Fruit in the Bible: 8 Possible Meanings

Besides the regular meaning of fruit, like an apple or an orange, there are a few other meanings.  Here are eight different meanings or descriptions of fruit:

 1. The result or outcome of something.  For example, in Psalms 128:2 (in the RSV) it says, “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands.”  Thus fruit here is the result of one’s labor.

A second example, this time of bad fruit, is in Proverbs 1:31: “They will eat the fruit of their [evil] ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”

From the New Testament, two good examples of fruit being the result of something are the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-23).  The Bible actually calls the bad fruit the works of the flesh, but they also can be thought of as bad fruit because they come as a result of walking in the flesh.  Hence, those who walk after the flesh will have the resulting fruits: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” 

Conversely, those who walk in the Spirit (according to the leading of the Holy Spirit) will yield these fruits: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  These last things are the fruits that we bear when we are obedient to God.

 2.  Prosperity.  In Psalms 1 the righteous man who delights in and meditates on the Word of God is “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season.”  And what is that fruit?  The last line of verse three tells us: “And whatever he does shall prosper.”  And I take it here that this type of prosperity is godly and holy; it is a prosperity that would result from meditating on the Word of God.

Likewise, in Prov. 8:1-20, fruit (which here is the fruit of wisdom) is described as riches, honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.  Here again it is not speaking of earthly riches; it is the true riches and wealth that comes from God’s wisdom.

 3. Offspring and yield.  There are several verses in the Old Testament that show us that fruit is of the womb.  There are also various verses that define fruit as being the yield of plants.  In Deuteronomy 28:4 we see both of these definitions: “Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kin, and the flocks of thy sheep” (KJV).

 4. That which allows us to recognize a thing Jesus said in Matthew 7:16, “By their fruit you will recognize them” (NIV).  Fruit is like a nametag.  It is what is on the outside, what is visual, and reveals what is on the inside.  I like what Ronald Dunn said: “Fruit is the outward expression of the inward nature.”

I have observed that in the Old Testament fruit is generally described as prosperity or blessing from God.  I think that is also true in the New Testament, however, with the emergence of Christ, fruit is also in reference to Christ.  So clearly, the fruit of a Christian is the evidence and the expression of the nature of Christ in us.  Thus, all the blessings we receive from God are always the result of the life of Christ in us (Eph. 1:3).

5.  Attitudes and actions.  I would say that your fruit starts with attitudes and then immediately grows into behaviors. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul gives us a list He calls the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  So, as I see it, these good fruits are godly and Christ-like attitudes of Spirit-filled Christians.  And when we get these attitudes from the Holy Spirit, good actions and behaviors follow; for all the fruits of the Spirit, since they begin as Christ-like attitudes, must also result in Christ-like behaviors (or the attitudes wouldn’t be true).  Therefore, when we have a loving attitude, we also will love others; when we have joy, we also will help others to be joyful; when we have peace in our heart, we also will do things to seek peace with other, etc.

There are also bad fruits that come from our fleshly lusts, out of our sinful heart.  These also start as attitudes and proceed to actions.  For instance, the sin of anger may proceed to murder; and the sin of sexual lust may proceed to adultery (Matthew 5:21-31).  It should be easy to recognize bad fruit in a person.  Just look at the way they act and what they say.  Paul gives us a list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.  Notice that the list contains both the fruits of attitude and behaviors.

6. Praise to God.  Praise to God is the fruit of our lips as we open our mouth to worship Him and give thanks to Him.  But, as we see in Isaiah 57:19, this fruit does not come from ourselves; it is created in us by God.  He puts the praises of Himself on our lips.  Also, in Hebrews 13:15, it says, “By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God…” 

7.  Witnessing.  This is a fruit of both attitude and action.  It is a fruit of love and of the actions of love.  It is also the fruit of obedience to God and of work.  It is the outward expression of the nature of Christ in us—for Christ was always witnessing (Read Jn. 15:16).

8.  Converts.  Converts, new Christians are fruit.  And when you are the one who leads them to Christ they may be considered as your fruit.  For as we see in Romans 1:13, Paul had often planned, and was eager to come to Rome so that he “might have some fruit among [them].”  In other words, he wanted to lead many to Christ, and he regarded those converts as his fruit.

This post is a excerpt from my book Joy of Prayer

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About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
This entry was posted in Bible Studies, Obedience and Prayer, Prayer A to Z Excerpts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Fruit in the Bible: 8 Possible Meanings

  1. Pastor taurayi phiri says:

    I luv this teaching on fruits they are well prepared i used them in my bible study,i planted a house church here in South afrika i also nid teaching materials on leadership n prayer thank u

  2. Thanks for your comment and I pray God will keep using you. You are welcome to this material any time. I am in the middle of getting a second edition of my book out, so they will be ready soon and you can buy them too (in about 2 months they wll be ready) at Amazon.com.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stephen, this is a good teaching and It is consistent with the bible. It is clear and concise. I wanted a better understanding on fruits of the spirit and I got it here. The amounts of comments that you receive or the likes that you get is not what validates us. Many will see this great piece of work and will read it without even acknowledging you. Be encouraged.

  4. Thanks. That’s encouraging.

  5. Saw Eh Than says:

    Thank u for explain and sharig the truth of fruit.

  6. Ofwono mark says:

    It helped me one of this days i dreamt about a verry big orange fruit near our church but this helped me to learn more about the spirit.nay God bless you

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Come by anytime.

  8. Liberty Eshikhogie says:

    Thank you. More grace in Jesus name.

  9. Tonge Hesbon says:

    I’m blessed with new insight.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My God is real. He unveiled himself in such a way that I am in aw of all that He does through his servants. His spirit lead me to search at 4 am for the meaning of fruits. And here in this blog my God had a banquet prepare for me. To God be the Glory. You are a true servant of God. May He continue to use you and Bless you like never before.

  11. winifred willie says:

    I really appreciate this teaching on fruits,however, I will be most grateful if specific fruits such as apple etc and their spitual significance could be expanciated on……THANK YOU

  12. Daniel says:

    great write up,may God continue to bless you

  13. Isaiah Olabiyi says:

    Oh what a brother,friend & family to have in the body of Christ,i thank God for chosen you.Bless you bro.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Great post, but I would like to hear more about fruit. For e.g. in John 15:8 The bible says “God is glorified in our fruit bearing”. And of course we should do all things to “the glory of God”. Therefore, we must bear fruit. And how do we do this, I think by walking in the Spirit. Which would be a good follow up study. Imo.

    • I have written some other post on this already. I will probably write more on this topic in time. I can tell you have some good thoughts on it. God is indeed glorified in our fruit bearing. Thanks for your comment.

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