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Galatians 5:22

ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NIV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NASB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
CSB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
KJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

What does Galatians 5:22 mean?

What should the lives of those who are free in Christ look like? In other words, how should Christians live if we are not under the law of Moses? Paul has answered that question in two ways so far. First, Christians must not squander our freedom in Christ, which is freedom from under the law, by serving only ourselves (Galatians 5:13–15). That leads to a laundry list of sinful lifestyles. Instead, Paul has written, those in Christ should allow God's Spirit to lead them into powerful service to others motivated by love (Galatians 5:16–21).

Now Paul begins to offer a new list. This describes what those in Christ should expect to see flowing from their lives when they let the Holy Spirit lead them. Paul calls this the "fruit of the Spirit." It's helpful to understand this is meant to imply a single fruit—the Greek term is singular. This is not a list of nine separate fruits, but nine characteristics of the (single) fruit of the Spirit. In Christ, we should expect to see all of these characteristics showing up together as we give God's Spirit control. They come in no particular order, or rank, or schedule.

Paul begins with love, from the Greek term agapē. This is famously described as "selfless love," or an attitude that considers other people more than ourselves, without expecting anything in return. God's Spirit in us produces God's unconditional love in us for Him and for others (1 Corinthians 13:4–13).

Joy is translated from the Greek chara, which does not necessarily imply happiness. "Joy," in a biblical sense, is best described as an inner confidence. This allows us to declare to our soul that all is well with us, now and forever, because of our place in Christ. Supernatural peace comes as a result of trusting God and is not dependent on our circumstances (Philippians 4:4–9).

Peace is the concept of restful, assured stillness. This is different from something frozen or fearful. It's not the same as being restrained, nor does it mean a lack of motivation. Biblical "peace" involves emotions such as assurance, and an overall sense of spiritual calm.

Patience is the ability, in the Spirit, to wait on God's perfect timing even when our personal agenda seems to be failing. Translated from the term makrothymia, "patience" includes controlling our response to circumstances. This contrasts with the error Paul gave in verse 20, translated "fits of anger," from the related word thymoi. Scripture uses the term "patience" to mean an ability to endure hardship—to "weather the storm."

Kindness may be simple, but it is not always easy. The original term, chrēstotēs, includes concepts of being good and gentle. In the Spirit, we can be kind to anyone, even those who are challenging and offensive.

Goodness is the ability to do the right thing in every circumstance. The term agathōsynē implies a moral decency: this describes someone respectable, honorable, and righteous.

Faithfulness is a crucial word, from the Greek term pistis, frequently translated simply as "faith" in the New Testament. This represents a kind of endurance, driven by trust. In the Spirit, Christians can keep going in the right direction, even when we don't fully understand all God is doing.
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