Gospel of John

John 15 is the fifteenth chapter in the Gospel of John in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. It is part of what New Testament scholars have called the 'farewell discourses' of Jesus. It has historically been a source of Christian teaching, Christological debate and reflection, and its images (particularly of Jesus as the vine) have been influential in Christian art and iconography. The chapter implies one of the highest and most developed Christologies to be found in the New Testament.


Shrine of Rememberence

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia is typical of thousands of war memorials in using the words of John 15:13 'no greater love' in its tribute to the fallen.

The chapter presents Jesus speaking in the first person. Although ostensibly addressing his disciples, most scholars conclude the chapter is written with events concerning the later church in mind. Jesus is presented as explaining the relationship between himself and his followers - seeking to model this relationship on his own relationship with his Father.

The chapter introduces the extended metaphor of Christ as the true vine. The Father is the vine tender. His disciples are said to be branches - which must 'abide' in him if they are to 'bear fruit'. The disciples are warned that barren branches are pruned by the vinedresser.

The chapter proceeds by comparing the close relationship of Jesus and his disciples ('abiding') to that of himself and his Father. Disciples are reminded of the love of the Father and the Son - the love of the Son for the disciples, and then indicted to 'love one another' in the same manner. Verse 13 speaks of the 'greater love' as being the willingness to 'lay down' life for friends. This text, which primarily refers to Jesus’ impending death, has since been widely used to affirm the sacrifice of martyrs and soldiers in war, and is thus often seen on war memorials and graves.

The chapter concludes by warning disciples to expect persecution and promises the gift of the parakletos (paraclete or Holy Spirit). The reference to the Spirit in verse 26, speaks of it as sent by the Son from the Father. This verse has been particularly influential in debates concerning the nature of the Trinity and in the filioque disputes between Eastern and Western Christianity.


  • Bultmann, Rudolf The Gospel of John Blackwell 1971
  • Linders, Barnabus The Gospel of John Marshal Morgan and Scott 1972

External links

Chapters of the Bible
Preceded by:
John 14
Gospel of John Followed by:
John 16

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