Every Fruit Mentioned in the Bible & Its Meaning
Fruits are a very important part of the Biblical narrative. From practical use as namesake for towns like Anab (grape) mentioned in Joshua 11:21 to metaphorical uses when discussing topics like evangelism, fruit appears in many ways in the Bible – and not all of them are literal. To fully understand the Bible means we need to know what each Biblical fruit symbolizes and we need to understand the context in which they appear.
Read on to find out more about the fruits mentioned in the Bible and what they mean.
How Many Times is Fruit Mentioned in the Bible?
The word “fruit” itself is used over 60 times in the New Testament. The original Greek word used in the Bible is καρπός (karpos) and can be used both literally and figuratively.
A majority of the references to “fruit” in the Bible are meant figuratively, referring to the results of something, like “fruits of your labor.” One such mention can be seen in Matthew 13:23: “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” In this passage, fruit is a metaphor for salvation, in the form of a person who hears the calling and reaps many, many times what they sow.
Fruit is also used as a metaphor for evangelism, like in John 4:35-36: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.” This passage teaches people that the goal of evangelism is helping people enter a new life with Christ – not to gain glory.
The Epistle to the Galatians also defined the concept of the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit.” There are nine fruits or must-have attributes for a person living in accordance with the Holy Spirit. They are:
The Many Contexts of Fruit in the Bible
Fruit (and all of its types, like grapes, apples, and figs) are used in many ways throughout the Bible. The eight most common contexts where you can find fruit in the Bible are:
- People’s names: Several Biblical figures are named after fruit. Two good examples are Rimmon (pomegranate) who appeared in 2 Samuel 4:2 and Tamar (date) in Genesis 38:6.
- Place names: Some Biblical towns and cities are named after fruits. For instance, we have Anab (grape) mentioned in Joshua 11:21 and Rimmon (pomegranate) in Joshua 15:32.
- Decorations: Images of fruits are often mentioned as decorations, like the date palm tree engravings found in Solomon’s Temple, mentioned in 1 Kings 6:29.
- Metaphors: Fruits can be used as metaphors, like when God compared seeing the ancestors of Israelites to seeing the first figs of the season in Hosea 9:10.
- Blessings and curses: Fruits are often used in curses and blessings, like the curse in Deuteronomy 28:40 that mentioned olives dropping off the tree.
- Proverbs and sayings: Some proverbs are centered on fruit, like in Proverbs 27:18: “The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.”
- Literal uses: Some uses of fruits are literal, like when Moses’ men examined the fruits in the Valley of Eshkol in Numbers 13:23 and when Numbers 6:3 mentioned that Nazirites may not consume grape products.
Every Mention of Fruit in the Bible
There are over 60 mentions of fruit in the Bible, so we cannot list them all in this article. Below are some of our favorite Bible verses that mention fruit:
- Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
- Proverbs 7:2: “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.”
- Matthew 12:33: “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
- Matthew 3:10: “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
- Deuteronomy 8:7-8: “For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills. A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil, olive, and honey.”
- Haggai 2:19: “Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.”
The Concept of First Fruits
The Bible introduced the concept of “first fruits,” often used when talking about giving or generosity. “First fruits” is originally mentioned in Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” What this means is that offering the results of a first harvest is a sign of obedience to God.
Today’s “first fruits” are often money and in-kind donations. First fruits are different from tithes because tithing occurs every time you get a paycheck or commission, while first fruits are given at “harvest time.”
Everyone has different definitions of “harvest time” and, thus, different times of offering first fruits. For example, you could give extra money to the church when you land a major sale or get your annual bonus.
The Meaning of Each Fruit
Each fruit mentioned in the Bible holds different meanings and roles in the narrative. Here are six fruits found in the Bible and what they mean:
Grapes and grape byproducts are the most-mentioned plant in the Bible. To grow grapes, you need to prune the vines, as mentioned in Isaiah 5:6 and John 15:2. Interestingly, the Greek word for “prune” is the same for “cleanse,” likely pointing to how cleansing is the key to growth. Just as grapes grow when pruned, a person needs to cleanse or “prune” themselves to remove sin and grow in Christ.
Figs and fig trees are mentioned in many passages of the Bible because of their importance in biblical times. Many mentions of figs were made in passages like 1 Kings 4:25: “During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.”
Another notable appearance of the fig tree is found in the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree, detailed in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Here, the fig tree symbolizes Israel, meaning that Jesus rebuked the Jews who have not accepted Him as Messiah.
In biblical times, olives were often used as food, oil, and material for soap. Genesis 8:10-11 also detailed how the olive branch became a symbol of peace – when Noah’s raven returned with an olive leaf, it signified that the flood was over.
Pomegranates have a special meaning in Jewish tradition because the fruit is said to have 613 seeds, just as the Torah has 613 commandments. This fruit, which is often eaten on Rosh Hashanah, also represents knowledge and wisdom.
People in biblical times used the date tree for many purposes. They ate its fruit, weaved its leaves into baskets, turned its trunks into structures, and fermented its sap to make wine. The date palm tree itself is often used in the Bible to symbolize peace, victory, and fertility.
Bible translations use the idiom “apple of my eye” in several passages like Proverbs 7:2 and Psalm 17:8. Many may also know the apple as being the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden.
However, it’s worth noting that “apples” in the Bible referred to four different Hebrew words: Tappuah, ‘iyshown, babah, and bath. This means that apples, as we know them, may not even be mentioned directly in the Bible. It’s possible that early Latin translations of the Bible introduced apples into the narrative and became the forbidden fruit because, in Latin, malum means “evil” while malus means “apple.”
Because fruits are mentioned many times in the Bible, fully understanding God’s Word means we need to understand their symbolism and context. Bible verses that mention fruit like Proverbs 7:2 and Matthew 12:33 also provide great guidelines to living life.