As I sat down to research for today’s topic, I realized that somehow we got it on our schedule to post out of order [face palm]. But oh, well. Gentleness is still gentleness even if it is coming after goodness instead of faithfulness. It is what it is, right?
Gentleness is another topic that seems really cut & dry, but there isn’t a lot about what it means or its characteristics. There are a lot of scriptures that point back to gentleness, but not neccesarily the meaning of it. There isn’t even a lot in the Greek that is super helpful to really understanding the meaning. Many of the scriptures swing back around to the same verses. Commentaries don’t seem to have too much to say about it, either. But the most impactful, non-Bible source – to me – was what the Bible Knowledge Commentary had to say:
“Gentleness makes a person submissive to God’s word & is considerate of others when disciple is needed.“
That is also probably the closest to our definition of gentleness as well. But to be gentle is often thought to be weak, isn’t it? Matthew Henry calls gentleness a “sweetness of temper”. And those line up with our views on gentleness. But why is it a fruit of the spirit? What if you’re not the “gentle type”? I can say with absolute certainty that not one person would list gentle as an adjective that discribes me! So where does that leave us?
I am a firm believer in lists & charts & diagrams when you are trying to figure something out or understand better. So grab a piece of paper, on one side write gentleness, on the other write opposite of gentleness. So it would kind of look like this:
Gentleness Opposite of gentleness
Ephesians 4:2-3 is the first scritprue that begins shining some light on gentleness. Go ahead & grab your Bible & look it up. Gentleness is accompanied by 3 other characteristics or actions. Write those 3 things under the appropriate headline on your list.
1 Corinthians 4:21 gives us a really interesting dynamic of the beauty in gentleness. Write it down on your paper as well. Which would be your preference?
Personally a whip or a rod (depending on your translation) does not sound all that fun to me. I choose gentleness.
Galatians 6:1 tells us a situation in which to use gentleness. What is it?
How does 1 Peter 3:15-16 tell us to answer those who ask us about our faith? Write down the other characteristic on your list.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 gives interesting insight into how we should act as servants of the Lord.
Write down those virtues or actions on the appropriate list.
Next, write down what 1 Timothy 3:3 gives in contrast to gentleness or what it says gentleness accompanies (this varies depending on your translation).
Titus 3:1-2 gives a laundry list of qualities that accompany gentleness. Write those on your list.
For the last verse of today, look up what the ESV says for James 3:17. This verse is specifically talking about the character of wisdom, but that includes gentleness as well. Write the characteristics of wisdom on your list.
Now, if you look over your list you can see multiple characteristics that accompany gentleness. It is easy to say what gentleness is: humble, patient, bearing in love, respectful, kind, obedient, doing what is good, peaceable, considerate, pure, open to reason, merciful, impartial, sincere.
While those may not be actual definitions of gentleness, we can agree that those things accompany gentleness & are part of being gentle in spirit.
To close, I issue you a challenge. Looking through your list, highlight the top 3 words you feel like you could work on to strenthen your gentle spirit. Share it below or share it with us on the Instagram or Facebook post.