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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Matthew 7:15-20

We have here a caution against false prophets, to take heed that we be not deceived and imposed upon by them. Prophets are properly such as foretel things to come; there are some mentioned in the Old Testament, who pretended to that without warrant, and the event disproved their pretensions, as Zedekiah, 1 Kgs. 22:11; and another Zedekiah, Jer. 29:21. But prophets did also teach the people their duty, so that false prophets here are false teachers. Christ being a Prophet and a Teacher come... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Matthew 7:15-20

7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but who within are rapacious wolves. You will recognize them from their fruits. Surely men do not gather grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles? So every good tree produces fine fruit; but every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree which does not produce fine fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then you will recognize... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Matthew 7:15-20

The Jews, the Greeks and the Romans all used the idea that a tree is to be judged by its fruits. "Like root, like fruit," ran the proverb. Epictetus was later to say, "How can a vine grow not like a vine but like an olive, or, how can an olive grow not like an olive but like a vine" (Epictetus, Discourses 2: 20). Seneca declared that good cannot grow from evil any more than a fig tree can from an olive. But there is more in this than meets the eye. "Are grapes gathered from thorns?" asked... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Matthew 7:15-20

This passage has much to say about the evil fruits of the false prophets. What are the false effects, the evil fruits, which a false prophet may produce? (i) Teaching is false if it produces a religion which consists solely or mainly in the observance of externals. That is what was wrong with the Scribes and Pharisees. To them religion consisted in the observance of the ceremonial law. If a man went through the correct procedure of handwashing, if on the Sabbath he never carried anything... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Matthew 7:16

Ye shall know them by their fruits ,.... By "fruits" are meant, not so much their external works in life and conversation; for a false prophet may so behave, as not to be discovered thereby. So the Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men; and false teachers among Christians may have the form of godliness, and keep it up, though they are strangers to, and even deny the power of it: but their doctrines are here meant, and the effects of them. When doctrines are contrary to the... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Matthew 7:17

As is the tree, so is its fruit; if the tree is good, it will bring forth good fruit. The tree that brings forth good fruit, is good antecedent to the fruit it produces; it is first good, and then puts forth good fruit: it is not the fruit that makes the tree good, but makes it appear to be so; but it is the goodness of the tree that makes the fruit good. As a good man does, and will do good works, but his works do not make him a good man; he is so before he performs good works, or he would... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Matthew 7:18

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit ,.... A man that is unprincipled with the grace of God, has an experimental acquaintance with the Gospel of Christ, and is guided by the Spirit of God into all truth, as it is in Jesus, cannot knowingly deliver, maintain, and abide by any doctrine that is contrary to the glory of God's grace, and the person of Christ, the work of the Spirit, the fundamental doctrines of the Bible; or what is repugnant to the experiences of God's people, and... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Matthew 7:19

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit ,.... Every preacher and teacher that does not bring the Gospel of Christ with him, and plainly and faithfully preach it to the people, sooner or later, is hewn down : however he may have appeared as a tall lofty cedar, and have carried it with a high hand against Christ and his Gospel, spoke "great swelling words of vanity", and behaved with much "loftiness" and "haughtiness"; yet the time comes on, when all this is bowed and made low, "and... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Matthew 7:20

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. This is the conclusion of the whole, and a repetition of what is before said, the more to fix the rule of judgment upon their minds, and engage them to try men by their doctrines, and their doctrines by the standard of the Scriptures, and not believe every spirit; for with some care and diligence such persons may be detected, and the malignant influence of their ministry be prevented. The sum of the whole is, that ordinarily, and generally... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Matthew 7:16

Ye shall know them by their fruits - Fruits, in the Scripture and Jewish phraseology, are taken for works of any kind. "A man's works," says one, "are the tongue of his heart, and tell honestly whether he is inwardly corrupt or pure." By these works you may distinguish ( επιγνωσεσθε ) these ravenous wolves from true pastors. The judgment formed of a man by his general conduct is a safe one: if the judgment be not favorable to the person, that is his fault, as you have your opinion of him... read more

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