Matthew 7:17

Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
Read Chapter 7

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
It is not to be understood from this text, that a man who is once bad can never bring forth good fruit; but that as long as he remains in the state of sin, he cannot perform any meritorious action. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxiv.)

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Even though Jesus seems to make virtually the same point a second time, it is hardly redundant. For in the second time around he prevents anyone from concluding, “The evil tree bears evil fruit, but it also bears good fruit, so as to make it difficult to recognize an evil tree, because the crop is of two kinds.” No. Jesus says, “This is not so. For the evil tree bears only evil fruits and would never bear good fruits. So also it is the same way with the opposite kind of tree.” What then? Is there no such thing as a good person who becomes corrupt? Or a corrupt person who becomes good? Isn’t life full of many examples of such reversals? But the Messiah is not saying that the evil person is incapable of changing or that the good person will never fail in anything. But he is saying that so long as a person is living in a degenerate way, he will not be able to generate good fruit. For he may indeed change to virtue, being evil, but while continuing in wickedness, he will not bear good frui...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
And see His gentleness: how He said not, Punish them, but, Be not hurt by them, Do not fall among them unguarded. Then that you might not say, it is impossible to distinguish that sort of men, again He states an argument from a human example, Now what He says is like this: they have nothing gentle nor sweet; it is the sheep only so far as the skin; wherefore also it is easy to discern them. And lest you should have any the least doubt, He compares it to certain natural necessities, in matters which admit of no result but one. In which sense Paul also said, The carnal mind is death; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
The hypocrites are called thorns and thistles: they are like thorns in that they prick unexpectedly; they are like thistles in their cunning and deviousness. The corrupt tree is anyone who has been corrupted by a pleasure-loving and dissolute life.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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