Re: Gal 5:22 hO KARPOS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon May 04 1998 - 22:14:31 EDT

At 8:24 PM -0500 5/4/98, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Ever since Sunday School, I've thought that "the fruit" (hO KARPOS) in "the
>fruit of the spirit" was singular because it was all one thing. Three days
>ago I was saying this to someone else, when a pang of doubt hit...
>I've heard these explanations:
>1. All the items in the list in Gal 5:22 are part of one well-rounded fruit,
>2. The fruit of the spirit is love: joy, peace...., i.e. love sums it all up.
>Is there another explanation for the singular in hO KARPOS? These sound
>just a little forced...

I've always thought that KARPOS is here used in Paul's very common (and
very Jewish apocalyptic) image of the harvest, as, for instance, at the end
of the salutatory prayer in Philippians, where Paul's prayer for that
congregation is that they be (1:11) PEPLHROMENOI KARPON DIKAIOSUNHS TON DIA
IHSOU CRISTOU EIS DOXAN KAI EPAINON QEOU. I don't think this "fruit of
righteousness" is essentially other than what in Gal 5:22 is described as
KARPOS TOU PNEUMATOS. Perhaps there's a compression in the expression, but
I thin the sense is that these things (that Paul mentions) are the harvest
produced by the efficacy of the Spirit in believers. I once thought Phil
1:11 was describing believers as trees loaded with fruit, but I've come
around to thinking that the image is really agricultural: they are a field
that is to be ripe for harvesting at the PAROUSIA, and the "fruitage" is
already evident in these items that Paul mentions in Gal 5:22.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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