Amplified: But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: gentleness, self-control. There is no law which condemns things like that (Westminster Press)
GWT: But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (GWT)
KJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
NLT: But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
BUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS: O de karpos tou pneumatos estin (3SPAI) agape, chara, eirene, makrothumia, chrestotes, agathosune, pistis: (Gal 5:16, 18; Ps 1:3; 92:14; Ho 14:8; Mt 12:33; Lk 8:14,15; 13:9; John 15:2,5,16; Ro 6:22; 7:4; Ep 5:9; Php 1:11; Col 1:10 ) (Love - Gal 5:13; Ro 5:2, 3, 4, 5; 12:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 15:3; 1Co 13:4, 5, 6, 7; Ep 4:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32; 5:1,2; Php 4:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Col 3:12, 13, 14, 15, 15, 16, 17; 1Th 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 5:10-22; Titus 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; James 3:17,18; 1Peter 1:8,22; 2Pe 1:5, 6, 7, 8; 1John 4:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 ) (Goodness - Ro 15:14 ) (Faith - 1Co 13:7,13; 2Th 3:2; 1Ti 3:11; 4:12; 1Pe 5:12)
But - a striking term of contrast.
Spurgeon - That “but” is placed here because the apostle has been mentioning certain works of the flesh, all of which he winnows away like chaff, and then sets forth in opposition to them “the fruit of the Spirit.” The apostle has just used no less than seventeen words to describe the works of the flesh. Human language is always rich in bad words because the human heart is full of the manifold evils that these words denote. Nine words are here used to express the fruit of the Spirit, but to express the works of the flesh—see how many are gathered together!
S Lewis Johnson writes the following summation of Galatians 5:22, 23, which he classifies as the evidence of the leading of the Spirit (Gal 5:24)...
The evidence of the leading of the Spirit lies in a cluster of nine virtues that make up "the fruit of the Spirit." This fruit is the product of the life of the Spirit in the believer. It is characterized by several interesting features.
First of all, in the fruit of the Spirit there is unity. We notice that the word, "fruit," is in the singular number. There is only one fruit of the Spirit, but it contains nine virtues. If one of the virtues is missing, then we do not have the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit's product is like a watermelon with nine flavors! Many commentators have suggested that the nine virtues illustrate the full-orbed, symmetrical character of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His life that the Spirit produces in the believer.
Second, the fruit of the Spirit possesses a notable' harmony, the first triad of virtues being inward in nature, the second, outward, and the third upward.
Third, there is a necessity that believers have the fruit of the Spirit. The lack of the virtues indicates sin against the Holy Spirit who is engaged in producing the virtues in the lives of the saints.
Finally, in the concluding words of Galatians 5:23 there is an important point made by Paul. The Law of Moses finds no flaw in the fruit of the Spirit. The flesh may imitate, or counterfeit, certain of the virtues, but it can never produce them. The Spirit alone can do that, and the result satisfies all the demands of the moral law in the believer's life. It is sometimes forgotten that life by the Spirit is not a lower standard than life by the moral law, or the Ten Commandments. It is, if anything a higher standard. Arthur Way has caught that in his rendering of Galatians 5:18 "But if you definitely surrender yourselves to the Spirit's guidance, you are then not under the law, but ON A HIGHER PLANE."
Wuest explains the context writing that "These verses continue the exhortation of Paul to the Galatians, not to make their liberty from the law a base of operations from which to serve the flesh, but rather to live their Christian lives motivated by divine love. As the repulsiveness of the works of the flesh would deter the Galatians from yielding to the evil nature, so the attractiveness of the fruit of the Spirit would influence them to yield themselves to the Spirit. (Galatians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Deeds represent the natural effect of self effort or fleshly effort (flesh - the evil disposition dominating unbelievers and still present in believers), in contrast to fruit which represents the supernatural produce of God's Spirit.
Lightfoot comments that...
The fruit of the Spirit - Not the fruit of believers per se but the fruit which the Holy Spirit produces in and through the lives of believers as they walk in His grace and power. And His fruit is always the outward manifestation of the yielded believer's inner life.
As Spurgeon says...
Wiersbe notes that...
Eadie adds that in regard to the fruit - Its origin is “the Spirit;” not man's spirit, or the new and better mode of thinking and feeling to which men are formed by the Holy Spirit (Brown), but the Holy Spirit Himself, the Author of all spiritual good. Those who are led by the Spirit not only do not do the works of the flesh, but they bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. (Eadie, John: Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians)
Spurgeon - The great artist has sketched fruit that never grows in the gardens of earth until they are planted by the Lord from heaven. Oh, that every one of us might have a vineyard in his bosom and yield abundance of the love that is “the fruit of the Spirit.” The text (Gal 5:22) speaks of “fruit,” and fruit comes only from a rooted abiding. It could not be conceived of in connection with a transient sojourning, like that of a traveler. The stakes and tent pins that are driven into the ground for a nomad’s tent bear no fruit, for they do not remain in one place. Inasmuch as I read of the “fruit of the Spirit,” I take comfort from the hint and conclude that He intends to abide in our souls as a tree abides in the soil when fruit is borne by it.
The fruit - Not fruits plural but fruit singular (in Greek). One fruit manifest by 9 spiritual attitudes. Fruit in the singular also underscores the unity of the 9 spiritual attitudes, and emphasizes that all work together to produce a Christ like believer, our Lord Jesus Christ being the perfect manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. Paul does not say fruits, as though portions of fruit might be present in the believer and other portions might not. Instead, the sense of wholeness and unity in will be manifest in the one born of God. By contrast the deeds of the flesh are plural, and they hardly represent unity, nor do they produce unity but only produce strife between men.
UBS Handbook makes an important distinction writing that...
As Wiersbe says...
And so even as the flesh of unbelievers will always produce deeds of the flesh, so too believers now indwelt by the Spirit will always produce some good fruit. It is not unexpected that one aspect of the 9 fold fruit might be better developed than others, but the point is that all are present in every believer. Our Lord's desire for each believer is to produce a "bumper crop" as He explained to His disciples...
The amount of fruit bore by believers is dependent on one's willingness to abide in Jesus for as He said...
In Galatians 5 abiding translates to yielding to and living by or walking by the Spirit (see Gal 5:25) as opposed to the flesh.
McGee quips that...
Wiersbe reminds us that...
Martin Luther comments that...
I like the way Phil Newton introduces Galatians 5:22-24 with a question...
Maclaren adds that Paul describes...
In Ephesians Paul mentions 4 components of the fruit of the Spirit with the result being unity...
C Norman Bartlett comments on Paul's use of fruit in the singular writing that...
When used figuratively karpos describes the consequence of physical, mental, or spiritual action. In the NT the figurative use predominates (especially in the Gospels) where human actions and words are viewed as fruit growing out of a person's essential being or character. This is also the way Paul uses karpos in the present passage, as an expression for desirable, righteous qualities in one’s life, the fruit of the Spirit.
The concept of fruit is a frequent subject in both the Old Testament (106 mentions) and the New Testament (some 70 mentions). It is notable that spiritual fruit in the OT like in the NT was the product of God not man's efforts. For example in Hosea Jehovah asked Israel (Ephraim)...
Scripture describes 3 general kinds of spiritual fruit...
1) Spiritual attitude fruit - As described here in Galatians 5:22-23. Every believer manifests all the aspects of this fruit to some degree, although often one or several traits will be predominant. This spiritual attitude fruit precedes spiritual action fruit described below. If the spiritual attitudes are present, the fruit of good deeds will invariably follow.
2) Spiritual action fruit - Col 1:10 (note) In Colossians Paul describes believers filled with or controlled by the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding and thereby walking worthy of the Lord, pleasing him and bearing fruit in every good work. Note that "spiritual action" fruit is preceded by the "spiritual attitude" fruit Paul describes in this section of Galatians.
3) New converts - 1Co 16:15 ; Ro 16:15-note (where convert is literally "first fruit")
Larry Richards summarizes the Biblical concept of spiritual fruit writing that...
W. E Vine says that karpos is used in Galatians 5:22...
As noted spiritual fruit is a clear marker of spiritual life, a sure proof that one has experienced genuine conversion. A profession of faith in Christ cannot produce holy fruit. Only a genuine possession of the life of Christ can produce supernatural fruit. Let's look at a few texts that corroborate this basic and vitally important spiritual principle.
Wiersbe notes that...
In Matthew 3:8 John the Baptist is addressing the "religious" professors, the Pharisees and Sadducees who were seeking "baptism". John in the context of discussing how to escape the "wrath to come" declared to these hypocritical religious leaders...
Young's Literal renders Matthew 3:8
John rebuked the religious "generation of vipers" calling for repentance and insisting that any inner change produce fruit (e.g., love, joy, peace, patience, etc) as evidence of the reality of that change. John demanded proof from these men of the new life before he administered baptism to them. The point is that spiritual fruit is not the change of heart itself, but the acts which result from a new spiritually circumcised heart (see notes on spiritual circumcision - Col 2:11-note). It was a bold deed for John thus to challenge as unworthy the very ones who posed as lights and leaders of the Jewish people.
J. R. Miller wrote that genuine repentance
J Vernon McGee agrees commenting that...
John MacArthur adds that...
Henry Morris explained that...
Vance Havner rightly declared that...
The Presbyterian shorter catechism says
In the closing words of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus spoke these sobering words regarding spiritual fruit...
Adam Clarke comments that
Jesus explained to his audience that true inner character (and evidence of a new heart, a spiritually circumcised heart) is recognized by a person's good fruit or conversely bad fruits (the only possible product of an unregenerate heart). When a tree is rotten it naturally produces rotten fruit. But when the indwelling Spirit of God begins to express His mighty power in the inner being of believers, good, God glorifying things begin to happen. The nature of God Himself begins to manifest Himself in our lives and the result is the fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus takes the image of the vine, with God as gardener, from Isaiah. We believers are carefully tended by the Father, pruned and cared for that we may "bear much fruit." Fruitfulness is possible, he said, if we remain in Him and His words remain in us. The point Jesus is making is that fruitfulness is rooted in our personal relationship with Him, and our personal relationship with Him is maintained by living His words: "If you obey My commands you will remain in My love" -- John 15:10. God has chosen us. It is His intention that we be fruitful. It is for this reason that He has given us the most intimate of relationships and Jesus' own words to guide us, and it is our responsibility to walk in close fellowship with our Lord.
The fruit of the Spirit is - Notice that the verb "is" is in the present tense, indicating that this process of fruit bearing is continuous. As a Paul explained to the Philippians...
As Boice says "These are the qualities of the life that has been claimed by Jesus Christ and is Spirit-led."
Natural fruit needs to be cultivated and so does spiritual fruit which needs to be watered and fed the Word in the soil and atmosphere of the Spirit. And so Paul is very practical explaining that...
Here are some other translations of that verse...
Newton comments that the fruit of the Spirit...
Ray Pritchard rightly reminds us that...
De Haan (Studies in Galatians. Kregel Publications. p 167) like many commentators divides the fruit into 3 triads...
Richison writes that production of these 9 qualities entails...
Wiersbe emphasizes that the fruit of the Spirit has a purpose...
Spurgeon writes that...
As Weymouth renders it...
Paul has already alluded to the supremacy of love...
1 Corinthians he describes love as the supreme virtue writing that..
As someone has written love is the fountainhead and well spring of all other virtues -- Joy is love exulting. Peace is love resting. Patience is love enduring (eg, see note ). Kindness is love with bowed head. Goodness is love in action. Faithfulness is love confiding. Gentleness is love in refinement Self-Control is love obeying.
Love is that virtue which gives energy to faith itself according to Galatians 5:6 where Paul writes that...
Spurgeon comments that "Perhaps “love” is put first not only because it is a right royal virtue, nearest skin to the divine perfection, but because it is a comprehensive grace, and contains all the refit. All the commandments are fulfilled in one word, and that word is “love”; and all the fruits of the Spirit are contained in that one most sweet, most blessed, most heavenly, most God-like grace of love. See that ye abound in love to the great Father and all his family, for if you fail in the first point how can you succeed in the second? Above all things, put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. ( The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy - Pdf)
Spurgeon - Love is first in the list of the fruits of the Spirit because in some respects it is best. First, because it leads the way. First, because it becomes the motive principle and stimulant of every other grace and virtue. You cannot conceive of anything more forceful and more beneficial, and therefore it is the first. Love is a grace that has to do with eternity, for we will never stop loving Him who first loved us. But love has also to do with this present world, for it is at home in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, nursing the sick, and liberating the slave. Love delights in visiting the fatherless and the widows, and thus it earns the encomium: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me as a guest, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35–36). Love is a very practical virtue, and yet it is so rich and rare that God alone is its author. None but a heavenly power can produce it; the love of the world is sorry stuff. Fruit does not start from the tree perfectly ripe at once. First comes a flower, then a tiny formation that shows that the flower has set. Then a berry appears, but it is very sour. You may not gather it. Leave it alone a little while, and allow the sun to ripen it. By and by it fills out, and you have the apple in the full proportions of beauty, and with a mellow flavor that delights the taste. Love springs up in the heart and increases by a sure growth. Love is not produced by casting the mind in the mold of imitation, or by fastening grace to a man’s actions as a thing outside of himself. There are people who have borrowed an affectionate mannerism and a sweet style, but they are not natural; they are not true love. What sweet words! What dainty phrases! You go among them, and at first you are surprised with their affection: You are a “dear sister” or a “dear brother,” and you hear a “dear minister,” and you go to the “dear church” and sing dear songs to those dear tunes. Their talk is so sweet that it is just a little sticky, and you feel like a fly caught in molasses. This is disgusting; it sickens one. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something assumed, but something growing out of the heart. True love, real love for God and others, comes out of a man because it is in him, wrought within by the operation of the Holy Ghost, whose fruit it is. The outcome of regenerated manhood is that a man lives no longer unto himself but for the good of others.
Eadie - The first of the graces is agape —“love”—the root of all the other graces,— greater than faith and hope, for “God is Love;” love to God and all that bears his image, being the essence of the first and second tables of the law,—all the other graces being at length absorbed by it as the flower is lost in the fruit. 1 Cor. 13; Ro 12:9-note. (Eadie, John: Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians)
Lightfoot - The fabric is built up, story upon story. Love is the foundation, joy the superstructure, peace the crown of all.
C Norman Bartlett rightly says that "The love of GOD cannot but evoke an answering love for Him from the heart of the believer. "We love him because he first loved us" (1John 4:19). This love has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5-note). Needless to say, this love of God is bound to overflow in love for our fellow Christians: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1John 4:7, 8) (C. Norman Bartlett: Galatians and You: Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, 1948)
Martin Luther - It might have been enough to have said “love,” and no more; for love extends itself into all the fruits of the Spirit. And in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul attributes to love all the fruits which are done in the Spirit, when he says: “Love is patient, courteous,” etc. Notwithstanding, he would set it here by itself among the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, and in the first place, thereby to admonish the Christians that before all things they should love one another, giving honor one to another through love, every man esteeming better of another than of himself, because they have Christ and the Holy Ghost dwelling in them... (Commentary on Galatians)
William Kelly observes that Paul "begins with love—that which is of God, and flows directly from God, and which is the knowledge of God’s character more than any other thing. (Kelly, W. Lectures On The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Galatians. page 153)
Spurgeon wrote of the "voice of love" - Oh! there is a voice in love; it speaks a language which is its own; it has an idiom and a brogue which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it; oratory cannot attain unto it; it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only handkerchief which can wipe the mourner’s tears away. And is not the Holy Ghost a loving Comforter? Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of His soul towards thee? Go, measure heaven with thy span; go, weigh the mountains in scales; go, take the ocean’s water, and tell each drop; go, count the sand upon the sea’s wide shore; and when thou hast accomplished this, thou may’st tell how much He loveth thee! He has loved thee long, He has loved thee well; He loved thee ever, and He still shall love thee; surely He is the person to comfort thee, because He loves.
See related resource by A W Pink - The Scriptures and Love
Agape love is the unconditional sacrificial love that God not only is , but that God shows and that God commands of believers as seen in these passages...
And so God commands agape love in believers, and what He commands, He always enables Paul explaining that...
To summarize, agape is the love God is, God demonstrates, God commands and God provides. Here in Galatians agape is the love He produces as fruit by His Spirit in the heart of a surrendered saint.
James Montgomery Boice adds that this...
Agape love seeks the benefit of the one who is loved, is a love which means death to self and defeat for sin since the essence of sin is self-will and self-gratification, is a love activated by personal choice of our will (working out our salvation in fear and trembling - Phil 2:12, 13 -note) not based on our feelings toward the object of our love and is a love manifested by specific actions (see below) not just to fellow believers but to all men everywhere.
One of the best practical definitions of agape love is Paul's famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13. When you compare this list with the fruit of the Spirit, you observe that a number of the nine fold aspects of the fruit of the Spirit compose part of the "definition" of agape love, another reason it is at the head of the list...
Agape love is a love of choice, a love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, a love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not a love motivated by the recipient's superficial appearance, by emotional attraction, or by sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that genuine agape love is a sure mark of salvation.
Agape love does not depend on the world’s criteria for love, such as attractiveness, emotions, or sentimentality. Believers can easily fall into the trap of blindly following the world’s demand that a lover feel positive toward the beloved. This is not agape love, but is a love based on impulse. Impulsive love characterizes the spouse who announces to the other spouse that they are planning to divorce their mate. Why? They reason “I can’t help it. I fell in love with another person!” Christians must understand that this type of impulsive love is completely contrary to God’s decisive love, which is decisive because He is in control and has a purpose in mind.
Newton writes that agape is not however without emotion but is love which...
fills the bosom with such an attitude and desire for the good of others that it propels its carrier into acts of selfless service for others without strings attached. It is never prompted by the thought of some reciprocation. It is an attitude which leads to action. Love puts others before itself, not as a means to draw attention to oneself, but for the sheer delight of manifesting devotion to Christ by serving others as Christ did. Love is the opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness. Does this quality show itself in your life?
Agape does not condone or gloss over sin in the one loved but actively, purposely seeks the welfare of the one loved. Philadelphia "love" springs from personal warmth and affection and God teaches it (1Th 4:9).
John MacArthur has numerous excellent comments regarding agape love...
Agape is impossible for unconverted to manifest and is impossible even for a believer to demonstrate it in his or her own strength. It can only be exhibited by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. A believer has this love (divine nature) within (Col 1:27-note) and it is progressively manifest more and more as fruit by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22) as we obey God's truth.
Spurgeon writes that the labors of love are light...
It is of the utmost importance to keep up our interest in the holy work in which we are engaged, for the moment our interest flags, the work will become wearisome. Humboldt says that the copper-coloured native of Central America, far more accustomed than the European traveller to the burning heat of the climate, yet complains more when upon a journey, because he is stimulated by no interest. The same Indian who would complain, when in botanizing he was loaded with a box full of plants, would row his canoe fourteen or fifteen hours together against the current without a murmur, because he wished to return to his family. Labours of love are light. Routine is a bad master. Love much, and you can do much. Impossibilities disappear when zeal is fervent.
Love's perfect expression on earth is the Lord Jesus Christ and He defines this sacrificial love for He left heaven, came to earth, took on a human form, was spit on and mocked, was crowned with a crown of thorns, nailed to a cross, abused, and had a spear thrust into His side. He loved the church enough to die for her. That's sacrificial love.
H W Beecher wrote that love "is the heat of the universe. Philosophers tell us that without heat the universe would die. And love in the moral universe is what heat is in the natural world. It is the great germinating power. It is the ripening influence. It is the power by which all things are brought steadily up from lower to higher forms.
Donald W. Burdick gives the following excellent summary of agape love:
It is spontaneous. There was nothing of value in the persons loved that called forth such sacrificial love. God of His own free will set His love on us in spite of our enmity and sin. [Agape] is love that is initiated by the lover because he wills to love, not because of the value or lovableness of the person loved. [Agape] is self-giving. and is not interested in what it can gain, but in what it can give. It is not bent on satisfying the lover, but on helping the one loved whatever the cost. [Agape] is active and is not mere sentiment cherished in the heart. Nor is it mere words however eloquent. It does involve feeling and may express itself in words, but it is primarily an attitude toward another that moves the will to act in helping to meet the need of the one loved." (Burdick, D W: The Letters of John the Apostle (Chicago: Moody, 1985, page 351)
In summary, as Barclay once wrote agape is unconquerable benevolence for nothing the other person can do will make us seek anything but their highest good and to never feel bitterness or desire for revenge. Though the one loved might even injure or insult us, agape will never feel anything but kindness towards him. Agape takes a slap in the face and still gives even as Jesus did on the Cross saying "Father forgive them." Christian love is the ability to retain unconquerable goodwill to the unlovely and the unlovable, towards those who do not love us, and even towards those whom we do not like. Agape is the badge of discipleship and the landmark of heaven for "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love (agape) one for another. (Jn 13:35)."
May your life be plastered with this fruit of the Spirit!
Related Resources on Joy:
Sermon by John Piper on Joy...
Sermons by C H Spurgeon related to Joy...
Spurgeon introduces his sermon on joy commenting that...
Joy (5479) (chara and rejoice) is a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. Joy for the Christian is marked by celebration and expectation of God’s ultimate victory over the powers of sin and darkness.
Biblical joy has a spiritual basis for as Scripture explains this joy...
...is joy in the Holy Spirit
...is the joy of faith
...is the joy of the Spirit
...is joy in the Lord
...is the welcome which will be addressed to faithful servants
In contrast, in secular works, joy is defined as the emotion evoked by well-being, success and/or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The world's definition of joy is virtually synonymous with the definition of happiness, for both of these "emotions" are dependent on what "happens".
Spurgeon - That word “joyful” is a very sweet and clear one. “Happiness” is a very dainty word, but yet it is somewhat insecure because it begins with a “hap,” and seems to depend on a chance which may happen to the soul. We say “happy-go-lucky,” and that is very much the world’s happiness, it is a kind of thing that may hap and may not hap; but there is no hap in the fruit of the Spirit which is joy. When we are joyful or full of joy, and that of the best kind, we are favored indeed. No man taketh this joy from us, and a stranger intermeddleth not with it; it is a celestial fruit, and earth cannot produce its like. (The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy) Joy and peace seem to blossom and ripen out of love. He who has love has joy and peace. What choice companions! To love much is to possess a deep delight, a secret cellar of the wine of joy that no one else may taste. He who loves is like God, who is the God of peace. Truly the meek and loving shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. He is calm and quiet whose soul is full of love; in his boat the Lord stands at the helm, saying to the winds and waves, “Peace; be still!” He who is all love, though he may have to suffer, shall yet count it all joy when he falls into various trials.
McGee observes that "The world has what they call the “happy hour” in cocktail parlors all across our land. People don’t look too happy when they go in, and they sure don’t look happy when they come out! They are a bunch of sots, if you please. That’s not joy. (Ibid)
Supernatural joy is independent of what happens for Jesus Himself promised His disciples...
Certainly there is joy in human life, such as joy when one experiences a victory (" We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions." Psalm 20:5 Spurgeon's comment) or reaps a bountiful harvest (see Isaiah 9:3), but more often the Bible speaks of joy in a spiritual sense. For example, Nehemiah declared to the down in the mouth (not very filled with joy) Jews that "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Similarly, David pleaded with God to “restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Psalm 51:12 Spurgeon's Comment). It is not surprising that joy and rejoicing are found most frequently in the Psalms (about 80 references) and the Gospels (about 40 references).
C. S. Lewis got a bit closer to the Biblical meaning when he called joy an “unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” That statement is a bit obtuse but Lewis then goes on to add that joy "must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and from pleasure". Ultimately Lewis' experienced joy when he discovered that Jesus was the wellspring of all joy.
Joy is godly optimism even in trying circumstances whereas peace is godly contentment in spite of our circumstances.
Joy then is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is not an experience that comes from favorable circumstances but even occurs when those circumstances are the most painful and severe as Jesus taught His disciples declaring...
Emotional fluctuations cannot disturb this Source of joy. Note Paul’s statement of this confidence (see note Philippians 3:20).
In the epistle to the Philippians joy is like a golden thread Paul interweaves throughout this epistle (Click for all 12v with "joy") As Bengel says “The whole letter is ‘I rejoice,’ and ‘Rejoice!’”
Spurgeon comments on Christians as joyful and beneficiaries of joy...
C Norman Bartlett rightly says that...
Martin Luther comments that joy...
Eadie writes that...
The Christian life is to be a life of joy. It is founded on faith in Jesus, whose life on earth began as "good news of great joy for all people" (Luke 2:10). The theme of joy is underscored by the 59 uses of joy and the 74 uses of rejoice in the New Testament (as noted above most are in the Gospels) always to signify a feeling of happiness that is based on spiritual realities.
Joy is God’s gift to believers. Paul speaks of more than just a mood. This is a deep confidence that was rooted in God’s sovereign control of the universe, His on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities including the assurance of ultimate victory for those in Christ.
Joy is the inevitable overflow of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and of the believer’s knowing His continuing presence and having a sense of well being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord (1Peter 1:8-note).
Joy not only does not come from favorable human circumstances but is sometimes greatest when those circumstances are the most painful and severe.
God’s joy is full, complete in every way. Nothing human or circumstantial can add to it or detract from it. But it is not fulfilled in a believer’s life except through reliance on and obedience to the Lord.
Although joy is a gift of God through His Spirit to those who belong to Christ, it is also commanded of them “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Paul commands (Phil 4:4-note cf Phil 3:1-note). Because joy comes as a fruit of the Spirit, the command is not for believers to manufacture or try to imitate joy but to delight in and cultivate the blessed seed of joy they already possess (Ro 14:17-note; Phil 4:4-note). The command is to gratefully accept and revel in this great blessing they already possess.
Spurgeon writes that...
Gloomy Christians, who do not resist despondency and strive against it, but who go about as if midnight had taken up its abode in their eyes, and an everlasting frost had settled on their souls, are not obeying the commands of God. The command to rejoice is as undoubted a precept of God as to love the Lord with all your heart. The vows of God are upon you, O believer, and they bind you to be joyful.
Joy in God is suitable to our condition!
Matthew Henry defines joy as
cheerfulness in conversation with our friends, or rather a constant delight in God
Donald Campbell former President of Dallas Theological Seminary says
Joy (chara) is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ (Jn 15:11). It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things (cf. note Romans 8:28)
William MacDonald says
Joy is contentment and satisfaction with God and with His dealings. Christ displayed it in John 4:34
Adam Clarke defines joy as
"The exultation that arises from a sense of God’s mercy communicated to the soul in the pardon of its iniquities, and the prospect of that eternal glory of which it has the foretaste in the pardon of sin."
Beet defines joy as
triumphant overflow of Christian gladness.
Barclay adds that "It is not the joy that comes from earthly things, still less from triumphing over someone else in competition. It is a joy whose foundation is God." (Galatians 5 Commentary )
Joy is the byproduct of obedience. (Source Unknown) (Ed note: Nothing like unconfessed sin to steal your joy!)
Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy. (Richard Sibbes)
As someone has calculated, it takes 72 muscles to frown—only 14 to smile!
God is not otherwise to be enjoyed than as He is obeyed. (John Howe)
Haydn, the great musician, was once asked why his church music was so cheerful, and he replied:
When I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen, and since God has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit.
Spurgeon addresses the reason you as a believer may not be experiencing the joy of the Lord...
I must notice, in the fourth place, that This Fruit Of The Spirit May Be Choked In Its Growth. Some of you may have muttered while I have been speaking of this joy, “I do not know much about it.” Perhaps not, friend — shall I tell you why?
Some people are too full of the joy of the world, the joy of getting on in business, the joy of a numerous family, the joy of health, the joy of wealth, the joy of human love, or the joy which comes of the pride of life.
These joys may be your idols, any you know the joy of the Lord will not stand side by side with an idolatrous delight in the things of this world. See to that. Dagon must fall if the ark of the Lord is present: the world must lose its charms if you are to joy in Christ Jesus.
Our joy is sadly diminished by our unbelief. If ye will not believe neither shall ye be established. Ignorance will do the same to a very large extent. Many a Christian has a thousand reasons for joy which he knows nothing of. Study the Word and ask for the teaching of the Spirit of God that you may understand it; so shall you discover wells of delight.
Joy is diminished, also, by walking at a distance from God. If you get away from the fire you will grow cold: the warmest place is right in front of it, and the warmest place for a believing heart is close to Christ in daily fellowship with him.
It may be that sin indulged is spoiling our joy. “This little hand of mine,” as Mr. Whitfield once said, “can cover up the sun as far as my eyes are concerned.” You have only to lift a naughty, rebellions hand, and you can shut out the light of God himself: any known sin will do it.
Trifling with sin will prove a kill-joy to the heart.
...Thus have I shown how the growth of joy can be checked. I pray you do not allow such an evil thing to be wrought in your heart. ( The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy - Pdf)
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
• Not in Unbelief — Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born...(and at his death cried out desperately) I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six month's life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!”
• Not in Pleasure — Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
• Not in Money — Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
• Not in Position and Fame — Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”
• Not in Military Glory — Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
• Where then is real joy found? — the answer is simple, in Christ alone. (The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993)
As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend:
It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am one of them.
The eternal effect of a Christian filled with the Joy of the Lord:
Many years ago when the great missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs he penned a chapter entitled: “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.” That lighted countenance had changed his life. Even as flowers thrive when they bend to the light, so shining, radiant faces come to those who constantly turn toward Christ!
Peace (1515) (eirene [word study] from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". Eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36).
As believers we now have peace with God because of justification by faith (see note ). That is not the peace Paul is referring to as the fruit of the Spirit. This peace is the peace of God in our heart as we walk in the Spirit and as Wuest says is a "tranquility of mind based on the consciousness of a right relation to God." (Galatians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Peace is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul. Peace implies health, well-being, and prosperity.
When the Spirit bears the fruit of peace in a believer, it brings an inner tranquility of soul and spirit even in the midst of adversity. Jesus addressing His disciples just before He went to the Cross promised...
This peace which our Lord gives transcends human understanding, as Paul explains in his exhortation to...
An interesting side note is that the Greek word eirene is the root the English word serene which conveys the idea of that which is clear and free of storms or unpleasant change, stressing an unclouded and lofty tranquility!
I rest beneath the Almighty's shade,
The picture of eirene is reflected in our modern expression "having it all together." Everything is in place and as it ought to be. When things are disjointed, there is lack of harmony and well being. When they are joined together, there is both. Thus Hamlet cried,
Peace is defined by Cremer as
Peace contrasts with strife and thus denotes the absence or end of strife. Peace is not the absence of danger but in the presence of God.
Eirene includes both the concept of an agreement, pact, treaty or bond and of an attitude of rest or security.
Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations, a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, state of repose in contrast with or following strife or turmoil.
Peace in the Hebrew mindset (especially as implied in the Hebrew word shalom - click discussion of "Jehovah Shalom" the LORD our Peace) implies health, wholeness, soundness, welfare, health, well-being, prosperity and peace as opposed to war. For example in the Greek translation of the Hebrew (Septuagint = Lxx) of (2Ki 5:22) the phrase "All is well (shalom)" is translated by eirene. In (Judges 18:15-note) we have the phrase "asked him of his welfare (shalom)" where "welfare" is translated by eirene.
Eirene is used in the famous Aaronic blessing
Peace floods the soul when Christ rules the heart.
In his first epistle Peter prayed for his his afflicted readers...
Peter is asking God to "multiply" the subjective, internal sense of calm and serenity, the peace of God. As believer's yield more and more to the control of the Spirit, His peace will be multiplied in answer to this prayer.
Wuest agrees explaining that the peace Peter prays for is what Wuest refers to as "sanctifying peace, that state of untroubled, undisturbed tranquility and well being produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We have this peace to the extent that we are yielded to the Spirit and are intelligently conscious of and dependent upon His ministry for us. (Galatians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Objectively saints in Christ Jesus are at peace with God (Ro 5:1-note). The war between the believer and God is over and the peace treaty was "signed" in blood, the precious blood of Christ. Because of this great transaction, believers can be at rest and secure in experience or practice as well as in position. Speaking of the experiential peace now available to all believers, Paul writes
Paul prays for experiential peace (peace of sanctification, sanctifying peace, peace of God on a moment by moment basis, ultimately the fruit of the Spirit) for the saints at Rome, asking
Paul intercedes on behalf of the believers at Thessalonica to experience the fruit of the Spirit's peace associated with sanctification (peace of God)...
To reiterate, the peace Paul is praying for and which is manifest as part of the fruit of the Spirit is not that peace which results from cessation of tribulations and distresses, but is the supernatural calmness of heart which is independent of circumstances, in part because it arises out of a belief that the sovereign God is with you and in control of the circumstances.
John Macarthur adds that
Barclay explains that eirene or peace "in contemporary colloquial Greek...had two interesting usages. It was used of the serenity which a county enjoyed under the just and beneficent government of a good emperor; and it was used of the good order of a town or village. Villages had an official who was called the superintendent of the village’s eirene, the keeper of the public peace. Usually in the New Testament eirene stands for the Hebrew shalom and means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good. It is interesting to note that Chara (Grace) and Eirene (Peace ~ "Irene") both became very common Christian names in the Church." (Galatians 5 Commentary )
Spurgeon writes the following on peace...
C Norman Bartlett rightly writes that...
Ray Ortlund encourages us to
An Illustration of Peace - Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ (Ro 5:1-note). Do you have "one heart" with God today? Do you have peace with God and the peace of God? If you are a believer, you have peace with God but you may not be experiencing the peace of God. Dear believing reader, may His grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. Amen.
Patience (3115)(makrothumia [word study] from makros = long, distant, far off, large + thumos = temper, passion, emotion or thumoomai = to be furious or burn with intense anger) is literally long-temper (as opposed to "short tempered), a long holding out of the mind before it gives room to action or passion. It describes a state of emotional calm or quietness in the face of provocation, misfortune or unfavorable circumstances.
Makrothumia - 14x in 14v - Ro 2:4; 9:22; 2 Cor 6:6; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:2; Col 1:11; 3:12; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Tim 3:10; 4:2; Heb 6:12; Jas 5:10; 1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 3:15
When a believer is walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the desires of the flesh, he or she is empowered with an inner supernatural steadfastness even in the face of provocation. This long fuse is a Christ like attitude for as Peter reminded his readers our Lord Jesus Christ in spite of...
being reviled, ...did not revile in return; while suffering, ...uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him Who judges righteously (1Pe 2:23-note)
Comment: The Spirit will enable us to walk in His steps! We cannot manifest this attitude in our own strength but in submission and yieldedness to His Spirit!
Makrothumia is the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. It enables us to bear injury without at once avenging ourselves. It is the ability to hold one's feeling in restraint or bear up under the oversights and wrongs afflicted by others without retaliating. It is manifest by the quality of forbearance under provocation. It is used of God's patience toward sinful men (Ro 2:4-note) and of the attitude which Christians are to display.
Patience is the spirit which never gives up for it endures to the end even in times of adversity, exhibiting self-restraint such that it does not hastily retaliate a wrong.
Vine says makrothumia is the opposite of anger. It follows that a lack of patience often leads to wrath or revenge.
Makrothumia is often used in the OT to translate the Hebrew phrase ('erekh 'appayim) which is literally “long of nose” (or “breathing”), and, as anger was indicated by rapid, violent breathing through the nostrils, “long of anger,” or “slow to anger.” This Hebrew phrase ('erekh 'appayim) and the LXX translation as makrothumia (and the cognates makrothumos, makrothumeo) is included in the catalog of His attributes that runs through the OT like a refrain, a God "slow to anger" (13 occurrences of this phrase in the OT = Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Pr 14:29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:11; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nah 1:3).
J Vernon McGee writes that makrothumia "means long-burning—it burns a long time. We shouldn’t have a short fuse with our friends and Christian brethren. We shouldn’t make snap judgments." (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Evans writes that makrothumia "could be translated “large emotions,” signifying wells of endurance that will not dry up, no matter how much is drawn from them. The Christian with this patience will have refreshing water to sustain continual effectiveness even in the face of unrelenting pressures. Those with such patience and faith are those who receive or “inherit the promises.” (Briscoe, D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. The Preacher's Commentary Series, New Testament. 2003; Thomas Nelson)
Calvin said makrothumia refers to that quality of mind that disposes us "to take everything in good part and not to be easily offended."
Larry Richards writes that "The NT contains many exhortations to be patient. But just what is patience? The Greek word group (makrothumeo/makrothumia) focuses our attention on restraint: that capacity for self-control despite circumstances that might arouse the passions or cause agitation....This is not so much a trait as a way of life. We keep on loving or forgiving despite provocation, as illustrated in Jesus' pointed stories in Mt 18." (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Spurgeon - Patience, too, is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You will be hourly tried, but the Spirit of God will give you patience to suffer long and to endure much.
C Norman Bartlett rightly says that...
William Barclay has a lengthy discussion explaining that makrothumia...
In another note Barclay writes that makrothumia is
The Christian is to count the longsuffering of God toward evil and injustice not as slackness, but as evidence of His grace toward evildoers in granting them time for repentance and salvation (2Peter 3:9-note). As His children, Christians are to allow the Holy Spirit to manifest this family characteristic in them as well (see note Romans 12:19-21).
Boles writes that makrothumia...
Makrothumia is patience in face of injustice and unpleasant circumstances without complaint or irritation. The short-tempered person speaks and acts impulsively and lacks self-control. When a person is longsuffering, he can put up with provoking people or circumstances without retaliating. It is good to be able to get angry, for this is a sign of holy character. But it is wrong to get angry quickly at the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. It is the attitude which endures another's exasperating conduct without flying off the handle. It is a negative term. It is holding back, restraining yourself from becoming upset or speaking sharply or shrilly to somebody be they your mate, your child, or whoever...despite their conduct you find difficult and exasperating.
Makrothumia always has to do with our reaction not to circumstances but to people that God allows (or sends) into our life! Because of the new nature you can be longsuffering with those with whom you otherwise could not be. What was heretofore IMPOSSIBLE is now ''HIM POSSIBLE''! Hallelujah! Remember though it is a product of prayer (Col 1:11-note)
George writes that makrothumia...
Longsuffering characterizes all labor that has love for its motive...
Vine writes that...
Kindness (KJV = gentleness) (5544) (chrestotes [word study] from adjective chrestos = useful, profitable in turn from chraomai = to furnish what is needed in turn from chráo = lend, furnish as a loan) is a gracious attitude, and thus describes the quality of being helpful and beneficial.
Kindness is an attribute of God (Ro 2:4-note being a good example) and a godly trait which the Spirit produces in the surrendered saint (contrast the unregenerate sinner - Ro 3:12-note "no one who shows kindness (chrestotes)" NET) who as Trench says has this beautiful grace "pervading and penetrating their whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere (and producing)...a goodness which has no edge, no sharpness in it." (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)
Paul writes to the Colossian saints regarding their new "Christ-like" garment, commanding them as
Chrestotes - 10x in 10v - Ro 2:4; Ro 3:12; 11:22; 2Cor 6:6; Gal 5:22; Ep 2:7; Col 3:12; Titus 3:4. NAS = good(1), kindness(9).
Chrestotes - 14x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Esther 8:12; Ps 14:1, 3; 21:3; 25:7; 31:19; 37:3; 65:10; 68:10; 85:12; 104:28; 106:5; 119:65f, 68; 145:7;
Eadie - The meaning is kindness—gentleness, affability, the benign heart and the soft answer, “the gentleness of Christ;” or a serene, loving, and sympathizing temper, the fruit of that Spirit who descended in the form of a dove upon our great Exemplar, and abode upon Him. (Eadie, John: Epistle of St Paul to the Galatians)
Barnes writes that chrestotes "is opposed to a harsh, crabbed, crooked temper. It is a disposition to be pleased; it is mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, an unruffled disposition, and a disposition to treat all with urbanity and politeness. This is one of the regular effects of the Spirit's operations on the heart. Religion (Ed note: The indwelling Holy Spirit) makes no one crabbed, and morose, and sour. It (He) sweetens the temper; corrects an irritable disposition; makes the heart kind; disposes us to make all around us as happy as possible. This is true politeness: a kind of politeness which can far better be learned in the school of Christ than in that of Chesterfield; by the study of the New Testament than under the direction of the dancing-master. (Galatians 5)
Jesus taught that we are to "love (our) enemies, and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return and (our) reward will be great, and (we) will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind (adjective chrestos) to ungrateful and evil men." (Lk 6:35)
Kindness reflects the tender concern of God, providing for helpless, hapless man what he never could have provided for himself. This is the "starting point" for our salvation. Expositors calls it God's "pitying kindness that prompts Him to bestow forgiveness and blessings".
John MacArthur writes that kindness (chrestotes)
James Montgomery Boice adds that kindness "is the divine kindness out of which God acts toward men. It is what the OT means when it declares that "God is good," as it so frequently does. The Christian is to show kindness by behaving toward others as God has behaved toward him. "(Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
C Norman Bartlett says that kindness (gentleness) "is the spontaneous overflow of love in the heart. It is the spirit that would rather be hurt by others than hurt others. Would that more of us were as tenderhearted as we are thin-skinned, as impulsive in kindness as explosive in anger. We need to cultivate resourcefulness in kindliness, to gain proficiency in the artistry of applying Christian love to the hearts and lives of those with whom we come in contact in the multitudinous activities and relationships of life. (C. Norman Bartlett: Galatians and You: Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, 1948)
Chrestotes is used in the Greek translation of the Septuagint (LXX) 15 times, as in the prayer of David in which he asks God to
In other words David bases his appeal on God's attribute of kindness for he recognizes that it is God's kindness that leads sinners to repentance ("instructs sinners in the way.")
Kindness reflects benevolence in action, kindliness which disposes one to do good but not a goodness qualitatively but a goodness in action and expressed in deed. Kindness is that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes and which supplies their wants or alleviates their distresses. Kindness is not just a sweet disposition but is a serving trait.
Spurgeon - Consideration for others, readiness to help them in any way that we can.
Jesus used the adjectival form (chrestos) in His famous invitation to "all who are weary and heavy laden" to come to Him, take His yoke and learn from Him, for His
Jesus' yoke is pleasant, beneficial, useful, and causes no discomfort.
God's kindness does not excuse men of their sin but convicts them of sin and leads them to repentance. In the next chapter of Romans Paul uses chrestotes to contrast the attitude and action of sinful men writing
And yet when men become beneficiaries of God's kindness and repent and believe, they are new creatures in Christ, now fitted to shine forth
Paul in his famous definition of love writes that
Peter writes that believers
And in another reflection of God's amazing grace, Paul records
God's kindness initiated our salvation. His kindness continues throughout eternity! Simply unfathomable! Even a glimpse of the true meaning of God's kindness is something that ought to cause us to drop to our knees in grateful adoration as expressed by Isaac Watts in the hymn below...
What shall I render to my God
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary summarizes kindness as that "state of being that includes the attributes of loving affection, sympathy, friendliness, patience, pleasantness, gentleness, and goodness. Kindness is a quality shown in the way a person speaks and acts. It is more volitional than emotional. (Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)
One of the most beautiful illustrations of this volitional aspect of human kindness is King David’s treatment of Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:1ff). Scripture records David's question -- "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" David’s desire was to show “the kindness of God” to King Saul’s family because of his covenant with Saul’s son, Jonathan. The young man chosen was Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, who "was lame in both feet." (2Sa 9:13) If David had acted according to justice, he would have condemned Mephibosheth who belonged to a condemned family. But David acted on the basis of kindness, seeking out Mephibosheth, assuring him he had no need to fear, inviting him to live in the king's palace as family and to eat at the king’s table. This is but a veiled picture of the infinite kindness of God! Indeed every believer has experienced even greater kindness, for we are now children of the King and shall revel in His majestic presence forever! What kindness!
Goodness (19)(agathosune [word study] from agathos =benevolent, profitable, benefiting others) describes active goodness, virtue, excellence or beneficence. It is high moral character reflected in to being good in both nature and effectiveness.
Agathosune - 4x in 4v - Rom 15:14; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; 2 Thess 1:11
Agathosune finds its fullest and highest expression in that which is willingly and sacrificially done for others. It is moral and spiritual excellence manifested in active kindness.
Agathosune describes a positive moral quality characterized especially by interest in the welfare of others. Agathosune refers to active goodness as an energetic principle. It is the generosity which springs from the heart that is kind and will always take care to obtain for others that which is useful or beneficial.
Thayer says that agathosune is found only in Biblical and ecclesiastical writings.
Wuest writes that agathosune refers "to that quality in a man who is ruled by and aims at what is good, namely, the quality of moral worth. (Galatians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Agathosune is a fruit of the Spirit and a fruit of the Light. Agathosune is moral goodness found only in believers and only as the result of the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who submit to His divine will and power.
Paul prayed for this fruit of goodness to be manifest in the lives of the believers at Thessalonica (2Th 1:11) and was convinced it was being manifest in the lives of the saints (the body of Christ) at Rome (Ro 15:14-note). Paul had heard about their goodness, implying that the way they lived and interacted with others gave proof of their possession of the Spirit and His fruit.
C Norman Bartlett writes that "The real meaning of this word is generosity in things material and things spiritual. Niggardliness impoverishes while liberality enriches the soul; or, as Scripture puts it, "The liberal soul shall be made fat." In the realm of the spirit we lose what we keep and keep what we lose for JESUS' sake (Mt 16:25). (C. Norman Bartlett: Galatians and You: Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, 1948)
Spurgeon - Not any holiness of which you boast, but such “goodness” as other people can see and admire.
Barclay writes that agathosune
Faithfulness is rendered...
In the present context pistis takes on a different meaning, instead referring to that virtue which makes a person one on whom others can rely (dependability). This fruit in man is predicated on the truth about God - His faithfulness. So when a believer manifests this trait in interpersonal relationships, he or she is becoming a "partaker of the divine nature" (2Pe 1:4-note), acting in godliness or "God-likeness". Even as a child exhibits family resemblances, loyalty, trustworthiness and fidelity in a believer presents to others an accurate (Spirit empowered) manifestation of the unseen God (cp Mt 5:16-note).
In a word this component of the fruit of the Spirit describes one's trustworthiness, loyalty, reliability, adherence, constancy, dependability, devotedness. Another synonym is the word fidelity (from Latin fides = faith, fidere = to trust) is strict, careful, continuing and exact observance of duty, or performance of obligations.
The person with this quality keeps his word, his promises, and his vows. This sense is conveyed in Titus 2 where Paul is speaking of believing slaves as "not pilfering, but showing all good faith (Titus 2:10KJV = fidelity) that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. (Titus 2:10-note)
Jesus castigated the Pharisees for their lack of this attribute "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness (pistis); but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Mt 23:23)
W E Vine - In the majority of its frequent occurrences earlier in this Epistle pistis signifies the abandonment of oneself, insofar as hope of salvation through merit or works is concerned, and the casting of oneself therefore solely upon God in Christ, as in Gal 2:16, e.g. But neither this meaning, nor the less common one of Gal 1:23 (where it = “what is believed”) seems to suit the context here. Faith, in the sense of confidence in God for salvation, would necessarily come at the head of such a list as this if it were to appear at all. Pistis is, however, sometimes = “faithfulness,” as here rendered; see Romans 3:3 (of God), and Matthew 23:23; Titus 2:10 (of man). There is also a third idea which pistis may express, that of trustfulness, the habit of mind which does not doubt that God is working all things together for good with those who love Him, Romans 8:28, that seeks to realize the truth of the apostle’s word concerning love that it “believeth all things,” 1Corinthians 13:7. Suspicion of God, whether of His love or of His wisdom (few doubt His power), is a work of the flesh, and so is suspicion of those around us; it darkens and embitters the soul, hinders efficiency in service, and makes fellowship impossible. The choice lies between the second and third of these meanings, and on the whole the last is perhaps more likely to be the intention of the apostle. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Witherington - In a list such as this pistis in all likelihood does not refer to faith, but rather to faithfulness, and so it is once again an attribute of God (Ro 3:3-note) now predicated of the believer. More importantly for our discussion, Paul sees it as the paradigmatic term to describe the self-giving action of Christ, in particular referring to his voluntary surrender to death on the cross in obedience to God’s will and plan. The faithfulness of Christ is to be likewise mirrored by Christians. This term in Greek literature refers to trustworthiness, a person who acts in good faith, and it is perhaps likely that the Gentile Galatians would hear some of these sorts of overtones here, especially in view of the two terms which follow this one and conclude the list. As Betz says, faithfulness, gentleness or mildness, and self-control were three famous virtues in Hellenistic ethics. (Grace in Galatia : A Commentary on St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co)
Wuest agrees that in Galatians 5:22 pistis "does not refer here to faith exercised by the saint, but to faithfulness and fidelity as produced in the life of the yielded Christian by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians Commentary - Verse by Verse)
Morris - The ability to serve God faithfully through the years and through the temptations of life is not something we achieve by heroic virtue. It comes from the Spirit.
Charles Ellicott "trustfulness (Conybeare), faith in God’s promises and mercies and loving trust towards men; comp. 1Co 13:7-note , all faith (pisteuo - believing), where, like makrothumia and chrestotes (1Co 13:4), it stands as one of the characteristics of agape (Ellicott, C. J. St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians)
Hendricksen - Faithfulness to God and to his will is, accordingly, the virtue which, in all probability, Paul is here commending as a gift of the Spirit. This, however, does not exclude but includes loyalty toward men. (New Testament commentary: Exposition of Galatians. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House)
Hansen - Faithfulness is the quality of keeping commitments in relationships. The Galatians had proved to be fickle in their attitude toward Paul (4:13–16). Only the Spirit can produce the quality of loyalty no matter the cost. (Galatians. The IVP New Testament commentary series Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press)
Eadie - “faith” (“faythfulnes,” Tyndale, Cranmer)—not simply faith in God in the theological sense (Jerome, Theophylact),—that being implied, as the Spirit dwells only in those who have faith,—nor merely fidelity or good faith (Meyer), nor veracity (Winer); but trust generally, trustfulness toward God and towards man. Confidence in God, in all His promises, and under all His dispensations; and a spirit of unsuspicious and generous confidence towards men,—not moved by doubts and jealousies, nor conjuring up possible causes of distrust, and treasuring up sad lessons from previous instances of broken plight. 1Co 13:7.
Barclay - Fidelity; this word (pistis) is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable.
Spurgeon on faithfulness - Reliability, keeping good faith with others, so that they know that your word is as good as your bond.
Barnes - The word here may be used in the sense of fidelity, and may denote that the Christian will be a faithful man-a man faithful to his word and promises; a man who can be trusted or confided in. It is probable that the word is used in this sense because the object of the apostle is not to speak of the feelings which we have towards God, so much as to illustrate the influences of the Spirit in directing and controlling our feelings towards men. True religion makes a man faithful. The Christian is faithful as a man; faithful as a neighbour, friend, father, husband, son. He is faithful to his contracts; faithful to his promises. No man can be a Christian who is not thus faithful; and all pretensions to being under the influences of the Spirit, when such fidelity does not exist, are deceitful and vain.
Adam Clarke - Faith—here used for fidelity—punctuality in performing promises, conscientious carefulness in preserving what is committed to our trust, in restoring it to its proper owner, in transacting the business confided to us, neither betraying the secret of our friend, nor disappointing the confidence of our employer.
J. B. Lightfoot discusses the concept of faith in his commentary on Galatians. He notes that in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the definition of the word for faith "hovers between two meanings: trustfulness, the frame of mind which relies on another; and trustworthiness, the frame of mind which can be relied upon....pistis seems not to be used here (Galatians 5:22) in its theological sense ‘belief in God.’ Its position points rather to the passive meaning of faith, ‘trustworthiness, fidelity, honesty,’ as in Mt. 23:23, Titus 2:10-note; comp. Ro 3:3 (note).
C Norman Bartlett says that here Paul refers to - Faith which can also be seen as faithfulness. Probably capable of a double meaning, of trustfulness and trustworthiness. The one who is led by the SPIRIT has an unswerving confidence in GOD and reliance upon His words of promise; at the same time he manifests dependability in the discharge of the responsibilities which the LORD sees fit to lay upon him. Having faith in GOD involves keeping faith with GOD. We trust Him. How far can He trust us? (C. Norman Bartlett: Galatians and You: Studies in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, 1948)
Utley - Pistis is used in its Old Testament sense of loyalty and trustworthiness. It was usually used of God (cf. Ro 3:3-note). Here it describes the believer’s new relationship with people, especially believers. (Paul's First Letters: Galatians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians)
Of the 243 uses of pistis in the NT only a small percent are used with the sense of trustworthiness or faithfulness. On the other hand there are a number of uses of pistis in Septuagint (LXX) with the meaning of trustworthiness or faithfulness as exemplified in the following passages...
When missionary John Paton was translating the Scripture for the South Sea islanders, he was unable to find a word in their vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having faith. He had no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he was in his hut translating, a native came running up the stairs into Paton's study and flopped in a chair, exhausted. He said to Paton,
John Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on God. That word went into the translation of their New Testament and helped bring that civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is putting your whole weight on God. If God said it, then it's true, and we're to believe it.