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A Study of Meno, “To Abide,” in the New Testament,[1]

for the purpose of ascertaining the sense in John 15, and seeing what it means to abide in Christ. The vine pericope in John 15 is examined at the conclusion of the study, after the 120 uses of meno in the NT have been cataloged and commented upon. The OT background to the vine image is also examined.

Mt 10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

ei˙ß h§n d∆ a·n po/lin h£ kw¿mhn ei˙se÷lqhte, e˙xeta¿sate ti÷ß e˙n aujthØv a‡xio/ß e˙stin: kaÓkei√ mei÷nate, eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte.

Here the sense is “stay,” or “dwell” there. This is consistent with a sense of “endure” or “remain” for meno in John 15.

Mt 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

kai« su/, Kapernaou/m, hJ eºwß touv oujranouv uJywqei√sa, eºwß aˆ‚dou katabibasqh/shØ: o¢ti ei˙ e˙n Sodo/moiß e˙ge÷nonto ai˚ duna¿meiß ai˚ geno/menai e˙n soi÷, e¶meinen a·n me÷cri thvß sh/meron.

Here the sense of “stay” or “endure” is very possible.

Mt 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

to/te le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Peri÷lupo/ß e˙stin hJ yuch/ mou eºwß qana¿tou: mei÷nate w—de kai« grhgorei√te met∆ e˙mouv.

Here “remain/stay” is the sense as well. Consider that this text contains an identical imperative to that in John 15. The disciples were to stay there, while, v. 39, Christ went away from them a little farther. The word, of itself, does not indicate that fellowship with Him is involved in remaining/abiding/staying. Certainly the necessity of fellowship with Christ is taught in many passages of Scripture, but if “abide” in John 15 possesses the same sense as “tarry ye” here, why cannot it be a command of Christian perseverance rather than a command for fellowship? Note that the Lord rebuked them for not “watching” (v. 40ff.) but not for not “tarrying” with Him, for they did stay there instead of going somewhere else, although they certainly had no sort of living fellowship with the Lord, for they were asleep.

Mr 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

kai« e¶legen aujtoi√ß, ›Opou e˙a»n ei˙se÷lqhte ei˙ß oi˙ki÷an, e˙kei√ me÷nete eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte e˙kei√qen.

Here “remain/stay” in the sense of “dwell” is the idea. This use also is not one of living fellowship; one does not have fellowship with a house.

Mr 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

kai« le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Peri÷lupo/ß e˙stin hJ yuch/ mou eºwß qana¿tou: mei÷nate w—de kai« grhgorei√te.

See the note on Mt 26:38.

Lu 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

⁄Emeine de« Maria»m su\n aujthØv wJsei« mhvnaß trei√ß, kai« uJpe÷streyen ei˙ß to\n oi•kon aujthvß.

Mary remained/stayed/lived in Elizabeth’s house. Certainly Mary and Elizabeth had good fellowship, but they were both abiding in Elizabeth’s house, not abiding in one another. Note the last part of the verse.

Lu 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

e˙xelqo/nti de« aujtwˆ◊ e˙pi« th\n ghvn, uJph/nthsen aujtwˆ◊ aÓnh/r tiß e˙k thvß po/lewß, o§ß ei•ce daimo/nia e˙k cro/nwn i˚kanw◊n, kai« i˚ma¿tion oujk e˙nedidu/sketo, kai« e˙n oi˙ki÷aˆ oujk e¶menen, aÓll∆ e˙n toi√ß mnh/masin,

The man stayed/remained in the tombs, rather than in houses. No fellowship aspect appears in this usage either.

Lu 9:4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.

kai« ei˙ß h§n a·n oi˙ki÷an ei˙se÷lqhte, e˙kei√ me÷nete, kai« e˙kei√qen e˙xe÷rcesqe.

Here also, the command was to remain/stay in the house. Here, as in many of the previous references, location is in view.

Lu 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

e˙n aujthØv de« thØv oi˙ki÷aˆ me÷nete, e˙sqi÷onteß kai« pi÷nonteß ta» par∆ aujtw◊n: a‡xioß ga»r oJ e˙rga¿thß touv misqouv aujtouv e˙sti. mh\ metabai÷nete e˙x oi˙ki÷aß ei˙ß oi˙ki÷an.

The preachers were to remain/stay in this house while they were in that city, rather than moving from one house to another and exploiting everyone’s hospitality.

Lu 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

kai« wJß h™lqen e˙pi« to\n to/pon, aÓnable÷yaß oJ ∆Ihsouvß ei•den aujto/n, kai« ei•pe pro/ß aujto/n, Zakcai√e, speu/saß kata¿bhqi: sh/meron ga»r e˙n twˆ◊ oi¶kwˆ sou dei√ me mei√nai.

The Lord Jesus was going to remain/stay in Zacchaeus’ house. The Savior would be his guest that day. Certainly fellowship would go on, but this fact is not required by the word itself.

Lu 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

kai« parebia¿santo aujto/n, le÷gonteß, Mei√non meq∆ hJmw◊n, o¢ti pro\ß e˚spe÷ran e˙sti÷, kai« ke÷kliken hJ hJme÷ra. kai« ei˙shvlqe touv mei√nai su\n aujtoi√ß.

Both the command and the fulfillment are to remain/stay with someone, to continue in his physical presence.

Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

kai« e˙martu/rhsen ∆Iwa¿nnhß le÷gwn o¢ti Teqe÷amai to\ Pneuvma katabai√non wJsei« peristera»n e˙x oujranouv, kai« e¶meinen e˙p∆ aujto/n.

Here, and in v. 33, meno indicates a location. In v. 32 the Spirit came to abide on the Lord, and in v. 33 the Holy Ghost continued to remain on the Savior. Both of these designate a location, not fellowship.

Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

kaÓgw» oujk hØ¡dein aujto/n: aÓll∆ oJ pe÷myaß me bapti÷zein e˙n u¢dati, e˙kei√no/ß moi ei•pen, ∆Ef∆ o§n a·n i¶dhØß to\ Pneuvma katabai√non kai« me÷non e˙p∆ aujto/n, ou∞to/ß e˙stin oJ bapti÷zwn e˙n Pneu/mati ÔAgi÷wˆ.

See the comments on John 1:32.

Joh 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

strafei«ß de« oJ ∆Ihsouvß kai« qeasa¿menoß aujtou\ß aÓkolouqouvntaß, le÷gei aujtoi√ß, Ti÷ zhtei√te; oi˚ de« ei•pon aujtwˆ◊, ÔRabbi÷ (o§ le÷getai e˚rmhneuo/menon, Dida¿skale), pouv me÷neiß;

Here meno is equivalent to remain/stay. The two disciples asked the Lord Jesus what house He was staying in.

Joh 1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

le÷gei aujtoi√ß, ⁄Ercesqe kai« i¶dete. h™lqon kai« ei•don pouv me÷nei: kai« par∆ aujtwˆ◊ e¶meinan th\n hJme÷ran e˙kei÷nhn: w‚ra de« h™n wJß deka¿th.

The uses in v. 39 are like those in v. 38; they remained/stayed with the Lord. Surely the disciples had fellowship with Christ while they stayed with Him, but this result is not involved in the verb meno on its own.

Joh 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.

Meta» touvto kate÷bh ei˙ß Kapernaou/m, aujto\ß kai« hJ mh/thr aujtouv, kai« oi˚ aÓdelfoi« aujtouv kai« oi˚ maqhtai« aujtouv: kai« e˙kei√ e¶meinan ouj polla»ß hJme÷raß.

The people specified in the text remained or stayed in the city.

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

oJ pisteu/wn ei˙ß to\n ui˚o\n e¶cei zwh\n ai˙w¿nion: oJ de« aÓpeiqw◊n twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ oujk o¡yetai zwh/n, aÓll∆ hJ ojrgh\ touv Qeouv me÷nei e˙p∆ aujto/n.

The wrath of God stays or remains upon the unbelieving one.

Joh 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

wJß ou™n h™lqon pro\ß aujto\n oi˚ Samarei√tai, hjrw¿twn aujto\n mei√nai par∆ aujtoi√ß: kai« e¶meinen e˙kei√ du/o hJme÷raß.

The Samaritans asked the Lord to remain/stay with them, and so He did.

Joh 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

kai« to\n lo/gon aujtouv oujk e¶cete me÷nonta e˙n uJmi√n, o¢ti o§n aÓpe÷steilen e˙kei√noß, tou/twˆ uJmei√ß ouj pisteu/ete.

Here, when the Word remains or stays in one, it produces effects (although perhaps the statement that the Word did not remain in them is simply an affirmation of their ignorance of Scripture entirely, explaining hence the command of v. 39). See 8:31, where endurance in the belief and practice of the Word is indicated. Enduring obedience is associated with love for God, v. 42.

Joh 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

e˙rga¿zesqe mh\ th\n brw◊sin th\n aÓpollume÷nhn, aÓlla» th\n brw◊sin th\n me÷nousan ei˙ß zwh\n ai˙w¿nion, h§n oJ ui˚o\ß touv aÓnqrw¿pou uJmi√n dw¿sei: touvton ga»r oJ path\r e˙sfra¿gisen, oJ Qeo/ß.

Spiritual food will continue/remain/endure/abide, unlike physical bread, which will perish. In relation to John 15, note that here meno is even rendered endure. The Online Bible version of Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides the following statistics for the translation of meno: KJV – abide 61, remain 16, dwell 15, continue 11, tarry 9, endure 3, misc 5; 120 (total).

Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

oJ trw¿gwn mou th\n sa¿rka kai« pi÷nwn mou to\ ai–ma, e˙n e˙moi« me÷nei, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

Here it looks like the spiritual union of remaining or staying in Christ, en Christo, is in view. The one who has spiritual fellowship with Christ, who believes in Him, who eats His flesh and drinks His blood, is in Christ, and Christ is in him. The spiritual union here would, based on other passages of Scripture, be unbreakable; one cannot be in Christ and then no longer be so. There is no command here to remain in the en Christo position; it is a declarative statement. It looks like, contextually, this statement is something like, “He that believes in Me, remains in Me, and I in him.”

Joh 7:9* When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

tauvta de« ei˙pw»n aujtoi√ß e¶meinen e˙n thØv Galilai÷aˆ.

The Lord remained/stayed in Galilee.

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

⁄Elegen ou™n oJ ∆Ihsouvß pro\ß tou\ß pepisteuko/taß aujtwˆ◊ ∆Ioudai÷ouß, ∆Ea»n uJmei√ß mei÷nhte e˙n twˆ◊ lo/gwˆ twˆ◊ e˙mwˆ◊, aÓlhqw◊ß maqhtai« mou e˙ste÷:

Christ commands the believing Jews to remain or stay in His Word. This appears to be perseverance in obedience to it. The verse does not establish any mystical idea in abiding. This is not to say that God does not do great things by His Spirit in His people through the Word, nor does it deny that He does in fact hold glorious communion with them (1 John 1:3); it is simply dealing with the much narrower question of whether John 8:31 proves that He does these things. One should note as well that this verse is a statement that only those who, having received a new nature by grace, continue to follow the Lord are truly converted; the verse does not make a distinction between some sort of higher Christian life as a disciple versus a lower “Christian” life of perpetual carnality is in view, rather than a distinction between the saved and the lost. Those who do not continue and are not “disciples indeed” do not “know the truth” and are not “free” (8:31-32). All believers know the truth, and no unbelievers know the truth (John 1:17; 14:6, 17; 17:17, 19; and this knowledge leads to a changed life as its certain result: “Every one that is of the truth heareth [Christ’s] voice,” John 18:37; and consequently becomes a true worshipper (John 4:23-24), follows Christ (John 10:27), and “doeth truth . . . that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21). Furthermore, in the immediate context of John 8:31-32 (namely, in v. 36), and everywhere else in the New Testament, being made “free” is an event that takes place at the moment of regeneration (John 8:32, 36; Romans 6:18, 22; 8:2, 21; Galatians 5:1). While the believer is to renew his discipleship daily (Luke 9:23), the call of the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34) is a call to repentance and faith, to conversion: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it [eternally in hell]; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake [repent of his sin and his own life and way] and the gospel’s, the same shall save it [will go to heaven]” (Mark 8:35). Those who do not become disciples lose their own souls eternally in the lake of fire (Mark 8:36). While there can certainly be false or unsaved disciples (John 8:31; 6:66) just like there can be false believers (John 2:23-25; cf. 3:1-21), every true believer is a true disciple, and every true disciple is a true believer.

The Lord Jesus Himself, who knew that He was speaking to true converts (John 8:30-31), gave them assurance based on the evidence of the new birth and new nature (John 8:31—a certainty in every truly converted person, John 17:17). How much the more should His people, who do not know infallibly what has gone on within a professed convert, follow His practice! Believers must not give assurance to those who claim conversion but manifest no change of life.

Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

oJ de« douvloß ouj me÷nei e˙n thØv oi˙ki÷aˆ ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na: oJ ui˚o\ß me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na:

The servant does not remain or stay in the house, but the Son does.

Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

ei•pen aujtoi√ß oJ ∆Ihsouvß, Ei˙ tufloi« h™te, oujk a·n ei¶cete aJmarti÷an: nuvn de« le÷gete o¢ti Ble÷pomen: hJ ou™n aJmarti÷a uJmw◊n me÷nei.

The Lord Jesus tells those who oppose Him that their sins were remaining or staying upon them.

Joh 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

Kai« aÓphvlqe pa¿lin pe÷ran touv ∆Iorda¿nou ei˙ß to\n to/pon o¢pou h™n ∆Iwa¿nnhß to\ prw◊ton bapti÷zwn: kai« e¶meinen e˙kei√.

Christ remained or stayed in a location beyond Jordan where John had at first baptized.

Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

wJß ou™n h¡kousen o¢ti aÓsqenei√, to/te me«n e¶meinen e˙n wˆ— h™n to/pwˆ du/o hJme÷raß.

After receiving the message mentioned, the Lord remained or stayed in His location for two further days.

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

aÓmh\n aÓmh\n le÷gw uJmi√n, e˙a»n mh\ oJ ko/kkoß touv si÷tou pesw»n ei˙ß th\n ghvn aÓpoqa¿nhØ, aujto\ß mo/noß me÷nei: e˙a»n de« aÓpoqa¿nhØ, polu\n karpo\n fe÷rei.

The grain of wheat remains or stays on its own.

Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

aÓpekri÷qh aujtwˆ◊ oJ o¡cloß, ÔHmei√ß hjkou/samen e˙k touv no/mou o¢ti oJ Cristo\ß me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na: kai« pw◊ß su\ le÷geiß o¢ti Dei√ uJywqhvnai to\n ui˚o\n touv aÓnqrw¿pou; ti÷ß e˙stin ou∞toß oJ ui˚o\ß touv aÓnqrw¿pou;

The Christ remains or stays to rule forever.

Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

e˙gw» fw◊ß ei˙ß to\n ko/smon e˙lh/luqa, iºna pa◊ß oJ pisteu/wn ei˙ß e˙me÷, e˙n thØv skoti÷aˆ mh\ mei÷nhØ.

The believer will no longer remain in darkness, but will be in the light instead.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

ouj pisteu/eiß o¢ti e˙gw» e˙n twˆ◊ patri÷, kai« oJ path\r e˙n e˙moi÷ e˙sti; ta» rJh/mata a± e˙gw» lalw◊ uJmi√n, aÓp∆ e˙mautouv ouj lalw◊: oJ de« path\r oJ e˙n e˙moi« me÷nwn, aujto\ß poiei√ ta» e¶rga.

The Father has a position of being in the Son, and the Son is in the Father (see also v. 11). It is certain that the Father and Son have an ineffably deep fellowship, but what in the text indicates that “dwelleth” specifies this fellowship, rather than representing the ontological indwelling, the interpenetration of the three Persons in the Trinity?

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

kai« e˙gw» e˙rwth/sw to\n pate÷ra, kai« a‡llon para¿klhton dw¿sei uJmi√n, iºna me÷nhØ meq∆ uJmw◊n ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na,

The Spirit would come to remain/stay with the saints forever. See also v. 17.

Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

to\ pneuvma thvß aÓlhqei÷aß, o§ oJ ko/smoß ouj du/natai labei√n, o¢ti ouj qewrei√ aujto/, oujde« ginw¿skei aujto\ uJmei√ß de« ginw¿skete aujto/: o¢ti par∆ uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« e˙n uJmi√n e¶stai.

Here the Spirit is known because He dwells with, and shall be in, the saints. Dwelling or abiding is not synonymous with being known, but the Spirit’s indwelling is the cause of fellowship. This verse does establish an explicit connection between fellowship and indwelling for the inward work of the Spirit. Perhaps a parallel to this in the earlier texts is found where the Lord Jesus stayed in someone’s house; fellowship on that account would be a definite result. So knowing the Spirit because He dwells within is established here. “Ye know Him, because He dwelleth with you, and shall be dwelling in you.” The Lord does not use meno of the relation of the Spirit within the Christian here; the Spirit who at that time was “with” them dwelt or abode with them; at the coming day when He would be within them, He would at that time dwell in them. The verse also supports the conclusion that believers also know the Father and the Son because both of them similarly dwell in the saints; cf. vv. 20, 23. Note the present tense use of meno in John 14:17.

Joh 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

Tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n par∆ uJmi√n me÷nwn.

While still remaining or continuing with the disciples on the earth, Christ said these things to them.

Joh 15:4 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.

mei÷nate e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n uJmi√n. kaqw»ß to\ klhvma ouj du/natai karpo\n fe÷rein aÓf∆ e˚autouv, e˙a»n mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙n thØv aÓmpe÷lwˆ, ou¢twß oujde« uJmei√ß, e˙a»n mh\ e˙n e˙moi« mei÷nhte.

This examination of each instance of the word meno in the New Testament is followed by a verse-by verse exposition of the vine pericope in John 15. Detailed comments on these verses will be found there. Here some general background to John 15 will suffice.

The Old Testament repeatedly presents the nation of Israel as Jehovah’s vine, as well as comparing the nation to a vineyard (Isaiah 5), etc. The vine is to bring forth fruit—although Israel failed to do so, and thus was burned up, in contrast to those who abide in Christ as the vine in John 15. Israel’s failure brought the nation into judgment. If all Israel was “in the vine,” part of the metaphor, the metaphor was not limited to the genuinely converted. Consider:

Isaiah 5:1ff, then:

6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (Isaiah 5:6-7)

21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (Jeremiah 2:21)

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Jeremiah 12:10)

16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. 1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. (Hosea 9:16-10:1)

1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. 2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. 3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. 6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? 8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. 9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. 10 Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. 11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. 12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:1-13)

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned? 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. 8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 15:1-8)

Note in Ezekiel 15 that the vine that is good for nothing is cast into the fire and burned up, so that it will be useful in some way. The vine here represents the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who are associated with the people of God, naturally. They are burned up, in the sense that they are given over to various awful judgments for their sins. While this writer believes these judgments fall upon unconverted Israelites who are given over to judgment, thus, with those who are not genuinely part of the people of God, although they are such in name, one could also argue that this passage deals with converted individuals who were disobedient.

Consider Psalm 80:

1 <> Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. 3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? 5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. 6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

It would appear that this deliverance of the vine from Egypt is a physical deliverance, but the spiritual is tied in with the physical for the nation of Israel.

9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

This speaks of the physical spread of the “vine” through the land in the conquest of Canaan. Of course, this was also a time of spiritual revival and blessing for Israel.

11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. 12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? 13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

Here, of course, the Psalmist describes the contraction of the nation at the hand of her enemies. Although Jehovah is the Shepherd of Israel, now the wild beasts are Israel’s “shepherd” (devour is from the same verb as to shepherd/feed). This is a physical contraction, but it is a result of a spiritual affliction, as one can see from v. 18ff.

14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

God is to view the children of Israel with mercy; yet the nation is still Jehovah’s ben, His son (this is the word here rendered branch.). This would seem to favor the interpretation of John 15 where the burning is considered as a physical judgment on the disobedient believer; however, it is not inconsistent with a spiritual view, for the unconverted are cut off out of the true Israel of God, and Judas, to whom the passage in John 15 seems to allude in the branch that is cast off, was certainly unconverted. Consider as well that here the branch is Israel, but it also alludes to the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, as the vine, for Israel was in the Lord (Isaiah 45:17, 24, 25) in the OT, as the saints are in Christ in the NT; so a comparison to John 15 is the more apt, for there the Lord is explicitly said to be the vine, yet the text bears reference to the saints, or the company of professed saints, as the members of the vine. So in Psalm 80 we can consider Israel as the vine, yet the Lord, the Divine Messiah, is not out of view.

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

This is physical judgment upon the nation, metaphorically represented as a vine. There is no specific mention here of a remnant in the nation who is faithful and a portion that is unfaithful; the nation is viewed as a whole. Nevertheless, such an idea is not excluded; it is simply not mentioned.

17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.

Through the Messiah, who was certain to become incarnate, the nation of Israel would find complete and ultimate deliverance, as they would in part through the human types of the Christ who sat on the throne of David.

18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

The nation would find physical and spiritual deliverance when Jehovah would bless them for the sake of the Anointed One. Being quickened, they would receive spiritual blessing.

19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Spiritual blessing and physical deliverance are intimately united here.

These many Old Testament chapters and verses employing the vine metaphor are very important general background information to the metaphor in John 15. The verse-by-verse exposition of the chapter, once again, is found after the remaining instances of meno in the New Testament are evaluated.

Joh 15:5 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.

e˙gw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß, uJmei√ß ta» klh/mata. oJ me÷nwn e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊, ou∞toß fe÷rei karpo\n polu/n: o¢ti cwri«ß e˙mouv ouj du/nasqe poiei√n oujde÷n.

Joh 15:6 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.

e˙a»n mh/ tiß mei÷nhØ e˙n e˙moi÷, e˙blh/qh e¶xw wJß to\ klhvma, kai« e˙xhra¿nqh, kai« suna¿gousin aujta» kai« ei˙ß puvr ba¿llousi, kai« kai÷etai.

Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

e˙a»n mei÷nhte e˙n e˙moi÷, kai« ta» rJh/mata¿ mou e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, o§ e˙a»n qe÷lhte ai˙th/sasqe, kai« genh/setai uJmi√n.

Joh 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

kaqw»ß hjga¿phse÷ me oJ path/r, kaÓgw» hjga¿phsa uJma◊ß: mei÷nate e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ thØv e˙mhØv.

Joh 15:10 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.

e˙a»n ta»ß e˙ntola¿ß mou thrh/shte, menei√te e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ mou: kaqw»ß e˙gw» ta»ß e˙ntola»ß touv patro/ß mou teth/rhka, kai« me/nw aujtouv e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ.

Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n, iºna hJ cara» hJ e˙mh\ e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, kai« hJ cara» uJmw◊n plhrwqhØv.

All these instances in John 15:1-11 are examined at the end of this study.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

oujc uJmei√ß me e˙xele÷xasqe, aÓll∆ e˙gw» e˙xelexa¿mhn uJma◊ß, kai« e¶qhka uJma◊ß, iºna uJmei√ß uJpa¿ghte kai« karpo\n fe÷rhte, kai« oJ karpo\ß uJmw◊n me÷nhØ: iºna o¢ ti a·n ai˙th/shte to\n pate÷ra e˙n twˆ◊ ojno/mati÷ mou, dwˆ◊ uJmi√n.

Your fruit, your good works, will continue; they will pass through the judgment. All truly converted individuals are changed by God and will bring forth good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). The fruit remaining for all the regenerate is a certain consequence of their election by God.

Joh 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Oi˚ ou™n ∆Ioudai√oi, e˙pei« Paraskeuh\ h™n, iºna mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙pi« touv staurouv ta» sw¿mata e˙n twˆ◊ sabba¿twˆ (h™n ga»r mega¿lh hJ hJme÷ra e˙kei÷nou touv sabba¿tou), hjrw¿thsan to\n Pila¿ton iºna kateagw◊sin aujtw◊n ta» ske÷lh, kai« aÓrqw◊sin.

The bodies were not to remain or stay on the cross.

Joh 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

le÷gei aujtwˆ◊ oJ ∆Ihsouvß, ∆Ea»n aujto\n qe÷lw me÷nein eºwß e¶rcomai, ti÷ pro/ß se; su\ aÓkolou/qei moi.

The question is if the disciple will continue, remain, or stay on earth until Christ returns.

Joh 21:23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

e˙xhvlqen ou™n oJ lo/goß ou∞toß ei˙ß tou\ß aÓdelfou/ß, o¢ti oJ maqhth\ß e˙kei√noß oujk aÓpoqnh/skei: kai« oujk ei•pen aujtwˆ◊ oJ ∆Ihsouvß, o¢ti oujk aÓpoqnh/skei: aÓll∆, ∆Ea»n aujto\n qe÷lw me÷nein eºwß e¶rcomai, ti÷ pro/ß se;

Here it is the same thing—would that disciple continue, remain, or stay until Christ returns?

Ac 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

oujci« me÷non soi« e¶mene; kai« praqe«n e˙n thØv shØv e˙xousi÷aˆ uJphvrce; ti÷ o¢ti e¶qou e˙n thØv kardi÷aˆ sou to\ pra◊gma touvto; oujk e˙yeu/sw aÓnqrw¿poiß, aÓlla» twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

“While it remained, was it not remaining to you?”

Ac 9:43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

e˙ge÷neto de« hJme÷raß i˚kana»ß mei√nai aujto\n e˙n ∆Io/pphØ para¿ tini Si÷mwni bursei√.

Here, Paul remained or stayed with Simon the tanner. Note that, although he was with him for many days, the aorist tense is used for his time with him. Of course, Paul also left later.

Ac 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

wJß de« e˙bapti÷sqh, kai« oJ oi•koß aujthvß, pareka¿lese le÷gousa, Ei˙ kekri÷kate÷ me pisth\n twˆ◊ Kuri÷wˆ ei•nai, ei˙selqo/nteß ei˙ß to\n oi•ko/n mou mei÷nate. kai« parebia¿sato hJma◊ß.

Here again the abiding, remaining, or staying is a aorist tense, yet it represents a stay of what was likely a significant period of time.

Ac 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

kai« dia» to\ oJmo/tecnon ei•nai, e¶mene par∆ aujtoi√ß kai« ei˙rga¿zeto: h™san ga»r skhnopoioi« th\n te÷cnhn.

Here Paul’s abiding with these people is expressed with an imperfect form, unlike in the previous instances, where an aorist is used.

Ac 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

e˙rwtw¿ntwn de« aujtw◊n e˙pi« plei÷ona cro/non mei√nai par∆ aujtoi√ß, oujk e˙pe÷neusen:

Here again abiding is remaining/staying with people. It is aorist again.


Ac 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.

ou∞toi proelqo/nteß e¶menon hJma◊ß e˙n Trwa¿di.

The brethren in Acts 20:4 were remaining or staying (imperfect tense) for Paul, Luke, and the rest of those coming from Troas.

Ac 20:15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus.

kaÓkei√qen aÓpopleu/santeß, thØv e˙piou/shØ kathnth/samen aÓntikru\ Ci÷ou: thØv de« e˚te÷raˆ pareba¿lomen ei˙ß Sa¿mon: kai« mei÷nanteß e˙n Trwgulli÷wˆ, thØv e˙come÷nhØ h¡lqomen ei˙ß Mi÷lhton.

Luke, Paul, and the rest of their missionary band remained or stayed at Trygyllium for one day.

Ac 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

plh\n o¢ti to\ Pneuvma to\ ›Agion kata» po/lin diamartu/retai le÷gon o¢ti desma¿ me kai« qli÷yeiß me÷nousin.

Bonds and afflictions are remaining, staying, or continuing yet for the Apostle.

Ac 21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

ÔHmei√ß de« to\n plouvn dianu/santeß aÓpo\ Tu/rou, kathnth/samen ei˙ß PtolemaiŒda, kai« aÓspasa¿menoi tou\ß aÓdelfou\ß e˙mei÷namen hJme÷ran mi÷an par∆ aujtoi√ß.

The aorist tense expression means, “They remained or stayed with them for one day.”

Ac 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

thØv de« e˙pau/rion e˙xelqo/nteß oi˚ peri« to\n Pauvlon h™lqon h¡lqomen ei˙ß Kaisa¿reian: kai« ei˙selqo/nteß ei˙ß to\n oi•kon Fili÷ppou touv eujaggelistouv, touv o¡ntoß e˙k tw◊n e˚pta¿, e˙mei÷namen par∆ aujtwˆ◊.

Paul’s company remained or stayed with Philip the evangelist.

Ac 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

ei•pen oJ Pauvloß twˆ◊ e˚katonta¿rchØ kai« toi√ß stratiw¿taiß, ∆Ea»n mh\ ou∞toi mei÷nwsin e˙n twˆ◊ ploi÷wˆ, uJmei√ß swqhvnai ouj du/nasqe.

Those trying to flee needed to remain, continue, or stay in the ship.

Ac 27:41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

peripeso/nteß de« ei˙ß to/pon diqa¿lasson e˙pw¿keilan th\n nauvn: kai« hJ me«n prw◊ra e˙rei÷sasa e¶meinen aÓsa¿leutoß, hJ de« pru/mna e˙lu/eto uJpo\ thvß bi÷aß tw◊n kuma¿twn.

The forepart of the ship remained or stayed in the place where it had run aground.

Ac 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

›Ote de« h¡lqomen ei˙ß ÔRw¿mhn, oJ e˚kato/ntarcoß pare÷dwke tou\ß desmi÷ouß twˆ◊ stratopeda¿rchØ: twˆ◊ de« Pau/lwˆ e˙petra¿ph me÷nein kaq∆ e˚auto/n, su\n twˆ◊ fula¿ssonti aujto\n stratiw¿thØ.

Paul was allowed to remain or stay by himself.

Ac 28:30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

⁄Emeine de« oJ Pauvloß dieti÷an o¢lhn e˙n i˙di÷wˆ misqw¿mati, kai« aÓpede÷ceto pa¿ntaß tou\ß ei˙sporeuome÷nouß pro\ß aujto/n,

Paul remained or stayed at his own hired house for two years.

Ro 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

mh/pw ga»r gennhqe÷ntwn, mhde« praxa¿ntwn ti aÓgaqo\n h£ kako/n, iºna hJ kat∆ e˙klogh\n touv Qeouv pro/qesiß me÷nhØ, oujk e˙x e¶rgwn, aÓll∆ e˙k touv kalouvntoß,

God’s elective purpose is to remain, continue, or abide unshaken.

1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

ei¶ tinoß to\ e¶rgon me÷nei o§ e˙pwˆkodo/mhse misqo\n lh/yetai.

The works remain, stay, or continue, that is, they pass through the fire of judgment.

1Co 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

Le÷gw de« toi√ß aÓga¿moiß kai« tai√ß ch/raiß, kalo\n aujtoi√ß e˙stin e˙a»n mei÷nwsin wJß kaÓgw¿.

It is good for the widows and unmarried to remain or stay in their single state.

1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

(e˙a»n de« kai« cwrisqhØv, mene÷tw a‡gamoß, h£ twˆ◊ aÓndri« katallagh/tw): kai« a‡ndra gunai√ka mh\ aÓfie÷nai.

“Let her,” says Paul, “remain or stay in an unmarried state.”

1Co 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

eºkastoß e˙n thØv klh/sei hØ∞ e˙klh/qh e˙n tau/thØ mene÷tw.

Let that man continue, remain, or stay in the same state in which he was when he was designated an heir of everlasting life.

1Co 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

eºkastoß e˙n wˆ— e˙klh/qh, aÓdelfoi÷, e˙n tou/twˆ mene÷tw para» twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

In whatever state one finds himself, whether circumcised or not, in whatever job station, let him remain or stay in that position.

1Co 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

makariwte÷ra de÷ e˙stin e˙a»n ou¢tw mei÷nhØ, kata» th\n e˙mh\n gnw¿mhn: dokw◊ de« kaÓgw» Pneuvma Qeouv e¶cein.

The widow under consideration is happier if she remains or stays unmarried after the death of her first husband.

1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

nuni« de« me÷nei pi÷stiß, e˙lpi÷ß, aÓga¿ph, ta» tri÷a tauvta. mei÷zwn de« tou/twn hJ aÓga¿ph.

These three things continue, remain, or stay—faith, hope, and charity. While it has not been specifically mentioned in the previous verses, the nature of the meno itself does not require any sort of fellowship aspect to it. If one states that abide in John 15 includes fellowship, this conclusion must be made because of the nature of being in Christ and of of true Christianity (and these things do require fellowship), not because of the anything inherent in the word meno.

1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

e¶peita w‡fqh e˙pa¿nw pentakosi÷oiß aÓdelfoi√ß e˙fa¿pax, e˙x w—n oi˚ plei÷ouß me÷nousin eºwß a‡rti, tine«ß de« kai« e˙koimh/qhsan:

The greatest part remain, abide, or continue alive to the point in time indicated.

2Co 3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

ei˙ ga»r to\ katargou/menon, dia» do/xhß, pollwˆ◊ ma◊llon to\ me÷non, e˙n do/xhØ.

Here the New Covenant, which remains, continues, or stays, is glorious.

2Co 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

aÓll∆ e˙pwrw¿qh ta» noh/mata aujtw◊n: a‡cri ga»r thvß sh/meron to\ aujto\ ka¿lumma e˙pi« thØv aÓnagnw¿sei thvß palaia◊ß diaqh/khß me÷nei mh\ aÓnakalupto/menon, o‚ ti e˙n Cristwˆ◊ katargei√tai.

The blinding still continues or abides.

2Co 9:9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

kaqw»ß ge÷graptai, ∆Esko/rpisen, e¶dwke toi√ß pe÷nhsin: hJ dikaiosu/nh aujtouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

God’s righteousness continues or stays.

Php 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

kaqw»ß ge÷graptai, ∆Esko/rpisen, e¶dwke toi√ß pe÷nhsin: hJ dikaiosu/nh aujtouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

In this passage, Paul’s “abiding” with the Philippians was his continuing with them, “coming to” them, and “seeing” them again; it was his bodily presence with them, rather than his death. (Note, on the side, that the idea that he could intercede for them after his death as a Catholic saint allegedly could do is not found at all—were this the case then after Paul’s death he could be much more useful to the Philippians than he was now, but such is not the case.) Paul abode with them so that he could disciple the Philippians, but those actions were not inherent in his abiding itself. This should be considered in analyzing John 15 and the nature of abiding in Christ.

1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

swqh/setai de« dia» thvß teknogoni÷aß, e˙a»n mei÷nwsin e˙n pi÷stei kai« aÓga¿phØ kai« aJgiasmwˆ◊ meta» swfrosu/nhß.

The children abiding in or following the right path is the sense of meno here.

2Ti 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

ei˙ aÓpistouvmen, e˙kei√noß pisto\ß me÷nei: aÓrnh/sasqai e˚auto\n ouj du/natai.

The Lord continues or remains faithful to His threatenings against unbelievers, for He cannot deny His holy nature. He is certain to condemn those who do not believe.

2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

su\ de« me÷ne e˙n oi–ß e¶maqeß kai« e˙pistw¿qhß, ei˙dw»ß para» ti÷noß e¶maqeß,

Timothy was to remain or stay faithful to what he had learned.

2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

⁄Erastoß e¶meinen e˙n Kori÷nqwˆ: Tro/fimon de« aÓpe÷lipon e˙n Milh/twˆ aÓsqenouvnta.

Erastus remained or stayed in the city of Corinth, while Trophimus stayed at Miletum.

Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

aÓpa¿twr, aÓmh/twr, aÓgenealo/ghtoß, mh/te aÓrch\n hJmerw◊n mh/te zwhvß te÷loß e¶cwn, aÓfwmoiwme÷noß de« twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ touv Qeouv), me÷nei i˚ereu\ß ei˙ß to\ dihneke÷ß.

The Lord remains or continues to have the office of a priest continually.

Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

oJ de÷, dia» to\ me÷nein aujto\n ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na, aÓpara¿baton e¶cei th\n i˚erwsu/nhn.

The Lord Jesus Christ remains forever; He will always exist.

Heb 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

kai« ga»r toi√ß desmoi√ß mou sunepaqh/sate, kai« th\n aJrpagh\n tw◊n uJparco/ntwn uJmw◊n meta» cara◊ß prosede÷xasqe, ginw¿skonteß e¶cein e˙n e˚autoi√ß krei√ttona u¢parxin e˙n oujranoi√ß kai« me÷nousan.

The heavenly substance will continue or remain forever.

Heb 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

to\ de, ⁄Eti a‚pax, dhloi√ tw◊n saleuome÷nwn th\n meta¿qesin, wJß pepoihme÷nwn, iºna mei÷nhØ ta» mh\ saleuo/mena.

The unshaken things may continue to be around.

Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

ÔH filadelfi÷a mene÷tw.

Let love abide or remain.

Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

ouj ga»r e¶comen w—de me÷nousan po/lin, aÓlla» th\n me÷llousan e˙pizhtouvmen.

Our city here does not remain.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

aÓnagegennhme÷noi oujk e˙k spora◊ß fqarthvß, aÓlla» aÓfqa¿rtou, dia» lo/gou zw◊ntoß Qeouv kai« me÷nontoß ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

The Word of God continues, remains, or endures forever. These are synonymns for “abide.”

1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

to\ de« rJhvma Kuri÷ou me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na. touvto de÷ e˙sti to\ rJhvma to\ eujaggelisqe«n ei˙ß uJma◊ß.

The Word remains, continues, or abides forever.

1Jo 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

oJ le÷gwn e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nein ojfei÷lei, kaqw»ß e˙kei√noß periepa¿thse, kai« aujto\ß ou¢tw peripatei√n.

In the previous verse (v. 5), those en auto are those who are truly converted, those in whom the love of God is perfected (perfect tense). This would suggest that abiding in Him, v. 6, is synonymous with being en Christo, that is, with genuine conversion. Consider that this is a present tense abiding. Cf. in John 15 the contrasting aorist and present tense usage of meno.

1Jo 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

oJ aÓgapw◊n to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv e˙n twˆ◊ fwti« me÷nei, kai« ska¿ndalon e˙n aujtwˆ◊ oujk e¶stin.

Here again the contrast with v. 9, where he who hates his brother is now and always has been unconverted, indicates that abiding in the light (present tense again) is the mark of the converted individual.

1Jo 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

e¶graya uJmi√n, pate÷reß, o¢ti e˙gnw¿kate to\n aÓp∆ aÓrchvß. e¶graya uJmi√n, neani÷skoi, o¢ti i˙scuroi÷ e˙ste, kai« oJ lo/goß touv Qeouv e˙n uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« nenikh/kate to\n ponhro/n.

This verse also looks like the abiding of the Word of God in people is a characteristic of true conversion. They were clean (perfect tense) through the Word of God which Christ had spoken (John 15:3) and His Words abode (aorist) in them (John 15:7).

1Jo 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

kai« oJ ko/smoß para¿getai, kai« hJ e˙piqumi÷a aujtouv: oJ de« poiw◊n to\ qe÷lhma touv Qeouv me÷nei ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na.

The one who does the will of God, the genuine convert, will continue to eternity in the presence of God, unlike the world and its lusts.

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

e˙x hJmw◊n e˙xhvlqon, aÓll∆ oujk h™san e˙x hJmw◊n: ei˙ ga»r h™san e˙x hJmw◊n, memenh/keisan a·n meq∆ hJmw◊n: aÓll∆ iºna fanerwqw◊sin o¢ti oujk ei˙si«n pa¿nteß e˙x hJmw◊n.

The pluperfect of meno here in this verse makes it clear that the elect do abide, remain, continue, or stay. They begin to do so at one point (conversion) with continuing results. The ones who do not abide are lost. This verse provides evidence that in John 15 abide is a synonym for persevere or continue. The evidence would only be undermined if one could prove from Scripture that people can genuinely abide and then cease to do so, be restored to doing so again, and cease to abide again, and continue to flip-flop back and forth, making abiding is an all-or-nothing matter rather than a matter of degree or a overall mark of believers. It is not possible to prove from the Bible that such flip-flopping takes place.

1Jo 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

uJmei√ß ou™n o§ hjkou/sate aÓp∆ aÓrchvß, e˙n uJmi√n mene÷tw. e˙a»n e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ o§ aÓp∆ aÓrchvß hjkou/sate, kai« uJmei√ß e˙n twˆ◊ ui˚wˆ◊ kai« e˙n twˆ◊ patri« menei√te.

If the teachings given before this text remain or continue in the audience of 1 John, then they will continue or remain in the Son and in the Father, that is, they will be eternally saved, for they are en Christo. V. 24, “Let . . . abide,” is a warning to avoid apostasy from the faith. Those who apostatize were never genuinely in Christ, but they had a certain sort of position in the Father and Son, it appears from the last clause here, as in John 15:2. Remaining or abiding in true faith and practice characterizes the audience; because they are those who abide, they will receive eternal life (v. 25).

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

kai« uJmei√ß, to\ cri√sma o§ e˙la¿bete aÓp∆ aujtouv e˙n uJmi√n me÷nei, kai« ouj crei÷an e¶cete iºna tiß dida¿skhØ uJma◊ß: aÓll∆ wJß to\ aujto\ cri√sma dida¿skei uJma◊ß peri« pa¿ntwn, kai« aÓlhqe÷ß e˙sti, kai« oujk e¶sti yeuvdoß, kai« kaqw»ß e˙di÷daxen uJma◊ß, menei√te e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

The Spirit, who indwells the elect, remains or continues in them, and He makes it certain that the elect will remain, continue, or persevere in true doctrine and practice.

1Jo 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

kai« nuvn, tekni÷a, me÷nete e˙n aujtwˆ◊: iºna o¢tan fanerwqhØv, e¶cwmen parrhsi÷an, kai« mh\ ai˙scunqw◊men aÓp∆ aujtouv e˙n thØv parousi÷aˆ aujtouv.

This is a command to persevere in the faith; those who are ashamed before Him at His coming are lost people, not disobedient Christians, as v. 29 and the previous verses demonstrate.

1Jo 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

pa◊ß oJ e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nwn oujc aJmarta¿nei: pa◊ß oJ aJmarta¿nwn oujc e˚w¿raken aujto/n, oujde« e¶gnwken aujto/n.

Abiding in him is being regenerate; since in Him there is no sin, v. 5, the one who is in Him does not continue in sin (v. 6; and abide is present tense). The contrast is not with a disobedient Christian, but a lost man (v. 6bff.).

1Jo 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

pa◊ß oJ gegennhme÷noß e˙k touv Qeouv aJmarti÷an ouj poiei√, o¢ti spe÷rma aujtouv e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei: kai« ouj du/natai aJmarta¿nein, o¢ti e˙k touv Qeouv gege÷nnhtai.

Because the Holy Spirit, given at the moment of regeneration, remains (present tense) in the elect, they are not able to continue to commit sin. Those who are born of God “cannot sin,” that is, cannot continue to sin.

1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

hJmei√ß oi¶damen o¢ti metabebh/kamen e˙k touv qana¿tou ei˙ß th\n zwh/n, o¢ti aÓgapw◊men tou\ß aÓdelfou/ß. oJ mh\ aÓgapw◊n to\n aÓdelfo/n, me÷nei e˙n twˆ◊ qana¿twˆ.

The one who is not loving his brother is remaining, continuing, or persevering in a state of spiritual death, while the one who loves his brother abides in a state of spiritual life.

1Jo 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

pa◊ß oJ misw◊n to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv aÓnqrwpokto/noß e˙sti÷: kai« oi¶date o¢ti pa◊ß aÓnqrwpokto/noß oujk e¶cei zwh\n ai˙w¿nion e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nousan.

Eternal life is not staying or remaining in the murderer.

1Jo 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

o§ß d∆ a·n e¶chØ to\n bi÷on touv ko/smou, kai« qewrhØv to\n aÓdelfo\n aujtouv crei÷an e¶conta, kai« klei÷shØ ta» spla¿gcna aujtouv aÓp∆ aujtouv, pw◊ß hJ aÓga¿ph touv Qeouv me÷nei e˙n aujtwˆ◊;

The one who does not help his brother does not have love for God within him, and God does not love him with that love He has for the elect. Not having the love of God dwelling, remaining, or staying in one is being lost.

1Jo 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

kai« oJ thrw◊n ta»ß e˙ntola»ß aujtouv e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« aujto\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊. kai« e˙n tou/twˆ ginw¿skomen o¢ti me÷nei e˙n hJmi√n, e˙k touv Pneu/matoß ou∞ hJmi√n e¶dwken.

The one that keeps His commandments is a converted person. Scripture here equates “he who keeps His commandments” with “he who abides in Christ, and Christ abides in Him.” Abiding is what all saved people do, then, and it is a synonym with the perseverance of the saints, with continuing, remaining, or enduring in true doctrine and practice. The evidence that He continues or remains with us is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the possession of Christians who are not backslidden. This fact indicates that the entire verse deals with a saved/lost contrast, not an obedient/disobedient Christian contrast.

1Jo 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Qeo\n oujdei«ß pw¿pote teqe÷atai: e˙a»n aÓgapw◊men aÓllh/louß, oJ Qeo\ß e˙n hJmi√n me÷nei, kai« hJ aÓga¿ph aujtouv teteleiwme÷nh e˙sti«n e˙n hJmi√n.

Here again, the previous and subsequent context indicates that this love, which is the certain mark of regeneration (v. 7), and so is characteristic of all believers, is the subject under consideration. All believers love, therefore, God abides or dwells in all of them, and His love has been completed or perfected in them.

1Jo 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

e˙n tou/twˆ ginw¿skomen o¢ti e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nomen kai« aujto/ß e˙n hJmi√n, o¢ti e˙k touv Pneu/matoß aujtouv de÷dwken hJmi√n.

Here the believer’s abiding in God, and God’s abiding in him, is also a mark of conversion. All believers were given and continue to have (perfect tense) the Spirit, and He is the seal and testimony of that mutual indwelling or abiding. Abiding is not something that a special class of believers learn how to do, but a certain state of all of God’s people.

1Jo 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

o§ß a·n oJmologh/shØ o¢ti ∆Ihsouvß e˙sti«n oJ ui˚o\ß touv Qeouv, oJ Qeo\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« aujto/ß e˙n twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊.

Here again, the indwelling or abiding of God in the saint and of the saint in God is a mark of regeneration, not of subsequent progressive sanctification. The mutual association between the believer’s dwelling in God and Christ and Christ’s indwelling the believer is also most noteworthy; all en Christo have Christ abiding in them; if Christ dwells in us, then we abide or dwell in Christ.

1Jo 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

kai« hJmei√ß e˙gnw¿kamen kai« pepisteu/kamen th\n aÓga¿phn h§n e¶cei oJ Qeo\ß e˙n hJmi√n. oJ Qeo\ß aÓga¿ph e˙sti÷, kai« oJ me÷nwn e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ, e˙n twˆ◊ Qewˆ◊ me÷nei, kai« oJ Qeo\ß e˙n aujtwˆ◊.

Here again, it is extremely clear that genuine conversion means that one abides in God and in love, and God abides in him. Nor can the advocate of abiding in Christ as (solely) an instrumentality for progressive sanctification which some believers may never possess argue that abiding in God and in Christ are two different things, for one can easily demonstrate that if one is in the Son he is also in the Father; this is also a necessary consequence of a proper and sound Trinitarian theology. Note the perfect tense forms for “we have loved and believed.”

2Jo 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

dia» th\n aÓlh/qeian th\n me÷nousan e˙n hJmi√n, kai« meq∆ hJmw◊n e¶stai ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na:

The truth abiding, remaining, or dwelling in the saints was not a temporary state or condition, or dependent upon the struggles in practical sanctification, but a continuing character received permanently at regeneration.

2Jo 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

pa◊ß oJ parabai÷nwn kai« mh\ me÷nwn e˙n thØv didachØv touv Cristouv, Qeo\n oujk e¶cei: oJ me÷nwn e˙n thØv didachØv touv Cristouv, ou∞toß kai« to\n pate÷ra kai« to\n ui˚o\n e¶cei.

Here it is obvious that the one who does not abide in correct doctrine is lost.

Re 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

kai« basilei√ß e˚pta¿ ei˙sin: oi˚ pe÷nte e¶pesan, kai« oJ ei–ß e¶stin, oJ a‡lloß ou¡pw h™lqe, kai÷, o¢tan e¶lqhØ, ojli÷gon aujto\n dei√ mei√nai.

The seventh king will stay or remain in power for a short time.

The significance of abide as a synonym of remain, continue, endure, or persevere appears clear from an examination of the texts. While continuing with a person may often be connected with fellowship, the word itself does not signify any necessary personal communion. This fact is confirmed by an examination of the lexica.

The standard classical Greek lexicon provides the following definitions for various constructions of meno:

I. stand fast, in battle . . . of soldiers . . . 2. Stay at home, stay where one is . . . b. lodge, stay . . . c. stay away, be absent from . . . and so abs., to be a shirker, . . . 3. stay, tarry . . . loiter, be idle . . . 4. of things, to be lasting, remain, stand . . . having no proper motion . . . b. remain in one’s possession . . . 5. of condition, remain as one was, of a maiden . . . generally, stand, hold good . . . of circumstances . . . of prosperity . . . remain contented with . . . be content with . . . of wine, keep good . . . 6. abide by an opinion, conviction, etc. . . . the party which observes an engagement . . . 7. Impers. c. inf., it remains for one to do . . . II. Trans., of persons, await, expect . . . esp. await an attack without blenching . . . of a rock, bide the storm . . . reversely of things, awaits him . . . 2. c. acc. et inf., wait for, . . . [as in] wait ye for the Trojans to come nigh? . . . they waited for evening’s coming on . . . why wait to go? . . . I wait, i. e., long, to hear (Liddell, H. G. & Scott, R. Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996).

One notices that there is no definition for meno as “hold communion with” or the equivalent out of the many significations listed.

The complete definition in the standard New Testament lexicon reads:

me÷nw(Hom.+) impf. e¶menon; fut. menw◊; 1 aor. e¶meina, impv. mei√non (Hv 3, 1, 9); pf. ptc. pl. memenhko/taß 2 Macc 8:1; plpf. memenh/kein 1J 2:19 (on the lack of augment s. B-D-F §66, 1; W-S. §12, 4; Mlt-H. 190).

      1. remain, stay, intr.

a. a pers. or thing remains where he, she, or it is.

a. of a location stay, oft. in the special sense live, dwell, lodge (Horapollo 2, 49 m. alternating w. oi˙ke÷w) w. e˙n and the dat. (Ps.-Demosth. 43, 75 m. e˙n toi√ß oi¶koiß; Vi. Aesopi G 12 p. 259, 6 P.) e˙n oi˙ki÷aˆ Lk 8:27; e˙n aujthvØ thvØ oi˙ki÷aˆ Lk 10:7; J 8:35a; e˙n t. oi¶kwˆ sou Lk 19:5. e˙n tw◊ˆ ploi÷wˆ remain in the ship Ac 27:31. m. e˙n thvØ Galilai÷aˆ J 7:9.—Ac 9:43; 20:15 v.l.; 2 Ti 4:20. kata» po/lin remain in the city MPol 5:1 (Just., A I, 67, 3). W. an adv. of place e˙kei√ Mt 10:11; Mk 6:10; Lk 9:4; J 2:12; 10:40; 11:54 (s. diatri÷bw); Hs 9, 11, 7. w—de Mt 26:38; Mk 14:34; Hs 9, 11, 1. pouv me÷neiß; where do you live? J 1:38; cp. vs. 39 (Sb 2639 pouv me÷ni Qermouvqiß; Pel.-Leg. 7, 27; Nicetas Eugen. 1, 230 H. pouv me÷neiß;). W. acc. of time (Demetr.: 722 fgm. 1, 11 Jac.; JosAs 20:8; Jos., Ant. 1, 299) J 1:39b; 4:40b; 11:6; Ac 21:7; D 11:5; 12:2. W. time-indications of a different kind eºwß a·n e˙xe÷lqhte Mt 10:11. wJß mhvnaß trei√ß Lk 1:56. ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na J 8:35b. e˙pi« plei÷ona cro/non Ac 18:20. W. prep. para¿ tini m. stay with someone (Cebes 9, 2; Jos., Ant. 20, 54) J 1:39b; 4:40a; Ac 18:3 (live with is also prob.: Lucian, Timon 10); 21:7, 8. par∆ uJmi√n me÷nwn when I was (staying) with you J 14:25. pro/ß tina with someone Ac 18:3 D; D 12:2. e˙pi÷ tina remain on someone J 1:32f. su/n tini with someone (4 Macc 18:9) Lk 1:56; 24:29b. Also m. meta¿ tinoß (Gen 24:55) Lk 24:29a; Hs 9, 11, 1; 3; 6; 7. kaq∆ e˚auto/n live by oneself, in one’s own quarters Ac 28:16 (of what is called in Lat. custodia libera; s. BAFCS III 276, 364f; 384f). Of a corpse m. e˙pi« touv staurouv stay (hanging) on the cross J 19:31. Of a branch: e˙n thvØ aÓmpe÷lwˆ remain on the vine, i.e. not be cut off 15:4b. Of stones m. e˙n thvØ oJdw◊ˆ stay on the road Hv 3, 2, 9. Of stones that remain in the divine structure, and are not removed Hs 9, 13, 4; 9. Also in imagery to\ ka¿lumma e˙pi« thvØ aÓnagnw¿sei thvß palaia◊ß diaqh/khß me÷nei the veil remains unlifted at the reading of the OT (and hinders the right understanding of it) 2 Cor 3:14. Abs. Ac 16:15.

b. in transf. sense, of someone who does not leave a certain realm or sphere: remain, continue, abide (Pla., Ep. 10, 358c me÷ne e˙n toi√ß h¡qesin, oi–sper kai« nuvn me÷neiß; Alex. Aphr., An. II 1 p. 2, 15 m. e˙n tai√ß aÓpori÷aiß=remain overcome by doubts; Jos., Ant. 4, 185; TestJos. 1:3 e˙n t. aÓlhqei÷aˆ; Just., D. 8, 3 e˙n . . . tw◊ˆ thvß filoswfi÷aß tro/pwˆ) e˙n aJgnei÷aˆ IPol 5:2; cp. IEph 10:3. e˙n thvØ didachvØ touv Cristouv remain in the teaching of Christ 2J 9a; cp. vs. 9b (2 Macc 8:1 m. e˙n tw◊ˆ ∆Ioudaiœsmw◊ˆ). e˙n pi÷stei kai« aÓga¿phØ 1 Ti 2:15. me÷ne e˙n oi–ß e¶maqeß continue in what you have learned 2 Ti 3:14. e˙n tw◊ˆ lo/gwˆ tw◊ˆ e˙mw◊ˆ J 8:31. mei÷nate e˙n thvØ aÓga¿phØ thvØ e˙mhvØ continue in my love 15:9f; cp. 1J 4:16. e˙n tw◊ˆ fwti÷ 2:10. e˙n tw◊ˆ qana¿twˆ 3:14. e˙n thvØ skoti÷aˆ J 12:46. Without e˙n AcPlCor 2:36. The phrase m. e¶n tini is a favorite of J to denote an inward, enduring personal communion. So of God in his relation to Christ oJ path\r e˙n e˙moi« me÷nwn the Father, who abides in me J 14:10. Of Christians in their relation to Christ J 6:56; 15:4ac, 5–7; 1J 2:6, 24c. Of Christ relating to Christians J 15:4a, 5 (Goodsp., Probs. 112–15). Of Christians relating to God 1J 2:24c, 27f; 3:6, 24a; 4:13. Of God relating to Christians 1J 3:24; 4:12f, 15.—Vice versa, of someth. that remains in someone; likew. in Johannine usage: of the word of God 1J 2:14. Of the words of Christ J 15:7b; cp. 1J 2:24ab. Of the anointing fr. heaven vs. 27. Of the love of God 1J 3:17. Of the seed of God 3:9. Of truth 2J 2. The possession is shown to be permanent by the expr. e¶cein ti me÷non e˙n e˚autw◊ˆ have someth. continually, permanently 1J 3:15; the word of God J 5:38. Instead of m. e¶n tini also m. para¿ tini remain with someone: of the Spirit of truth J 14:17. Also of the wrath of God, me÷nei e˙p∆ aujto/n it remains upon him 3:36.—GPercorara, De verbo ‘manere’ ap. Jo.: Div. Thomas Piac. 40, ’37, 159–71.

b. a pers. or thing continues in the same state (ParJer 7:37 e¶meine dida¿skwn; ApcSed 11:13 aÓki÷nhtoi me÷nete; Just., D. 90, and Lucian, Laps. 16 e˙n thvØ ta¿xei m.) 1 Cor 7:20, 24. me÷nei i˚ereu\ß ei˙ß to\ dihneke÷ß he remains a priest forever Hb 7:3. aujto\ß mo/noß me÷nei it remains alone J 12:24. mene÷tw a‡gamoß 1 Cor 7:11. aÓsa¿leutoß Ac 27:41. pisto/ß 2 Ti 2:13. aÓo/ratoß Dg 6:4. (mƒeƒi÷∂nate nikhtai÷: mei÷∂nƒ[a]tƒe Ox 1602, 30f is a misreading; difft. AcPl Ha 8, 22//BMM recto 28=HTR 31, 79 n. 2, ln. 10; s. CSchmidt mg. on AcPl Ha 8, 22 [m]eƒg∂a©ß e˙p©i÷keitai pirasmo/ß; Borger GGA 137). aÓskanda¿listoß mei÷nhØ hJ . . . e˙kklhsi÷a AcPlCor 1:16. m. meta¿ tinoß remain in fellowship w. someone 1J 2:19. Of one who has divorced his wife remain by himself, remain unmarried Hm 4, 1, 6; 10; 4, 4, 2. oujci« me÷non soi« e¶menen; was it (the piece of ground) not yours, as long as it remained (unsold)? Ac 5:4 (cp. 1 Macc 15:7 and s. OHoltzmann, ZKG 14, 1893, 327–36).—W. adv. (Just., A I, 29, 3, D. 58, 3 bebai÷wß) ou¢twß m. remain as one is (i.e., unmarried) 1 Cor 7:40. aJgnw◊ß B 2:3. m. wJß e˙gw¿ remain as I am 1 Cor 7:8.

      2. to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live, intr.

a. of pers. (Ps 9:8 oJ ku/rioß ei˙ß t. ai˙w◊na m.; 101:13; Da 6:27; Just., D. 128, 4 a‡ggeloi . . . aÓei« me÷nonteß) oJ Cristo\ß m. ei˙ß to\n ai˙w◊na Christ remains (here) forever J 12:34; cp. Hb 7:24; 1J 2:17. Of God AcPl Ha 2, 28; 9, 11. Pregnant remain (alive), be alive (Epict. 3, 24, 97; Diog. L. 7, 174; Achilles Tat. 8, 10. me÷nein e˙n tw◊ˆ zhvn Plut., Mor. 1042d; Eccl 7:15; Just., A I, 63, 17) J 21:22f; 1 Cor 15:6; Phil 1:25; Rv 17:10.

b. of things (Maximus Tyr. 4, 8b and Polyaenus 7, 34: ghv me÷nei; Socrat., Ep. 31 [=33]; Hierocles 15, 454 oJ po/noß parhvlqen, to\ kalo\n me÷nei; Just., A I, 18, 2 ai¶sqhsiß . . . me÷nei; Ath. 19, 2 me÷nei su/stasiß) of a city e¶meinen a·n me÷cri thvß sh/meron it would have lasted until today Mt 11:23. me÷nousa po/liß a permanent city Hb 13:14.—hJ filadelfi÷a mene÷tw continue 13:1 (JCambier, Salesianum 11, ’49, 62–96).—J 9:41; 15:16. ei˙ to\ e¶rgon menei√ if the work survives 1 Cor 3:14. u¢parxiß Hb 10:34. dikaiosu/nh 2 Cor 9:9 (Ps 111:9). hJ kat∆ e˙klogh\n pro/qesiß touv qeouv Ro 9:11 (of God’s counsel Ps 32:11). lo/goß qeouv endure 1 Pt 1:23 (Just., D. 61, 2; cp. 1 Esdr 4:38 hJ aÓlh/qeia me÷nei). t. rJhvma kuri÷ou me÷nei ei˙ß t. ai˙w◊na vs. 25 (Is 40:8). hJ brw◊siß hJ me÷nousa ei˙ß zwh\n ai˙w¿nion J 6:27. th\n du/namin sou th\n me÷nousan Rv 11:7 v.l. zw¿shß fwnhvß kai« menou/shß Papias (2:4). to\ me÷non what is permanent (Philo, Leg. All. 3, 100.—Opp. to\ katargou/menon) 2 Cor 3:11. me÷nei pi÷stiß, e˙lpi«ß, aÓga¿ph 1 Cor 13:13 (WMarxsen, D. ‘Bleiben’ im 1 Cor 13:13, OCullmann Festschr., ’72, 223–29; on the eschatology cp. En 97:6–10 and s. the lit. on aÓga¿ph 1a.—For the contrast pi÷ptei [vs. 8]—me÷nei cp. Pla., Crat. 44, 440a ei˙ metapi÷ptei pa¿nta crh/mata kai« mhde«n me÷nei). Opp. saleuo/mena Hb 12:27.

      3. wait for, await, trans.

a. of pers.: wait for someone who is arriving (Hom.; Thu. 4, 124, 4; X., An. 4, 4, 20; Pla., Leg. 8, 833c; Polyb. 4, 8, 4; Tob 2:2 BA; 2 Macc 7:30; TestJob 11:1; Jos., Ant. 13, 19) tina¿ w. the place indicated e¶menon hJma◊ß e˙n Trwˆa¿di they were waiting for us in Troas Ac 20:5.

b. of things, such as dangers or misfortunes that await or threaten someone (trag.; Kaibel 654, 9 kaÓme« me÷nei to\ qanei√n; SibOr 4, 114 v.l. se«) qli÷yeiß me me÷nousin Ac 20:23.—Of the 118 passages in which me÷nw occurs in the NT, 67 are found in the Johannine writings (40 in the gosp.; 24 in 1J; 3 in 2J).—JHeise, Bleiben: Menein in d. Johan. Schr., ’67; FHauck, TW IV 578–93: me÷nw and related words.—B. 836. DELG. M-M. TW (Danker, Frederick William (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd. ed. (BDAG), Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000).

BDAG gives many objective definitions and analyses of the word, along with the interpretive statement that the word “is a favorite of J[ohn] to denote an inward, enduring personal communion.” While meno is unquestionably associated with communion, personal relationship is not an inherent part of the word itself. For example, when the disciples abode in a house on their evangelistic journeys (Luke 9:4) or the Lord Jesus abode in Zaccheus’ house (Luke 19:5), there doubtless was fellowship with the owners of the respective places of abode. Nonetheless, the word itself does not directly require the fellowship.[2] One thus notes that other lexica, such as The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains by Johannes P. Louw & Eugene A. Nida, define meno as “to continue to exist — ‘to remain, to continue, to continue to exist, to still be in existence. . . . to continue in an activity or state — ‘to continue, to remain in, to keep on.’ . . . to remain in the same place over a period of time — ‘to remain, to stay. . . . to remain in a place and/or state, with expectancy concerning a future event — ‘to await, to wait for.’” (13:89; 68:11; 85:55; 85:60). No definition of the word as fellowship or communion is listed. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon[3] defines the word as “1. to remain, abide . . .1a) in reference to place . . . 1a1) to sojourn, tarry . . . 1a2) not to depart . . . 1a2a) to continue to be present . . . 1a2b) to be held, kept, continually . . . 1b) in reference to time . . . 1b1) to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure . . . 1b1a) of persons, to survive, live . . . 1c) in reference to state or condition . . . 1c1) to remain as one, not to become another or different . . . 2) to wait for, await one.” Here again, no definition of the word as a synonym for fellowship is listed.

Based on the study above, the exegesis of John 15:1-11 (cf. v. 16’s use of meno) follows.

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

Egw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß hJ aÓlhqinh\, kai« oJ path/r mou oJ gewrgo/ß e˙sti.

The Lord here sets up the comparison He will maintain through the following pericope. As the vine is the source of life for its branches, so Christ is the exclusive source and fount of spiritual life and fruit-bearing. The Father, like a husbandman or vinedresser, ensures greater fruitfulness by removing some branches and pruning others (cf. v. 2).

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.

pa◊n klhvma e˙n e˙moi« mh\ fe÷ron karpo/n, ai¶rei aujto/: kai« pa◊n to\ karpo\n fe÷ron, kaqai÷rei aujto/, iºna plei÷ona karpo\n fe÷rhØ.

The Lord’s statement that branches “in me” can be removed is the best attempt in this text to affirm Arminianism. However, these branches are not those who have been regenerated and then fell away from that state—they are those who were never numbered among God’s elect. All the elect will bring forth fruit, John 15:16, and, since they have the Holy Ghost in them, they will certainly abide, 1 John 2:27, or, employing two of the synonyms of abide in the New Testament, they will certainly continue or persevere in Christ and in obedience. The fact that the Lord refers to these unregenerate individuals as en emoi, “in me,” does not necessitate their genuine regeneration. All the nation of Israel were the seed of Abraham, but the unbelievers were cut off from the nation (Exodus 30:33; Leviticus 19:8; 20:17), so that, while nationally “in the Lord,” only the believing seed is “in the Lord” in a deeper sense (Isaiah 45:17, 24-25). One could compare the interplay in Isaiah’s servant of the Lord image between national Israel, the Israel of God, and the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 41:8; 44:1, 21; 45:4; 49:3-7; 52:13-53:12) or the Lord Jesus as the elect One and Israel as elect in Him (Isaiah 42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22). The entire nation of Israel constituted the people of God, but in a deeper sense, only the believing Israelites, only the Israel of God, constituted the genuine people of God (Romans 9:6ff.; cf. 11:20). In the same way, all those who are members of the church are, in a certain sense, associated with the people of God; but they are not all regenerate.

The church at Corinth was the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), but some members of the church were unregenerate (1 Corinthians 15:12, 34; 2 Corinthians 13:5). Since the institution of the local church is the body of Christ, unregenerate church members are part of Christ’s body, and thus are, in a certain sense, in Christ. Such, however, are not truly in Him, not truly united to Him, not genuinely en Christo. Contextually in John 15, Judas has just gone into outward apostasy, having left to betray the Lord to His enemies (John 13:26-30). He had been part of the pre-Pentecost church, that first church established by the Lord when He called the first baptized disciples to be with Him (John 1:35ff.); indeed, Judas had been an apostle in the Lord’s church (Mark 3:13-19), although he was never chosen to everlasting life (John 6:64, 70-71; 12:4-6; 13:2).

The unregenerate “branch” in the Lord cannot bear (pheron, present tense) fruit because it has never had a living connection to Christ (John 15:5). It had an outward, non-living, fruitless connection (and thus the utter pagan is not in view, but the false professor, the unconverted church member), but not a living, genuine connection. Union with Christ always results in a change of life, in sanctification and holiness.[4] Therefore the branch without this living union is “taken away,” that is, it is eventually cut off from even its outward connection to the church and people of God, as Judas was, and is cast into hell. The reference is not to a true believer receiving some kind of judgment; while the verb “take away” is regularly connected to the judgment of unbelievers in Scripture (Matthew 13:12; 21:43; 22:13; 24:39; 25:28-29; Mark 4:15, 25; Luke 8:12, 18; 11:52; 19:24, 26), believers are never said to be “taken away” by God in any of the 102 verses where the verb is found in the New Testament (contrast John 16:22). Those “taken away” are the lost. In contrast, the Father, the husbandman (v. 1, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9; Isaiah 5:1-2; 27:2-3) works with the branch that is vitally connected to the vine, and by “pruning” him brings about the result of even greater fruit-bearing. The fruit-bearing for the one with genuine spiritual life is certain, as is the fact that the unconverted will not bear fruit and will be cut off. We can see in this verse the perseverance of the saints, by divine grace, and the inability of the unregenerate to persevere (1 John 2:19). Verse two contrasts the false believer, represented by Judas, and the true believer, represented by the other eleven apostles, in the church.

One can note as well that it is taking the metaphor beyond what can be justified when an Arminian affirms that the branch that is cast off, representing the person who goes to hell, shows that truly justified people can fall from a state of justification, for the branch that bears fruit—the truly regenerate person, is also “purged” or pruned—which involves cutting off leaves and branches! If the lost man fell away from salvation because he was cut off from the vine, would not the fruit-bearing person be lost as well, because he also is purged or pruned?

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

h¡dh uJmei√ß kaqaroi÷ e˙ste dia» to\n lo/gon o§n lela¿lhka uJmi√n.

The Lord had stated in John 13:10 that His apostles were clean, but not all; but now Judas having been separated from the church, all to whom the Lord spoke were now clean. They were all washed (John 13:10, perfect tense) through the agency of the word spoken (here in v. 3, likewise perfect tense), so that they were justified by Christ’s righteousness at the point of their faith in His promise, with continuing results in their eternal security. Consequently all that now remained was the work of progressive sanctification, of having their feet washed, 13:10, since they were clean every whit. Clean here and purge in v. 2 are the noun and verb forms, respectively, of katharos. There is a wordplay between the purging/cleansing of v. 2 and the cleansing of v. 3. This demonstrates that the instrumentality of the bearing of more fruit, as mentioned in v. 2, is the Word of God, v. 3, cf. John 17:17. The Word is the “pruning knife” (v. 2) which the Father employs to strengthen the believer to bear more fruit. Saints bear fruit as a result of their living, vital union to the Lord Jesus Christ, through the instrument of the Scriptures, the recorded, perfectly inspired and preserved record of Christ’s Words. God the Father continues sanctifying (v. 2, purgeth) the one who has become clean (v. 3) through justification.

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.

mei÷nate e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n uJmi√n. kaqw»ß to\ klhvma ouj du/natai karpo\n fe÷rein aÓf∆ e˚autouv, e˙a»n mh\ mei÷nhØ e˙n thØv aÓmpe÷lwˆ, ou¢twß oujde« uJmei√ß, e˙a»n mh\ e˙n e˙moi« mei÷nhte.

The aorist imperative “abide” here indicates the characteristic of the whole life of the saint, not a momentary action, or repeated points of faith-decisions to surrender to Christ; cf. the aorists of meno in Matthew 10:11; 26:38; John 1:32. Commenting on the like form in v. 9, A. T. Robertson in his Word Pictures stated that meinate is a “Constative first aorist active imperative of meno, summing up the whole.” A similar aorist for keeping Christ’s commandments appears in John 14:15. Remaining, continuing, persevering, or abiding as a characteristic of the whole life is the mark of the genuine convert, John 8:31. He will abide because Christ and the Spirit dwell or abide in him, and thus make certain his continued perseverance or abiding, 1 John 2:24, 27. “Abide in me” means to continue in Christ’s word and commandments, John 15:7 and 10, to remain united to Him. The true convert, because he is in Christ and Christ is in him, will persevere in unity with the Lord, and one would expect him to remain in unity with His church, which is His body, as well. There is also a connection between the second half of the command, “and I in you,” v. 4, and Christ’s words abiding in believers, v. 7. One notes that the imperative in v. 4 covers both halves of the abiding; saints are responsible for both the “abide in Me” and for the “and I in you.” Advocates of the position that only Christians that have received the “higher life” abide typically do not say that Christ only indwells those on the higher plane—but here those that abide in Christ are those who Christ abides in Himself. It is noteworthy that the commands here are all plural, addressed to the corporate pre-Pentecost church. Is there not a corporate, assembly requirement here for the church to be abiding in Christ, and Christ in the assembly, and His Words in her, as well as an individual application to do the same? In any case, the individual aspect is certainly found in Scripture, 1 John 3:24—the individual who abides or dwells in Christ individually keeps His commandments by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

No spiritual fruit, no good works, are possible without a living union to Christ, without abiding or dwelling in Him, a state brought about by regeneration (cf. also Hosea 14:8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:11). On its own, “the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,” for the unregenerate man cannot in any way please God (Romans 8:7-8). However, saints can and do bear fruit, for they do abide or dwell in Christ.

That Christ commands His saints to abide or remain in Him does not require the possibility that they will fail to do so; rather, as has been demonstrated above, their continuing to abide is guaranteed by the Spirit’s dwelling or abiding in them (1 John 2:24, 27). Only those who overcome will enter into life (Revelation 2:7, 10, 17, 26; 3:21), but all believers will overcome (1 John 5:5; 4:4). Their continuing to abide in Christ is as certain as Christ’s continuing to abide or dwell in them.

Note that Christ was in them; contrast Judas, who had Satan in him (6:70; 13:27), and consequently went into open apostasy. Christ is in His saints, and there He controls them and leads them to do righteousness and continue faithful to His Words, so they will not go into apostasy, but will abide in Him. The Lord Jesus does this in part through His sending of the Spirit, the Paraclete, who is such a prominent part of the discourse of John 14-16 which surrounds the teaching of John 15:1ff. The Lord also guarantees the saints’ perseverance through His high priestly ministry (John 17, the postcontext of John 15). Christ’s High Priestly intercession guarantees believers both God’s preservation of their souls unto eternal life (John 17:24) and their perseverance in obedience (John 17:17).

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.

e˙gw¿ ei˙mi hJ a‡mpeloß, uJmei√ß ta» klh/mata. oJ me÷nwn e˙n e˙moi÷, kaÓgw» e˙n aujtwˆ◊, ou∞toß fe÷rei karpo\n polu/n: o¢ti cwri«ß e˙mouv ouj du/nasqe poiei√n oujde÷n.

The believer, who will abide (present tense) or remain faithful to Christ’s Word and commandments as a pattern of his life, will bring forth much fruit; good works are the certain consequence of spiritual union with Christ (John 3:19-21; 8:31; 10:27; 12:24-26; Mark 8:34-36; Matthew 13:23; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:18-24; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:6). In contrast, the unregenerate man cannot bear any spiritual fruit or do any good works. The “much fruit” phrase is found here in v. 5 and in v. 8, as “more fruit” appears in v. 2 (and “fruit” with “more fruit” certainly looks like “much fruit”). The only previous appearance of the phrase in the New Testament is in John 12:24,[5] where “much fruit” is a result of Christ’s death. Living union with the Christ who died and rose again, a position in the vine, results in the bearing of much fruit. Those who are united to Him bear much fruit and are disciples, saved people, John 15:8.

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.

e˙a»n mh/ tiß mei÷nhØ e˙n e˙moi÷, e˙blh/qh e¶xw wJß to\ klhvma, kai« e˙xhra¿nqh, kai« suna¿gousin aujta» kai« ei˙ß puvr ba¿llousi, kai« kai÷etai.

The one who does not, as a summary of his life, abide (aorist tense), or continue faithful to Christ, is cast into hell fire, where he will be continually burned (present tense) for all eternity. The branch without genuine connection to the Lord pictures an unregenerate person with only an outward profession of Christianity. John 15:6 does not picture a loss of reward for a disobedient believer. Other than John 15:6, the verbs “cast forth” (ballo) and “burned” (kaio) are found together only in Revelation 8:8 and 19:20. Neither reference speaks of believers being cast forth or burned. Revelation 19:20 (cf. 20:11-15; 21:8, “the lake which burneth (kaio) with fire and brimstone”), however, demonstrates that the lost will be “cast (ballo) . . . into a lake of fire burning (kaio) with brimstone.” Furthermore, out of 125 instances of the verb “cast forth” (ballo) in the New Testament, believers are never once said to be cast forth by God, but the lost are, over and over again, said to be cast (ballo) into the fires of hell (note Matthew 3:10; 5:13, 25, 29-30; 7:19; 13:42, 48; 18:8-9; Mark 9:42 (cf. vv. 41-48), 45, 47; Luke 3:9; 12:58; 14:35; Revelation 2:22; 12:4, 9, 13; 14:19; 18:21; 19:20; 20:3, 10, 14-15). Thus, the verse indicates that a lack of fruit is evidence of a non-living connection to the vine. The present tense of ballo, in “cast” them into the fire, refers vividly (cf. the present tenses in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9; Revelation 2:22) to the unconverted being cast into eternal torment. The judgment of the lost in hellfire is associated with a similar plant and fruit-bearing image in John 15 as in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9. These unregenerate, apostate, “withered” and fruitless branches (cf. Jude 12; Job 8:11-13; James 1:11), of which Judas is the contextual example, are often “cast forth” (also ballo, here aorist, as in Mark 9:45, 47; Revelation 20:15) in a certain sense in this life, through outward apostasy from the church, to which they had been outwardly united (cf. Matthew 13:47), whether voluntarily or through church discipline, but their ultimate rejection and separation from the elect will take place at the day of judgment. At that time the wheat and chaff, the branches truly united to Christ and those only professedly so, will be “gathered” (sunago, cf. Matthew 3:12; 13:30; 25:32; Luke 3:17) to their respective destinies of eternal joy or torment. The branches without union to Christ will glorify God’s justice in their miserable damnation; they will not glorify God here by good works, but they will glorify His justice by their being burned eternally (Ezekiel 15:2-5; Romans 9:22).

Christ in this verse says “if a man” abide not, rather than “if ye abide not,” for, Judas having been separated from them, the remaining disciples were all genuine believers.

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.

a»n mei÷nhte e˙n e˙moi÷, kai« ta» rJh/mata¿ mou e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, o§ e˙a»n qe÷lhte ai˙th/sasqe, kai« genh/setai uJmi√n.

This verse helps provide an understanding of the character of abiding in Christ; it is related to Christ’s words abiding in one. Christ’s own receive His words (John 17:8). Here again the aorist verb tenses represent the characteristic of a whole life. The promise, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done,” shows that the Lord will answer the prayers of His children, as their prayers are directed by His Word. Consider as well that while all believers have Christ’s words abiding in them, there can be different degrees of this abiding. All believers have received the Word, as Christ prayed for them (John 17:8), but they continue in it to different degrees, resulting in different degrees of fruitfulness.

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

e˙n tou/twˆ e˙doxa¿sqh oJ path/r mou, iºna karpo\n polu\n fe÷rhte: kai« genh/sesqe e˙moi« maqhtai÷.

They already were His disciples, having become such at the moment of their conversion, but their bearing much fruit would evidence this. Fruit bearing is not an uncertain event; by bearing fruit, they “shall” certainly be His disciples in the future, as they certainly were at that time. The Father is certain to receive such glory from them, because the ones He has chosen unto life He has also chosen unto fruitfulness, v. 16. All believers bring forth fruit, and “every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). This is the consistent teaching of the entire Bible (Matthew 3:8, 10; 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:8, 26, 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mark 4:7-8, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 3:8-9; 6:43-44; 8:8; 13:6-7, 9; 20:10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4-5, 8, 16; Romans 6:21-22; Galatians 5:22 (contrast 5:19-21); Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 12:11; 13:15; James 3:17-18). For this purpose of fruit-bearing the Father prunes His saints, v. 2. Since they were good trees, with living connection to Christ, they would bear good fruit as evidence thereof (Luke 6:43-45). Those who are “disciples indeed” will abide, persevere, or continue in His Word, John 8:31.

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

kaqw»ß hjga¿phse÷ me oJ path/r, kaÓgw» hjga¿phsa uJma◊ß: mei÷nate e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ thØv e˙mhØv.

They were to abide or continue faithful, continue to love Christ, for “if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22). That the aorist of meno in this pericope represents a characteristic of what is true in general and at all times, rather than the simple action of a particular point in time, is evidenced in this verse. The Father’s love for His Son is certainly something true always, not something restricted to a particular moment, but it receives an aorist in this verse, as does Christ’s love for His elect, which is likewise unrestricted temporally; so we would expect the same sort of aorist for “continue/abide” here in relation to the action of the disciples.

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.

e˙a»n ta»ß e˙ntola¿ß mou thrh/shte, menei√te e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ mou: kaqw»ß e˙gw» ta»ß e˙ntola»ß touv patro/ß mou teth/rhka, kai« menw aujtouv e˙n thØv aÓga¿phØ.

Genuine converts will keep Christ’s commandments, and thus evidence their continuing love for Christ, just as He continues to love them, John 14:21, 23. Christ’s obedience manifested His love for the Father (cf. 14:31) and His Father’s love for Him as the sinless Messiah and Mediator, and His eternal Son. The Savior showed He loved the Father by persevering or abiding obedience; so do the saints show their love. Saints abide in Christ (v. 4), in His love (v. 9), and keep His commandments (v. 10). Although these propositions are not strict equivalents, as the tense differentiations in vv. 9-10 between the keeping of the commandments and abiding in Christ’s love, and the differentiation between the tenses for Christ’s abiding in the Father’s love and keeping His commandments demonstrate, they all go together. They are a package deal (cf. 1 John 3:24).

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

tauvta lela¿lhka uJmi√n, iºna hJ cara» hJ e˙mh\ e˙n uJmi√n mei÷nhØ, kai« hJ cara» uJmw◊n plhrwqhØv.

This symbol of the vine was revealed by the Lord so that His joy might remain, continue, or abide in His saints, and they might have full joy. Both things are certain for the saint as a characteristic of life, for the aorist verbs are of the same sort as those earlier in the passage (cf. John 17:13; 16:24). Their abiding obedience and fellowship with their Lord would take place through the Comforter Christ would send upon leaving them, and as the Spirit would abide in them, He would bring them joy (Acts 13:52; Galatians 5:22).

All believers abide in Christ; they persevere in characteristic obedience to Him and fellowship with Him through His Word (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 2:2). The glorious promise to saints, “ye shall abide in Him” (1 John 2:27), should motivate them to ever closer communion with their Lord. Being confident that He which began that good work of sanctification in them will continue it until they reach glory (Philippians 1:6), and that God will sanctify them, spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) and preserve them to the end (Jude 1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:18), they can boldly plead the promises of God concerning their perseverance and sanctification with the Lord who has covenanted to perform those great works in them. Sanctification is their new covenant heritage and certainty (Hebrews 8:10-12)—the certainty of ultimate and absolute victory over sin in glory, and the certainty of God’s working in them now both to will and do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10), provides them with a tremendous encouragement to strive for ever greater conformity to and communion with God (Philippians 2:12) and practical holiness of life.


[1]           Abiding is not merely a New Testament doctrine. In the Mosaic economy, the saints sang in their inspired songbook, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place [NwøoDm] in all generations” (Psalm 90:1). Before the incarnation of the Messiah it was already true that “He that dwelleth [bEvOy] in the secret place of the most High shall abide [N`DnwølVtˆy] under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). One could say to an Old Testament saint: “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation [NwøoDm]; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psalm 91:9-10; cf. 71:3). Jehovah had promised His Old Testament people: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). However, the analysis in this paper will be restricted to the New Testament doctrine of abiding revealed by the word me÷nw and expounded most fully in John 15.

[2]           Compare the noun monh/, found in John 14:23: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [monh/] with him.” It is very clear that fellowship with the Father and the Son will take place for the person who loves Them. Nevertheless, the word itself does not require this meaning, as in John 14:2 (the only other NT reference) it is the word for the “mansions” that believers will inhabit in heaven, and, while their abodes will doubtless be glorious dwellings, they will not have fellowship with their dwelling places, although the bliss of heaven will center in communion with He who gave them their mansions. BDAG defines monh/ as:

monh/, hvß, hJ (me÷nw; Eur., Hdt. et al.; ins, pap; 1 Macc 7:38; TestAbr s. below)

            1. state of remaining in an area, staying, tarrying (Eur. et al.; OGI 527, 5; Philo, Mos. 1, 316) monh\n poiei√sqai live, stay (Thu. 1, 131, 1; BGU 742; Jos., Ant. 8, 350; 13, 41) J 14:23.

            2. a place in which one stays, dwelling(-place), room, abode (Chariton 1, 12, 1 monh\n poiei√n; Paus. 10, 31, 7; OGI 527, 5) of heavenly dwellings monai« tw◊n aJgi÷wn mou (TestAbr A 20 p. 104, 2 [Stone p. 56]) J 14:2 (OSchaefer, ZNW 32, ’33, 210–17; understood in a transcendent sense: RGundry, ZNW 58, ’67, 68–72). thvß aÓmei÷nonoß tugca¿nein monhvß attain a better abode ApcPt fgm. 2 p. 12, 22.—M-M. TW.

[3]           Thayer’s GreekLexicon. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1981. elec. acc. Online Bible for Mac, Ken Hamel.

[4]           “Sanctification, then, is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian. ‘He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 15:5). The branch which bears no fruit is no living branch of the vine. The union with Christ which produces no effect on heart and life is a mere formal union, which is worthless before God. The faith which has not a sanctifying influence on the character is no better than the faith of devils. It is a “dead faith, because it is alone.” It is not the gift of God. It is not the faith of God’s elect. In short, where there is no sanctification of life, there is no real faith in Christ. True faith worketh by love. It constrains a man to live unto the Lord from a deep sense of gratitude for redemption. It makes him feel that he can never do too much for Him that died for him. Being much forgiven, he loves much. He whom the blood cleanses, walks in the light. He who has real lively hope in Christ, purifieth himself even as He is pure (James 2:17-20; Titus 1:1; Galatians 5:6; 1 John 1:7; 3:3)” (pg. 15, Holiness: Its Nature, Hinderances, Difficulties, and Roots, J. C. Ryle, part 1. Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, 2001 (repr. of London, 1879 ed.)).

[5]           It should be noted that in John 12:24 the “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die” clause clearly refers to conversion, as is evident from v. 25 and parallel passages. The text is not about post-conversion growth in sanctification or power for Christian ministry by the believer’s greater surrender to Christ as taught by Keswick leaders such as Watchman Nee (see The Release of the Spirit; cf. pg. 83, The Latent Power of the Soul, Nee; pg. 183, Against the Tide, Angus Kinnear. Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1973; for other Keswick leaders, see pgs. 274-280, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson; pg. 201, The Keswick Convention: Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford). The Keswick misinterpretation of John 12:24 follows the view of Hannah W. Smith, who ties John 12:24 into Romanist mysticism, deification, and a rejection of the total depravity of man:

I see your difficulty in regard to that pessimistic view of human nature, and I don’t agree with it anymore than you do. That was the old-fashioned theology[.] . . . [What] attracted me . . . was the profound philosophy . . . concerning the death of the selfish life in us. . . . [W]e are created human beings but are called to become divine beings. It is a question of moving out of a lower form of being into a higher. It is as if the choice were deliberately put before a monkey whether he would like to become a man. He is good enough as a monkey perhaps, but if he is to develop into a man he must consent to let the monkey nature die and must receive the man nature in its place. He must lose his own lower life in order to find his own higher life. . . . . We are good enough perhaps as human beings . . . but we want to be more than human, we want to become “partakers of the Divine nature,” and the only way out of one life into another must be by the way of death and resurrection. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone.” . . . Fenelon’s whole teaching is to show us how to let the lower life die, and the higher life take its place. Doesn’t this give you the clue? And doesn’t it also answer your question as to what the “Higher Life” so called is? It is the divine life lived out practically, to put it in short. I’ll send you my “Christian’s Secret,” which . . . contains my “views” on the subject. (Letter to Mary, October 9, 1881, reproduced in the entry for October 30 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter)

Certainly believers should surrender in ever fuller ways to God, but John 12:24 does not deal with this truth, but refers to the moment of repentant faith and conversion. The Keswick Higher Life theology of Hannah W. Smith and those who followed her is entirely absent from the passage. Hannah Smith’s rejection of total depravity and acceptance of Roman Catholic mystical quietism and deification are in the sharpest conflict with the entire Bible.

More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation