Barnes' Notes on the BibleI am the vine - John 15:1.
Without me ye can do nothing - The expression "without me" denotes the same as separate from me. As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing. The expression is one, therefore, strongly implying dependence. The Son of God was the original source of life, John 1:4. He also, by his work as Mediator, gives life to the world John 6:33, and it is by the same grace and agency that it is continued in the Christian. We see hence:
1. that to him is due all the praise for all the good works the Christian performs.
2. that they will perform good works just in proportion as they feel their dependence on him and look to him. And,
3. that the reason why others fail of being holy is because they are unwilling to look to him, and seek grace and strength from him who alone is able to give it. Clarke's Commentary on the BibleWithout me ye can do nothing - Χωρις εμου ου δυνασθε ποιειν ουδεν - Separated from me, ye can do nothing at all. God can do without man, but man cannot do without God. Following the metaphor of our Lord, it would be just as possible to do any good without him, as for a branch to live, thrive, and bring forth fruit, while cut off from that tree from which it not only derives its juices, but its very existence also.
Nearly similar to this saying of our Lord, is that of Creeshna (the incarnate God of the Hindoos) to his disciple Arjoon: "God is the gift of charity; God is the offering: God is the fire of the altar; by God the sacrifice is performed; and God is to be obtained by him who maketh God alone the object of his works." And again: "I am the sacrifice; I am the worship; I am the spices; I am the invocation; I am the fire; and I am the victim. I am the Father and Mother of this world, and the Preserver. I am the Holy One, worthy to be known; the mystic figure Om; (see on John 1:14(note)) I am the journey of the good; the Comforter; the Creator; the Witness; the resting-place; the asylum, and the Friend. I am the place of all things; and the inexhaustible seed of nature; I am sunshine, and I am rain; I now draw in, and now let forth." See Bhagvat Geeta, pp. 54 and 80. Could such sentiments as these ever come from any other source than Divine revelation? There is a saying in Theophilus very similar to one of those above: Θεος ου χωρειται, αλλα αυτος εστι τοπος των ὁλων. - God is not comprehended, but he is the place of all things. Gill's Exposition of the Entire BibleI am the vine, ye are the branches,.... Christ here repeats what he said of himself, "the vine", for the sake of the application of "the branches" to his disciples: which expresses their sameness of nature with Christ; their strict and close union to him; and the communication of life and grace, holiness and fruitfulness, of support and strength, and of perseverance in grace and holiness to the end from him:
he that abideth in me, and I in him; which is the case of all that are once in Christ, and he in them:
the same bringeth forth much fruit; in the exercise of grace, and performance of good works; and continues to do so as long as he lives, not by virtue of his own free will, power, and strength, but by grace continually received from Christ:
for without me ye can do nothing; nothing that is spiritually good; no, not anything at all, be it little or great, easy or difficult to be performed; cannot think a good thought, speak a good word, or do a good action; can neither begin one, nor, when it is begun, perfect it. Nothing is to be done "without Christ"; without his Spirit, grace, strength, and presence; or as "separate from" him. Were it possible for the branches that are truly in him, to be removed from him, they could bring forth no fruits of good works, any more than a branch separated from the vine can bring forth grapes; so that all the fruitfulness of a believer is to be ascribed to Christ, and his grace, and not to the free will and power of man. Vincent's Word StudiesWithout me (χωρὶς ἐμοῦ)
Properly, apart from me. So Rev. Compare John 1:3; Ephesians 2:12. Geneva Study BibleI 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. People's New Testament15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches. He has already declared (Joh 15:1) that he is the True Vine, but he had not before declared that every disciple is a branch of the Vine. Observe that, not denominations, but church members, are the branches. The disciple, without Christ, can do nothing. Paul declared, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Php 4:13). Wesley's Notes15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches - Our Lord in this whole passage speaks of no branches but such as are, or at least were once, united to him by living faith. King James Translators' Noteswithout me: or, severed from me Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary5. without me-apart, or vitally disconnected from Me.
ye can do nothing-spiritually, acceptably. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary15:1-8 Jesus Christ is the Vine, the true Vine. The union of the human and Divine natures, and the fulness of the Spirit that is in him, resemble the root of the vine made fruitful by the moisture from a rich soil. Believers are branches of this Vine. The root is unseen, and our life is hid with Christ; the root bears the tree, diffuses sap to it, and in Christ are all supports and supplies. The branches of the vine are many, yet, meeting in the root, are all but one vine; thus all true Christians, though in place and opinion distant from each other, meet in Christ. Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and unable to stand but as they are borne up. The Father is the Husbandman. Never was any husbandman so wise, so watchful, about his vineyard, as God is about his church, which therefore must prosper. We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honour God, and do good; this is bearing fruit. The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humours, that require to be taken away, which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, they will be thankful, for them. The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified. In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ's disciples, constantly to keep up dependence upon Christ, and communion with him. True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith, causes holy affections to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their comforts to droop. Those who abide not in Christ, though they may flourish for awhile in outward profession, yet come to nothing. The fire is the fittest place for withered branches; they are good for nothing else. Let us seek to live more simply on the fulness of Christ, and to grow more fruitful in every good word and work, so may our joy in Him and in his salvation be full.