But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Unlike the list of works of the flesh, this list is specific. Paul doesn’t say, “and things like these.” Plus, the Greek word for fruit (καρπὸς, kar-pos) is singular. These are the work of the Spirit, not the works.
So, we get a profound conclusion—while we all have different sins, the fruit of the Spirit is a package. We should have all these things. The list in detail is:
Love (ἀγάπη, a-ga-pay) — love, charity, devotion to someone’s wellbeing [note that it’s listed first];
Joy (χαρά, char-a) — joy [second only to love in prominence];
Peace (εἰρήνη, ei-ray-nay) — 1) peace, harmony, 2) welfare, health [presumably definition 1 here];
Longsuffering (μακροθυμία, mak-ro-thu-mia) — 1) patience, steadfastness, endurance, 2) forbearance, patience [the BAGD lexicon says it’s definition 2 in this passage];
Kindness (χρηστότης, chray-sto-tase) — goodness, uprightness, generosity;
Goodness (ἀγαθωσύνη, ah-gah-thoh-soo-nay) — 1) goodness, uprightness, 2) goodness, uprightness, generosity [the multiple repetitions are not typos; this is straight out of BDAG];
Faithfulness (πίστις, pis-tis) — 1) that which causes trust and faith, a) faithfulness, reliability, b) promise, oath, troth, c) proof, pledge, 2) trust, confidence, faith (in the active sense);
Gentleness (πραΰτης, prau-tase) — gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness;
Self-control (ἐγκράτεια, en-kra-tay-ah) — self-control.
Weakness is any of these must be addressed. However, it’s important to understand that if one of these is weak or lacking, the answer is not greater discipline and self-control. It’s walking by the Spirit.
These things come from God, not by effort.
The challenge here is to figure out how all these fit together into one package called the fruit of the Spirit. These are not gifts; different people have different gifts. These are what the Holy Spirit gives to us all.
All Christians should study this list and develop their own interpretation of what these gifts mean collectively and how they form an integrated package. They do seem to have a common feel.
For me, it’s something like “contentment in Christ”.
But everyone should find his or her own sense of this.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.