Matthew 7:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 7:18, NIV: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:18, ESV: A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:18, KJV: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Matthew 7:18, NASB: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:18, NLT: A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit.

Matthew 7:18, CSB: A good tree can't produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.

What does Matthew 7:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This statement complements the teaching given in the previous verse (Matthew 7:17). Jesus is making it abundantly clear that false teachers can always be known by their fruit: what comes out of their lives. He has said that healthy trees bear good fruit and diseased trees bear bad fruit. Now He adds that healthy trees cannot bear bad fruit and sick trees can't bear good fruit. It just doesn't happen.

Jesus wants His followers to pay attention not just to the words of self-proclaimed prophets or even of Israel's religious leaders. He wants them to look at a religious leader's life to see how they live and behave. This is the only way to judge whether a supposed prophet brings messages from God or not. This is part of correctly judging (John 7:24), and an important aspect of the Christian faith (1 John 4:1; Acts 17:11).