A close-up shot of a single bitten apple resting on an open Bible, symbolizing the biblical significance of fruit and its associations with temptation, knowledge, and the fall of humanity.

What Does Fruit Mean In The Bible?

The concept of fruit is woven throughout the pages of Scripture. At its core, fruit in the Bible represents the products or results of something – whether good or bad. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In the Bible, fruit often refers to someone’s works, actions, or deeds – whether godly or ungodly.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the multilayered biblical meaning of fruit. We’ll cover key questions like: What did Jesus mean when He talked about fruit? What is the fruit of the Spirit? How is fruit used metaphorically in Scripture?

Keep reading as we dive deep into this rich biblical theme.

Literal and Figurative Usages of Fruit in the Bible

In the Bible, the word “fruit” is used both literally and figuratively. Literally, fruit refers to the edible yields of plants, trees, and vines that contain seeds. Figs, grapes, olives, pomegranates, and dates are examples of literal fruits that are mentioned often in Scripture and were important sources of food in Biblical times.

Figuratively, the Bible uses fruit to represent the results, products, or by-products of people, systems, actions and behaviors. Figurative fruit signifies the consequences and impacts of something, whether good or bad.

Literal Usages Referring to Edible Plant Products

When used literally in the Bible, the word fruit refers primarily to edible yields of trees and vines that nurture people physically. Scripture mentions fruits like:

  • Figs – Jeremiah 24:1-2
  • Grapes – Numbers 13:23
  • Olives – Deuteronomy 8:8
  • Pomegranates – Numbers 20:5
  • Dates – 2 Samuel 6:19

These vitamin-rich fruits sustained the nutrition of Biblical people and were often presented as offerings. The Promised Land was described as a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8), conveying an abundance of olives, grapes in wine, and fruit in honey.

Figurative Usages Representing Results and Consequences

Figuratively, Biblical fruit often represents yield, produce, crops, products, or results of people, behaviors, actions, and systems. Fruit signifies visible effects and outcomes, whether positive or negative.

In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist tells the Pharisees to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” This demonstrates the figurative usage where fruit refers to good works and changed behaviors stemming from inner repentance.

Galatians 5 shows the “fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, etc. This refers to Christlike virtues that the Holy Spirit develops in the lives of believers.

On the other hand, rotten fruits convey deterioration and corruption. Jesus says “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18), illustrating that goodness and morality creates good outcomes, while evil generates bad results.

A Few Key Statistics

Number of times “fruit” occurs in KJV Bible 232
Number of times “fruit” occurs in NIV Bible 238
Most mentioned fruits Grapes/vines (55 times)
Figs (48 times)
Olives (39 times)

As the data shows, Scripture contains hundreds of references to fruit, underscoring its significance literally and symbolically. The immense mention of grapes, olives and figs spotlights their importance agriculturally in Biblical civilizations.

Beyond physical sustenance, the metaphorical usage powerfully reinforces that our internal being inevitability produces external consequences. Fruit reminds that Christlike living guided by the Holy Spirit bears constructive results, while sinful living rooted in evil motivations bears destructive results.

Fruit as Product and Result

In the Bible, the concept of fruit often refers to the results or consequences of actions, choices, and behaviors. Fruit is seen as something that naturally springs forth from something else. Here are some key ways the Bible discusses fruit:

Fruit of Our Labors

The fruits of our labors refer to the outcomes, products, or results of our work and efforts. For example, Proverbs 31:16 says “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Here, the woman’s hard work results in a productive vineyard that yields valuable fruit.

Our actions produce outcomes, for good or ill.

Fruit of the Spirit

The Bible often speak of spiritual fruit that grows in the believer’s life as evidence of spiritual maturity and godly character. For instance, Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

As we grow in Christ, these virtues develop in our lives.

Fruit of the Womb

Children are seen as a blessed fruit of the womb. Bearing offspring was crucial for God’s covenant people. For example, Psalm 127:3 says “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.”

Children are a gift from God and a natural result of the marriage union,according to the Biblical perspective.

Fruit of Our Lips

This refers to the words that come out of our mouths, whether praise and worship or idle and corrupting talk. Hebrews 13:15 tells us to offer “the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Our speech reveals the state of our hearts.

Wise, edifying, and uplifting words can be a fruitful blessing to others.

Fruit of Righteousness

Righteous living produces good fruit that brings glory to God. As Philippians 1:11 says, “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” Abiding in Christ and walking in the Spirit manifests in attitudes, actions, and behaviors that honor the Lord.

Our righteousness shines light to point others to Jesus.

Fruit of the Spirit

In the Bible, the “fruit of the Spirit” refers to the spiritual qualities that Christians should cultivate as evidence of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. The passage most directly associated with the fruit of the Spirit is Galatians 5:22-23, which states:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

This passage describes nine qualities that characterize a Spirit-filled life. When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside a believer at salvation, He begins the process of producing His fruit in the person’s life.

As Christians grow in their faith and surrender more of their lives to the control of the Holy Spirit, they should increasingly exhibit these spiritual qualities:


The first and most important fruit of the Spirit is love. This refers to the unconditional, gracious love that God has for people. As believers experience God’s love, they are able to love and accept others, even those who are unlovable and unkind in return.

God’s love is patient, forgiving, hopeful and enduring.


Joy comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit and the hope believers have in God. It is not dependent on circumstances, so Christians can rejoice even in the midst of trials, knowing that God is in control. Joy comes from knowing that God is sovereign, He is faithful and His promises are true.


The peace that comes from the Holy Spirit is an inner quietness and calm. It guards believers’ hearts and minds and allows them to be content even when facing difficult circumstances. God’s peace surpasses human understanding and sustains believers as they trust in Him.


Patience is the ability to endure struggles and wait for God patiently. Believers demonstrate patience when they continue to trust God despite hardships and refrain from anger or discouragement when experiencing delays or setbacks. Patience grows as Christians mature in their faith.


Kindness includes acting with generosity, compassion, empathy and grace. Christians who exhibit the fruit of kindness care about others’ needs and help those who are hurting. Kindness also involves forgivenness – showing mercy just as God has had mercy on us.


Goodness refers to moral and spiritual excellence that comes from the Holy Spirit working in believers’ lives. As Christians grow in maturity, they increasingly make wise, righteous choices that honor and glorify God.

The Holy Spirit enables believers to produce goodness in their thoughts, words and actions.


Faithfulness means being dependable, trustworthy and loyal in our relationship with God and with others. It involves keeping God’s commands with an attitude of humility and obedience. Christians demonstrate faithfulness when they remain committed to loving and serving others, even in difficult times.


Gentleness is closely related to kindness, patience and self-control. Believers who are gentle refuse to get angry or retaliate against others, even when mistreated. Gentleness involves consideration, sensitivity and caring.

The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to treat others with respect and tenderness.


Self-control refers to our ability to control our behaviors, emotions, desires and actions through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians who practice self-control can avoid destructive habits and sins that damage their relationship with God and hurt others.

The Holy Spirit gives believers strength to resist temptation.

The fruit of the Spirit develops over time through conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. As we yield more areas of our lives to God’s control, pray, study the Bible and obey it, the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more like Jesus.

The Spirit’s fruit is evidence of His sanctifying work in making us holy and shaping Christlike character within us.

Fruit as Works and Actions

In the Bible, the concept of spiritual “fruit” often refers to the works, deeds, actions, and behaviors that result from an individual’s relationship with God. Just as apples grow from an apple tree, the Bible uses fruit as a metaphor for the external behaviors and works that emerge as a consequence of an internal spiritual root and connection.

Several biblical authors use the imagery of fruit to represent spiritual outcomes and behaviors. For example, Jesus states in Matthew 7:16-20, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Here, Christ associates inward character with outward action – healthy trees bearing good fruit, and diseased trees bearing bad fruit.

The Apostle Paul also adopts fruit imagery in Galatians 5:22-23, listing the “fruit of the Spirit” as “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” For Paul, these ethical virtues and moral behaviors emerge in a believer’s life through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

They are the external fruit that grows out of an internal spiritual vitality. As 19th century Bible commentator Joseph Benson stated, “the fruits of the Spirit are the natural effects of the Spirit’s operations on the minds of men.”

The Need for Good Fruit in the Christian Life

Bearing good fruit is vital for Christians seeking to live out their faith. Just as healthy trees produce bountiful harvests, Christians who cultivate spiritual fruit reap blessings themselves and positively impact those around them.

What Does “Bearing Fruit” Mean?

In the Bible, the concept of “bearing fruit” refers to living and acting in ways that reflect the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. When Christians yield themselves to God, becoming more loving, patient, kind, joyful, peaceful, gentle, faithful, and self-controlled, they bear spiritual fruit that nourishes themselves and others (Galatians 5:22-23).

Why Good Fruit Matters

Producing good spiritual fruit brings glory to God, evidencing the genuineness of one’s faith. It’s how Christians manifest the light of Christ in a dark world, pointing others toward hope and redemption.

As Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). Good fruit changes lives.

Abundant spiritual fruit also indicates a healthy connection to Christ, the vine from which Christians draw their life and strength. As we choose reliance on God over self-effort, the Holy Spirit transforms us increasingly into Christ’s image as we walk in intimacy with Him.

Cultivating Good Fruit

Growing in spiritual fruitfulness requires intentionally fostering personal spiritual growth through practices like Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, worship, and service. Submitting ourselves to godly teaching and accountability also helps us mature.

God graciously empowers our efforts as we yield ourselves to Him.

Pruning – removing unhelpful habits, influences, attitudes – plays a vital role too. Though often painful, pruning redirects our energy toward greater fruitfulness. Embracing trials as pruning opportunities keeps us dependent on God.

The Blessings of Bearing Fruit

Abiding in Christ as fruitful disciples brings profound blessings. As we reflect God’s glory to the world, we reap spiritual fulfillment unavailable through other means. We also store up eternal rewards in heaven. Best of all, fruitfulness results in people coming to know Jesus, multiplying our joy.

Just as apple trees fulfill their created purpose when producing apples, nothing matters more for Christians than manifesting the spiritual fruit that comes from walking closely with Jesus, our life source. He LONGS to reproduce His character in us!


As we have seen, the idea of fruit in Scripture is rich and multifaceted. On a literal level, it refers to the product or harvest reaped from plants. But figuratively, fruit communicates spiritual realities – the results of our thoughts, attitudes, and actions before God.

May this exploration lead us to cultivate godly fruit through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. For when our lives overflow with love, joy, peace and more, we will bring great glory to our Father in heaven.

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