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A lack of fruitfulness, whether material or spiritual, which is often seen as a sign of God’s disfavour or anger.

Notes & Transcripts

Unfruitfulness as a moral or spiritual condition

Matthew 21:19 NIV84
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
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Reasons for unfruitfulness


Leviticus 26:18–20 NIV84
“ ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.
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A continuing preoccupation with the world

Matthew 13:22 NIV84
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

A broken relationship with Jesus Christ

John 15:4 NIV84
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
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Some results of unfruitfulness

Unfruitfulness condemned

Isaiah 5:1–7 NIV84
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Unfruitfulness leads to rejection


Unfruitfulness retrieved

The parable holds out the possibility of restoration.

Discipline with a view to renewed fruitfulness

John 15:2 NIV84
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.
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