Introduction: Talking with Christians about the Holy Spirit can
sometimes get pretty confusing. Last week we studied the specific
“gifts” of the Holy Spirit – which to an outsider sounds like the
Holy Spirit might have something in common with Santa Claus. This
week we study the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, which sounds like the
Holy Spirit might have something in common with an fruit tree. How
would you explain the difference between the gifts of the Holy Spirit
and the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Let’s dive into our study of the
Bible and find out!
- Gifts v. Fruit
- Read Galatians 5:22-23. Why is it appropriate to call
“love, joy, peace, etc.” the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit?
This sounds like no fruit I have ever seen in the grocery
market. How do you explain this?
- Read Matthew 7:15-17. How does Jesus use the term “fruit”
in this context? (Just as a tree bears fruit, so people
bear “fruit” in their actions and attitudes.)
- Read Matthew 7:18-19. What does the “fruit” of a person,
say about the person? (Fruit reveals what kind of a person
you are. If you are a bad person, you bear bad “fruit.” A
good person bears good “fruit.”)
- Let’s look again at the subject of our study last week.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. If someone is given the “gift”
of wisdom by the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t the “fruit” of that
be “smart thoughts?” Would not the fruit of the gift of
healing be healthy people?
- If so, why are these not mentioned as “fruits” of the
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. What is the purpose of the
gifts of the Holy Spirit? (The “common good.” The
idea that I see is that everyone has one or more
“gifts” from the Holy Spirit that is used to build up
the church – the body of believers. Thus, saying
that a “fruit” of the gift of wisdom is “smart
thoughts” for the individual is not exactly right.
The idea is that the gift helps others, it does not
just improve the holder of the gift. Everyone works
together with their different gifts to make the
entire church body better.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Notice that this text puts
gifts and fruits together. What is Paul saying about
- Is Paul saying that a person can have a gift without
having a fruit? (Yes, apparently. He also appears to
be saying that things like “smart thoughts” are not a
fruit of the Holy Spirit.)
- If Paul is saying that, what do you think is
wrong with having a gift but not having fruit?
- Let’s look at the examples that Paul gives
us. If someone has the gift of “faith” –
the faith to do special miracles, such
moving a mountain, but does not have love,
why is that a problem?
- Last week we discussed the fact that
not all Christians have all gifts. Is
it possible that “love” is just not
the gift given to this person who can
- If someone with the gift of faith
heals me from cancer, do I care if
that person is loving or not? I
would rather have someone who healed
me from cancer without love than
someone who loved me but was unable
to heal me. “My lawyer (doctor) is
really nice, but basically
- Notice the other example: the gift of
tongues. What did we decide last week was
the purpose of the gift of tongues? (To
- What is Paul trying to tell us when
he says the gift of tongues without
love is like “a resounding gong or
clanging cymbal?” (You hear the
sound, but it doesn’t mean anything
- Have you ever seen someone who had a wonderful, expensive,
powerful tool – but did not know how to use it properly?
I think that illustrates the difference between gifts and
fruits. Gifts are the “tools” that the Holy Spirit gives
to us to promote the common good. Fruits are results in
our personal life of the use of those tools.)
- Are gifts and fruit related?
- Read Matthew 7:21-23. Is this a “gifts” and “fruits”
problem? (Yes. Remember that the fruits demonstrate the
type of tree? Here, people are demonstrating the gifts of
the Holy Spirit, but they did not truly know God. The
fruit of love shows that the person knows God and has a
relationship with God.)
- Friend, if you are a Christian, this is scary stuff,
right? You can exercise the very “top” gifts of the Holy
Spirit, according to Matthew 7, yet not be saved because
your fruit gives you away as not knowing God. That makes
the fruit very important, so let’s turn next to the first
fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.
- First Fruit: Love
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:4. Since cars had not yet been
invented, is there a “driving the car” exception to
patience? Should there be?
- Have you seen someone who obviously had important
gifts of the Holy Spirit, but did not seem to be
patient or kind?
- Would you fall into that category?
- What relationship do envy, boasting and pride have to
each other? (They have in common comparing yourself
to others. Either others are doing better and you do
not like it, or you are doing better and you want
them to know about it.)
- This past weekend my son, Blake, who is the webmaster
and primary funding source of this website
(www.GoBible.org) graduated from Andrews University.
He graduated with the highest honors possible: Summa
Cum Laude and an Andrews Scholar. I mentioned this to
friends (actually, to just about anyone who would
listen) several times before and during last weekend.
Have I sinned in writing this? Was it boasting and
pride that is not love to tell others?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:5. Do you see any relationship
between being rude, easily angered, self-seeking and
keeping score of wrongs? (These are the opposite of being
patient, kind and not proud. If you cannot tell if you are
patient, kind and not boastful, see if you can find
yourself described in verse 5.)
- Why should we not keep a record of wrongs?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:6. What does it mean to delight in
evil? Can you give me an example?
- Would 1 Corinthians 13:6 be a special text for
newspaper editors? (Rejoicing in evil would be to
appreciate the misfortunes of others.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:7. In what way do you think that
love “hopes” and “perseveres?” (As opposed to rejoicing in
the misfortunes of others, instead you hope that they will
do well. You continue to look forward to the day when
things will get better for them.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. In what other way is the fruit
of the Holy Spirit unlike the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
(This text tells us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are
not a constant thing. They come and go. But, the fruit of
the Spirit is something that should be constant in our
- Which do you think is more important, gifts or fruit?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:13. Why is love the greatest of the
fruits of the Spirit?
- Friend, what kind of fruit do you find in your life? If
your “fruit” shows that you are a bad “tree,” then I
invite you today to confess your sins, ask Jesus to save
you and have the Holy Spirit give you good fruit.
- Next week: The Christian Guide.