John 15:1-14

Editor's note. In the discourse of the vine and the branches the issue is fruit-bearing in this life, not a person's salvation. It would be most pleasant for us if, as soon as we were born again, we were to be whisked away to heaven, but it is God's plan that we should remain for a time and bear fruit for him. See Ephesians 2:8-10 and Philippians 1:21-24.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 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.

The goal of the husbandman is fruit, not awsome appearance. Any branch that cannot or will not bear fruit detracts from the accomplishment of the goal and must be set aside. A branch which has fruit-bearing potential can often be improved by removing insects and extraneous shoots which draw away energy.

[Every branch in me] I stand in the same relation to my followers, and they in me, as the vine to the branches, and the branches to the vine.

[He taketh away] The branch which bears not fruit, the husbandman aipei auto; he takes away.

[He purgeth it] The branch that bears fruit, he kathairei auto, takes away from it. He prunes away every thing that might hinder its increasing fruitfulness.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

[Now ye are clean] Katharoi este, You are pruned or cleaned.

4 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.

[Abide in me, and I in you] Continue closely associated with Christ by faith and love and dependence upon him that ye may continually receive from him the power to do his will; for the branch, however good in itself, cannot bear fruit unless it be connected to the parent stock.

5 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 ye can do nothing] Separated from me, ye can do nothing at all. It would be just as possible to do any good without him as for a branch to live, thrive, and bring forth fruit while cut off from the tree.

6 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.

[If a man abide not in me] The branch in which the connection is not capable of sustaining fruit-bearing. It has probably undergone verious prunings and attempts to make it fruitful. Have you ever known a Christian who for some reason has disconnected from fellowship with Christ and Christ's "called out ones" and become withered and bitter in his soul?

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

[If ye abide in me] If we are united to Christ and our lives are regulated by the Word of God, our motives and plans are such that God can gladly enable us.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

[Herein is my Father glorified] Or honored. It is the honor of a husbandman to have good, strong, vigorous vines, plentifully laden with fruit. It is the honor of God to have strong, vigorous, holy children, focused upon his will and filled with his love.

9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

[As my Father hath loved me] Is it possible for any love in the universe to exceed the love which God the Father has for his Son? This is the same love which I have for you.

10 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.

I have kept my Father's commandments and enjoy the fullest expression of his Love. I desire this for you also.
What exactly is love? Some have defined one aspect of it as, "Desiring the very best for the object of our affection." If Christ desires the very best for us, and he is God, how can anything be better for us than to be in the center of his will, obeying his commandments?

11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

[That your joy might be full] Or complete. That the joy which we both feel on account of your steady, affectionate attachment to me may continue, I give you both warnings and directions.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

[That ye love one another] As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: (Verse 9). As I love you, I would have you love one another.

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

[Greater love hath no man than this] No man can carry his love for his friends farther than this, for when he gives up his life he gives all that he has. This proof of my love for you shall I give in a few hours, and the doctrine that I recommend to you I am going to exemplify myself.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Do we merely give intellectual assent to the notion that, because Christ loves us and desires the best for us, we should override our own human will and follow his commands, or are we his devoted friends who actually live that way?

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 01/25/2007

Copyright (C) 1999,2003,2006,2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved