsXLV any longer, because the servant does not knowXLVI

Notes on verses 14-15a

XLIII “command” = entellomai. Related to “commandments” in v10. 15x in NT. See note XXXV above.
XLIV “call” = lego. Related to “word” in v3. See note XIV above.
XLV “servants” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
XLVI “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.

what the masterXLVII is doing, but I have calledXLVIII you friends, because I have made knownXLIX to you everythingL that I have heardLI from my Father. 

Notes on verse 15b

XLVII “master” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XLVIII “called” = ereo. Related to “words” in v7. See note XXV above.
XLIX “made known” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
L “everything” = pas. Same as “every” in v2. See note VII above.
LI “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

16 You did not chooseLII me, but I chose you. And I appointedLIII you to goLIV and bear fruit,

Notes on verse 16a

LII “choose” = eklego. Related to “word” in v3 & “call” in v15. From ek (from, from out of) + lego (see note XIV above). This is to choose, select.
LIII “appointed” = tithemi. Same as “lay down” in v13. See note XL above.
LIV “go” = hupago. Related to “gathered” in v6. From hupo (by, under, under the authority of) + ago (see note XXII above). This is to lead under so to depart, go away, or die. It is to lead away under the command of someone else, being given a mission or objective to carry out.

fruit that will last,LV so that the Father will giveLVI you whatever you ask him in my name.LVII 17 I am giving you these commandsLVIII so that you may love one another.

Notes on verses 16b-17

LV “will last” = meno. Same as “abide” in v4. See note XV above.
LVI “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
LVII “name” = onoma. Related to “made known” in v15. May be from ginosko (see note XLIX above). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
LVIII “giving…commands” = entellomai. Same as “command” in v14. See note XLIII above.

18 “If the worldLIX hatesLX you, be awareLXI that it hated me beforeLXII it hated you. 

Notes on verse 18

LIX “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
LX “hates” = miseo. From misos (hatred). This word is used in two ways in the New Testament. One has to do with how we prioritize. In order to prioritize something the highest, it means we have to rank other things lower. We cannot have 10 number one priorities. So, the nine that are not number 1, we love less or we value them lower. We make a moral choice the springs from our values about where we put our time, efforts, energy, etc. The other way is detesting or hatred as we normally think of it. This sense has a particular affinity with persecuting the one we hate.
LXI “be aware” = ginosko. Related to “made known” in v15 & “name” in v16. See note XLIX above.
LXII “before” = proton. From protos (what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is firstly, before, in the beginning, formerly.

19 If you belongedLXIII to the world, the world would loveLXIV you as its own.LXV Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 

Notes on verse 19

LXIII “belonged” = eimi. Same as “am” in v1. See note I above.
LXIV “love” = phileo. Related to “friends” in v13. From philos (see note XLII above). This is friendship love and fondness with personal attachment.
LXV “its own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).

20 RememberLXVI the wordLXVII that I said to you, ‘Slaves are not greater than their master.’ If they persecutedLXVIII me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word,LXIX they will keep yours also. 

Notes on verse 20

LXVI “remember” = mnemoneuo. Related to “abide” in v4. From mnemon (mindful) OR from mneme (memory or mention); {from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence) or mimnesko (to remind or remember; memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful; not incidentally or accidentally remembering); or form meno (see note XV above) or from massaomai (to chew, gnaw); from masso (to knead, squeeze)}. This is to remember, recollect. It does not necessarily imply remembering something that you forgot – it could be simply calling something to mind. It can mean to punish or rehearse.
LXVII “word” = logos. Same as “word” in v3. See note XIV above.
LXVIII “persecuted” = dioko. From dio (put to flight). This is chase or pursue in an aggressive fashion. By implication, it is persecute. It can also be used positively for eagerly pursuing something.
LXIX “word” = logos. Same as “word” in v3. See note XIV above.

21 But they will do allLXX these things to you on account of my name, because they do not knowLXXI him who sentLXXII me. 

Notes on verse 21

LXX “all” = pas. Same as “every” in v2. See note VII above.
LXXI “know” = eido. Same as “know” in v15. See note XLVI above.
LXXII “sent” = pempo. This is to send, put forth, or dispatch. This often refers to a temporary errand. It is sending someone with a focus on the place they departed from. By contrast, another Greek word, hiemi, emphasizes the destination and yet another word, stello, focuses on the motion that goes with the sending.

22 If I had not comeLXXIII and spoken to them, they would not have sin,LXXIV but now they have no excuseLXXV for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 

Notes on verses 22-23

LXXIII “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
LXXIV “sin” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
LXXV “excuse” = prophasis. 7x in NT. From pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is outward appearance, pretense, excuse, pretext.

24 If I had not done among them the worksLXXVI that no one elseLXXVII did, they would not have sin. But now they have seenLXXVIII and hated both me and my Father. 25 It was to fulfillLXXIX the wordLXXX

Notes on verses 24-25a

LXXVI “works” = ergon. Related to “vinegrower” in v1. See note V above.
LXXVII “else” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
LXXVIII “seen” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LXXIX “fulfill” = pleroo. Same as “be complete” in v11. See note XXXVII above.
LXXX “word” = logos. Same as “word” in v3. See note XIV above.

that is writtenLXXXI in their law,LXXXII ‘They hated me without a cause.’LXXXIII

Notes on verse 25b

LXXXI “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
LXXXII “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
LXXXIII “without a cause” = dorean. Related to “give” in v16. 9x in NT. From dorea (a free gift given voluntarily and not received by merit or entitlement; emphasizes the benevolence of the giver); from doron (gift, offering, sacrifice; emphasizes that the gift is given freely, voluntarily); from didomi (see note LVI above). This is freely, without purpose, a free gift, unearned not for merit or obligation. It is freely in a literal or figurative sense.

26 “When the AdvocateLXXXIV comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the SpiritLXXXV of truthLXXXVI

Notes on verse 26a

LXXXIV “Advocate” = Parakletos. 5x in NT. From parakaleo (to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg; to exhort or admonish; to encourage, comfort, or console; has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom); {from para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}}. This is someone who is called for aid or assistance. Properly, it refers to a a legal advocate who is close to the situation and speaks in court. This is advocate, helper, comforter, helper, or intercessor. It is also used as a technical term for the Holy Spirit – the Paraclete.
LXXXV “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
LXXXVI “truth” = aletheia. Related to “true” in v1. From alethes (see note II above). Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.

who comesLXXXVII from the Father, he will testifyLXXXVIII on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.LXXXIX

Notes on verses 26b-27

LXXXVII “comes” = ekporeuomai. From ek (from, from out of) + poreuomai (to go, travel, journey, die; refers to transporting things from one place to another; focuses on the personal significance of the destination); {from poros (passageway)}. This is to go forth, depart from, be spoken, flow out, project. This word emphasizes the result a process or passage – how it impacts the person or thing.
LXXXVIII “testify” = martureo. From martus (a witness whether having heard or seen something; witness literally, judicially, or figuratively; by analogy, a martyr). This is to bear witness, testify, give evidence. It is to testify in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXXIX “beginning” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.

Image credit: “Vineyards, Watchtowers and Wineskins” by David Padfield, 2015.

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