New International Version
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
New Living Translation
Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
English Standard Version
Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
New American Standard Bible
"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
King James Bible
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
International Standard Version
The ax already lies against the roots of the trees. So every tree that isn't producing good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“But behold, the axe is laid at the root of the tree; every tree, therefore, that has not produced good fruit is cut down and falls into the fire.”
GOD'S WORD® Translation
The ax is now ready to cut the roots of the trees. Any tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.
Jubilee Bible 2000
And now the axe is also laid unto the root of the trees; therefore, every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
King James 2000 Bible
And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
American King James Version
And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
American Standard Version
And even now the axe lieth at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire.
Darby Bible Translation
And already the axe is applied to the root of the trees; every tree therefore not producing good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
English Revised Version
And even now is the axe laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Webster's Bible Translation
And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Weymouth New Testament
And already the axe is lying at the root of the trees, so that every tree which does not produce good fruit will quickly be hewn down and thrown into the fire.
World English Bible
"Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Young's Literal Translation
and now also, the axe unto the root of the trees is laid, every tree therefore not bearing good fruit is hewn down, and to fire is cast.
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
3:7-12 To make application to the souls of the hearers, is the life of preaching; so it was of John's preaching. The Pharisees laid their chief stress on outward observances, neglecting the weightier matters of the moral law, and the spiritual meaning of their legal ceremonies. Others of them were detestable hypocrites, making their pretences to holiness a cloak for iniquity. The Sadducees ran into the opposite extreme, denying the existence of spirits, and a future state. They were the scornful infidels of that time and country. There is a wrath to come. It is the great concern of every one to flee from that wrath. God, who delights not in our ruin, has warned us; he warns by the written word, by ministers, by conscience. And those are not worthy of the name of penitents, or their privileges, who say they are sorry for their sins, yet persist in them. It becomes penitents to be humble and low in their own eyes, to be thankful for the least mercy, patient under the greatest affliction, to be watchful against all appearances of sin, to abound in every duty, and to be charitable in judging others. Here is a word of caution, not to trust in outward privileges. There is a great deal which carnal hearts are apt to say within themselves, to put aside the convincing, commanding power of the word of God. Multitudes, by resting in the honours and mere advantages of their being members of an outward church, come short of heaven. Here is a word of terror to the careless and secure. Our corrupt hearts cannot be made to produce good fruit, unless the regenerating Spirit of Christ graft the good word of God upon them. And every tree, however high in gifts and honours, however green in outward professions and performances, if it bring not forth good fruit, the fruits meet for repentance, is hewn down and cast into the fire of God's wrath, the fittest place for barren trees: what else are they good for? If not fit for fruit, they are fit for fuel. John shows the design and intention of Christ's appearing, which they were now speedily to expect. No outward forms can make us clean. No ordinances, by whomsoever administered, or after whatever mode, can supply the want of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire. The purifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit alone can produce that purity of heart, and those holy affections, which accompany salvation. It is Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. This he did in the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit sent upon the apostles, Ac 2:4. This he does in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, given to those that ask him, Lu 11:13; Joh 7:38,39; see Ac 11:16. Observe here, the outward church is Christ's floor, Isa 21:10. True believers are as wheat, substantial, useful, and valuable; hypocrites are as chaff, light and empty, useless and worthless, carried about with every wind; these are mixed, good and bad, in the same outward communion. There is a day coming when the wheat and chaff shall be separated. The last judgment will be the distinguishing day, when saints and sinners shall be parted for ever. In heaven the saints are brought together, and no longer scattered; they are safe, and no longer exposed; separated from corrupt neighbours without, and corrupt affections within, and there is no chaff among them. Hell is the unquenchable fire, which will certainly be the portion and punishment of hypocrites and unbelievers. Here life and death, good and evil, are set before us: according as we now are in the field, we shall be then in the floor.
Verse 10. - And now also; Revised Version, and even now. "And" (δὲ), slightly adversative. In contrast to the delay supposed in ver. 9 a, preparations have already been made for your destruction. The axe is laid; Revised Version, is the axe laid; bringing out more emphatically its present position. The American Revisers propose, "the axe lieth at," avoiding the suggestion of an agent; but κεῖμαι often implies one, being used of vessels set ready for use; e.g. John 2:6; John 19:29 (cf. Revelation 4:2). Unto (πρὸς); brought near to (Thayer, s.v., 1:2, a). Therefore. The axe is lying there, therefore every useless tree is sure to be cut down (cf. Winer, 40:2, a). Every tree, etc.; even the noblest (Weiss). However good the tree ought to be, from the character of its original stock (you claim to be Abraham's children, ver. 9), yet, if it does not bear good fruit, it is cut down (Matthew 7:19, note). Into the fire (εἰς πῦρ). Not into a fire prepared with a definite purpose, nor into any one fire pictured as burning (Matthew 17:15; cf. τὸ πῦρ, John 15:6), but into fire generally, which may be in many different places. Worthless trees are only for burning. (For thought, cf. Hebrews 6:8.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And now also the axe is laid,.... These words may be rendered, "for now also", and contain in them a reason why they might expect future wrath; why they should bring forth good fruit; and why they should not trust to nor plead their descent from Abraham, because "the axe is now laid": by which is meant, not the Gospel which now began to be preached by John; though this was like an axe laid to the root of, and which cut down, their pride and vanity, their self-confidence and glorying in their righteousness, holiness, carnal wisdom, and fleshly privileges: but rather; the axe of God's judgment and vengeance is here designed, which, because of the certainty and near approach of it, is said to be "now laid"; and that not to some of the branches only, to lop them off, to take away from the Jews some particular privileges, but "to the root" of all their privileges, civil and ecclesiastical; even the covenant which God had made with that people as a nation, who was now about to write "Lo Ammi" upon them; so that henceforward they would have nothing to expect from their being the seed of Abraham, Israelites, or circumcised persons. The time was just at hand, when the Lord would take his "staff Beauty and cut it asunder, that he might break the covenant he had made with all the people", Zechariah 11:10 in a short time their civil polity and church state would be both at an end. The Romans, who were already among them and over them, would very quickly come upon them, and cut them off root and branch; and utterly destroy their temple, city, and nation: and this ruin and destruction was levelled not at a single tree, a single person, or family only, as Jesse's, or any others, but at the root
of the trees: of all the trees of the whole body of the people; for the covenant which was made with them all being broke, and which was their hedge and fence, they were all exposed to the wild boar of the forest.
Therefore every tree, every individual person, though one of Abraham's children, and made never such a fair show in the
flesh, which bringeth not forth good fruit; does not perform good works from a right principle, to a right end, such as are meet for repentance; particularly, does not believe in the Messiah now ready to be revealed, which is the main and principal work; and does not continue so doing, and thus believing,
is hewn down and cast into the fire. Temporal ruin and destruction shall come upon him; he shall not escape divine vengeance here, and shall be cast into everlasting burnings hereafter; which is quite contrary to a notion of theirs, that "by the merits of Abraham", the Israelites shall be delivered from the fire of hell (d).
(d) Zohar in Exod. fol. 34. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And now also—And even already.
the axe is laid unto—"lieth at."
the root of the trees—as it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of impending judgment, only to be averted in the way next described.
therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire—Language so personal and individual as this can scarcely be understood of any national judgment like the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with the breaking up of the Jewish polity and the extrusion of the chosen people from their peculiar privileges which followed it; though this would serve as the dark shadow, cast before, of a more terrible retribution to come. The "fire," which in another verse is called "unquenchable," can be no other than that future "torment" of the impenitent whose "smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever," and which by the Judge Himself is styled "everlasting punishment" (Mt 25:46). What a strength, too, of just indignation is in that word "cast" or "flung into the fire!"
The third Gospel here adds the following important particulars in Lu 3:10-16.
And the people—the multitudes.
asked him, saying, What shall we do then?—that is, to show the sincerity of our repentance.
He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat—provisions, victuals.
let him do likewise—This is directed against the reigning avarice and selfishness. (Compare the corresponding precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 5:40-42).
Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master—Teacher.
what shall we do?—In what special way is the genuineness of our repentance to be manifested?
And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you—This is directed against that extortion which made the publicans a byword. (See on Mt 5:46; Lu 15:1).
And the soldiers—rather, "And soldiers"—the word means "soldiers on active duty."
Matthew 3:10 Additional Commentaries
The Mission of John the Baptist
…9and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.…
2 Samuel 23:7
Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie."
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise.
He called in a loud voice: 'Cut down the tree and trim off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Treasury of Scripture
And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
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