FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT or FRUIT(S)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.
Here is the plain meaning of the text. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." I can well understand that some of you are saying, "Why do you take this one word 'love'?" Because when this one word is uttered there is no more to say. It is perfectly correct to take all the words which follow. The Apostle wrote them under inspiration and with deep significance. You will see at once there is difficulty in the text. It reads, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance." You feel there is difficulty in saying, "The fruit of the Spirit is," and then reciting nine words. Men have recognized the grammatical difficulty of the "is," (singular) and quote the passage, "The fruits of the Spirit are..." That is grammatical. That reads smoothly. Hence the popular supposition that there are nine fruits of the Spirit.
But we have no right to interfere with the text in that way. Our business is to find out what the text really means. The Apostle wrote, "The fruit of the Spirit is love..." It is ONE, NOT NINE! It may be objected that the affirmation does not remove the difficulty in the text. The one thing in your Bible which is not inspired is the punctuation. If I were writing this text out for myself I would feel I was perfectly warranted in changing the punctuation, and I would read it like this: "The fruit of the Spirit is love," and then I should indicate a pause by some means other than a comma, say a semicolon and a dash, and then read on: "joy, peace, long- suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance." The Apostle reaches his climax, and he writes the full and final fact concerning Christian experience in the words, "The fruit of the spirit is love." Then there breaks upon his consciousness the meaning of love, and in order that we may not treat the word as a small word, that we may not pass it over and imagine there is nothing very much in it, that it is merely a sentimental word, he gives us the qualities and quantities and flavors of the fruit by breaking it up into its component parts. To change the figure, the Apostle writes the word "love," and there surges through his soul all the harmonies of the Christian life. It is a great orchestra—love—and he listens and picks out one by one the different qualities of the music, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance.
If you have love you have all these things. If you lack love you lack them all.
As well the whole law is encapsulated in one word "love." God would have never said one word to us from the beginning if not for His love. "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbor as thyself."