New English Translation
Teaching on the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will obey[a] my commandments.[b] 16 Then[c] I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate[d] to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,[e] because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides[f] with you and will be[g] in you.
18 “I will not abandon[h] you as orphans,[i] I will come to you.[j] 19 In a little while[k] the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me; because I live, you will live too. 20 You will know at that time[l] that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. 21 The person who has my commandments and obeys[m] them is the one who loves me.[n] The one[o] who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal[p] myself to him.”
22 “Lord,” Judas (not Judas Iscariot)[q] said,[r] “what has happened that you are going to reveal[s] yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied,[t] “If anyone loves me, he will obey[u] my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him.[v] 24 The person who does not love me does not obey[w] my words. And the word[x] you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “I have spoken these things while staying[y] with you. 26 But the Advocate,[z] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you[aa] everything,[ab] and will cause you to remember everything[ac] I said to you.
27 “Peace I leave with you;[ad] my peace I give to you; I do not give it[ae] to you as the world does.[af] Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.[ag] 28 You heard me say to you,[ah] ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad[ai] that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.[aj] 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.[ak] 30 I will not speak with you much longer,[al] for the ruler of this world is coming.[am] He has no power over me,[an] 31 but I am doing just what the Father commanded me, so that the world may know[ao] that I love the Father.[ap] Get up, let us go from here.[aq]
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine[ar] and my Father is the gardener.[as] 2 He takes away[at] every branch that does not bear[au] fruit in me. He[av] prunes[aw] every branch that bears[ax] fruit so that it will bear more fruit. 3 You are clean already[ay] because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Remain[az] in me, and I will remain in you.[ba] Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,[bb] unless it remains[bc] in[bd] the vine, so neither can you unless you remain[be] in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains[bf] in me—and I in him—bears[bg] much fruit,[bh] because apart from me you can accomplish[bi] nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain[bj] in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire,[bk] and are burned up.[bl] 7 If you remain[bm] in me and my words remain[bn] in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you.[bo] 8 My Father is honored[bp] by this, that[bq] you bear[br] much fruit and show that you are[bs] my disciples.
9 “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain[bt] in my love. 10 If you obey[bu] my commandments, you will remain[bv] in my love, just as I have obeyed[bw] my Father’s commandments and remain[bx] in his love. 11 I have told you these things[by] so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. 12 My commandment is this—to love one another just as I have loved you.[bz] 13 No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life[ca] for his friends. 14 You are my friends[cb] if you do what I command you. 15 I no longer call you slaves,[cc] because the slave does not understand[cd] what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything[ce] I heard[cf] from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you[cg] and appointed you to go and bear[ch] fruit, fruit that remains,[ci] so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. 17 This[cj] I command you—to love one another.
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, be aware[ck] that it hated me first.[cl] 19 If you belonged to the world,[cm] the world would love you as its own.[cn] However, because you do not belong to the world,[co] but I chose you out of the world, for this reason[cp] the world hates you.[cq] 20 Remember what[cr] I told you, ‘A slave[cs] is not greater than his master.’[ct] If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed[cu] my word, they will obey[cv] yours too. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of[cw] my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.[cx] 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.[cy] But they no longer have any excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates me hates my Father too. 24 If I had not performed[cz] among them the miraculous deeds[da] that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin.[db] But now they have seen the deeds[dc] and have hated both me and my Father.[dd] 25 Now this happened[de] to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without reason.’[df] 26 When the Advocate[dg] comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he[dh] will testify about me, 27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
- John 14:15 tn Or “will keep.”
- John 14:15 sn Jesus’ statement If you love me, you will obey my commandments provides the transition between the promises of answered prayer which Jesus makes to his disciples in vv. 13-14 and the promise of the Holy Spirit which is introduced in v. 16. Obedience is the proof of genuine love.
- John 14:16 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to reflect the implied sequence in the discourse.
- John 14:16 tn Or “Helper” or “Counselor”; Grk “Paraclete,” from the Greek word παράκλητος (paraklētos). Finding an appropriate English translation for παράκλητος is a very difficult task. No single English word has exactly the same range of meaning as the Greek word. “Comforter,” used by some of the older English versions, appears to be as old as Wycliffe. But today it suggests a quilt or a sympathetic mourner at a funeral. “Counselor” is adequate, but too broad, in contexts like “marriage counselor” or “camp counselor.” “Helper” or “Assistant” could also be used, but could suggest a subordinate rank. “Advocate,” the word chosen for this translation, has more forensic overtones than the Greek word does, although in John 16:5-11 a forensic context is certainly present. Because an “advocate” is someone who “advocates” or supports a position or viewpoint and since this is what the Paraclete will do for the preaching of the disciples, it was selected in spite of the drawbacks.
- John 14:17 tn Or “cannot receive.”
- John 14:17 tn Or “he remains.”
- John 14:17 tc Some early and significant witnesses (P66* B D* W 1 565 it) have ἐστιν (estin, “he is”) instead of ἔσται (estai, “he will be”) here, while other weighty witnesses (P66c,75vid א A D1 L Θ Ψ ƒ13 33vid M as well as several versions and fathers), read the future tense. When one considers transcriptional evidence, ἐστιν is the more difficult reading and better explains the rise of the future tense reading, but it must be noted that both P66 and D were corrected from the present tense to the future. If ἐστιν were the original reading, one would expect a few manuscripts to be corrected to read the present when they originally read the future, but that is not the case. When one considers what the author would have written, the future is on much stronger ground. The immediate context (both in 14:16 and in the chapter as a whole) points to the future, and the theology of the book regards the advent of the Spirit as a decidedly future event (see, e.g., 7:39 and 16:7). The present tense could have arisen from an error of sight on the part of some scribes or more likely from an error of thought as scribes reflected upon the present role of the Spirit. Although a decision is difficult, the future tense is most likely authentic. For further discussion on this textual problem, see James M. Hamilton, Jr., “He Is with You and He Will Be in You” (Ph.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2003), 213-20.
- John 14:18 tn Or “leave.”
- John 14:18 tn The entire phrase “abandon you as orphans” could be understood as an idiom meaning, “leave you helpless.”
- John 14:18 sn I will come to you. Jesus had spoken in 14:3 of going away and coming again to his disciples. There the reference was both to the parousia (the second coming of Christ) and to the postresurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples. Here the postresurrection appearances are primarily in view, since Jesus speaks of the disciples “seeing” him after the world can “see” him no longer in the following verse. But many commentators have taken v. 18 as a reference to the coming of the Spirit, since this has been the topic of the preceding verses. Still, vv. 19-20 appear to contain references to Jesus’ appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. It may well be that another Johannine double meaning is found here, so that Jesus ‘returns’ to his disciples in one sense in his appearances to them after his resurrection, but in another sense he ‘returns’ in the person of the Holy Spirit to indwell them.
- John 14:19 tn Grk “Yet a little while, and.”
- John 14:20 tn Grk “will know in that day.”sn At that time could be a reference to the parousia (second coming of Christ). But the statement in 14:19, that the world will not see Jesus, does not fit. It is better to take this as the postresurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples (which has the advantage of taking in a little while in v. 19 literally).
- John 14:21 tn Or “keeps.”
- John 14:21 tn Grk “obeys them, that one is the one who loves me.”
- John 14:21 tn Grk “And the one.” Here the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated to improve the English style.
- John 14:21 tn Or “will disclose.”
- John 14:22 tn Grk “(not Iscariot).” The proper noun (Judas) has been repeated for clarity and smoothness in English style.sn This is a parenthetical comment by the author.
- John 14:22 tn Grk “said to him.”
- John 14:22 tn Or “disclose.”sn The disciples still expected at this point that Jesus, as Messiah, was going to reveal his identity as such to the world (cf. 7:4).
- John 14:23 tn Grk “answered and said to him.”
- John 14:23 tn Or “will keep.”
- John 14:23 tn Grk “we will come to him and will make our dwelling place with him.” The context here is individual rather than corporate indwelling, so the masculine singular pronoun has been retained throughout v. 23. It is important to note, however, that the pronoun is used generically here and refers equally to men, women, and children.
- John 14:24 tn Or “does not keep.”
- John 14:24 tn Or “the message.”
- John 14:25 tn Or “while remaining” or “while residing.”
- John 14:26 tn Or “Helper” or “Counselor”; Grk “Paraclete,” from the Greek word παράκλητος (paraklētos). See the note on the word “Advocate” in v. 16 for a discussion of how this word is translated.
- John 14:26 tn Grk “that one will teach you.” The words “that one” have been omitted from the translation since they are redundant in English.
- John 14:26 tn Grk “all things.”
- John 14:26 tn Grk “all things.”
- John 14:27 sn Peace I leave with you. In spite of appearances, this verse does not introduce a new subject (peace). Jesus will use the phrase as a greeting to his disciples after his resurrection (20:19, 21, 26). It is here a reflection of the Hebrew shalom as a farewell. But Jesus says he leaves peace with his disciples. This should probably be understood ultimately in terms of the indwelling of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who has been the topic of the preceding verses. It is his presence, after Jesus has left the disciples and finally returned to the Father, which will remain with them and comfort them.
- John 14:27 tn The pronoun “it” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context.
- John 14:27 tn Grk “not as the world gives do I give to you.”
- John 14:27 tn Or “distressed or fearful and cowardly.”
- John 14:28 tn Or “You have heard that I said to you.”
- John 14:28 tn Or “you would rejoice.”
- John 14:28 sn Jesus’ statement the Father is greater than I am has caused much christological and trinitarian debate. Although the Arians appealed to this text to justify their subordinationist Christology, it seems evident that by the fact Jesus compares himself to the Father, his divine nature is taken for granted. There have been two orthodox interpretations: (1) The Son is eternally generated while the Father is not: Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Hilary, etc. (2) As man the incarnate Son was less than the Father: Cyril of Alexandria, Ambrose, Augustine. In the context of the Fourth Gospel the second explanation seems more plausible. But why should the disciples have rejoiced? Because Jesus was on the way to the Father who would glorify him (cf. 17:4-5); his departure now signifies that the work the Father has given him is completed (cf. 19:30). Now Jesus will be glorified with that glory that he had with the Father before the world was (cf. 17:5). This should be a cause of rejoicing to the disciples because when Jesus is glorified he will glorify his disciples as well (17:22).
- John 14:29 sn Jesus tells the disciples that he has told them all these things before they happen, so that when they do happen the disciples may believe. This does not mean they had not believed prior to this time; over and over the author has affirmed that they have (cf. 2:11). But when they see these things happen, their level of trust in Jesus will increase and their concept of who he is will expand. The confession of Thomas in 20:28 is representative of this increased understanding of who Jesus is. Cf. John 13:19.
- John 14:30 tn Grk “I will no longer speak many things with you.”
- John 14:30 sn The ruler of this world is a reference to Satan.
- John 14:30 tn Grk “in me he has nothing.”
- John 14:31 tn Or “may learn.”
- John 14:31 tn Grk “But so that the world may know that I love the Father, and just as the Father commanded me, thus I do.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation to conform to contemporary English style.
- John 14:31 sn Some have understood Jesus’ statement Get up, let us go from here to mean that at this point Jesus and the disciples got up and left the room where the meal was served and began the journey to the garden of Gethsemane. If so, the rest of the Farewell Discourse took place en route. Others have pointed to this statement as one of the “seams” in the discourse, indicating that the author used preexisting sources. Both explanations are possible, but not really necessary. Jesus could simply have stood up at this point (the disciples may or may not have stood with him) to finish the discourse before finally departing (in 18:1). In any case it may be argued that Jesus refers not to a literal departure at this point, but to preparing to meet the enemy who is on the way already in the person of Judas and the soldiers with him.
- John 15:1 sn I am the true vine. There are numerous OT passages which refer to Israel as a vine: Ps 80:8-16, Isa 5:1-7, Jer 2:21, Ezek 15:1-8; 17:5-10; 19:10-14, and Hos 10:1. The vine became symbolic of Israel, and even appeared on some coins issued by the Maccabees. The OT passages which use this symbol appear to regard Israel as faithless to Yahweh (typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT) and/or the object of severe punishment. Ezek 15:1-8 in particular talks about the worthlessness of wood from a vine (in relation to disobedient Judah). A branch cut from a vine is worthless except to be burned as fuel. This fits more with the statements about the disciples (John 15:6) than with Jesus’ description of himself as the vine. Ezek 17:5-10 contains vine imagery which refers to a king of the house of David, Zedekiah, who was set up as king in Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah allied himself to Egypt and broke his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar (and therefore also with God), which would ultimately result in his downfall (17:20-21). Ezek 17:22-24 then describes the planting of a cedar sprig which grows into a lofty tree, a figurative description of Messiah. But it is significant that Messiah himself is not described in Ezek 17 as a vine, but as a cedar tree. The vine imagery here applies to Zedekiah’s disobedience. Jesus’ description of himself as the true vine in John 15:1 ff. is to be seen against this background, but it differs significantly from the imagery surveyed above. It represents new imagery which differs significantly from OT concepts; it appears to be original with Jesus. The imagery of the vine underscores the importance of fruitfulness in the Christian life and the truth that this results not from human achievement, but from one’s position in Christ. Jesus is not just giving some comforting advice, but portraying to the disciples the difficult path of faithful service. To some degree the figure is similar to the head-body metaphor used by Paul, with Christ as head and believers as members of the body. Both metaphors bring out the vital and necessary connection which exists between Christ and believers.
- John 15:1 tn Or “the farmer.”
- John 15:2 tn Or “He cuts off.” sn The Greek verb αἴρω (airō) can mean “lift up” as well as “take away,” and it is sometimes argued that here it is a reference to the gardener “lifting up” (i.e., propping up) a weak branch so that it bears fruit again. In Johannine usage the word occurs in the sense of “lift up” in 8:59 and 5:8-12, but in the sense of “remove” it is found in 11:39; 11:48; 16:22, and 17:15. In context (theological presuppositions aside for the moment) the meaning “remove” does seem more natural and less forced (particularly in light of v. 6, where worthless branches are described as being “thrown out”—an image that seems incompatible with restoration). One option, therefore, would be to understand the branches which are taken away (v. 2) and thrown out (v. 6) as believers who forfeit their salvation because of unfruitfulness. However, many see this interpretation as encountering problems with the Johannine teaching on the security of the believer, especially John 10:28-29. This leaves two basic ways of understanding Jesus’ statements about removal of branches in 15:2 and 15:6: (1) These statements may refer to an unfaithful (disobedient) Christian, who is judged at the judgment seat of Christ “through fire” (cf. 1 Cor 3:11-15). In this case the “removal” of 15:2 may refer (in an extreme case) to the physical death of a disobedient Christian. (2) These statements may refer to someone who was never a genuine believer in the first place (e.g., Judas and the Jews who withdrew after Jesus’ difficult teaching in 6:66), in which case 15:6 refers to eternal judgment. In either instance it is clear that 15:6 refers to the fires of judgment (cf. OT imagery in Ps 80:16 and Ezek 15:1-8). But view (1) requires us to understand this in terms of the judgment of believers at the judgment seat of Christ. This concept does not appear in the Fourth Gospel because from the perspective of the author the believer does not come under judgment; note especially 3:18; 5:24; 5:29. The first reference (3:18) is especially important because it occurs in the context of 3:16-21, the section which is key to the framework of the entire Fourth Gospel and which is repeatedly alluded to throughout. A similar image to this one is used by John the Baptist in Matt 3:10, “And the ax is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Since this is addressed to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were coming to John for baptism, it almost certainly represents a call to initial repentance. More importantly, however, the imagery of being cast into the fire constitutes a reference to eternal judgment, a use of imagery which is much nearer to the Johannine imagery in 15:6 than the Pauline concept of the judgment seat of Christ (a judgment for believers) mentioned above. The use of the Greek verb μένω (menō) in 15:6 also supports view (2). When used of the relationship between Jesus and the disciple and/or Jesus and the Father, it emphasizes the permanence of the relationship (John 6:56; 8:31; 8:35; 14:10). The prototypical branch who has not remained is Judas, who departed in 13:30. He did not bear fruit, and is now in the realm of darkness, a mere tool of Satan. His eternal destiny, being cast into the fire of eternal judgment, is still to come. It seems most likely, therefore, that the branches who do not bear fruit and are taken away and burned are false believers, those who profess to belong to Jesus but who in reality do not belong to him. In the Gospel of John, the primary example of this category is Judas. In 1 John 2:18-19 the “antichrists” fall into the same category; they too may be thought of as branches that did not bear fruit. They departed from the ranks of the Christians because they never did really belong, and their departure shows that they did not belong.
- John 15:2 tn Or “does not yield.”
- John 15:2 tn Grk “And he”; the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has been omitted in the translation in keeping with the tendency in contemporary English style to use shorter sentences.
- John 15:2 tn Or “trims”; Grk “cleanses” (a wordplay with “clean” in v. 3). Καθαίρει (kathairei) is not the word one would have expected here, but it provides the transition from the vine imagery to the disciples—there is a wordplay (not reproducible in English) between αἴρει (airei) and καθαίρει in this verse. While the purpose of the Father in cleansing his people is clear, the precise means by which he does so is not immediately obvious. This will become clearer, however, in the following verse.
- John 15:2 tn Or “that yields.”
- John 15:3 sn The phrase you are clean already occurs elsewhere in the Gospel of John only at the washing of the disciples’ feet in 13:10, where Jesus had used it of the disciples being cleansed from sin. This further confirms the proposed understanding of John 15:2 and 15:6 since Judas was specifically excluded from this statement (but not all of you).
- John 15:4 tn Or “Reside.”
- John 15:4 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.
- John 15:4 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.
- John 15:4 tn Or “resides.”
- John 15:4 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).
- John 15:4 tn Or “you reside.”
- John 15:5 tn Or “resides.”
- John 15:5 tn Or “yields.”
- John 15:5 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).
- John 15:5 tn Or “do.”
- John 15:6 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:6 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).
- John 15:6 tn Grk “they gather them up and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
- John 15:7 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:7 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:7 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.
- John 15:8 tn Grk “glorified.”
- John 15:8 tn The ἵνα (hina) clause is best taken as substantival in apposition to ἐν τούτῳ (en toutō) at the beginning of the verse. The Father is glorified when the disciples bring forth abundant fruit. Just as Jesus has done the works which he has seen his Father doing (5:19-29) so also will his disciples.
- John 15:8 tn Or “yield.”
- John 15:8 tc Most mss (א A Ψ ƒ13 33 M) read the future indicative γενήσεσθε (genēsesthe; perhaps best rendered as “[and show that] you will become”), while some early and good witnesses (P66vid B D L Θ 0250 1 565 al) have the aorist subjunctive γένησθε (genēsthe; “[and show that] you are”). The reading of the Ausgangstext is difficult to determine because the external evidence is fairly evenly divided. On the basis of the external evidence alone the first reading has some credibility because of א and 33, but it is not enough to overthrow the Alexandrian and Western witnesses for the aorist. Some who accept the future indicative see a consecutive (or resultative) sequence between φέρητε (pherēte) in the ἵνα (hina) clause and γενήσεσθε, so that the disciples’ bearing much fruit results in their becoming disciples. This alleviates the problem of reading a future indicative within a ἵνα clause (a grammatical solecism that is virtually unattested in Attic Greek), although such infrequently occurs in the NT, particularly in the Apocalypse (cf. Gal 2:4; Rev 3:9; 6:4, 11; 8:3; 9:4, 5, 20; 13:12; 14:13; 22:14; even here, however, the Byzantine mss, with א occasionally by their side, almost always change the future indicative to an aorist subjunctive). It seems more likely, however, that the second verb (regardless of whether it is read as aorist or future) is to be understood as coordinate in meaning with the previous verb φέρητε (So M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek §342). Thus the two actions are really one and the same: Bearing fruit and being Jesus’ disciple are not two different actions, but a single action. The first is the outward sign or proof of the second—in bearing fruit the disciples show themselves to be disciples indeed (cf. 15:5). Thus the translation followed here is, “that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples.” As far as the textual reading is concerned, it appears somewhat preferable to accept the aorist subjunctive reading (γένησθε) on the basis of better external testimony.
- John 15:9 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:10 tn Or “keep.”
- John 15:10 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:10 tn Or “kept.”
- John 15:10 tn Or “reside.”
- John 15:11 tn Grk “These things I have spoken to you.”
- John 15:12 sn Now the reference to the commandments (plural) in 15:10 have been reduced to a singular commandment: The disciples are to love one another, just as Jesus has loved them. This is the “new commandment” of John 13:34, and it is repeated in 15:17. The disciples’ love for one another is compared to Jesus’ love for them. How has Jesus shown his love for the disciples? This was illustrated in 13:1-20 in the washing of the disciples’ feet, introduced by the statement in 13:1 that Jesus loved them “to the end.” In context this constitutes a reference to Jesus’ self-sacrificial death on the cross on their behalf; the love they are to have for one another is so great that it must include a self-sacrificial willingness to die for one another if necessary. This is exactly what Jesus is discussing here, because he introduces the theme of his sacrificial death in the following verse. In John 10:18 and 14:31 Jesus spoke of his death on the cross as a commandment he had received from his Father, which also links the idea of commandment and love as they are linked here. One final note: It is not just the degree or intensity of the disciples’ love for one another that Jesus is referring to when he introduces by comparison his own death on the cross (that they must love one another enough to die for one another) but the very means of expressing that love: It is to express itself in self-sacrifice for one another, sacrifice up to the point of death, which is what Jesus himself did on the cross (cf. 1 John 3:16).
- John 15:13 tn Or “one dies willingly.”
- John 15:14 sn This verse really explains John 15:10 in another way. Those who keep Jesus’ commandments are called his friends, those friends for whom he lays down his life (v. 13). It is possible to understand this verse as referring to a smaller group within Christianity as a whole, perhaps only the apostles who were present when Jesus spoke these words. Some have supported this by comparing it to the small group of associates and advisers to the Roman Emperor who were called “Friends of the Emperor.” Others would see these words as addressed only to those Christians who as disciples were obedient to Jesus. In either case the result would be to create a sort of “inner circle” of Christians who are more privileged than mere “believers” or average Christians. In context, it seems clear that Jesus’ words must be addressed to all true Christians, not just some narrower category of believers, because Jesus’ sacrificial death, which is his act of love toward his friends (v. 13) applies to all Christians equally (cf. John 13:1).
- John 15:15 tn See the note on the word “slaves” in 4:51.
- John 15:15 tn Or “does not know.”
- John 15:15 tn Grk “all things.”
- John 15:15 tn Or “learned.”
- John 15:16 sn You did not choose me, but I chose you. If the disciples are now elevated in status from slaves to friends, they are friends who have been chosen by Jesus, rather than the opposite way round. Again this is true of all Christians, not just the twelve, and the theme that Christians are “chosen” by God appears frequently in other NT texts (e.g., Rom 8:33; Eph 1:4ff.; Col 3:12; and 1 Pet 2:4). Putting this together with the comments on 15:14 one may ask whether the author sees any special significance at all for the twelve. Jesus said in John 6:70 and 13:18 that he chose them, and 15:27 makes clear that Jesus in the immediate context is addressing those who have been with him from the beginning. In the Fourth Gospel the twelve, as the most intimate and most committed followers of Jesus, are presented as the models for all Christians, both in terms of their election and in terms of their mission.
- John 15:16 tn Or “and yield.”
- John 15:16 sn The purpose for which the disciples were appointed (“commissioned”) is to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains. The introduction of the idea of “going” at this point suggests that the fruit is something more than just character qualities in the disciples’ own lives, but rather involves fruit in the lives of others, i.e., Christian converts. There is a mission involved (cf. John 4:36). The idea that their fruit is permanent, however, relates back to vv. 7-8, as does the reference to asking the Father in Jesus’ name. It appears that as the imagery of the vine and the branches develops, the “fruit” which the branches produce shifts in emphasis from qualities in the disciples’ own lives in John 15:2, 4, 5 to the idea of a mission which affects the lives of others in John 15:16. The point of transition would be the reference to fruit in 15:8.
- John 15:17 tn Grk “These things.”
- John 15:18 tn Grk “know.”
- John 15:18 tn Grk “it hated me before you.”
- John 15:19 tn Grk “if you were of the world.”
- John 15:19 tn The words “you as” are not in the original but are supplied for clarity.
- John 15:19 tn Grk “because you are not of the world.”
- John 15:19 tn Or “world, therefore.”
- John 15:19 sn I chose you out of the world…the world hates you. Two themes are brought together here. In 8:23 Jesus had distinguished himself from the world in addressing his Jewish opponents: “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” In 15:16 Jesus told the disciples “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” Now Jesus has united these two ideas as he informs the disciples that he has chosen them out of the world. While the disciples will still be “in” the world after Jesus has departed, they will not belong to it, and Jesus prays later in John 17:15-16 to the Father, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” The same theme also occurs in 1 John 4:5-6: “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.” Thus the basic reason why the world hates the disciples (as it hated Jesus before them) is because they are not of the world. They are born from above, and are not of the world. For this reason the world hates them.
- John 15:20 tn Grk “Remember the word that I said to you.”
- John 15:20 tn See the note on the word “slaves” in 4:51.
- John 15:20 sn A slave is not greater than his master. Jesus now recalled a statement he had made to the disciples before, in John 13:16. As the master has been treated, so will the slaves be treated also. If the world had persecuted Jesus, then it would also persecute the disciples. If the world had kept Jesus’ word, it would likewise keep the word of the disciples. In this statement there is the implication that the disciples would carry on the ministry of Jesus after his departure; they would in their preaching and teaching continue to spread the message which Jesus himself had taught while he was with them. And they would meet with the same response, by and large, that he encountered.
- John 15:20 tn Or “if they kept.”
- John 15:20 tn Or “they will keep.”
- John 15:21 tn Or “because of.”
- John 15:21 tn Jesus is referring to God as “the one who sent me.”
- John 15:22 tn Grk “they would not have sin” (an idiom).sn Jesus now describes the guilt of the world. He came to these people with both words (15:22) and sign-miracles (15:24), yet they remained obstinate in their unbelief, and this sin of unbelief was without excuse. Jesus was not saying that if he had not come and spoken to these people they would be sinless; rather he was saying that if he had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of the sin of rejecting him and the Father he came to reveal. Rejecting Jesus is the one ultimate sin for which there can be no forgiveness, because the one who has committed this sin has at the same time rejected the only cure that exists. Jesus spoke similarly to the Pharisees in 9:41: “If you were blind, you would have no sin (same phrase as here), but now you say ‘We see’ your sin remains.”
- John 15:24 tn Or “If I had not done.”
- John 15:24 tn Grk “the works.”
- John 15:24 tn Grk “they would not have sin” (an idiom).
- John 15:24 tn The words “the deeds” are supplied to clarify from context what was seen. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context.
- John 15:24 tn Or “But now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” It is possible to understand both the “seeing” and the “hating” to refer to both Jesus and the Father, but this has the world “seeing” the Father, which seems alien to the Johannine Jesus. (Some point out John 14:9 as an example, but this is addressed to the disciples, not to the world.) It is more likely that the “seeing” refers to the miraculous deeds mentioned in the first half of the verse. Such an understanding of the first “both—and” construction is apparently supported by BDF §444.3.
- John 15:25 tn The words “this happened” are not in the Greek text but are supplied to complete an ellipsis.
- John 15:25 sn A quotation from Pss 35:19; 69:4. As a technical term law (νόμος, nomos) is usually restricted to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT), but here it must have a broader reference, since the quotation is from Ps 35:19 or Ps 69:4. The latter is the more likely source for the quoted words, since it is cited elsewhere in John’s Gospel (2:17 and 19:29, in both instances in contexts associated with Jesus’ suffering and death).
- John 15:26 tn Or “Helper” or “Counselor”; Grk “Paraclete,” from the Greek word παράκλητος (paraklētos). See the note on the word “Advocate” in John 14:16 for discussion of how this word is translated.
- John 15:26 tn Grk “that one.”