Wondering What the 12 Fruits (or Gifts) of the Holy Spirit Are?

When a person lives according to their “flesh” or sinful nature, it produces results that are consistent with their fallen condition. When a person lives according to the Holy Spirit, it has different effects that are consistent with God’s righteous standards. Galatians 5:16-26 compares these different ways of life, contrasting the desires of the flesh with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The 12 gifts of the Holy Spirit are the results of living for God, not the flesh, as the Vulgate translation of the Bible lists them. Standard Protestant and Catholic Bibles, like the King James Version (KJV) and the New American Bible (NAB) translations, mention nine different characteristics or fruit.

What is the Vulgate? Why does it list three additional virtues in Galatians 5:22-23, and what are they? Are the three additions consistent with the Bible’s teaching or contrary to it? How does the Vulgate’s list of fleshly works in Galatians compare to modern Bible translations? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Also see What Is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit? to learn more.

12 gifts Holy Spirit
What characteristics does the Vulgate add to the list? See below

12 Gifts of the Holy Spirit vs 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Officially endorsed, recognized, or widely-used Bible translations in Protestant and Catholic traditions utilize Greek manuscripts, like the United Bible Society text, the Nestle-Aland text, and the Textus Receptus. These Greek texts list nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are referred to in the singular as “fruit” (Gal. 5:22a). The Vulgate’s list of fruit includes 12 characteristics.

What is the Vulgate? The Vulgate is a Latin translation of the Bible. Jerome of Stridon (342-420 A.D.) produced the translation from available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts in the 4th century. Historians teach that the Vulgate was the most influential Bible translation for a millennium, from the 5th century to the 16th. Church leaders used it in services, and Christians read it at home for private study. [1]

What gifts does the Vulgate add to the list? As the chart below reveals, Greek manuscripts that Protestant and Catholic translations use list nine characteristics, while the Vulgate mentions 12 (Gal. 5:22-23). The three characteristics that the Vulgate adds are faith, modesty, and chastity.

1charity (caritas)love (ἀγάπη)
2joy (gaudium)joy (χαρά)
3peace (pax)peace (εἰρήνη)
4patience (patientia)patience (μακροθυμία)
5benignity (benignitas)kindness (χρηστότης)
6goodness (bonitas)goodness (ἀγαθωσύνη)
7longanimity (longanimitas)faithfulness (πίστις)
8mildness (mansuetudo)gentleness (πραΰτης)
9faith (fides)x
10modesty (modestia)x
11continency (continentia)self-control (ἐγκράτεια)
12chastity (castitas)x

Also see What Does the Holy Spirit Do? to learn more.

Holy Spirit
What are the works of the flesh? See below

Is the Vulgate in error?

The additions in the Vulgate don’t suggest general theological misdirection because faith, modesty, and chastity are holy virtues, according to the Bible. Readers who desire to demonstrate these characteristics won’t be led astray but will grow in godliness. While heretical teaching isn’t the danger, critics contend that translation accuracy is.

Many theologians and commentators have also pointed out that the list of characteristics isn’t intended to be exhaustive but representative. Though there is danger in adding to Scripture, there isn’t danger in considering other biblical virtues that aren’t listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

The Apostle Paul ends the passage by instructing readers to walk with God and support other Christians who are. Galatians 5:24-25, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Author Scott Hafemann writes, “It is inconceivable to think that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead would come into our lives and then do nothing. Where the Spirit is at work, our love and its ‘fruits of righteousness’ abound ‘more and more as we mature in our dependence upon Christ (Phil. 1:9-11).” [2]

Also see What Are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit? to learn more.

worship Holy Spirit
Why does the KJV have a different sin list than the ESV? See below

What are the works of the flesh?

In Galatians 5:16-22, Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh, i.e. the sinful nature.

About the works of the flesh, he writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal. 5:16-18, ESV).

Galatians 5:19-20VulgateKJVESV
v. 19fornicationAdulteryx
v. 19uncleannessfornicationsexual immorality
v. 19immodestyuncleannessimpurity
v. 19luxurylasciviousnesssensuality
v. 20IdolatryIdolatryidolatry
v. 20witchcraftswitchcraftsorcery
v. 20enmitieshatredenmity
v. 20contentionsvariancestrife
v. 20emulationsemulationsjealousy
v. 20wrathswrathfits of anger
v. 20quarrelsstriferivalries
v. 20dissensionsseditionsdissensions
v. 20sectsheresiesdivisions
v. 21enviesEnvyingsenvy
v. 21murdersmurdersx
v. 21drunkennessdrunkennessdrunkenness
v. 21revellingsrevellingsorgies
v. 21and such likeand such likeand things like these

Pastor and theologian J.C. Ryle writes, “The Spirit is compared to the wind, and, like the wind, He cannot be seen by our bodily eyes. But just as we know there is a wind by the effect it produces on waves, and trees, and smoke, so we may know the Spirit is in a man by the effects He produces in the man’s conduct.”

Ryle continues, “It is nonsense to suppose that we have the Spirit, if we do not also “walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25). We may depend on it as a positive certainty, that where there is no holy living, there is no Holy Ghost.” [3]

Also see What Is A Jezebel Spirit? to learn more.

[1] Source
[2] The God of Promise and the Life of Faith by Scott Hafemann. p. 216.
[3] Holiness by J.C. Ryle. p. 50-51.

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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