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Questions From Readers

Questions From Readers

Are the qualities listed at Galatians 5:22, 23 the only aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit”?

Those verses list nine Christian qualities: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” We need not, though, view those as being the only fine qualities that God’s spirit can help us to develop.

Note what the apostle Paul wrote in the preceding verses: “The works of the flesh . . . are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these.” (Gal. 5:19-21) So Paul could have mentioned other things as being “works of the flesh,” such as those referred to at Colossians 3:5. Similarly, after listing nine good qualities, he stated: “Against such things there is no law.” So Paul was not trying to list all the fine qualities that we can cultivate with the help of holy spirit.

This is apparent when we compare this list with what Paul wrote to the congregation in Ephesus: “The fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph. 5:8, 9) Yes, “goodness,” along with righteousness and truth, is part of “the fruitage of the light,” but it is also an aspect of “the fruitage of the spirit.”

Similarly, Paul urged Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness”​—six fine qualities. (1 Tim. 6:11) Only three of those (faith, love, and mildness) are mentioned as aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit.” Timothy would, however, also want the help of the spirit to develop the other qualities mentioned: righteousness, godly devotion, and endurance.​—Compare Colossians 3:12; 2 Peter 1:5-7.

Hence, it is not that Galatians 5:22, 23 sets out a complete list of Christian qualities. God’s spirit can help us to develop the nine aspects listed as “the fruitage of the spirit.” But there are more qualities to be cultivated as we grow in Christian maturity and “put on the new personality that was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”​—Eph. 4:24.