Chapter
Verse

Luke 3:9

ESV Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
NIV The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.'
NASB But indeed the axe is already being laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.'
CSB The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
NLT Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.'
KJV And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

What does Luke 3:9 mean?

If someone says, "I am going to cut down that tree," we might wonder when they'll do so. If we see their axe leaning against the base of the tree one day, we know the key moment is imminent. John the Baptist's symbolism implies that very thing: judgment is not far in the future: it is about to happen. This is part of John's preaching ministry, preparing Israel to receive the Messiah (Luke 3:1–6).

Part of John's message has been that rituals and ancestry are not enough to escape God's wrath. Baptism without repentance and mere Jewish heritage will not save (Luke 3:7–8). Jesus would also use analogies related to trees and their productivity (Matthew 7:17–20). Fruitfulness represents a tree which is living and healthy: an external sign of an internal condition (John 15:4–6). The "unfruitful" tree, disconnected from life, is not merely to be pruned; it's to be cut down and thrown into fire.
Expand
Expand
Expand
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: