Introduction: Raspberries are my favorite fruit. Although I like all
common fruits, I faintly recall an exotic fruit I did not like
because of its bitter taste. If I had to rank the fruits of the
Spirit, meekness would not be my raspberries! Consider Jesus’
statement in Matthew 5:5 that the meek will inherit the earth. How
can that be right? I thought it was the aggressive and hard-working
who were successful. I’ve never read a self-help book that suggested
meekness as the road to success. A further problem with the idea of
being meek is that most translations (including the NIV) translate
the Greek as “gentleness,” rather than meekness. What does it mean
to be “meek” when dealing with the world? What does it mean to be
“meek” when dealing with fellow Christians? Let’s explore these
mysteries and this unpopular fruit by diving into our study of the

  1. A Meek God?

    1. Read Matthew 11:28-30. We have examined this text several
      times during this series of studies. The word the NIV
      translates as “gentle” is translated as “meek” in other
      Bibles. Does meek look good here? Would you prefer to
      have Jesus use a different term? (I like gentle or meek
      here, because Jesus is dealing with me!)

      1. One commentator wrote “Meekness is the absolute
        ceasing to fight for our agenda and believing that
        God will fight on our behalf for His.” What do you
        think about that statement? (My first reaction was,
        “That’s crazy!” My next reaction was, “If our
        agenda is not God’s agenda, I guess this makes

        1. What if we are trying to make God’s agenda our
          agenda – should we stop fighting?

        2. Notice that Matthew 11:29 offers “rest” for our
          souls. What does this suggest about learning
          gentleness (meekness) from Jesus? (That this
          fruit of the Spirit is the key to rest. It is a
          lot easier to rest if we are not fighting!)

        3. The text suggests that Jesus’ meekness makes
          our life better. How? (We discussed the idea of
          Jesus being gentle with us, but Jesus says
          “learn from Me.” There is something about the
          meekness of Jesus that will improve our life.
          Let’s turn to that next.)

  2. A Meek You?

    1. Read Ephesians 4:1-3. Recently, I read a blog attacking
      my church. The writer claimed to have been a member of
      the church, but I noticed that the writer always made an
      error in writing the name of the church. I wrote a
      response saying essentially “If you do not even know how
      to write the name of the church, how can you claim to
      know enough to criticize it?” My “meek and humble”
      message: you are an ignorant dolt. The blog author wrote
      an angry response and the whole endeavor was likely a
      complete waste of time.

      1. What kind of approach would Ephesians 4:1-3 suggest
        when someone who attacks your religious beliefs or
        your church?

      2. What if you are dealing with ignorant dolts, and
        your thinking is much sharper than the that of the
        people attacking your beliefs? How does that fit
        with the instruction to be “completely humble?” (If
        you are thinking you are a lot smarter, that is not
        a completely humble attitude, right?)

      3. The easy thing is just to ignore people who are
        annoyingly wrong. How does that fit the direction to
        be “bearing with one another in love?” (Some
        judgment is called for here in “bearing” with
        others. While ignoring someone is often an insult,
        sometimes that is the only way to avoid an
        unproductive dispute. We need to decide what would
        advance love.)

      4. Does Ephesians 4:3 give me an excuse for my blog
        behavior since we are called to be humble, gentle
        and loving with fellow members? People who attack
        the church and pagans in the world had better watch

    2. Read 1 Peter 3:15-16. Who is being answered here – a
      church member or the world? (The world!)

      1. How does this suggest that we should answer? (With
        gentleness (meekness) and respect!)

      2. How does Peter suggest that the world will treat us?
        (They will be malicious, but we should respond in a
        gentle way. The idea is that our gentle answer will
        cause them to be ashamed of their maliciousness.)

    3. Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26. In this text are we dealing with
      people who know the truth and are logical? (No. These are
      people who do not know the truth and who engage is
      foolish and stupid arguments. These are ignorant people
      who are not too bright. They make ridiculous arguments.)

      1. What kind of approach should we take with them?
        (Gentle instruction. Meek instruction!)

      2. How can you win any arguments this way? How can you
        show them how stupid, ignorant and ridiculous they
        are? (Notice verse 25, God grants them repentance.
        These texts have opened up my eyes about how I’ve
        been missing the mark! My goal has been to show how
        the pagan’s position is illogical and silly. Any
        reasonable person should laugh at their ideas. But
        the idea that I can win their heart and mind by
        making them look foolish is much like the idea that
        I can earn my own salvation.)

    4. Recall that we started with Matthew 11:29 which said that
      if we learned meekness and humility from Jesus we would
      have rest? Think about the last time you got into a
      heated debate about your faith. Did you experience rest?
      (I get annoyed when someone attacks Christianity or my
      specific faith. However, if I lob a “logic grenade” back,
      and they return with any angry response, I’m more
      agitated then if I just read the attack and did nothing.)

  3. The Inheritance of the Meek

    1. Read Philippians 2:5-7. Why do you think Jesus came to
      earth and made Himself “nothing?” He had all the right
      and authority to at least come as royalty! (Read Hebrews
      4:15-16. Jesus came to earth in such a way that none of
      us can say that He had some earthly advantage over us.)

    2. Read Philippians 2:8. When I think of being meek, I think
      of giving up my right to be respected. Is this what Jesus
      did? (Certainly some people did not treat Jesus with
      respect, but I don’t think that was His goal. Instead,
      His goal was to be like us – not to have the advantages
      of wealth, position, and power that the average person
      does not have. Hebrews emphasizes the idea that Jesus
      experienced what we experience.)

      1. How do we apply this concept to our life?(When we
        argue and defend the faith from the point of view of
        superiority: that the other side is stupid, ignorant
        and evil, we take a much different approach than
        that of Jesus when He came to earth.)

    3. Read Philippians 2:9-11. When we started out in this
      lesson, I pointed out that no self-help book that I know
      about argues that we should be meek to win. Yet, Jesus
      says in Matthew 5:5 that the meek will inherit the earth.
      How did that happen for Jesus? (God the Father intervened
      and makes things right.)

    4. Read Psalms 37:7-11. How does this suggest that the meek
      will inherit the earth? (God wins their battle. He
      destroys the wicked. Only the meek are left standing.)

  4. What About Defenders?

    1. Should we just meekly accept whatever unjust thing takes
      place on earth? Read Psalms 82:3-4 and Matthew 5:38-42.
      Can you reconcile those two texts? Should we ignore the
      Old Testament text on the basis that it has been
      superceded? (The two texts can be reconciled. One speaks
      of standing up for your own rights, and the other speaks
      of standing up for the rights of others who need help. If
      I am not right on this, then I need to quit my law job
      defending the little guy.)

    2. Friend, do you need to change how you relate to those who
      attack and make fun of you and your faith? I have
      definitely been convinced by this study that I need to
      change my aggressive approach in defending the gospel. I
      see now that the idea that we can beat the enemies of the
      gospel into submission by our own skill is all vanity and
      arrogance. God, alone, can change hearts. Will you join
      me in a renewed effort to ask the Holy Spirit to give us
      a meek and gentle attitude?

  5. Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control.