Matthew 7:19–20

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Matthew 7:19–20
← 7:18
7:21 →
Christ Denouncing False Prophets and Pharisees- Illustration to Matthew 7- 15-21 MET DP835948.jpg
Daniel Hopfer's "Christ Denouncing False Prophets and Pharisees": Illustration to Matthew 7:15-21
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament

Matthew 7:19 and Matthew 7:20 are the nineteenth and twentieth verses of the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and are part of the Sermon on the Mount. The verses continue the section warning against false prophets.


In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good
fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit
is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub Matthew 7:19-20.

In the previous verses Jesus has begun a metaphor describing false prophets as trees that produce bad fruit. In this verse he tells what happens to such trees. The language in this passage is borrowed from that used by John the Baptist in Chapter 3, and its use here creates clear parallels between Jesus and John.[1] The second part of verse 19 is worded almost identically to Matthew 3:10, with only a slight grammatical change as it is no longer following the axe metaphor.[2] Harrington notes that this verse does not appear in this section of Luke. Harrington thus believes that the author of Matthew appended the words of the Baptist to material found in Q to make the warning more eschatological.[3]

The mention of fire is a clear reference to Gehenna, which has been twice already mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 5:22 and 5:29. Davies and Allison note that the reference to fire is metaphorical rather than literal. At other parts of the gospel, such as Matthew 8:12, the ultimate punishment is darkness.[4]

Schweizer notes the use of the word "every" and how it emphasizes the universal nature of God's examination.[5] Verse 19 is one of the harshest statements by Jesus. To Bruner it serves as a reminder that there is a sternness to Jesus' message that believers should not ignore.[6] To France this is a warning that even some of those who claim to be disciples will be punished at the Last Judgment.[7]

For a collection of other versions see 19 BibleHub Matthew 7:19-20 20


  1. ^ Davies, W.D. and Dale C. Allison, Jr. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1988-1997. pg. 113
  2. ^ Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. pg. 130
  3. ^ Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew. Liturgical Press, 1991 pg. 108
  4. ^ Davies, W.D. and Dale C. Allison, Jr. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1988-1997. pg. 113
  5. ^ Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975 pg. 188
  6. ^ Bruner, Frederick Dale. Matthew: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004 pg. 355
  7. ^ France, R.T. The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985. pg. 148

Preceded by
Matthew 7:18
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 7
Succeeded by
Matthew 7:21