What does it mean to abide? – John 15

colored pencils

colored pencils

What does “abide” mean?

Dictionary.com says,

1.  to remain; continue; stay 
2.  to have one’s abode 
3.  to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.;  

Greek Dictionary says, of the verb meno

1. to stay, live, dwell, lodge

2. Figurative, not to leave the realm or sphere where one finds oneself

3. remain, last, persist, continue to live.

Now when we read the word in the context of John 15 we find an internal definition

  • “remain in me and I in you” compared to a branch remaining in a vine
  • “if you remain in me, you will bear much fruit”
  • “if you don’t remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away…”
  • “if you remain in me and my words remain in you.”
  • “remain in my love” 
  • “if you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
  • “This is my command; love each other.”

Thus the metaphor is of a branch that derives its life from the vine – so our life is in connection with the Lord.

The application seems to indicate a personal connection and a knowledge connection: “remain in me“, “my words remain in you,” “keep my commands and remain..”

The result is “fruit”, which harks back to the vine metaphor.  This fruit is defined as “love” in the following paragraph, love is the word that dominates:  “Love each other” is at the top and the bottom of the paragraph.

A working definition: To abide is to  remain in a vital connection with the Lord by hearing and keeping his word, especially his command to love one another.

Note that the 1st and 2nd commandment (love God; love neighbor) are not separable.


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