Monday, 7 May 2012

Silent, Natural, Restful: Thoughts on Abiding and Fruit in 1 John 4:7-21 and John 15:1-8 for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Interesting that what the ESV, NRSV and RSV render as "abide" in 1 John and John, the NIV84 renders as "live" in 1 John and "remain" in John. Same Greek word, meno. I suppose they think abide is archaic or obscure. But it is so much richer in its sense of rootedness and settledness as we see in the dictionary definition: 
abide \ə-ˈbīd\ verb
abode \-ˈbōd\ or abid•ed; abid•ing [Middle English, from Old English ābīdan, from ā-, perfective prefix + bīdan to bide; akin to Old High German ir-, perfective prefix — more at bide] verb transitive before 12th century
1 : to wait for : await
2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand
b : to bear patiently : tolerate 〈cannot abide such bigots〉
3 : to accept without objection 〈will abide your decision〉 verb intransitive
1 : to remain stable or fixed in a state
2 : to continue in a place : sojourn synonym see bear, continue — abid•er noun —abide by
1 : to conform to 〈abide by the rules〉
2 : to acquiesce in 〈will abide by your decision〉

I came across this commentary note on fruit in John 15: 
Some commentators say that the fruit is new converts; while others assert it is “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). The devotional writer, Andrew Murray, says “the essential idea of fruit is that it is the silent natural restful produce of our inner life.” This fruit is the practical expression of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives. This should attract others to Christ. (Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (219). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
I love Andrew Murray's idea. The silent natural restful produce of our inner life. Smacks of abiding, don't you think?