Matthew 7:15-23

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. 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad 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.

Judgment of Pretenders

7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’

Matthew 12:33-37

Trees and Their Fruit

12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit. 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. 12:35 The good person brings good things out of his 10  good treasury, 11  and the evil person brings evil things out of his evil treasury. 12:36 I 12  tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


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.

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.

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

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

sn The double use of the vocative is normally used in situations of high emotion or emphasis. Even an emphatic confession without action means little.

tn Grk “and in your name do.” This phrase was not repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

tn Grk “workers of lawlessness.”

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

tn The Greek text reads here ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpos). The term is generic referring to any person.

10 tn Grk “the”; the Greek article has been translated here and in the following clause (“his evil treasury”) as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

11 sn The treasury here is a metaphorical reference to a person’s heart (cf. BDAG 456 s.v. θησαυρός 1.b and the parallel passage in Luke 6:45).

12 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.