The Fruit of the Spirit and 1 Corinthians 13

Understanding God's Word
Note: This sermon series is now available in book form. Click the image to view on Amazon.

Click here for more books in the Understanding God’s Word series.
There is a reason love comes first in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Love is not only the greatest commandment and the most important thing of all, but it contains all the other fruit as well.

We see this in Paul’s beautiful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Paul writes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Here is a chart showing how each of the fruit of the Spirit correspond with Paul’s various descriptions of love here in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love = the whole description in verses 4-7
Joy = “Love rejoices with the truth.” (v. 6)
Peace = “Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (v. 4)
Patience = “Love is patient.” (v. 4)
Kindness = “Love is kind.” (v. 4)
Goodness = “Love does not delight in evil.” (v. 6)
Faithfulness = “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (v. 7)
Gentleness = “Love is not rude, … it keeps no record of wrongs.” (v. 5)
Self-control = “Love is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered.” (v. 5)

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – they are all there in 1 Corinthians 13 because they are all part of the first fruit of love.

I also like how the preacher Donald Barnhouse describes each of the fruit of the Spirit as all springing from the one fruit of love. He writes:

Love is the key.
Joy is love singing.
Peace is love resting.
Patience is love enduring.
Kindness is love’s touch.
Goodness is love’s character.
Faithfulness is love’s habit.
Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness.
Self-control is love holding the reins.

Love comes first because love is the greatest commandment. Love is the greatest thing of all. Love is the first fruit which contains all the others.

From the message series: The Fruit of the Spirit: Growing More Like Jesus

Related message: The Fruit of Love

Related post: Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit