John 15:2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

All the branches in me that not wanting to bear fruit, he removes, but all producing reward, he removes their imperfections, that they may possibly produce more rewards.

KJV : 

John 15:2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every [branch] that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The play on airo/kathairo here (see below) contrasts removing the branch versus removing the dirt/flaws/imperfections of the branch.

This verse refers back to the statement about Christ being the vine, but the vine is a metaphor for that connections of the spirit, which is the more general topic here. In this metaphor, the use of the term for "fruit" works, but "fruit" metaphorically is the desire object of production, the fruit of our labors, the rewards of a process.

Christ has not said yet that the branches are all those connected to Christ. That idea comes in a later verse. So the idea here could apply to any "branch" in the vine, that is, any aspect of Christ's life. However, once we factor in that the branches are other people, the nature of the vine changes. It isn't Christ alone as a person, but the vine Christ as the center of a network of people. A vine is not a vine without its branches, but it is also not a vine unless there is a connection among them.

Interesting, this verse says directly that being connect to Christ alone is not enough to be preserved. The only direct reference to "in me" is associated with the non-productive branches. It is assumed elsewhere, based upon the metaphor. The branch must be productive.


This is a rare example of wordplay in John. The same praise is repeated in the negative and positive (branch producing/not producing fruit), but the two phrases contrast the verbs airo (remove) and kathairo (cleanse), contrasting removing the branch and removing dirt or flaws or imperfections of the branch. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πᾶν "Every" is from pas (pas), which means "all," "the whole," "every," "anyone," "all kinds," and "anything."

κλῆμα "Branch" is from klema, which means "twig," "branch," "vine twig," "cutting," "slip," and "cane."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with."

ἐμοὶ "Me" is from emou, which means "me," and "mine."

μὴ -- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. This is the negative used with commands or requests.

φέρον (part sg pres act neut) "Bears" is from pherô (phero), which means "to bear," "to carry," "to bring," "to produce," and "to fetch."

καρπὸν "Fruit" is from karpos (karpos), which means "fruit," "the fruits of the earth," "seed," "offspring," "returns for profit," and "reward."

αἴρει "Takes away" is airo, which means "to lift up," "to take up," "to raise," "to raise up," "to exalt," "to lift and take away," and "to remove."

αὐτῷ "That" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself," "yourself," "himself," "herself," "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him," "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

καθαίρει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Purges" is from kathairo, which means "to cleanse," "to purify" [in a religious sense], "to purge," "to evacuate," "to prune" [a tree], "to winnow," [grain], and "to wash off."

ἵνα "That" is from hina (hina), which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when," "that," "in order that," "when," and "because."

πλείονα "More" is from pleiôn, which means "more," "greater than," and "further than."

φέρῃ (3rd sg pres subj) "Bears" is from pherô (phero), which means "to bear," "to carry," "to bring," "to produce," and "to fetch."