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Remain in Me and I in You

Remain in Me and I in You

Excerpt
The first sentence of v. 4 can be taken in one of three ways; all of them make sense. (1) Conditional: ‘If you remain in me, I will remain in you’ (which is the assumption of the NIV's rendering). Read in this way, the believer’s perseverance in remaining in Jesus is the occasional cause, not the ultimate cause, of Jesus’ remaining in the believer (cf8:31–3215:9–11). (2) Comparison: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you’ (the Greek allows this: the second clause has no verb, but simply ‘and I in you’). The thought is coherent enough; the ‘and’ (as opposed to ‘as’) is mildly surprising. In the context of the threats on both sides of the verse, it is indefensible to take the ‘I in you’ as an absolute promise regardless of the perseverance or fickleness of the ostensible believer. (3) Mutual imperative: ‘Let us both remain in each other’, ‘Let there be mutual indwelling’. Again, however, the syntax is strange: the strong second person imperative in the first clause cannot easily be reduced to this mutual exhortation, and the normal Greek way of expressing this thought is by a hortatory subjunctive. More
Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991. Print. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.
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