Lists – Fruit of the Spirit for Example



Here is Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

It is tempting to pull out a concordance or to check all the cross references on the 9 words listed.  However it is better to first look at the passage in context

Several important factors

  • In general Paul is contrasting life in the spirit with life in the flesh (or “sinful human nature”).
  • This list is surrounded by a longer list of “works of the Flesh” which appear to be quite random.
  • Note that the passage talks of “Love” in three important ways.
    • Love is the first fruit,
    • Gal 5:6 “what is important is faith expressing itself in love”
    • Gal 5:13 “…rather serve one another in love.”
  • Both sets of words are interpersonal – that is they are not so much innate qualities, but how we act well or poorly towards others.  (see note on “Love”, as well as v. 15, 26 which speak of interpersonal conflicts.)
  • Slavery is associated with selfishness and freedom with service – contrary to popular opinion.
  • Fruit are the desired and intended result of a plant – hence these are the desired and intended result for those who have found their freedom in Christ.
  • The Fruit are 9, some see groups of 3 – I am not convinced.
    • love, joy, peace – more God ward
    • patience, kindness, goodness – other focus
    • faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – self focus
  • It is hard to teach on a single word, so let the context help focus what supplemental scriptures enlighten this passage.
  • Finally, a coffee shop, a manuscript and colored pencils are what were required to assemble these thoughts..

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