...Apart from me you can do nothing

The context of this verse snippet is the metaphor of Jesus and his disciples having a vine/branch relationship as related to a grape vinyard. Jesus tells his disciples that if they remain in him that they will bear much fruit, and then goes on to say that by themselves they can do nothing. It is of important note that the translation of the word poiein in the Greek to do in English is dependent on several factors, and contextually, poiein can mean bear because the word encompasses a wide variety of action and is defined contextually rather than implicitly.

So, a faithful understanding of this passage (in the context of a vinyard) is that in Jesus, we bear much fruit but apart from him we bear nothing. Using poienin was brilliant because it points us to the fact that if we are not bearing fruit in Jesus, we are not really doing anything at all.

http://biblelexicon.org/john/15-5.htm

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