Re: John 15:4 MEINATE EN EMOI?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Feb 27 1997 - 20:43:43 EST
Thu, 27 Feb 97 16:07:44 MST

> I need some discussion on the issue of the meaning of EN (a person). I
> overheard a discussion on the use of EN (a person) in John 15:4a
> recently. This is not one of my areas of focus so I am not current on
> the issues involved; but I take the "EN" of John 14:4 as a Dative of
> Association or Unity due to the 15:4b reference to the branches
> remaining EN the vine (association).
> Is this not a Dative of Association/Unity? I tried to look this up in
> the archives and found little. Professor Krentz cited Deissmann which
> I do not have. What resources comment on the Dative of Association/
> Unity, or otherwise, that can give me a sanity check.

A little Greek opinion:

EN+dative means "in". I think it is easiest to think of the dative
as part of the EN, but you could probably think of it as a locative
dative, which expresses place and time. In this case, it would be
the dative of place.

Look at the context: if we don't remain in Jesus as the branches
remain in the vine, getting our sustenance from him, we will wither.
In the same way that Jesus remains in the Father, we are to remain
in Jesus. This passage describes the mystical union that we have
with Christ, in the same way that he is one with the Father, deriving
his sustenance from the Father.

Apart from Jesus, we cannot bear fruit, so we must remain in him.

The Bible frequently refers to believers as being "in Christ", e.g.

1Cor 1:30 (NASU) But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us
wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

Gala 1:22 (NASU) I was [still] unknown by sight to the churches of Judea
which were in Christ;

1Cor 3:1 (NASU) And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men,
but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. (In Christ, but still infants)

Phil 1:1 (NASU) Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the
saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and

In fact, something tells me that "those who are in Christ Jesus" is used as
a synonym for Christians. I'll stick my neck out and say that I doubt that
similar terms are used to describe the relationship between disciples and
teachers, e.g. I doubt that the Bible says John's followers were "in John",
or that Plato's followers were "in Plato". I really think that mystical
union with Jesus Christ is the thing that defines the Church, and to me this
is one of the things which implies the deity of Christ.

Of course, if I'm wrong, I'm sure I'll hear about it ;->


"Time flies like a banana"

Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
email:, <--- shockwave enabled!

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