The Fruit of Gentleness

The Fruit of Gentleness

The Fruit of Gentleness.

“The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).


(a.) Definition: kind and humble disposition; calm and even-tempered; not needing to force one’s way; peaceable; considerate; reasonable; tender.

(b.) The Fruit is Love. The “fruit” of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is stated in the singular, not the plural “fruits.” This implies that the first and primary virtue noted, Love, is the unifying quality of the Holy Spirit’s work in one’s Christian character. All the remaining virtues in this passage are important aspects of Love. Fruit is meant to be useful. So perhaps Love is the one fruit of the Spirit, and the other qualities listed are Love’s useful qualities, much as with fruit there are aspects such as smell, flavor, color, texture, shape, size, nutrition, ripeness. It can be said then that the useful fruit of the Spirit includes loving-joy, loving-peace, loving-patience, loving-kindness, loving-goodness, loving-faithfulness, loving-gentleness, and loving self-control.

(c.) Tap into the Source. God’s gentleness is the origin of any gentleness coming from us. We can’t manufacture gentleness like this without a divine source. The fruit of the Spirit implies that unless we tap into the vine of Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit’s life in us, there is no hope for producing anything of the sort. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, will surely displace our harsh and forceful ways with that of divine gentleness.

(d.) The Gentleness of the Father.

“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great.”  (Psalm 18:35, TPT).

“He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers his lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart, and he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3).

(e.) The Gentleness of Jesus.

“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” “Now, please listen, for I need to address an issue. I’m making this personal appeal to you by the gentleness and self-forgetfulness of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:1, NIV and TPT).

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”   (Matthew 11:28-29, TPT).

“Tell Zion’s daughter: ‘Look, your king arrives! He’s coming to you full of gentleness, sitting on a donkey, riding on a donkey’s colt.” (Matthew 21:5, TPT)).


Gentleness? Gentleness seems impossible, and not even preferable. Our own human nature makes it very difficult to be gentle in any consistent way. In our weak moments, most of us are not exactly gentle. And gentleness surely runs counter to how things are done in our society. One doesn’t run a business by being gentle. Politicians don’t win an office by being gentle. Competitors don’t realize victory by being gentle. One doesn’t confront an injustice by being gentle. One usually doesn’t win an argument by being gentle. It seems that if one wanted to be successful or any type of cultural influence, a person would need to be the opposite of gentle. But when you study scripture with gentleness in mind, it appears that society has it all wrong. Do you want to be a success in God’s eyes? Be gentle. Do you want to influence people in a positive way? Be gentle. Do you want to reflect God’s character during a conversation? Be gentle. Using scripture as a sort of divine advice column, it is eye-opening to take seriously a survey of Bible verses on gentleness:

A Biblical Q. and A.: The Power of Gentleness

  1. How do I defuse an angry conversation? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1, NIV).
  2. How do I heal communication when it’s broken? “A gentle tongue, with its healing power, is a tree of life, but willful contrariness breaks down the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4, AMP).
  3. How do I get around stubbornness and become persuasive in a conversation? “Use patience and kindness when you want to persuade leaders and watch them change their minds right in front of you. Your gentle wisdom will quell the strongest resistance.” (Proverbs 25:15, TPT).
  4. What kind of image do I want to develop as a leader? “This person cannot be a drunkard, or someone who lashes out at others, or argumentative. Instead this person is someone recognized by his/her gentleness.”  (1 Timothy 3:3, TPT).
  5. How do I keep from quarreling? “Remind the believers that they must not slander anyone and must avoid being contentious. Instead, they should be gentle and conciliatory, and show unqualified courtesy and true humility to everyone.” (Titus 3:2, AMP and NLT).
  6. How do I get along with irritating people? “With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience.” (Ephesians 4:2, TPT).
  7. How do I keep from being so thin-skinned? “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness towards all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.”  (Colossians 3:12, TPT).
  8. How generally should I treat others? “Let your gentleness be seen in every relationship. Let everyone see that you are considerate and unselfish in all you do. For the Lord is approaching; He is coming soon.”  (Philippians 4:5, NLT and TPT).
  9. How do I share the gospel with others? “If anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15, TPT).
  10. Does one have to make a dramatic appearance and be the center of attention to be effective? “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion; Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See,your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.”  (Zechariah 9:9, NIV).
  11. Does authentic power have to be loud, unsettling or harsh? “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a Voice said to him…” (1 Kings 19:11-13, NIV).
  12. Is it really all that wise to be so gentle? “The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere.” (James 3:17, NLT).

After studying all those Q. and A.’s, is it possible for us to be gentle like that, to come up with that kind of gentleness on our own? No. Tap into the Source of gentleness, and the Holy Spirit will gradually develop this fruit within your life and character.