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Matthew 7:15-20

Context
A Tree and Its Fruit

7:15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 1  7:16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered 2  from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 3  7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad 4  tree bears bad fruit. 7:18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 7:20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.

1 sn Sheeps clothing…voracious wolves. Jesus uses a metaphor here to point out that these false prophets appear to be one thing, but in reality they are something quite different and dangerous.

2 tn Grk “They do not gather.” This has been simplified to the passive voice in the translation since the subject “they” is not specified further in the context.

3 sn The statement illustrates the principle: That which cannot produce fruit does not produce fruit.

4 tn Grk “rotten.” The word σαπρός, modifying “tree” in both v. 17 and 18, can also mean “diseased” (L&N 65.28).



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