Matthew 7:20 Therefore by their fruits

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

The Sermon on the Mount, invisible and visible, worthwhile and worthless,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

There indeed, from those fruits of theirs, you all are going to find them out for yourselves.

KJV : 

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is a restatement of the first part of Matthew 7:16 but with the addition of an initial adverb meaning "there indeed." This introductory word seems to indicate that something happened during the event, creating a change that is being noted by the speaker.

The noun "fruits" means "produce" and it is used to mean the "profit" of any enterprise.

The verb translated as "know/recognize" is the middle voice, which means that the subject is acting by or for themselves. The sense here is that people learn the truth for themselves when they see what people produce. They do not have to be told.

NIV : 

Matthew 7:20  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Wordplay: 

 Another play on "fruit" meaning what one produces or their results. 

My Takeaway: 

People learn the truth for themselves when they learn to see what people produce.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἄραγε [8 verses](adv) "Wherefore" is ara, which means "there and then", "straightway", "then", "next", "mark you!", "for this cause", "so true is it that," and "namely."

ἀπὸ (prep) "By" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

τῶν (article )  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

καρπῶν (noun pl masc gen ) "Fruit" is from karpos, which means "fruit", "the fruits of the earth", "seed", "offspring", "returns for profit," and "reward."

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Their" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the souTl" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

ἐπιγνώσεσθε [3 verses] (2nd pl fut ind mid) "Ye shall know" is epiginosko, which means "look upon", "witness", "observe", "recognize", "find out," "discover", "learn to know", "take notice of", "come to a judgment", "decide", "acknowledge," and "approve."

αὐτούς. (adj pl masc acc) "Them" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

KJV Analysis: 

Wherefore  - (CW) The word translated as "wherefore" is an uncommon Greek word for Jesus to use. It is a combination of two particles. The first marks a sudden change, explaining or drawing attention to the consequence of an action. "Then" is it most common translation. The second particle is an intensifier, "indeed" works here. This is not one of the common Greek words usually translated as "therefore" or "wherefore." 

by  - The word translated as "by" is more frequently translated as "from" indicating a cause for something.

their -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

fruits  - The word translated as "fruit" primary meaning is "fruit", "seed," or "offspring," but its secondary meaning is "returns," specifically, "profit," as we would say "fruit of our labors."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

know  - (CW) The word translated as "know" means literally, "on learning to know" or "by learning to know." Generally, it means "to witness" or "to discover." Jesus only uses this word only three times. It is not the common word translated as "know." It is in the future tense and in a form indicating where the subject acts on or for themselves. In English, we would say, "you are going to find out for yourselves".

missing "by/for yourself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act "for yourself" or "by yourself."

them.  - The word translated as "them" (and "their") is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "their true selves" as opposed to appearances, which is the point here.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wherefore" is not common word usually translated as "wherefore."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "fruits" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" is not the common word usually translated as "know."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.

NIV Analysis: 

Thus, - (CW) The word translated as "thus" is an uncommon Greek word for Jesus to use. It is a combination of two particles. The first marks a sudden change, explaining or drawing attention to the consequence of an action. "Then" is it most common translation. The second particle is an intensifier, "indeed" works here. This is not one of the common Greek words usually translated as "therefore" or "thus."

by  - The word translated as "by" is more frequently translated as "from" indicating a cause for something.

their -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

fruit  - (WN) The word translated as "fruit" primary meaning is "fruit", "seed," or "offspring," but its secondary meaning is "returns," specifically, "profit," as we would say "fruit of our labors." It is plural.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

recognize - ("Recognize" is a Greek verb that means literally, "upon learning to know" or "by learning to know." Generally, it means "to witness" or "to discover" but the sense seems to be "learn about". Jesus only uses this word three times. The word is in the future tense, but it is also in a form where the person acts for their own benefit, "you are going to find them out for yourselves".

missing "by/for yourself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act "for yourself" or "by yourself."

them -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. The pronoun translated as "them" also means "one's true self," as opposed to the body or appearances.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "thus" is not common word usually translated as "thus."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "fruits" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "fruit" is translated as singular but it is plural, "fruits."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.

The Spoken Version: 

At first, many of us wondered if the gathering over, but the Nazarene remained before us on the speaker’s watching the Distinguished leave. Many were happy to see them go, but the Master did not look happy.
“There indeed, ” he said sadly, gesturing toward those leaving,“from those fruits of theirs, you are going to find out about them for yourselves.”

evidence: 

102.00

Front Page Date: 

Jul 15 2020