“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
In looking for just the right word to describe something, there are times that we can’t express it just with one word. And as we have seen more than once on our trips to Guatemala, when conveying an idea from one language to another, there are certain things that might be lost in translation.
That’s what we find here in Galatians 5. It’s common to view this passage discussing the fruit of the Spirit as a shopping list that we need to check off one at a time. The fact is that in English, the word fruit can be understood as singular or plural. And since we’re looking at a list of characteristics, we assume that it’s plural. However, the word ‘karpos’ is the Greek word for fruit, and in this case, it’s singular – plural singular in fact. Paul is saying here that what the Spirit bears in us is a love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-self-control kind of fruit. It’s a nine-layer dip of awesomeness that as it grows in us both compels a lost world and repels our own selfish fleshly desires.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- What’s something you’ve tried to describe in the past where words failed?
- Does understanding this verse in light of its context change the meaning for you in any way? If so, how?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?