Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


John 15:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Ye have not chosen me - Ye have not elected me as your Teacher: I have called you to be my disciples; witnesses and depositories of the truth. It was customary among the Jews for every person to choose his own teacher.

And ordained you - Rather, I have appointed you: the word is εθηκα, I have Put or placed you, i.e. in the vine.

Theodorus Mopsuensis, as quoted by Wetstein, observes that εθηκα is here used for εφυτευσα ; (I have planted); "and, in saying this, our Lord still makes use of the metaphor of the vine; as if he had said: I have not only planted you, but I have given you the greatest benefits, causing your branches to extend every where through the habitable world."

The first ministers of the Gospel were the choice of Jesus Christ; no wonder, then, that they were so successful. Those whom men have since sent, without the appointment of God, have done no good. The choice should still continue with God, who, knowing the heart, knows best who is most proper for the Gospel ministry.

To be a genuine preacher of the Gospel, a man must -

  1. Be chosen of God to the work.
  • He must be placed in the true vine - united to Christ by faith.
  • He must not think to lead an idle life, but labor.
  • He must not wait till work be brought to him, but he must go and seek it.
  • He must labor so as to bring forth fruit, i.e. to get souls converted to the Lord.
  • He must refer all his fruit to God, who gave him the power to labor, and blessed him in his work.
  • He must take care to water what he has planted, that his fruit may remain - that the souls whom he has gathered in be not scattered from the flock.
  • He must continue instant in prayer, that his labors may be accompanied with the presence and blessing of God - Whatsoever ye shall Ask.
  • 9. He must consider Jesus Christ as the great Mediator between God and man, proclaim his salvation, and pray in his name. - Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, etc. See Quesnel.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Ye have not chosen me - The word here translated “chosen” is that from which is derived the word “elect,” and means the same thing. It is frequently thus translated, Mark 13:20; Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31; Colossians 3:12. It refers here, doubtless, to his choosing or electing them to be apostles. He says that it was not because they had chosen him to be their teacher and guide, but because he had designated them to be his apostles. See John 6:70; also Matthew 4:18-22. He thus shows them that his love for them was pure and disinterested; that it commenced when they had no affection for him; that it was not a matter of obligation on his part, and that therefore it placed them under more tender and sacred obligations to be entirely devoted to his service. The same may be said of all who are endowed with talents of any kind, or raised to any office in the church or the state. It is not that they have originated these talents, or laid God under obligation. What they have they owe to his sovereign goodness, and they are bound to devote all to his service. Equally true is this of all Christians. It was not that by nature they were more inclined than others to seek God, or that they had any native goodness to recommend them to him, but it was because he graciously inclined them by his Holy Spirit to seek him; because, in the language of the Episcopal and Methodist articles of religion, “The grace of Christ prevented them;” that is, went before them, commenced the work of their personal salvation, and thus God in sovereign mercy chose them as His own. Whatever Christians, then, possess, they owe to God, and by the most tender and sacred ties they are bound to be his followers.

    I have chosen you - To be apostles. Yet all whom he now addressed were true disciples. Judas had left them; and when Jesus says he had chosen them to bear fruit, it may mean, also, that he had “chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

    Ordained you - Literally, I have placed you, appointed you, set you apart. It does not mean that he had done this by any formal public act of the imposition of hands, as we now use the word, but that he had designated or appointed them to this work, Luke 6:13-16; Matthew 10:2-5.

    Bring forth fruit - That you should be rich in good works; faithful and successful in spreading my gospel. This was the great business to which they were set apart, and this they faithfully accomplished. It may be added that this is the great end for which Christians are chosen. It is not to be idle, or useless, or simply to seek enjoyment. It is to do good, and to spread as far as possible the rich temporal and spiritual blessings which the gospel is fitted to confer on mankind.

    Your fruit should remain - This probably means,

    1. That the effect of their labors would be permanent on mankind. Their efforts were not to be like those of false teachers. the result of whose labors soon vanish away Acts 5:38-39, but their gospel was to spread - was to take a deep and permanent hold on people, and was ultimately to fill the world, Matthew 16:18. The Saviour knew this, and never was a prediction more cheering for man or more certain in its fulfillment.

    2. There is included, also, in this declaration the idea that their labors were to be unremitted. They were sent forth to be diligent in their work, and untiring in their efforts to spread the gospel, until the day of their death. Thus, their fruit, the continued product or growth of religion in their souls, was to remain, or to be continually produced, until God should call them from their work. The Christian, and especially the Christian minister, is devoted to the Saviour for life. He is to toil without intermission, and without being weary of his work, until God shall call him home. The Saviour never called a disciple to serve him merely for a part of his life, nor to feel himself at liberty to relax his endeavors, nor to suppose himself to be a Christian when his religion produced no fruit. He that enlists under the banners of the Son of God does it for life. He that expects or desires to grow weary and cease to serve him, has never yet put on the Christian armor, or known anything of the grace of God. See Luke 9:62.

    That whatsoever … - See John 15:7.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Those whom God loves as a Father, may despise the hatred of all the world. As the Father loved Christ, who was most worthy, so he loved his disciples, who were unworthy. All that love the Saviour should continue in their love to him, and take all occasions to show it. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments. If the same power that first shed abroad the love of Christ's in our hearts, did not keep us in that love, we should not long abide in it. Christ's love to us should direct us to love each other. He speaks as about to give many things in charge, yet names this only; it includes many duties.
    Ellen G. White
    The Ministry of Healing, 513-6

    You may feel the deficiency of your character and the smallness of your ability in comparison with the greatness of the work. But if you had the greatest intellect ever given to man, it would not be sufficient for your work. “Without Me ye can do nothing,” says our Lord and Saviour. John 15:5. The result of all we do rests in the hands of God. Whatever may betide, lay hold upon Him with steady, persevering confidence. MH 513.1

    In your business, in companionship for leisure hours, and in alliance for life, let all the associations you form be entered upon with earnest, humble prayer. You will thus show that you honor God, and God will honor you. Pray when you are fainthearted. When you are desponding, close the lips firmly to men; do not shadow the path of others; but tell everything to Jesus. Reach up your hands for help. In your weakness lay hold of infinite strength. Ask for humility, wisdom, courage, increase of faith, that you may see light in God's light and rejoice in His love. MH 513.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 509

    There are Christian workers who have not received a collegiate education because it was impossible for them to secure this advantage, but God has given evidence that He has chosen them and ordained them to go forth and labor in His vineyard. He has made them effectual co-workers with Himself. They have a teachable spirit; they feel their dependence upon God; and the Holy Spirit is with them to help their infirmities. It quickens and energizes the mind, directs the thoughts, and aids in the presentation of truth. CT 509.1

    When the laborer stands before the people to hold forth the words of life, there is heard in his voice the echo of the voice of Christ. It is evident that he walks with God, that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him. He has brought the truth into the inner sanctuary of the soul; it is to him a living reality; and he presents the truth in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. The people hear the joyful sound; God speaks to their hearts through the man consecrated to His service. CT 509.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Lift Him Up, 358

    Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. John 15:16. LHU 358.1

    This commission rests upon everyone who claim to believe in Jesus Christ. We are to seek to save those that are lost.... LHU 358.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 467

    Not the Will of God—It is not the will of God that His people should be weighed down with care.—Steps to Christ, 122 (1892). 2MCP 467.1

    Anxiety Tends to Sickness and Disease—When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God's love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better; for “the eye of the Lord is upon them” “that hope in His mercy” (Psalm 33:18).—The Ministry of Healing, 229 (1905). 2MCP 467.2

    Cease Worrying (counsel to friend facing death)—I keep your case before me, and I am grieved that you are troubled in mind. I would comfort you if it were in my power. Has not Jesus, the precious Saviour, been to you so many times a present help in times of need? Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, but cease worrying. This is what you have many times talked to others. Let the words of those who are not sick, as you are, comfort you, and may the Lord help you, is my prayer.—Letter 365, 1904. (Selected Messages 2:253.) 2MCP 467.3

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