Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 3:8

Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Baptism;   Hypocrisy;   Judaism;   Minister, Christian;   Pharisees;   Repentance;   Reproof;   Sadducees;   Works;   Scofield Reference Index - Repentance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Fruit Test;   Fruit, Spiritual;   Fruitfulness;   Fruitfulness-Unfruitfulness;   Results Demanded;   Test, Fruit;   The Topic Concordance - Baptism;   Bearing Fruit;   John the Baptist;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Baptism;   Fruits;   Repentance;   Works, Good;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   John the baptist;   Prophecy, prophet;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptize, Baptism;   Fruit;   Messiah;   Motives;   Nahum, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Hutchinsonians;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Fruit;   John the Baptist;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezra, Book of;   Fruit;   Gospel;   Luke, Gospel of;   Matthew, the Gospel of;   Ordinances;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John the Baptist;   Jordan;   Mss;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Asceticism (2);   Doctrines;   Elect, Election ;   John the Baptist;   Logia;   Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Kingdom of christ of heaven;   Kingdom of god;   Kingdom of heaven;   Levi;   Obsolete or obscure words in the english av bible;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fruit;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - John, the Baptize;   Jesus of Nazareth;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Matthew, the Gospel of;   Meet;   Repentance;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baptism;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Bring forth therefore fruits … - That is, the proper fruits of reformation; the proper evidence that you are sincere. Do not bring your cunning and dissimulation to this work; do not carry your hypocrisy into your professed repentance, but evince your sincerity by forsaking sin, and thus give evidence that this coming to Jordan to be baptized is not an act of dissimulation. No discourse could have been more appropriate or more cutting.

Fruits - Conduct. See Matthew 7:16-19.

Meet for repentance - Fit for repentance; appropriate to it the proper expression of repentance.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 3:8

Fruits meet for repentance.

Repentance a fructifying energy. Fruits for repentance

Hear a story, or a parable. In a delightful bit of country, early one summer morning, I walked out to be refreshed by the pure sweet air, the sight of fields and woods, grasses and flowers, beasts and birds, when, presently, I came upon an orchard, into which I entered. The trees were beautiful to behold, the air was fragrant, and fruit was abundant. I wandered on almost enchanted, until, to my great wonder, I came upon a tree having neither bloom nor fruit. I was so painfully impressed that, without any thought of hurting or giving offence, and as to myself, I said, “You poor, lost tree, what can you be doing here? I marvel you are not removed.” Upon which, to my astonishment, this tree replied, not without tartness, “Oh, indeed, sir; indeed! No doubt you think you are wise, wise above your fathers. -You think you know much about things, I dare say, but you are in a great mistake. I am neither poor nor lost.” “Well,” I said, “you have neither leaves nor fruit, and, I should judge, no sap.” “What has that to do with it?” it broke out. “Your ignorance is inexcusable. You seem not to know that a great Saviour of trees has been down here, and I have believed His gospel, and am saved by grace. I have accepted salvation as a free gift, and, though I have neither leaves nor fruit, I am saved all the same.” I looked at it with pity and said, “You are a poor deluded tree; you are not saved at all. You are only a dead, good-for-nothing tree, despite all your talk about grace and redemption. The only salvation you can ever know is to be made living and fruit-bearing. Life, that is salvation. When I come and see you laden with fruit, or even showing signs of leaves, I shall say, ‘ Ah! that poor tree is saved at last; it has received the gospel and is saved by grace.’ “ As I turned away, I heard it saying, “You are not sound; you do not understand the gospel.” And I thought, so it is, as with trees so with men; they talk as if grace and salvation were something God keeps for them outside themselves, and will not understand nor believe that he who is saved, he who takes Christ fully, and rests on His atoning work alone, “is made free from sin,” and “ has his fruit unto holiness.” (W. Hubbard.)

Repentance a moulding energy

And it ought not to be a mere partial sorrow; but it should permeate the entire constitution of man. You have most likely seen water falling in drops from a rock. There it is dropping-dropping-dropping, summer and winter, during many a century;-but the rock remains a rock still. There are many who shed tears which seem to be those of repentance, but whose hearts remain as hard as an adamantine rock. Their tears are those out of a rock-a rock that never crumbles. True repentance dodos with man as the furnace with the metal. There is the metal cast into the furnace; and there it is heated and melted so as to be shaped and coined according to will. The whole of man should be completely melted by repentance, so as to be purged of all the cross of sin and be remodelled by the plastic influences of God’s Spirit, and made to bear anew the Divine image. (R. Hughes.)

Repentance a purifying energy,-

Repentance hath a purifying power, and every tear is of a cleansing virtue; but these penitential clouds must be still kept dropping a one shower will not suffice; for repentance is not one single action, but a cause. (Dr. South.)

Repentance fruitful in amendment

Repentance without amendment is like continual pumping in a ship without stopping the leaks. (Palmer.)

Repentance fruitful in restitution

Thomas Olivers was an itinerant cobbler, who spent his time working, carousing, and contracting debts. He congratulated himself on his skill in defrauding his creditors. This reprobate Welshman was at last rescued by Methodism, and became one of Mr. Wesley’s itinerant corps. So great had been his wickedness, that his friends thought he must have had some terrible fright, His uncle said to him, “Thou hast been so wicked, thou hast seen the devil.” His conscience was awakened. Of his old debts he said, “I feel as great sorrow and confusion as if I had stolen every sum I owed.” He resolved to pay the last cent from money due to him from the estate of one of his kindred. With part of his money, he bought a horse, and started on his memorable journey from town to town, preaching Christ, and paying his debts. He went to Whithurst to pay a sixpence. Before his strange pilgrimage was ended, he paid about seventy debts, and had to sell his horse, saddle, and bridle, to finish his payments. Such fruits of repentance were followed by great religious prosperity and usefulness. (Anon.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 3:8". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Fruit worthy of repentance ... suggests the true relationship between repentance and reformation of life. Reformation of life is not repentance but issues forth from repentance and is a direct result or "fruit" of repentance. That repentance cannot be reformation of life is seen in the words of Christ who allowed that it is possible to repent many times in one day (Luke 17:4), a thing that cannot be understood of reformation.

Think not to say ... Here Christ answered an alibi and destroyed a refuge of these ancient sinners. They supposed themselves safe because they were the seed of Abraham to whom the promises of old had been truly certified. However, in this place John blasts their complacency and opens the door for the "spiritual sons" of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). Here in the preaching of John the Baptist was the beginning of that truth so fully expounded by Paul in which it appears that "He is not a Jew who is one outwardly ...." (Romans 2:28,29).

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Bring forth therefore fruits,.... That is, if you are truly penitent, if you have a proper sense of sin, and true repentance for it, do such works as are suitable to it, and will show the genuineness of it; for

fruits meet for repentance are the same as "works meet for repentance", Acts 26:20 and as a tree is known by its fruit, so repentance is known by good works; these are the fruits and effects of repentance, and which are proofs with men of the sincerity of it. Those which follow upon evangelical repentance are such as are mentioned in 2 Corinthians 7:11. Now let it be observed, that John insisted upon repentance, and a good conversation, attesting the truth of it as necessary prerequisites to the ordinance of baptism; and so Peter first urged repentance; and then proposed baptism, Acts 2:38 from whence one should think it may be rationally and strongly concluded, that none but truly repenting sinners, and such who have given proofs that they are so, are to be admitted to this ordinance.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

(3) True repentance is an inward thing which has its seat in the mind and heart.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Bring forth therefore fruits — the true reading clearly is “fruit”;

meet for repentance — that is, such fruit as befits a true penitent. John now being gifted with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true minister of righteousness and lover of souls here directs them how to evidence and carry out their repentance, supposing it genuine; and in the following verses warns them of their danger in case it were not.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance. There is no repentance whatever unless there is a change of life as the result. The change of life is the proof of the change of heart.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-3.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Fruit worthy of repentance (Καρπον αχιον της μετανοιαςKarpon axion tēs metanoias). John demands proof from these men of the new life before he administers baptism to them. “The fruit is not the change of heart, but the acts which result from it” (McNeile). It was a bold deed for John thus to challenge as unworthy the very ones who posed as lights and leaders of the Jewish people. “Any one can do (ποιησατε ςιδεpoiēsate class="translit"> vide Genesis 1:11) acts externally good but only a good man can grow a crop of right acts and habits” (Bruce).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Repentance is of two sorts; that which is termed legal, and that which is styled evangelical repentance. The former (which is the same that is spoken of here) is a thorough conviction of sin. The latter is a change of heart (and consequently of life) from all sin to all holiness.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-3.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance1:

  1. Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance. John had demanded repentance (Matthew 3:2), he now demands the fruit of it. By "fruit" or "fruits", as Luke has it (Luke 3:8), he means the manner of life which shows a real repentance.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-3.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Fruits meet; conduct suitable to, or consistent with.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/matthew-3.html. 1878.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

SINS TO BE REPENTED OF

‘Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.’

Matthew 3:8

When we use these words we must be careful that we do not mean ‘Bring forth fruits,’ i.e. do works which would entitle you to receive the grace of ‘repentance,’ but do works worthy of, or corresponding to, the ‘repentance’ which you already feel and profess.

‘Repentance’ is an impression wrought upon the heart, by the grace of God, whereby, under a deep sense of sin committed against Him, the feelings are changed, the mind sees everything in a new light, and adopts a course the exact opposite to that which it previously was pursuing. What the Bible teaches us is this, that where that root is planted in the heart, it must bring forth ‘fruit’ to match. There must be something in the life correspondent with the feelings; otherwise, there is no vitality; the ‘repentance’ is unreal. The effect must be worthy of the cause which produces it.

I. Our own, not other people’s sins.—It would be very little good to-day if we were now to consider what may be the sins of other people. It is a very easy kind of’ repentance’ to confess the errors of our neighbours. We have nothing to do with that. What we have to do with is our own personal sins.

II. Abuse of money.—There is no doubt, that as a people, we have been growing very rich. I believe that the general prosperity of this country is almost, if not quite, unprecedented in the history of the world. But have we rendered back to God according to that which we have received from His hand? Now our charities, our church building, our home and foreign missions—have they kept pace with the immense increase of England’s wealth? Rather, is not the race for money inordinate? And is it not characteristically a selfish and luxurious age? See how lavishly money is spent on fashion and the indulgences of life, and how sparingly it goes into God’s coffers! What tremendous inequality there is between the rich and the poor in this country! How many societies are languishing for want of funds! What a deficiency there is in our great towns of churches and clergy! What is going back to God? ‘Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord.’

III. Neglect of Sunday.—And as it has been with money, so it has been with time. The seventh part of time, which He, the Great Proprietor of all time, claims in His sovereignty, has not been accorded to Him. Our Sundays have been increasingly violated. The multitude which take their pleasure on the Lord’s Day, and neglect the assembling of themselves together, is exceeding great. In our large towns, the attendance on public worship is scanty indeed. Yet remember, the Sabbath is God’s property, given us in trust for His glory, and for His creatures’ sake; and He will never allow it to be taken away. ‘Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me.’

IV. Our unhappy divisions.—And our divisions are very wide. Where does God see His own unity? Is not our own Church of England rent, till the marvel is, how its beautiful net-work can hold together till we reach the shore? We declare our belief in the real eternal oneness of the whole mystical body of Christ,—but where is it? In controversy? In harsh judgments, and hard speeches? In separations? In schism?

V. What must we do?—How shall we ‘bring forth worthy fruits of repentance’? Be very practical. Take care that your religion neither begins nor ends in a feeling or in a service. Amend your own ways. Give God His own. Observe the Lord’s Day by attendance at the Lord’s own service. Pray and work for unity.

—The Rev. James Vaughan.

Illustration

(1) ‘As the length of the roots of a tree under the ground, so is the width and the breadth of its branches above; and the flavour of the sap may always be detected in the grain. Just so it is to be in that beautiful plant of godly sorrow. There must be a mellowedness and tenderness under it; you must “bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/matthew-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Ver. 8. Bring forth therefore fruits] q.d. You cannot wash your hands in innocence, wash them therefore in tears: there is no way to quench hell flames but by the tears of true repentance; to prevent the wrath to come, but by bearing those fruits of righteousness that are by Christ Jesus to the glory and praise of God, Philippians 1:11. Optima et aptissima poenitentia est nova vita, The best and most appropiate repentance is a new life, saith Luther; which saying, though condemned by Pope Leo, is certainly an excellent saying.

Meet for repentance] That weigh just as much as repentance, that may parallel and prove it to be right, evince and evidence it to be a "repentance never to be repented of," 2 Corinthians 7:10. There is no grace but hath a counterfeit. See therefore that your graces be of the right stamp, an effectual faith, laborious love, patient hope, &c., as the apostle hath it. See that your performances and whole course be such as becomes repentance, and may justify it; as may bear weight in the balance of the sanctuary, and amount to as much as repentance comes to, 1 Thessalonians 1:3; ( αξιον παρα του αγειν). And albeit your righteousnesses be but as a menstruous clout, and your works at best (if tried by the fire of the word, Isaiah 64:6; 1 Corinthians 3:13) would burn (which made good Nehemiah, Nehemiah 13:12, to pray for pardon of his reformations), yet upon your true repentance for the evil that cleaves to your best works, your souls may be saved from the wrath to come; yea, they are such "as accompany salvation," and comprehend it, as the Greek Scholiast expounds that text, Hebrews 6:9; ( εχομενα, i.e. κατεχομενα σωτηριας). Labour, therefore, to have a "heart full of goodness," as those Romans, Romans 15:14, and a life "full of good works," as Tabitha, Acts 9:36, such as may beseem amendment of life.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Matthew 3:8. Fruits meet for repentance That is, "Do such works as may manifest the truth and sincerity of your repentance." See Acts 26:20.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/matthew-3.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] οὖν expresses an inference from their apparent intention of fleeing from the wrath to come: q. d., ‘if you are really so minded,’ …

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:8. οὖν] Deduction from what precedes. In your impenitent condition you cannot escape from the wrath; proceed then to exhibit that morality of conduct which is appropriate to the change of mind as its result. Instead of your unrepentant condition, I require of you a practical repentance, the hindrance and opposition to which arises from your overweening conceit as children of Abraham (Matthew 3:9). What John here requires applied, indeed, to the people in general, but was especially appropriate to their scholastic leaders.

τῆς μετανοίας is governed by ἄξιον (Acts 26:20); on καρπὸν ποιεῖν, like עֲשׂוֹת פְרִי (occurring likewise in Greek writers), borrowed from fruit-trees, comp. Matthew 7:17 f. al.; καρποποιός, Eur. Rhes. 964; καρπ. is collective, Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 3:8. ποιήσατε, produceκαρπὸν ἄξιον, worthy fruit) Orige(122) remarks, that in St Matthew worthy fruit is required in the singular number from the Pharisees and Sadducees; whereas, in St Luke, worthy fruits are required in the plural number from the people. I do not myself see what difference it makes in the matter. The singular καρπὸς, fruit, is often used collectively; and in the preaching of St John it may be opposed to barrenness: in the plural number, it implies fecundity. Men are here represented as trees; and the fruit is, therefore, their repentance.— τῆς μετανοίας, of repentance) Construe these words with καρπὸν.(123) Thus, in Acts 26:20, we read ἄξια τῆς μετανοὶας ἔργα.— μετάνοια, repentance, is an entire change of character,(124) and a renunciation of all that is evil, by which renunciation we wish that evil void or undone.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

You come here and thrust yourselves into a crowd of penitents, but this is not enough, true repentance is not a barren thing; neither are your leaves of external profession a sufficient indication of it, you must bring forth the fruits of holiness, fruits that may answer the nature of true repentance. The proper products of habits are called their fruits; thus we read of the fruit of sin, and the fruit of righteousness.

Fruits meet (answerable to amendment of life)

for repentance are works that are the proper product of repentance, or justly answering an external profession of repentance. As faith, so repentance, without works is dead.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

достойный плод покаяния См. пояснение к ст. 2. Само по себе покаяние не является трудом, но труд является неизбежным плодом покаяния. Покаяние и вера в Писании неразрывно связаны между собой. Покаяние означает оставление греха, а вера значит обращение к Богу (ср. 1Фес. 1:9). Их можно сравнить с двумя сторонами одной монеты. И вера и покаяние связаны тем, что приводят к изменению человека, его сознания (Мк.1:15; Деян.3:19; 20:21). Заметьте, что Иоанн призывал сотворить «достойные плоды покаяния». Но покаяние, в отличие от веры, не является трудом (см. пояснение к 2 Тим. 2:25).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/matthew-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Fruits; show the reality of your repentance by forsaking your sins and obeying the commands of God. In order that repentance may be shown to be sincere, it must produce good works.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.Fruits meet — John evidently sees the want of a proper prospect of reformation in these men correspondent with the external repentance. Meet —Suitable.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-3.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 3:8. Bring forth therefore. ‘Therefore,’ i.e., if you are really fleeing as you profess to be, then bring forth fruit (the singular is found in the original) worthy of repentance (or, your repentance). The fruit or result, worthy of repentance, implies a good tree to produce the fruit. The germ of the great gospel truth: ‘Ye must be born again,’ since natural birth, or descent from Abraham (Matthew 3:9), did not insure the worthy fruit.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 3:8. , etc. “If, then, ye are in earnest about escape, produce fruit worthy of repentance; repentance means more than confession and being baptised.” That remark might be applied to all that came, but it contained an innuendo in reference to the Pharisees and Sadducees that they were insincere even now. Honest repentance carries amendment along with it. Amendment is not expected in this case because the repentance is disbelieved in.— , collective, as in Galatians 5:22, fruit; the reading in T. R. is probably borrowed from Luke 3:8. The singular is intrinsically the better word in addressing Pharisees who did good actions, but were not good. Yet John seems to have inculcated reformation in detail (Luke 3:10-14). It was Jesus who proclaimed the inwardness of true morality. Fruit: the figure suggests that conduct is the outcome of essential character. Any one can do ( , videGenesis 1:11) acts externally good, but only a good man can grow a crop of right acts and habits.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-3.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Matthew 3:8. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance — That is, a change of temper and behaviour, answerable thereto; forsake, as well as confess, your sins, and let the integrity, regularity, holiness, and usefulness of your lives, manifest the sincerity of your repentance. It is a metaphor taken from trees, which discover what quality they are of by the fruits they bear; in allusion to which, pious men are called trees of righteousness, Isaiah 61:3; and their works, fruits of righteousness, Philippians 1:11. Let it be observed, further, that as the original word, μετανοια, here rendered repentance, properly signifies a change of mind, from the approbation and love of sin to an aversion and hatred to it, in consequence of a deep conviction of its evil nature and destructive tendency; (see on Matthew 3:2;) so, wherever this is, there will, of course, be an entire reformation of life, a ceasing to do evil, in all respects, according to the knowledge and ability of the penitent, and a learning to do well. Hence it is styled repentance from dead works, Hebrews 6:1; and repentance unto salvation not to be repented of, 2 Corinthians 7:10; that is, such as is not reversed by any voluntary returning or relapsing into our former sins. And, seeing God is unchangeably holy, and must for ever hate all sin with a perfect hatred, it is certain, from his very nature, that he cannot be reconciled to or have communion with the sinner, till a change be wrought in his spirit and conduct, and he cease from the commission of known iniquity. For a change there must be in God or man; and, since God’s nature is immutable, and it cannot be in him, it must of necessity be in man. Now it is evident, both from reason and experience, that confession of sins, a present sorrow for them, and displeasure against them, with a warm resolution to forsake them, are by no means always attended with this change, and, therefore, that these alone cannot be fruits meet for repentance. And O, how necessary was this admonition for the men of that age, who placed their repentance, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, in a mere verbal confession of their sins; and is it not equally necessary for too many of our own age?

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

note for ver. 2.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/matthew-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

meet for = worthy of.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Bring forth therefore fruits, [ karpous (Greek #2590)] - but the true reading clearly is 'fruit' [ karpon (Greek #2590)].

Meet for repentance - that is, such fruit as befits a true penitent. John, not being gifted with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true minister of righteousness and lover of souls, here directs them how to evidence and carry out their repentance, supposing it genuine; and in the following verses warns them of their danger in case it were not.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

8. Do the things that will show. The change in life proves the change in heart. No change means no repentance (James 2:18-23).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) Fruits (better, fruit) meet for repentance.—The English version is ambiguous and not happy, suggesting the thought of the “fruit” as preparing the way for repentance. The thought is, however, “by coming to the baptism you profess repentance; bring forth, therefore, fruit worthy of repentance—i.e., of a changed heart and will.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
forth
21:28-30,32; Isaiah 1:16,17; Luke 3:8,10-14; Acts 26:20; Romans 2:4-7; 2 Corinthians 7:10,11; 2 Peter 1:4-8
fruits
Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11
meet, etc
or, answerable to amendment of life.
Jeremiah 7:3-7; 26:13; 36:3
Reciprocal: Genesis 38:26 - And he knew;  2 Chronicles 33:15 - he took;  Job 36:10 - commandeth;  Isaiah 5:7 - he looked;  Ezekiel 14:6 - Repent;  Ezekiel 18:30 - Repent;  Daniel 4:27 - break;  Jonah 3:2 - preach;  Jonah 3:8 - let;  Micah 2:7 - named;  Micah 6:8 - to do;  Haggai 1:8 - and build;  Zechariah 1:4 - Turn;  Matthew 7:13 - at;  Matthew 9:13 - but;  Matthew 12:33 - and his fruit good;  Matthew 13:23 - beareth;  Matthew 15:22 - a woman;  Matthew 16:1 - Sadducees;  Mark 6:12 - preached;  Acts 2:38 - Repent;  Acts 16:30 - brought;  Titus 2:12 - denying

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-3.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Meet for repentance means for them to prove by their works that they have really repented. A mere sorrow or regret for sin does not constitute repentance in the sight of the Lord, but the guilty one is expected to reform his life by ceasing to do the things that were wrong.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-3.html. 1952.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8.Yield therefore fruits worthy of repentance. He confirms what I have already said, that the repentance, which is attested by words, is of no value, unless it be proved by the conduct: for it is too important a matter to be estimated lightly, or at random. And so John affirms, that the solemn declaration, which they made, is not enough, but that, in process of time, their works will make it evident, whether or not they have seriously repented. (266) It ought to be observed, that good works (Titus 3:8) are here called fruits of repentance: for repentance is an inward matter, which has its seat in the heart and soul, but afterwards yields its fruits in a change of life. (267) But as the whole of this part of doctrine has been grievously corrupted by Popery, we must attend to this distinction, that repentance is an inward renewal of the man, which manifests itself in the outward life, as a tree produces its fruit.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 3:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/matthew-3.html. 1840-57.