In this article, we will continue our study of Galatians 5:22 and look at the fruit of the Spirit: love. So, grab your Bible, and let’s jump in…
The fruit of the Spirit comes as an overflow from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers. The Spirit of God develops these characteristics within us, and the Bible teaches that they are contrary to the flesh and serve as a demonstration of the presence of Christ in the Christian.
Love is the first listed fruit of the Spirit and is usually considered the most important, as out of love flows a lot of the other characteristics. We also read the importance of love in 1 Corinthians 13.
Exploring the fruit of the Spirit in the Bible is crucial for every believer, as they serve as a hallmark of the Spirit of God within us and provide a metric for us to go after and live by.
The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of Christ in us and is infinitely important for every believer to walk in.
There is much to explore regarding the fruit of the Spirit, but here we will explore love as one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, what it means for believers, and how the Bible talks about this fruit in context.
The Greek Meaning Of The Fruit Of The Spirit: Love
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The list of the fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians 5:22-23. This passage of Scripture falls at the end of the 5th chapter in Galatians after the Apostle Paul describes what it looks like to live in the flesh and what it looks like to be a Christian, how to walk with the Holy Spirit, and the importance of believers understanding that they are heirs together with Christ.
The fruit of the Spirit is taught in context as the opposite of the works of the flesh and is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, as opposed to the works of the flesh evident in someone who is not yet laid down their lives to Christ and walk in His ways.
Galatians 5:22-23 describe the fruit of the Spirit as 9 different attributes:
As I mentioned above in these verses, love is listed as the very first fruit of the Spirit, and scholars believe that it is listed first because it is the greatest defining quality of a Christian and most clearly reflects God’s character.
The word love in this context is the Greek word agapé. This word is one of four words in the Greek language that refer to different types of love, including familial love, romantic love, and friendship love.
ἀγάπηagápē, ag-ah’-pay; from G25; love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast:—(feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love.
Agapé in this area of Scripture is the love of God, rather than some of the other words for love used in the Bible, such as phileo, which is the love between friends, storge which is the love of parents and children, and eros which describes physical and passionate love.
If you are curious about learning more about these different types of love, then please check out: The 4 Types Of Love In The Bible.
Agapé love is used in only one context in the Bible, as it describes the unconditional love of God toward man.
The unconditional love of God is only ever used in the Bible when describing how God loves us and the love that we receive from Him to love Him back.
The agapé love of God is unconditional, redemptive, selfless, and perfect. This is the same word for love used in John 3:16, where the Bible states that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son and that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
This type of unconditional love is the love described as the fruit of the Spirit. This love can only be as a fruit of the Spirit because it is a love that is only received from God. The same word is used in 1 John to describe God as being love.
Humans are capable of eros, phileo, and storge love in their own capacity, but the ability to love our neighbor as we love ourselves is only possible from the agape love that God deposits in our hearts when we are born again.
The type of love included as a fruit of the Spirit only comes from the Spirit of God and demonstrates to the world the heart of the Father and His love for His children.
The way Christians love others through this fruit of the Spirit is a display of God to the world and sets Christians apart from everyone else.
It is truly the type of love that can transform lives!
Is Love The Most Important Fruit Of The Spirit?
Love is listed as the first fruit of the Spirit, but why is it so important?
Why is love regarded by many as the most important part of the fruit in the items listed in Galatians?
Agapé love is the most important fruit of the Spirit because it is the closest representation of the love of God for us.
There are several uses of this word for love in the Bible, but it is held in the highest regard among the fruit of the Spirit as it is the fruit of God in believers that most clearly demonstrates the presence of God.
The other forms of love do not demonstrate God’s love because even sinful man, in his fallen nature, can love a child, a friend, a brother, or a spouse. It’s easy for us to love them…
God’s love in us is the lens through which the Christian sees the world. Without the unconditional love of God, we cannot love each other, we cannot walk in love, and we cannot even love God. We must first receive love from God to love God.
This is why love is the most important part of the fruit of the Spirit.
To summarize, love is always expressed as the most important fruit of the Spirit.
- It is highly emphasized by God in the Scriptures.
- Used to describe who God is.
- It is the mark that differentiates Christians from unbelievers.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
Examples Of Love As A Fruit Of The Spirit
There are several examples of love as the fruit of the Spirit in the Bible. This fruit is critical for all believers and cannot be forced or produced. It can only be grown through intimacy and a relationship with God.
This is why it is called a fruit of the Spirit rather than a work of the Spirit.
In John 13:34-35 Jesus says to His disciples that He gives them a new commandment, to love one another as He has loved them. He teaches them that this love that He has given to them is how they can love others, and it is the mark by which they will be known as His disciples.
The word that is used here is the same agapé love used in Galatians 5. This is the unconditional love of God that He gives us.
In John 15:13, Jesus is again speaking to His disciples and uses the same word, agapé, to say that there is no greater love than this, and this love is so unconditional and selfless that it will cause a man to lay down his life for his friends.
This shows us that the greatest example of the agapé love of God as a fruit of the Spirit is Jesus’ death on the cross for us. He loved us so much that He took every sin, sickness, infirmity, iniquity, all shame, and all condemnation upon Himself.
He took the wrath of God that we deserve upon Himself that we may have peace with Him, be born again with Him, and be seated at the right hand of the Father in Him.
This is the greatest demonstration of the love of God in history. This is the agapé love of God. This is the love of God that only comes from the Spirit of God.
This love of God is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is the only way we can love God. It is how God relates to us, how much God loves us, and it is how we can love each other.
The agapé love of God is the most important concept to understand in all of the Scriptures. It is the most important fruit of the Spirit, as it describes God Himself and shows us how we live our lives in perfect union and communion with Him.
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5, and it is the most important of all, as it represents the heart of God and is the same word for love used to describe the love that God has for us.
Love is from God, and God is love. This fruit is only from the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to make this fruit a reality in your life. It is the best way a Christian can live, but it cannot be cultivated; it can only be received from God.
More On The Fruit Of The Spirit
Would you like to learn more about the other characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit? Well, I have completed a series on all 9! I hope you enjoy them.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…