Matthew 3:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 3:8, NIV: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Matthew 3:8, ESV: Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Matthew 3:8, KJV: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Matthew 3:8, NASB: Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance;

Matthew 3:8, NLT: Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.

Matthew 3:8, CSB: Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.

What does Matthew 3:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John the Baptist's message to Israel was designed to bring comfort to some and discomfort to others. He proclaimed in the wilderness, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). This was both a promise and a warning. It meant that God was about to begin His rule on earth, bringing justice and vindication for those Israelites who were faithful to Him and judgment for those who were in rebellion. This was true even though the kingdom would be grounded in the hearts of Christ's followers (John 18:36) and only in the very end times become a political, physical reality (Revelation 20:6).

In the previous verse, John spoke directly to Israel's religious leaders who had come to see and hear him. He called them a brood of vipers and asked who had warned them to flee from God's coming wrath. Now he tells them what it will take to be spared: They must repent in their actions and not just their words.

John tells the Pharisees and Sadducees that their repentance must bear fruit. In other words, it will not be enough to be seen publicly agreeing with John and being baptized by him in the Jordan River. Repentance means to change your mind and turn around, to head in a new direction. They must change their teaching and practice in leading the religious lives of the people of Israel. If the change is genuine, it will produce measurable results. It will bear fruit.

In the following verse, John will describe one error in their thinking and teaching.