Luke 6:43

ESV “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,
NIV No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
NASB For there is no good tree that bears bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree that bears good fruit.
CSB "A good tree doesn't produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn't produce good fruit.
NLT A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.
KJV For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

What does Luke 6:43 mean?

In the context of the Sermon on the Plain, this section has two different applications.

The initial purpose explains how Jesus' followers should treat their enemies. Jesus has explained that His followers will be persecuted for following Him. They will be reviled and abused. Their reputations and their livelihoods will be threatened (Luke 6:20–23). He also explained what He expects of His followers. They will not seek revenge against those who harm them because they follow Him. They will love and forgive their oppressors and pray that God will bless them (Luke 6:26–27).

Now, the people have a choice: are they the type who will follow Jesus, or are they the type who will abuse His followers? He makes incredibly difficult demands on His followers that can't be agreed to lightly. Their choice will demonstrate where their heart is (Luke 6:45).

The second application has to do with good and bad influences. Christ has explained that for people to have a good impact on others, they need to train under a good teacher and take time to contemplate their own sin and misconceptions. A "bad tree" will value worldly wisdom which will lead followers into a pit from which they can't escape (Luke 6:39–42).

The assertion that good fruit proves a good heart has been twisted to defend toxic Christian leaders. Just because a ministry or church grows quickly and changes lives doesn't guarantee every associated leader is godly. A person who lives in unrepentant sin can lead a successful ministry—they should not, but God often uses desperately broken people despite their flaws (Jonah 1:1–3; Judges 14:1–4). It is not the heart of the leader, in and of itself, which produces good fruit; it is the redemptive grace of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
What is the Gospel?
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