Tim Keller’s Definition of the Fruit in Galatians 5

Here are Tim Keller’s definitions of the fruit of the Spirit we see in Galatians 5:22-23.

Agape – love

Definition – To serve a person fo rtheir good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you.

Opposite – Fear: self-protection and abusing people.

Counterfeit – Selfish affection. Rescuing someone but really rescuing self. Attracted not to a person, but to how this person’s love makes you feel about yourself.

Chara – joy

Definition – Delight in God and his salvation for sheer beauty and worth of who he is.

Opposite – Hopelessness, despair.

Counterfeit – Elation that comes with blessings not the Blesser! Mood swings based on circumstances.

Irene – peace

Definition – Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.

Opposite – Anxiety and worry

Counterfeit – Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”

Makrothumia – patience

Definition – Ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing. To suffer joyfully.

Opposite – Resentment toward God and others.

Counterfeit – Cynicism. Self-righteousness. “This is too small to be bothered about.”

Chrestotes – kindness

Definition – Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security.

Opposite – Envy. Unable to rejoice other’s joy.

Counterfeit – Manipulative good deeds. “Right hand knowing what left hand is doing.” Self-congratulation and self-righteousness.

Agathosune – goodness. (integrity)

Definition – Honesty, transparency. Being the same in one situation as another.

Opposite – Phoniness; hypocrisy.

Counterfeit – Truth without love. “Getting it off the chest” for your sake.

Pistis – faithfulness.

Definition – Loyalty. Courage. To be principle-driven, committed, utterly reliable. True to one’s word.

Opposite – Opportunist. Fair-weather friend.

Counterfeit – Love without truth. Being loyal when you should be willing to confront or challenge.

Prautas – gentleness. (humility)

Definition – Self-forgetfulness.

Opposite – Superiority: self-absorbed self-aggrandizement.

Counterfeit – Inferiority: self-absorbed, self-consciousness.

Egkrateia – self-control

Definition – Ability to choose the important thing over the urgent.

Opposite – A driven, impulsive, uncontrolled person.

Counterfeit – Willpower through pride or through more “functional” idols.

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  1. Van   •  

    I’ve probably been all these things at one time or another. It’s easy to see whats wrong in others, that’s why the fruit of the Spirit is listed in positive terms and we are not given the opposite or counterfeit terms.

  2. Christiane Smith   •  

    When humility is no longer overlooked perhaps there will be “a more irenic attitude towards “sinners” if not sin” among Christian people?

    a welcomed change, not unlike that now evolving in my own faith, but is it REALLY a change?
    Or is the Church on a journey to touch base with its deepest roots . . .
    to kneel at the feet of Our Lord Who came filled with compassion for ‘the lost and bewildered’ and with blessing in His Hands?

    Our Lord teaches us, this:
    “… learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart …”
    (from the Gospel of St. Matthew 11:29)

    the Church MUST be the first disciple of its Lord, if it would reach out to the ‘lost and bewildered’ in His Name

    and knowing that God gives grace to the humble, the Church will recognize its need for that grace now and embrace the Way of the Lord Who was gentle and humble in heart

    Posted by: Christiane Smith |

  3. Ellen   •  

    Am liking this so much that I am using it with my Bible study in Isaiah for the application step. Can see God directing His people to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Isaiah’s writings have much to say about joy, kindness, love, patience, faithfulness, goodNess, self- control, peace and some even about gentleness. Keep noticing too how God’s attributes reflect the fruit of the Spirit. Helps bridge the (OT to now) gap too. Thanks!

  4. Joyce   •  

    I am teaching a women’s Bible Study on the first 3 chapters of Genesis. We just covered the fruit of the Spirit as an example of being a female image bearer. The qualities are inherently God’s and as an image bearer through the power of the Holy Spirit within us we have the ability to live out these characteristics-the spirit is willing but boy is the flesh weak!!

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