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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
John 15

 

 

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Verse 1

John 15:1. ἐγω, I) Jesus Christ.— ἄμπελος, vine) The explanation of this parabolic illustration (parœmiæ) is given in John 15:5.


Verse 2

John 15:2. κλῆμα, branch) A most delightful simile, Romans 6:5; Romans 11:17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.— αἴρει· καθαίρει) A sweet rhythm (similarity of sounds), even though καθαίρω does not come, as if it were καταίρω, from αἴρω. καθαίρω is an expression θεία καὶ σεμνὴ, of a divine and solemn character, among the ancients, as Eustathius observes. Our heavenly Father requires that all things should be ‘clean’ ( καθαρὰ) and ‘fruit-bearing.’ Cleanness and fruitfulness mutually assist one another.— τὸ) Emphatic. The other clause, viz. μὴ φέρον, has no article, as this has, πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον.(357)πλείονα more abundant) Those excrescences which are redundant are taken away by internal and external affliction: by those very means the fruit is increased. [But if thou shouldest be unwilling that the things which are bad should be taken away from thee, it will become necessary that thou thyself shouldest be taken away.—V. g.]


Verse 3

John 15:3. καθαροὶ) This word is taken from καθαίρω, in John 15:2.— λόγον) the word, which is most ‘clean’ (pure, καθαρός). The Word is in itself altogether clean or pure: owing to this it imparts cleanness (purity), or holiness, to the disciples. Comp. the use of διὰ ( σπλάγχνα ἐλέους θεοῦ ἡμῶν, ‘through,’ i.e. “owing to the tender mercy of our God”), Luke 1:78.


Verse 4

John 15:4. κἀγὼ, and I) The first person here is to be supplied from the imperative, μείνατε, abide, by the following periphrasis (circumlocution or paraphrase): See that ye abide in Me, and that I abide in you.— καθὼς, even as) This passage admirably sets forth the distinction there is between nature and grace.— ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, of itself) This is explained in the following clause, ἐὰν μὴ μείνῃ, κ. τ. λ., “except it abide in the vine; so χωρὶς ἐμοῦ, “without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.


Verse 5

John 15:5. οὗτος) he, and he only [“the same”].— ποιεῖν, do) This verb is taken in the strict sense. Elsewhere we have the expression καρπὸν ποιεῖν, to make or produce fruit: but here καρπὸν φέρειν, to bear fruit.


Verse 6

John 15:6. ἐν ἐμοὶ, in Me) as in the vine.— ἐβλήθη) By that very fact he is (he renders himself) deserving of being cast out: and accordingly he shall surely be cast out. The first Aorist. The expression ἐὰν μὴ μείνῃ, if a man shall not abide in Me, is in the Future: and so in the Apodosis the ἐβλήθη, [“He is at once cast out”] denotes that which forthwith ensues. A similar Aorist, ἐκέρδησας, “If he shall hear thee, thou hast (by the very fact) gained thy brother,” occurs in Matthew 18:15.— ἔξω, out) from the vineyard.— ἐξηράνθη, he is withered) as a branch cast into the highway. See Matthew 13:12.— συνάγουσιν, gather together) Matthew 13:40-41.— αὐτὰ, them) viz. all the rejected (worthless) branches.— καίεται, they are burned) The simple verb is here employed with great force and striking majesty.


Verse 7

John 15:7. τὰ ῥήματά μου) My words, which impart cleanness; “and if I Myself abide in you” [comp. John 15:4]. The correlatives are, the words of Jesus which are obeyed, and the prayers of the believing which are hearkened to.— αἰτήσεσθε) ye shall ask: ye shall be able and also shall have the will to ask. Prayer itself is a fruit, and increases our fruit.


Verse 8

John 15:8. ἐδοξάσθη, has been (is) glorified) and hath appointed that He should be glorified.— ἵνα, that) This depends on τούτῳ, in this.— πολὺν, much) The multitude of the grapes reflects honour on the vine-dresser.— γενήσεσθε) Others have written it γενήσησθε or γένησθε, on account of the ἵνα. The Vulgate has efficiamini. What the Latin translator (Jerome) read in the Greek, is not quite clear. The same decision may be come to as regards the other versions.(358) The construction would not be amiss, ἵνα φέρητε καὶ γενήσεσθε: comp. the note on Mark 3:27.(359) But we rather thus explain the construction, In this (namely, that ye bear much fruit), both My FATHER is glorified, and I shall have disciples who reflect honour on Me.— ἐμοὶ) to or for Me (comp. Matthew 27:57, Joseph, who also himself ἐμαθήτευσεν τῷ ἰησοῦ, was a disciple for Jesus, not merely of Jesus, but one who was both a disciple himself, and strove to win others also to Him), or else of Me, My.— μαθηταὶ) This is to be taken in a pregnant sense, “ye shall be disciples, i.e. worthy of Me:” ch. John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The foundation of Christianity in a man is for him to become a disciple of Christ: its complete superstructure is to be a disciple of Christ.


Verse 9

John 15:9. κἀγὼ) I also.— τῇ ἐμῇ, in My love) viz. towards you.


Verse 10

John 15:10. τετήρηκα, I have kept) even up to the moment of My departure from the world: 1 John 4:17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” As He was when He went out of the world, so He is always.


Verse 11

John 15:11. χαρὰ ἐμὴ, My joy) the joy which I feel at My departure to the Father, a joy which flows from love.— , may be(360)) ch. John 17:26, “I have declared unto them Thy name, etc., that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them.”— ὑμῶν, your) your joy being kindled by Mine.— πληρωθῇ, may be fulfilled [“might be full”]) This is said of the joy of the disciples. For the joy of Jesus needs not at any particular time, or by any particular to be made full [It always is full].


Verse 12

John 15:12. ἐντολὴ, commandment) Previously, in this and the preceding chapter, He said in the Plural commandments. They all are comprised in the one, ‘love.’— ἵνακαθὼς) even as I have loved you: this clause is handled, John 15:13-16. The inference of the former clause from this, viz. that ye love one another, is deduced in John 15:17.


Verse 13

John 15:13. ἀγαπὴν, love) towards friends. He does not in this place speak of His love to enemies.— ἵνα, that) This again depends on ταύτης, this.


Verse 14

John 15:14. ὅσα, whatsoever things) not merely some things.


Verse 15

John 15:15. δούλους, servants) So for instance He had called them, ch. John 13:16; John 13:13, “The servant is not greater than His Lord:” “Ye call Me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I am.” And the former sentiment is repeated in this chapter, at John 15:20, but in a milder tone.— ὅτι, because) This particle being employed twice in this verse, renders the antithesis very beautifully striking.— οὐκ οἶδε, knows not) The servant is treated as a mere instrument, ὄργανον.— τί) What kind of thing, and for what cause.— εἴρηκα, I have called you) just now, by a new appellation, John 15:13, and that appellation used in a more choice sense than in Luke 12:4, “I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them,” etc.; where there is no contrast intended, as here, of this appellation with the nomenclature of a servant.— ὅτι, because) Comp. Genesis 18:17, where God says, “Shall I hide from Abraham [called peculiarly “the Friend of God,” James 2:23] that thing which I do?” Psalms 25:14, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.”— ἤκουσα) which I have heard, as things to be done by Me [Supply the latter clause from the previous, “What His Lord doeth”].


Verse 16

John 15:16. ἔθηκα, I have appointed [Engl. Vers. ordained]) Castellio elegantly renders it: destinavi, I have marked out, or assigned you your place, expressing (keeping up) the allegory concerning trees [placed down in their appointed spot].— ὑπάγητε, ye may go your way) So הלך, 2 Samuel 3:1, said of progress, not in reference to place, but to time and degree.— ὑμῶν your,— ὑμῖν, to you) It is for you that the seed is sown, for you that the harvest is reaped.


Verse 18

John 15:18. ΄ισεῖ, hates) So far from loving you. [In this there is described, 1) the unreasonable hatred of the world in general, John 15:18-25 : 2) the confirmation of the truth which stands in contrast to the same, John 15:26-27 : 3) the hatred accompanied with more violent paroxysms, John 16:1-4: 4) the greater force of the confirmation, John 15:5-11.—V. g.]— γινώσκετε, know ye) [But Engl. Vers. ye know]. They did know it: ch. John 11:8, “The disciples say, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone Thee:” and yet they are ordered now more to reflect on this very fact: John 15:20, Remember, etc., ch. John 16:4.— πρῶτον) prior to its hating you.


Verse 19

John 15:19. ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου) of the world and on its side, of its party.— τὸ ἴδιον, its own) It would love you for its own sake, not for yours. Its own is said instead of you, and so the fact of it being the interest of the world to do so is marked.— ἐζελεξάμην ὑμᾶς, I have chosen you) as ἰδίους, My own, ch. John 13:1, “Jesus having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” Believers are no better than the world, as considered in themselves, but are so only by election. This it is which makes the great distinction.


Verse 20

John 15:20. εἶπον, I said) ch. John 13:16; Matthew 10:24.— εἰἐδίωξαν· εἰἐτήρησαν, if they have persecuted: if they have watched) The if is not a mere condition, but has the force of affirming [As surely as they have]: and τηρεῖν in tins passage is to watch in a hostile manner, as in Matthew 27:36, “Sitting down, they watched Him there” ( ἐτήρουν, at the crucifixion); Genesis 3:15, “The seed of the woman shall watch with hostile intent thy head, and thou shalt watch His heel:” αὐτός σου τηρήσει κεφάλην, καὶ σὺ τηρήσεις αὐτοῦ πτέρναν.(361) They persecuted Him when ‘doing’ good, John 15:24; they watched Him whilst He was ‘speaking,’ John 15:22.— καὶ, also) Matthew 10:25. Both are contained in the πάντα, all these things, John 15:21.


Verse 21

John 15:21. τὸ ὄνομά μου) My name, which, to wit, they knew not. Understand, and the name of Him who sent Me.— τὸν πέμψαντά με, Him who sent Me) Supply, and [because they knew not] Me: ch. John 16:3.


Verse 22

John 15:22. ἁμαρτίαν) this sin, viz. the sin of unbelief, conjoined with hatred of Me.— οὐκ, not) Now they have sin, whilst they have no excuse ( πρόφασιν) for it. It would have been better for them, if they had not ‘seen’ at all (John 15:24).


Verse 23

John 15:23. ΄ισῶν, he that hateth) Love accompanies faith; hatred, unbelief: ch. John 3:18-19.— καὶ, also) Implying the enormity of that sin of theirs.


Verse 24

John 15:24. ἑωράκασι, they have seen) the works.


Verse 25

John 15:25. ἀλλʼ ἵνα, but that) But, viz. this cometh to pass.— λόγος, the word) the word of prophecy, the true word.— ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτῶν, in their law) which they read over and over again, and make their boast of. The Psalms constitute a portion of the law in the wide sense of that term. Comp. Matthew 5:18; Matthew 5:17, “One tittle shall in nowise pass from the law” (including the prophets, etc., as appears from John 15:17), etc., “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets.” We say the Bible.


Verse 26

John 15:26. δὲ, but) The testimony of the Paraclete (Comforter) and of the disciples is put in contrast with the ignorance and hatred of the world.— παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς, from the Father) The Spirit of God is the same as the Spirit of Christ: Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6. Both are here implied; for as the Son is said to “send the Paraclete” (Comforter), not to the exclusion of the Father: so “the Spirit of Truth” is said to ‘proceed’ from the Father (not to the exclusion of the Son).— ἐκπορεύεται, proceedeth) Revelation 22:1. Separation from the person or thing from which the procession takes place is not always denoted by this verb, LXX., Exodus 25:35, “According to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick” ( τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τῆς λυχνίας).


Verse 26-27

John 15:26-27. ἐκεῖνος· καὶ ὑμεῖς, He; ye also) Acts 5:32, “We are His witnesses of these things, and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.”


Verse 27

John 15:27. δὲ, but, moreover) The Antithesis is between the future μαρτυρήσει, He shall testify, John 15:26, and the Present, μαρτυρεῖτε, ye bear witness.(362))— μαρτυρεῖτε, ye bear witness) viz., of Me.— ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, from the beginning) ch. John 16:4, “These things I said not unto you at the beginning ( ἐξ ἀρχῆς), because I was with you.” Ye are ( ἐστε) from the beginning, i.e., Ye have been from the beginning, and still are with Me. A similar phrase occurs, 1 John 3:8, where see the note, “The devil sinneth from the beginning,” an abbreviated expression for [He hath sinned from the beginning and still sinneth.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 15:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-15.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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