But the fruit of the Spirit - That which the Holy Spirit produces. It is not without design, evidently, that the apostle uses the word "Spirit" here, as denoting that these things do not flow from our own nature. The vices above enumerated are the proper "works" or result of the operations of the human heart; the virtues which he enumerates are produced by a foreign influence - the agency of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul does not trace them to our own hearts, even when renewed. He says that they are to be regarded as the proper result of the Spirit' s operations on the soul.
Is love - To God and to human beings. Probably the latter here is particularly intended, as the fruits of the Spirit are placed in contradistinction from those vices which lead to strifes among people. On the meaning of the word love, see the notes at I Corinthians 13:1; and for an illustration of its operations and effects, see the notes at that whole chapter.
Joy - In the love of God; in the evidences of pardon; in communion with the Redeemer, and in his service; in the duties of religion, in trial, and in the hope of heaven; see the notes at Romans 5:2; compare I Peter 1:8.
Peace - As the result of reconciliation with God; see the notes at Romans 5:1.
Long-suffering - In affliction and trial, and when injured by others; see the note at I Corinthians 13:4.
Gentleness - The same word which is translated "kindness" in II Corinthians 6:6; see the note at that place. The word means goodness, kindness, benignity; and 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 makes no one crabby, and morose, and sour. It 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.
Goodness - See the note at Romans 15:14. Here the word seems to be used in the sense of beneficence, or a disposition to do good to others. The sense is, that a Christian must be a good man.
Faith - On the meaning of the word faith, see the note at Mark 16:16. 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 toward God so much as to illustrate the influences of the Spirit in directing and controlling our feelings toward people. True religion makes a man faithful. The Christian is faithful as a man; faithful as a neighbor, 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.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Galatians 5:22:
1 Corinthians 3:16
1 Corinthians 13:4
2 Corinthians 6:6
2 Corinthians 13:14
1 Thessalonians 5:14
1 Timothy 6:11
2 Timothy 4:2
1 John 3:24
1 John 4:13
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