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I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NKJV)

Some commentators [John 15] believe this includes the fruit of the Spirit as in Galatians:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

However, fruit is also used as a metaphor for offspring, acts, deeds, advantage, and praises presented to God. And "to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life." [καρπός]

What is the primary meaning of fruit in the context which Jesus uses it in John 15?

  • Your question leaves much room for debate. In my answer what I am doing my best to illustrate is that the man Jesus, was not regarded as anything more than a current day prophet, until he proved himself to be the son of God by his victory over death. Even though his teachings alluded to eternity they were not perceived as such until he had prove himself as more than a normal man. – BYE Dec 16 '14 at 16:35
  • Jesus' statement in John 15:5 is general enough that it can indeed include the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians. After all, he said he was departing and sending the Spirit to continue the work. – Steve Dec 16 '14 at 16:41
  • Are you asking if the fruit is the holy spirit? – Gigi Sanchez Feb 24 '17 at 16:09
  • @GigiSanchez: Uh, did you mean Holy Spirit? – rhetorician Feb 24 '17 at 16:24
  • No, I would add the definite article before the words. – Gigi Sanchez Feb 24 '17 at 16:45
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I would translate John 15:4-5 like this:

4 Abide in me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bring forth fruit from of itself were it not abiding in the vine, even so, neither can you if you are not abiding in me. 5 I, myself, am the vine, you the branches. The one who abides in me and I in him, he it is that brings forth much fruit. For without me, you cannot bring forth anything at all.

Details (click the image for easier reading): enter image description here

In the previous chapter of John, Jesus is recorded as having just said to his disciples:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
-- John 14:10 (KJV)

The fruit of Jesus' sojourn on earth was made possible because the Father was in him, and he was in the Father, i.e. Jesus declared that it was the Father who was the source of his works and words.

When Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he said to the Pharisees:

28... When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
-- John 8:28-29 (KJV)

The relationship Jesus had with the Father is surely what he would expect his disciples to want to have with him. So, in like fashion, one might expect a disciple of Jesus to say, "Jesus who dwells in me, he does the work. I do nothing of myself; but as Jesus has taught me, so I speak. For I do always those things that please him."

In Galatians 5:6, Paul says:

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Paul then goes on to give two contrasting sets of behaviours that the Galatians could use to identify whether they were being moved by the lusts of the Flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), or by the spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23). In so doing, Paul was not saying that love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, etc. were the exclusive preserve of Christians, as though people outside of Christ cannot behave in such ways, but rather, that the contentious spirit that had arisen in the church was typical of the first set, and not of the second. He was providing them an opportunity to reflect on their behaviour.

He says further:

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
-- Galatians 5:24 (KJV)

So, Galatians: Are you Christ's? Have you crucified the flesh (or, are you mortifying the deeds of the body, as Paul says it in Romans 8:13)? It's an easy thing to determine. Just look at the fruit of your efforts.

Conclusion

The fruit of a tree or vine is the end-product of all that it has done with what it has consumed, i.e. what it has taken in through the roots and foliage. Jesus is saying that it is the same with man.

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
-- Matthew 7:17-20 (KJV)

A good tree produces fruit that is pleasing to the one who planted it.

Jesus teaching in John 15:5 applies generally in regard to ANY and ALL words and works (emphatic double negative in the Greek) -- whatever things are produced by a man's efforts. The fruit of abiding in Jesus should bring glory to the Father, as the fruit of his own efforts had. Jesus says so, just three verses later:

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
-- John 15:8 (KJV)

So, Paul's use of "fruits of the spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23 is a specific example of the general principle Jesus was teaching in John 15 and Matthew 7. Paul's two sets of contrasting behaviours made it possible for the Christians in Galatia to reflect upon whether or not their works and words (the fruit of their efforts) were pleasing to Jesus and thereby bring glory to the Father.

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  • In terms of Jesus and the Father do you think some fruit is more significant than others? Like a first fruit? For example, before a believer can have the fruit of the Spirit, they would need to be a believer and receive the Spirit – Revelation Lad Feb 28 '17 at 19:05
  • @RevelationLad If you are suggesting that the "fruit" Jesus was speaking of was only "people", then I think you are constraining his words. It seems abundantly clear that Jesus was speaking in general terms of ANY PRODUCT of human endeavour. As I said in the last paragraph of my answer, Paul was giving a specific example of the general principle. – enegue Feb 28 '17 at 21:01
  • @RevelationLad To answer your question. No, I don't believe some fruit is more significant than others. How can the efforts of a person produce fruit (converts) for the kingdom if that person is producing no "fruit" (work/words) that distinguishes them as representatives of the kingdom? "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their WORD;" (John 17:20 KJV - emphasis mine) – enegue Feb 28 '17 at 21:23
  • It seems like becoming a believer which is the condition required to receive the Spirit which would (later) produce the fruit of the Spirit (in a believer) would be the most important fruit. – Revelation Lad Feb 28 '17 at 22:14
  • @RevelationLad The Spirit is a gift from God to one whose eyes have been opened to the Christ, it is not a "product" of the person. – enegue Feb 28 '17 at 22:17
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1. Question

What is the difference between the uses of "Fruit" found in John 15, and Galatians 5:22?

Should the term be understood the same in these passages, or differently?


2. Summary :

In these passages, there appear to be three distinct "workers", and three distinct "products" :

  1. Spirit -> Qualities of the Spirit;
  2. Disciples -> Disciples;
  3. Flesh -> Sin;

New Living Translation, Galatians 5:22 - But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,


3. The Greek :

The semantic range of καρπὸς is not strictly limited to "an edible fruit" - but also literally implies, "a product of".

Logeion, καρπὸς : II returns, profits, οἱ κ. οἱ ἐκ τῶν ἀγελῶν γενόμενοι X.Cyr.1.1.2; τῶν ἀνηλωμένων . . τοὺς κ. Is.5.29.


4. The Context of Jesus' Statement was about Relationship and Discipleship :

NASB, John 15:4-4 : Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Jesus Uses the Metaphors "Harvest" and "Fruit" Interchangeably :

NASB, John 4:35-37 - 35 Do you not say, ‘... then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, ... look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal;

Jesus Consistently Affirms that the "Harvest" is People :

NASB, Matthew 9:36 - Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Being a Disciple of Jesus is Proven by Discipling others to Obey all the Commandments of Jesus :

NASB, John 15:8 - My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

NASB, Matthew 28:19-20 - 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, [by] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 [and by] teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;


5. Paul's Use of "Fruit of the Spirit" is Logically Juxtaposed with "The Works of the Flesh" :

Paul's statement is framed within a logical juxtaposition - explicitly comparing the "works" of the "flesh", vs. the "works/fruit" of the "Spirit" :

NASB, Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

NASB, Galatians 5:19 - Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, ...

NASB, Galatians 5:22 - But - the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ...


6. Conclusion :

So, I read the three passages, like :

  1. The fruits that are produced by the Spirit's own labors (work) - are Spiritual qualities.
  2. The fruits that are produced by the works of disciples - are disciples.
  3. The fruits that are produced by the workings of the flesh - are sin.

"Work" and "Fruit" Appears to be Used in Similar Semantic Sense - but with different Connotations:

I feel that Paul consistently uses the connotations of "Work" in relation to the "Flesh" - to convey a negative sense - in all of his writings.

And on the other-hand, I feel that Paul intentionally uses the term "Fruit" in relation to the "Spirit" to imply a positive connotation.

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  • You make some good points. Could you clarify your conclusion? – Revelation Lad Feb 24 '17 at 22:13
  • @RevelationLad - Thanks, I tried clarifying it a bit more - and tried to emphasize three different workers, with three different fruits. – elika kohen Feb 25 '17 at 6:09
  • In terms of Jesus and the Father do you think some fruit is more significant than others? Like a first fruit? For example, before a believer can have the fruit of the Spirit, they would need to be a believer and receive the Spirit. – Revelation Lad Feb 28 '17 at 19:05
  • @RevelationLad - I am not sure how to answer that. As far as people offering "first-fruits" to God - it seemed to really boil down to the intent of the heart : if it was given with trust, contrition, brokenness, love, etc ... I think christianity.stackexchange.com would love to answer it though. – elika kohen Feb 28 '17 at 23:49
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Yes, the fruit of which Jesus spoke and the fruit of the Spirit are two aspects of the same thing; namely, the byproduct of His work in the life of true followers of Jesus Christ.

In context, Jesus's exposition on fruit bearing in John 15 follows on the heels of his exposition on the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his disciples once Jesus ascends into heaven. Jesus speaks of his ascension in John 14:1-5 and of the Holy Spirit's role in his disciples' lives in verses 16-31 (cf. 16:16-22).

Moreover, in Chapter 14, Jesus uses a form of the word abide (viz., abiding) to describe his relationship with the Father (v.10). In other words, Jesus, in his abiding in God, set an example for his disciples. Just as Jesus abode in the Father, and in so doing accomplished the works his Father gave him to do (14:11; cf. 4:34), so too are Jesus' disciples to abide in Jesus if they are to bear spiritual fruit.

Interestingly, the primary fruit of which Jesus speaks in John 15 is the first aspect of the Holy Spirit's fruit in the life of a believer; namely, love (in John 15, vv.9-17, and in Galatians 4, v.22).

The fruit which results from abiding in Christ, then, is the same fruit which comes from habitually submitting to the Holy Spirit--an ongoing process, if you will, which Paul describes as

  • walking by the Spirit (Galatians 4:16 and 25),

  • being led by the Spirit (v.18), and

  • living by the Spirit (v.25).

Not only will the Spirit's fruit be evident in character development in the areas of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, but it will also be evident in good deeds. In First Timothy, Paul says that Christians' lives are to be "rich in good deeds" (1 Timothy 6:18), a theme which Paul develops in Galatians Chapter 5, where "bearing one another's burdens" is just one of the ways in which the fruit of the Spirit is made manifest in corporate and community life within the local church.

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  • Good to see you back!!! – enegue Feb 25 '17 at 0:55
  • @enegue: thank you very much. It's good to BE back--I think. Don – rhetorician Feb 25 '17 at 2:14
  • In terms of Jesus and the Father do you think some fruit is more significant than others? Like a first fruit? For example, before a believer can have the fruit of the Spirit, they would need to be a believer and receive the Spirit. – Revelation Lad Feb 28 '17 at 19:06
  • @RevelationLad: I'll need to think about that one! When I think of fruit, I think of the results of the Spirit's work in Christians lives, whether in character development and/or good deeds. The Spirit's initial entrance into the life of a new believer is not a fruit; rather, it's a sovereign act of a holy God which seals us permanently into God's forever family (Gal 1:13). I suppose you could think of a person's initial giving of his heart to Christ as a firstfruit, but again, that surrender is a fruit of the Spirit's work, not of the person being regenerated. S'kinda complicated. Don – rhetorician Jun 6 '17 at 16:44
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In the passage you cite, Christ is speaking of fruit that He - the true vine (John 14:31) - Himself essentially produces through His branches - those who keep His commandments and abide in His love (John 15:10).

Paul, in Galatians, is speaking of the virtues that are the fruit of what he refers to as "the Spirit" (pneuma). This could mean the Holy Spirit, but it could also mean the God-given spirit (miniscule) that forms part of the human person (viz. 1 Thessalonians 5:23). In either case, it is either the Holy Spirit or something that is derived from the Holy Spirit.

I think, perhaps, that if we maintain that the fruit of the Spirit that Paul writes of in Galatians is the same as the fruit of the true vine (Christ), then we end up conflating the two persons of the Trinity - which would lead us to contradict Scripture elsewhere.

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No it does not mean the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians.

Mary L. Cole says:

While this section (vv. 1-8) speaks often of bearing fruit (vv. 2,4,5) there is no explanation of its meaning when applied to the disciples. This explanation requires a different image, drawing no longer on nature but on the quality of the relationship between a father and son. In a sense the vine image begins to break down from verse 4, where it begins to be used to express the mutual intimacy between Jesus and disciples. 1

The reason the image begins to break down is there are two different purposes for fruit:

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12) [ESV throughout]

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. (Genesis 2:9)

Purposes for fruit:
First: Seed
Second: Food

The first works of the Holy Spirit are found in the Fourth Gospel:

  • But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (14:26)
  • When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (16:13)
  • He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (16:14-15)
  • And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: (16:8)
    • concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (16:9)
    • concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; (16:10)
    • concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (16:11)

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth and will guide the disciples into all truth. Truth, like seed in Genesis comes first: it is the "first fruit." Paul does not list truth as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians.

The first fruit of the Holy Spirit will be in the witness of the disciples:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The next fruit will come in the making of new disciples:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

The sequence of fruit of the Spirit is:

  1. Conversion
  2. Witness to others
  3. Making of other disciples
  4. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

So in the context of John 15, the fruit Jesus is referring to is the disciples being His witnesses and the making of new disciples. It is producing the "seed" of new believers which glorifies the Father:

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8)


Note:
1. Mary L. Coloe, Dwelling in the Household of God, A Michael Glazier Book, Liturgical Press, 2006, p.160.

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  • Who is Mary Cole? – user33515 Jun 6 '17 at 0:46
  • @user33515 Coloe fixed typo – Revelation Lad Jun 6 '17 at 0:56
  • Ok. Who is Mary Coloe? – user33515 Jun 6 '17 at 1:12
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Let the bible answer the bible.

The Godly man was considered a metaphorical tree and God's vitality considered the water of life. Lets see how fruit fits into this:

Psa 1:1-5 - Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.

For example - the Messiah as a purveyor of faith:

Isaiah 11:1 - There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Fruit is evidence of faith, clearly. Therefore covenant Israelites were portrayed as fig or olive trees, often in a vineyard:

Judges 9:11 - But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?

See also Isa 17:4-6 how the beaten olive tree is a symbol for Israel brought low. Basically Israel will have lost all faith and covenant relationship.

Yet, this barrenness by Israel would be reverse in the Messianic age:

Isa 27:2-6 - In that day, A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day; I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them, I would burn them up together. Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.” In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. (Also Isa 37:31, Jer 2:3)

It couldn't be clearer than:

Jer 11:16,19 - The Lord once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’

And:

Eze 36:8 - But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home.

So you ask:
QUESTION: "Is the fruit referred to in John 15:5 the same as the fruit of the Spirit?"

ANSWER:
If we are to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8), and repenting is the fruit of delighting in the law of the Lord, than clearly we are that tree planted by streams of water just as Yehshau was.
Yes - they are the same.

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  • In terms of Jesus and the Father do you think some fruit is more significant than others? Like a first fruit? For example, before a believer can have the fruit of the Spirit, they would need to be a believer and receive the Spirit. – Revelation Lad Feb 28 '17 at 19:06
  • The fruit is evidence of 'Christ-likeness'. The goal should not be to acquire evidence of something ('fruit') but something itself (Christ-likeness). – user34445 Feb 28 '17 at 19:18

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