YouTube video

John 15:2 Explained – Does God Cut Off Branches With No Fruit?

Note: At the 2:25 mark of the above video I intended to say ‘We do not believe in Losing salvation”

Many Christians read John 15:2 and ask us ‘does this apply to us and does God cut off branches and throw them away if we don’t produce fruit’?

In John 15:2 we read:

He CUTS OFF every branch IN ME that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes

So there’s a problem here. This verse in John 15:2 identified this person as every branch ‘IN ME’. So, does this mean that the Christian (who is IN CHRIST) is now being cut off and is going to hell?

Side Note: Some translations say ‘take away’.

The majority of us do NOT believe in losing salvation, including most bible commentators and translators. So, they try and explain this verse away by twisting it to have a different meaning.

However, I don’t see how you can get away from this translation meaning a Christian who stops producing fruit is ‘cut off’ and in that context, thrown into hell.

What if the bible translators simply did a poor job of interpreting the Greek word in its true context?

The Greek word here is “airo” and it can be translated as ‘cut off’, ‘removed’, or, I believe more correctly as ‘take up’, and ‘to raise’.

John 15 2 Translation

Strong’s Concordance:

airó: to raise, take up, lift

Original Word: αἴρω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: airó
Phonetic Spelling: (ah’-ee-ro)
Short Definition: I raise, lift up
Definition: I raise, lift up, take away, remove.

So, in context, what this verse really should say is:

He LIFTS UP every branch IN ME that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes.

This lifting up of branches actually causes them to start to produce fruit again.

It was a common practice for a vinedresser to stretch the vine on an arbor or use some other means of raising it to the air and sun.

Note: it’s NOT OUR FRUIT. It’s the fruit of the Spirit. That’s why verse 4 tells us we CAN’T bear fruit on our own…..because you don’t have the ability to do it. Let me take it further….. not only is it IMPOSSIBLE for a Christian to bear good fruit on our own, but according to Matthew 7:18 it’s also IMPOSSIBLE for you to bear BAD FRUIT!

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

Wait, how can that be? How can it be impossible for a Christian (good tree) not to produce bad fruit? Simple. It’s because the fruit is not a human work. It’s referring only to what comes from the Spirit. The Spirit can NOT produce even one bad fruit. But you, as a human, even a Christian, produce bad fruit all the time.

Side Note: regarding this word ‘abide’  in these verses in John 15. Abide is NOT a HUMAN EFFORT or a TRY HARDER word. Abide simply means ‘live’. Christians LIVE IN CHRIST (and He lives in us), and it is impossible for us not to ABIDE in Him if we are believers.

So good news! If, by chance, we good trees are not bearing good fruit for a time, we are not going to be cut off, but rather we will be lifted up.

Author: Mike Cynar

Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.

It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.


  • George Alwerth Posted May 15, 2021 3:00 pm

    Regarding John 15:2, J. Vernon McGee agrees with you. Thank you for the time you spent explaining this text. I’m creating lessons for a “Life Group” at Calvary Chapel Beaumont,Ca. going through the Gospel of John.

    • Mike Cynar Posted May 15, 2021 4:04 pm

      Thanks for your kind words!

  • Dhanraj Gurung Posted May 18, 2021 11:12 pm

    Thank you. I see hope through this translation. I had stopped going to church for some time (8 years). I’ve started serving the Lord again now with hope. My family, wife and two daughters and a son too have started going to fellowship.

    • Mike C Posted May 19, 2021 9:25 am

      Amen. The truth always sets us free.

  • Joy Kukatula Posted June 12, 2021 1:53 am

    That is beautiful and well explained. It clears confusion and takes away condemnation from people’s heart by understanding it is not a human effort of abiding in Jesus and He will not beat us up and cut us off for not bearing fruits but rather he lifts us up.
    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Mike Cynar Posted June 12, 2021 1:10 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the piece. Thanks for the kind words 😉

  • William Posted July 23, 2021 5:36 pm

    Thank God I felt on this piece of work. I’m really blessed. Please, can you also help me understand James 5:19,20? Thanks

    • Jesus Without Religion Posted July 24, 2021 10:20 am

      Sure. The verse reads:

      ‘My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.’

      So in context this is about hearing and believing. In this case someone is in the group and has heard the gospel. But they have not believed it and have went astray. We know this because Peter tells us his soul is not saved.

      So what’s happening here is when this person wandered away someone continued to share the truth with him, and when that person does come to believing the truth, his sins will be removed and his soul will be saved.

  • Chip Posted October 4, 2021 10:21 am

    Wonderful words! The traditional reading of this is SO troubling – I’ve studied it at length and come to the exact conclusions as you have. Our God is SO good, and the Good News keeps getting better as we grow in Him.

    • Michael C Posted October 4, 2021 10:31 am

      Amen, Chip. Amen.

  • Poniman Mulijadi Posted April 11, 2022 10:34 pm

    Thank you… this is wonderful. How the verse 2 relates to verse 6? “6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Thank you much.

    • Mike C Posted April 12, 2022 9:20 am

      ‘Abide’ simply means ‘lives’. It is not an effort.

      All believers abide (live) in Jesus, and Jesus abides in ALL believers. It’s not something we try to do. It’s just a fact. By default, believers spiritually live in Christ. Screwing up doesn’t cause us not to abide in Christ. Remember, He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.

      Some false teachers try to teach that abiding means some type of outward human effort. They could not be more incorrect. 🙂

  • Brad Lockwood Posted May 2, 2022 9:03 am

    I have so much trouble with this article. So you are saying if you do nothing to obey the commands of Jesus you will be lifted up? If you do nothing to love your brothers and sisters which was the greatest command of Jesus, you ignore James 2: 1-13 you will be lifted up? What do you do with Matthew 25: 31-46? If Jesus is truly the love of our life shouldn’t we have a deep desire to keep his commands? Regarding this particular article and verse I would be very curious to see how you explain the rest of that passage regarding the branches that are being cut off and thrown into the fire in VS. 6. You would essentially be saying he lifts them and then cuts them off anyway.? I write this with all due respect, I really mean that. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Scott Posted June 10, 2022 10:39 pm

      You studied the wrong form of this word and the very site you used for your word says this,
      “to take off or away what is attached to anything: John 19:31, 38f; to tear away, Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; to rend away, cut off, John 15:2.”

      I think it’s a dangerous idea to get doctrine from the idea that starts with “what if the translators did a poor job”. When you look at other verses that use the exact form of this exact word in Greek they use it as “takes away” or “tears away” not “lifts up”.

      Those passages being:
      Matthew 9:16
      Mark 2:21
      Mark 4:15
      Luke 8:12
      Luke 11:22
      John 10:18
      John 16:22

      Trust the Word of God and be careful with how you use it.

      • Mike C Posted June 11, 2022 2:10 pm

        We will need to agree to disagree.

        I’m a bit shocked that you struggle with the idea that there could be difficulty translating Hebrew and Greek into English.

        Can we agree that there’s so much disagreement that we have countless versions and translations of the bible?

        No question I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. But I would limit that statement to the original manuscripts. I think it’s dangerous when you’re not willing to acknowledge that human beings are not perfect at translating foreign languages.

        It is not rare for some translations to completely update their idea of what the text was saying.

        I am convinced we got this one right.

        • Scott Posted June 11, 2022 3:31 pm

          We probably will need to just agree to disagree and if that’s what it is then that’s okay. Here’s just a few of my thoughts, take them as you will lol.

          I’m on board with having different translations, I can’t speak to the exact reasons why different ones have been made, but the translators do have the goal of getting the message of the original language through. When you look at some of a wide variety of translations, I haven’t seen one yet that translates it as “lifts up”.

          I think the reason for that is that in the greek its not airo, the word is airie (it does come from that root word airo), but when that form of that word is used in other contexts it’s used as “tear away” or “take away”

          Aside from word play if you look at the whole context of this passage it’s about those that abide in Him and those that don’t.
          Verse 2 points out that there are branches that don’t bear fruit and then there are branches that do bear fruit.
          verse 5 fruit grows on branches that are abiding in Him. Branches that don’t bear fruit are thrown away. Why would he even mention a branch if they aren’t even part of the vine to begin with?

          Verse 10 gives us the terms of “abiding” “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” obedience brings about abiding. Being saved is what connects us but obedience is what brings abiding. Which is also consistent with chapter 14:15 if you love me keep my commandments.

          This idea is consistent with Romans 11:19-21
          Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

          Branches that don’t abide aren’t “lifted up” they’re “taken away”

          Just from a gardening perspective if there’s a branch that’s supposed to grow fruit and you see its not, then you remove it because its taking nutrients away from branches that do bear fruit. So that idea is consistent with God being the vinedresser and doing what is necessary to grow the most fruit.

          I get that people aren’t perfect, but I do trust the process of God getting His Word through to people. It’s easy for words to sound wrong when we’re reading them so please don’t take my words as harshly or angrily spoken. Just trying to have a good discussion.

          • Mike C Posted June 11, 2022 8:05 pm

            Yep, we may need to agree to disagree, for sure. No worries. What’s most important is our affection for Jesus.

            Let me give you just one example of a profoundly terrible translation.

            Those He loves he scourges – Hebrews 12:6.

            Scourge is to beat with a weapon made of metal shards.

            Does God scourge His children?. Of course not.

            This passage was quoting an OLD testament passage….and get this…..that passage was written BEFORE the scourge weapon was ever invented. The original meaning was to inquire deeply. So, those God loves He inquires deeply into.

            Then the scourge weapon is invented, and when coming up with a name, they considered what it did. Hence it was called a scourge. It deeply inquires into the flesh. The translator miserable failed to clarify this correctly.

            There are countless other examples like this.

            As for this word abide. Some people very incorrectly try to turn it into an action word. They think ‘abide’ is some kind of effort or a doing. It’s not. It simply means to ‘live’.

            Christians do not try to abide in Christ. We ALL live in Christ, and He abides in us. Abiding is a fact of our location in Christ, and not something we strive towards.

            In this we know that we abide in him and he abides in us – 1 John 4:13

            That means, even when we are just sitting on the couch, we ARE abiding in Christ.

            You also misunderstand verse 10. The commandments are not 613 laws, or even the mosaic law. There is NO mention of the law here.

            The commands are to believe in Jesus and love others.

            Verse 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

            Verse 17 This is my command: Love each other.

            Also, John 15:12 And this is His commandment: that we should BELIEVE in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should LOVE one another just as He commanded us

            Ps in your last response you also incorrectly assumed that John 14:15 was referring to the law when he use the word Commandments, but if you read the entire letter you will find a reference to the wall. And then he literally spells out what the commandments were if you were just fast forward one chapter [as shown above].

            Also, John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another

            1 John 3:23 This is his commandment, that we should BELIEVE in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and LOVE one another, even as he COMMANDED US/

            So, it is a grave mistake to assume God is talking about obedience to the law, which He freed us from. Jesus is the END of the law for all who believe-Rom 10:4. The law is a ministry of condemnation and death- 2 Cor 3:9.

            We are to be obedient to the faith. Beveling in the Son. Trust Jesus and who He claims to be and what He did for us.

            Unfortunately, I think you may find it difficult to see the truth if you have been raised in some type of environment of legalism, where they can often times be obsessed with human performance instead of Jesus’s performance. I don’t mean that as a rude comment. I was once there too.

            Clearly you think abiding is something we have to try to do. Unfortunately, my friend that is an incorrect misunderstanding of the Scriptures.

            Christianity is not about trying harder and doing more. It’s about knowing Jesus and exuding His love moment by moment.

        • Rev. Frances Christian Posted May 24, 2023 6:00 am

          Agree to disagree is not biblical.

      • Sue Posted December 31, 2022 1:09 am

        I totally agree!

    • Rev. Frances Christian Posted May 24, 2023 5:50 am

      My dear brother. It is explained in the Word of Christ & Paul. Salvation’s message is: we are saved, we are being saved, as we trust & obey, & we Will be Saved at the Resurrection to come! Paul, I have fought the good fight of Faith in Christ Alone, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith [until death or the 2nd Coming). The Overcomer’s Life. Our Salvation is Complete at the Resurrection. It is the Word sown in our Mortal Bodies that raises us up from the dust of the earth to meet our Savior in the air…The dead in Christ shall rise first & those who are alive at His Coming will meet in the air…

      • Mike C Posted May 24, 2023 8:11 am

        I appreciate you sharing your comments. It’s difficult to even proceed when you share a view but it’s not really backed with any solid scripture.

        Your view is that we are ‘being saved’. Like for some type of fossil in creation, but our forgiveness is being held hostage until a later date.

        What does the scripture say that we are ‘being saved?’

        What the Bible says I’m already a new creation – 2 Cor 5:17
        St verse tells me that all things have already passed away, and that all things are made new.

        This is a present tense teaching.

        For in hope we HAVE BEEN saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? – Rom 8:24

        My friend, you may not see it with your eyes already, but again the scripture speaks in the past tense. We have been saved.

        MADE US alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you HAVE BEEN saved.- EPH 2:5

        So God is not in the process of making you a life with Christ. He already made us alive, and again we have been saved, present tense..

        For by grace you HAVE BEEN saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; EPH 2:8

        We see the same teaching without forgiveness of sins. It’s an ongoing process.. It doesn’t say our sins are progressively being forgiven, but rather that our sins have been forgiven. Past tense. DONE. Luke 7:47-48, John 20:23, Romans 4:7, 1 John 2:12.

        The same thing applies when we see teachings about our identity. We see that we already have this new identity assigned to us and it is not progressive. We are:
        but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Cor 6:11

        You are a royal priesthood – 1 Peter 2:9

        Therefore, if you HAVE BEEN raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Col 3:1

        I think we can agree he’s not addressing dead people or people in heaven. He’s literally writing telling them that they have been raised with Christ. Past tense. Already seated with Christ. And this is their spiritual identity.

        I don’t find it necessary to debate the rest of your comment, because I believe I have given you more than enough verses, to fully support that our salvation is not being held hostage and it is here now. It is a spiritual salvation that cannot be revoked. We (believers) are all having ready.

        I will say that reading your comment seems to suggest that your confidence is not in Jesus. Did she don’t 100% think that salvation is a gift, by faith, less anyone boast. Based on some of the verses you’ve chosen, which were seemingly out of context, it would appear that your confidence for salvation is in the flesh. Your performance. Your effort. And that’s why you think it’s being postponed You think God needs to make sure we don’t mess it up before we draw our last breath. We can squeeze lemon juice on it all day long, but that is a workspace salvation, and is not scriptural. So I guess yes, we will have to agree to disagree.

  • Robert Posted May 17, 2022 1:52 am

    Just wondering if john 15:2 cut off the branches referring to sin unto death

    • Mike C Posted June 11, 2022 1:59 pm

      Sorry, I just saw this. Cutting off branches is referring to cutting off unbelievers. 🙂

      • Cheryl Posted August 7, 2022 2:45 am

        This was the shortest and best explanation of cutting off branches. It makes sense because faith in christ foe who he is. For why he came to be here, dieing on the cross for our sin. We deserve that punishment. He does not. But He did this for us to believe and be saved through faith and accepting his sacrifice of Himself for us, All who believe this are saved. Did I make sense? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved. Believe all I mentioned above.

  • Norma Glimhagen Posted September 19, 2022 12:10 pm

    I love what you have to say. More comments to come.

  • Norma Glimhagen Posted September 19, 2022 12:19 pm

    I have lived under much condemnation due to legalize teachings. One pastor even said that a Christian can lose their salvation. Having struggled with alcoholism and other addictions much of my Christian life these messages threw me deeper and deeper into depression and hopelessness. Today I am sober and in. AA. I can now process the message of Grace or am at least trying to. Our pastor not the other one referred to just started a series on John 15. I felt dread. What is he going to say about those branches? He hasn’t got there yet, but he did say we cannot do any of this on our own. So I have hope he will deliver a grace-filled message not one of trying harder.

    • Mike C Posted September 19, 2022 2:25 pm

      Amen. Let’s hope he knows the truth and shares it 🙂

  • Leigh Posted May 24, 2023 12:54 am

    Thanks for this great explanation and revelation. It makes so much sense! I’m looking into the Strong’s now and one thing that confuses me, is that although everyone seems to translate the text in John 15:2 as “every branch in me that bears NO fruit”…, I can’t see where they are getting the NO fruit from. The rest of the sentence is translated “ever branch that does bear fruit” but the verb is exactly the same. Why do translators translate the first verb as bears NO and the second as bears? I can’t see where they are getting the negative from or am I completely missing something in the text? So every branch that bears fruit is lifted up (i.e. lifted up and trained where to grow) and all that bear fruit are pruned (i.e. having undesirable elements removed). I just can’t see from the underlying text why the first half of this text in verse 2 is translated to mean branches that bear no fruit.

    • Mike C Posted May 24, 2023 8:14 am

      Amen. I believe when our eyes are truly open, we begin to be able to see through all the garbage teaching. Many are safe, but still have not been able to open their eyes to see the grace that God is poured out on us. Instead, they just fine condemnation and punishment in nearly every verse or story they read throughout the Scriptures.. Sad

  • Jeff Posted June 5, 2023 5:49 am

    Hi Mike. Just read this again this morning and tried to make sense of the translation. It just doesn’t make sense, because as translated it inevitably leads into a works salvation, and the torture of never being good enough? How much works is enough?

    Anything that diminishes or complements the perfect work of Jesus to salvation has to be heresy. Even if every translator agrees otherwise.

    • Mike C Posted June 5, 2023 9:12 am

      I’m not sure what part of this post like you to believe any of the work of Jesus has been diminished. I don’t even believe there is a portion of this place where we hint about ‘works based salvation’. I would need you to be more specific about what you heard me say that is leading you to share that comment before I can respond with any substance.

  • Carol Posted June 23, 2023 8:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I was raised to believe that we had to earn salvation and this verse made me feel like there was some standard that I would not be able to live up to….thank you so much.

  • Gideon Posted July 27, 2023 6:30 am

    I found your explanation because I went looking for an alternative the traditional one (God watches our every move and if we don’t behave, he discards us) which doesn’t resonate with me. I wish there were an easier, more consistent and dependable, way to interpret the original Greek.

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