The Vine and the Branches: Bible Journaling & Study

What’s the real meaning of the vine and the branches parable, as told in John 15:1-8? As I was Bible journaling on this passage, I wondered this too. Here is what I’ve discovered (plus, how to do your own “True Vine” Bible journaling page!).

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The process of Bible journaling always gives an opportunity to ponder the verses I’m journaling about… and the “True Vine” parable was no exception.

As I did this journaling page, I spent a lot of time painting the vines and the grapes, and thinking about how important the vine is in supporting healthy, abundant growth of the grapes. It would be so easy (and has in the past, whenever I’ve read this parable) to just skim over it, and think, okay, good, I need to remain connected to Jesus.

But WHY should we remain connected to Jesus as the True Vine? I know I’m not the only branch that quite often thinks it can go off on its own and still produce fruit, LOL. You too, huh? And yet, how ridiculous is it, that we think we can go on our own way and still be fruitful! Without the vine, the grapes dry up, and then we wonder where the fruit went.

the vine and the branches parable meaning

What did Jesus mean when he said “I am the true vine”?

As with many of Jesus’ parables, the vine and the branches has deeper meaning than meets the eye. If we really THINK about how IMPORTANT a vine is in supporting the growth of the grapes, then we can see how much more important it is for us to remain strongly connected to Jesus, in order to bear fruit. No vine = withered branches, and certainly no fruit. And, a half-connected branch = only a little, puny fruit, and maybe none at all.

THAT’s the kicker, y’all. If Jesus the THE TRUE VINE, and we’re the branches, that really drives home how important it is to keep studying His Word, keep praying, and keep our eyes on Him. That relationship between vine and the branches is so essential—Jesus is our teacher, mentor, friend, and so much more!

With a grape vine, it’s the vine that transports nutrients from the soil, to the branches. Without those nutrients, the branches wouldn’t be able to thrive! And likewise, we need the nourishment and instruction Jesus provides. Without that spiritual nourishment, we become weak and ineffective at those things He’s asked us to do, like loving our neighbors, and sharing the good news.

grapes - The True Vine symbolism

Why does God prune fruitful branches?

So then, if we have all the nourishment we need from Jesus, what’s the point of God “pruning” us?

“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
John 15:2 (NLT)

I’ve heard that in gardening, some people have the mistaken notion that pruning will harm the plant. For example, let’s say you have rose bush in your front yard, and it’s quite overgrown. It still has some roses on it, but not as many as it could. But, you’re afraid that by cutting it back, it will harm the bush and result in even less blooms. But actually, trimming away the extra weight will make room for new growth and even more blooms! Likewise, I think if we could choose for ourselves, we’d prefer to avoid being pruned. Who wants to subject themselves to that painful cutting away of excess anyway?

BUT, when we allow God to prune us (to cut away the dead weight of sin in our lives), then we have new room for growth and increased fruitfulness. As we mature, God continues to prune us, so we’ll become even more fruitful—thus able to have a greater impact in His Kingdom.

Now, I will say, in gardening it IS possible to prune too much. Cutting back a grape vine (or a rose bush) too excessively can definitely harm the plant. But, we know that God is The Master Gardener, and He knows exactly how much pruning to do in us. You and I may need to do our homework, to make sure we don’t cut back those rose bushes too much, but God already knows how much pruning we need!

The True Vine Bible Study & Journaling Page

Now that you know the meaning of the vine and the branches parable, I hope this spurs you on to remain ever more connected to Jesus! We truly do need Him, to teach and guide us each day.

The True Vine Bible study and journaling page

If you’d like to create a similar Bible journaling page in your own Bible, to help you remember this important teaching, I highly recommend the “I Am” stamp set from Sweet’n’Sassy Stamps (which contains many other great stamps, besides the True Vine one), and the “Grape Border” Bible journaling stamp by Art Impressions.

I used my Winsor-Newton Cotman Watercolors to paint in the grape vine, but of course you could use any coloring tools you like, such as markers or colored pencils! And as for the stamp ink, if you plan on painting as I did, I highly recommend using a water- and smudge-proof ink such as Archival Ink, which stays put even when you paint all over/around it. Otherwise, for colored pencils, any pigment or dye-based ink pad will work fine.

In closing, I leave you with one final question…

What will you do (starting) today, to remain ever more connected to Jesus?

Jesus is the True Vine - Bible study and Bible journaling

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