Is quoting from the Bible a good idea for an essay on how much we are governed by its rules?

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The following information is based on my own personal Bible Study research when I was at Manchester University and taken from one of my favourite bible references

The Bible Encyclopaedia Insight on the Scriptures Reference Bible Notes

In a short answer - Why Not:

You could pick a subject and write an essay around that:

Example:

Fruitage of God’s SpiritWhat is the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit, and why do we need to be humble if we want to receive the holy spirit?

Scripture References

Ga 5:22, 23; Jas 4:6

Relevant Bible account(s): Ps 143:1, 4-11​—King David, in deep distress, meditates on Jehovah’s activity and prays for holy spirit Lu 11:9-13​

Jesus uses an illustration to remind us of how willing Jehovah is to give his spirit to those who ask for it

CULTIVATE THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

Of cardinal importance to gaining maturity and spiritual well-being is the acquiring of the fruits of the spirit. Cultivating these fruits of the spirit, therefore, should be an integral part of our life as expressed in our daily conduct. What are these fruits or qualities? They are faith, virtue, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, love. “For if these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:5-8) Herein lies the complete outline of the progression to maturity that can be embodied in a Christian’s life, irrespective of age or sex. These beautiful garments of the heart and disposition of the individual are spoken of by the apostle Paul in this way: “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely . . . clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” (Col. 3:12-14) Much more is embraced in these words than just the clothing we wear; it is the maturity of a true Christian that is developed. Herein are described the perfect qualities possessed by Christ Jesus and the spotless example that he set for us.

According to the standards of this world, an individual may have followed an exemplary course, equivalent to that of the young man that came to Jesus and that had kept all the Law, and who undoubtedly was looked to as an example by some, even being loved by our Lord Jesus Christ. “Jesus looked upon him and felt love for him and said to him: ‘One thing is missing about you: Go, sell what things you have and give to the poor, . . . and come be my follower.’ But he grew sad at the saying and went off grieved, for he was holding many possessions.” (Mark 10:21-23) What did he lack? That important uniting quality, love. The equivalent of keeping the Law or just listening to and believing the good word does not in itself bring Jehovah’s approval. More is needed! In the case of this rich man, what proved to be lacking in him was love, and he did not see the need to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Cultivating and gaining maturity. Such a course is not easy and one cannot coast, nor is it a miraculous accomplishment. It is the result of constant application of the mind, studying, thinking, doing, preaching, manifesting the fruits of the spirit, and love toward others. It means constant giving, unselfishly. As one becomes mature one has the opportunity of carrying the burdens of others, which is a Christian responsibility and manifestation of love.—Gal. 6:2.

Christians must show love and build. Love is not just a word to be used promiscuously. It is a word full of expressive meaning. Love is alive, active. An individual who has this quality, love, will show it every day and in everything that he does. “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another take the lead.” (Rom. 12:10) Love, while just one of the fruitages of the spirit, is the principal one. It is basic, fundamental, because all the other fruits of the spirit are different aspects of the expression of love. They all keep love in action. Therefore cultivate these qualities and show forth more love.

Other Fruitages of the Spirit:

Peace is a fruitage of the spirit. One who is peaceful is “free from strife or commotion.” He is serene or tranquil. Peter admonished Christians to “seek peace and pursue it.” The way he told them to pursue this wonderful way of life was like this: “He that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is injurious and his lips from speaking deceitfully, but let him turn away from what is injurious and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Pet. 3:10, 11) For one to enjoy peace with his fellow man he has to watch his tongue. Words can cause a great amount of trouble, especially the injurious ones. Good words establish good relations. But when one starts speaking deceitfully and injuriously, peace soon flees. A peaceful individual, with a peaceful message can talk about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of the heavens and how God will bring “upon earth peace among men of good-will.” (Luke 2:14) A Christian will use his tongue to bless. Paul told the Corinthians: “Live peaceably, and the God of love and of peace will be with you.”—2 Cor. 13:11; Matt. 10:12-14.

Self-control is hard for imperfect men to practice. Why make excuses? Try to exercise it. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. So it must be attainable. To have self-control means to be able to control oneself, one’s actions, words, eating and drinking habits, yes, one’s feelings. In Paul’s eyes one not able to have some self-control gets classified with a rather despicable crowd of people. Those having no self-control he classes with very disreputable individuals who the Bible says would be prevalent in the last days. In writing to Timothy he said: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) Why be classed with such delinquents because of lack of self-control? Solomon wrote: “All his spirit is what a stupid one lets out, but he that is wise keeps it calm to the last.” (Prov. 29:11) If a Christian has no self-control, or loses what he has, how easy for him to slip back to the ways of the flesh and be disqualified so as not to inherit the blessings of God’s kingdom! How foolish, then, not to strive to produce this fruitage too, namely, self-control! One shows love if he has self-control.

Are You Allowing God’s Spirit to Lead You?

WHAT comes to mind when you think of the operation of holy spirit? Do you picture the mighty acts of Gideon and Samson? (Judg. 6:33, 34; 15:14, 15) Perhaps you think of the boldness of the early Christians or the serenity of Stephen as he stood before the Sanhedrin. (Acts 4:31; 6:15) In modern times, what about the joy that abounds at our international conventions, the integrity of our brothers who are imprisoned for their neutrality, and the remarkable growth of the preaching work? These examples all give evidence of the operation of holy spirit.

Does holy spirit operate only on special occasions or under extraordinary circumstances? No. God’s Word speaks of Christians’ “walking by spirit,” “being led by spirit,” and “living by spirit.” (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25) These expressions indicate that holy spirit can continually exercise an influence in our lives. On a daily basis, we should entreat Jehovah to guide our thinking, speech, and actions by means of his spirit. (Read Psalm 143:10.) As we allow the spirit to operate freely in our lives, it will produce in us fruitage that is refreshing to others and that brings praise to God.

Why is it vital that we be led by holy spirit? Because another force seeks to dominate us, a force that opposes the operation of holy spirit. That other force is what the Scriptures term “the flesh,” which refers to the sinful inclinations of our fallen flesh, the legacy of imperfection we have received as descendants of Adam. (Read Galatians 5:17.) What, then, is involved in allowing ourselves to be led by God’s spirit? Are there practical steps we can take to counteract the pull of our sinful flesh? Let us consider these questions as we discuss the remaining six aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit,” namely, “long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Gal. 5:22, 23.

Mildness and Long-Suffering Promote Peace

Read Colossians 3:12, 13. In the congregation, mildness and long-suffering work hand in hand to promote peace. Both of these aspects of the spirit’s fruitage help us to deal graciously with others, to remain calm under provocation, and to avoid retaliating when others say or do unkind things. If we have a difference with a fellow Christian, long-suffering, or patience, will help us not to give up on our brother or sister but to do what we can to heal the breach. Are mildness and long-suffering really needed in the congregation? Yes, because all of us are imperfect.

Consider what took place between Paul and Barnabas. They had worked side by side for years in advancement of the good news. Each had commendable qualities. Yet, on one occasion, there occurred between them “a sharp burst of anger, so that they separated from each other.” (Acts 15:36-39) This incident underscores that even among devoted servants of God, disagreements will at times arise. If a Christian has a misunderstanding with a fellow believer, what might he do to prevent the situation from escalating into a heated exchange that could result in a lasting rift?

6 As is indicated by the phrase “a sharp burst of anger,” the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas was sudden and intense. If a Christian senses that he is becoming angry when discussing a matter with a fellow believer, he is wise to heed the counsel found at James 1:19, 20: “Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath; for man’s wrath does not work out God’s righteousness.” Depending on the circumstances, he might try to change the subject, defer the discussion, or excuse himself before the conversation becomes heated.—Prov. 12:16; 17:14; 29:11.

What are the benefits of following this counsel? By taking time to calm down, pray about the matter, and consider how best to reply, a Christian allows himself to be led by God’s spirit. (Prov. 15:1, 28) Under the influence of the spirit, he can manifest mildness and long-suffering. He is thereby equipped to heed the counsel found at Ephesians 4:26, 29: “Be wrathful, and yet do not sin . . . Let a rotten saying not proceed out of your mouth, but whatever saying is good for building up as the need may be, that it may impart what is favorable to the hearers.” Indeed, when we clothe ourselves with mildness and long-suffering, we contribute to the peace and unity of the congregation.

Refresh Your Family With Kindness and Goodness

Read Ephesians 4:31, 32; 5:8, 9. Like a gentle breeze and a cool drink on a hot day, kindness and goodness are refreshing. Within the family circle, they contribute to a pleasant atmosphere. Kindness is an endearing quality that stems from genuine interest in others, an interest that is manifested in helpful acts and considerate words. Goodness, like kindness, is a positive quality that is expressed in actions that benefit others. It is marked by a spirit of generosity. (Acts 9:36, 39; 16:14, 15) But goodness involves something more.

Goodness is moral excellence. It involves not just what we do but, more important, what we are. Picture a woman preparing fruit for her family, examining each piece as she slices it to make sure that it is sweet and ripe all the way through, without defect inside or out. Similarly, the goodness produced by holy spirit permeates a Christian’s entire way of life.

In a Christian household, what can help family members to treat one another with kindness and goodness? Accurate knowledge of God’s Word plays an important role. (Col. 3:9, 10) Some family heads include a study of the fruitage of the spirit as part of their weekly Family Worship evening. Such a consideration is not difficult to arrange. Using the research tools available in your language, select material on each aspect of the spirit’s fruitage. You might consider just a few paragraphs per week, spending several weeks on each aspect. As you study the material, read and discuss the cited scriptures. Look for ways to apply what you learn, and pray for Jehovah to bless your efforts. (1 Tim. 4:15; 1 John 5:14, 15) Can such a study really make a difference in the way family members treat one another?

A young couple, desiring to make a success of their marriage, decided to make an in-depth study of the fruitage of the spirit. How have they benefited? The wife comments: “Learning that kindness includes both fidelity and loyalty has made a real difference in how we treat each other down to this day. It has taught us to be yielding as well as forgiving. And it has helped us learn to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ when appropriate.”

Another Christian couple, who were experiencing marital problems, realized that kindness was missing in their relationship. They decided to study the subject of kindness together. With what result? The husband recalls: “Our study of kindness helped us to see the need to give each other the benefit of the doubt rather than impute wrong motives, to look for the good in each other. We began to take more of an interest in each other’s needs. Being kind included inviting my wife to express freely what was on her mind without my taking offense at what she said. It meant that I had to set aside my pride. As we began to put kindness into practice in our marriage, our defenses gradually melted away. It was quite liberating.” Would your family benefit from a study of the fruitage of the spirit?

Exercise Faith When in Private

Christians need to allow God’s spirit to lead them both in public and in private. Today in Satan’s world, sordid images and degraded entertainment have proliferated. This poses a danger to our spirituality. What is a Christian to do? God’s Word counsels us: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” (Jas. 1:21) Let us consider how faith, another aspect of the spirit’s fruitage, can help us to remain clean before Jehovah.

Faith means, fundamentally, that Jehovah God is real to us. If God is not real to us, wrong conduct will be just a short step away. Consider what happened among God’s people in ancient times. Jehovah revealed to the prophet Ezekiel that detestable things were being done in private, saying: “Have you seen, O son of man, what the elderly ones of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each one in the inner rooms of his showpiece? For they are saying, ‘Jehovah is not seeing us. Jehovah has left the land.’” (Ezek. 8:12) Did you notice what contributed to the problem? They did not believe that Jehovah was aware of what they were doing. Jehovah was not real to them.

15 In contrast, consider the example of Joseph. Although away from his family and his people, Joseph refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife. Why? He said: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” (Gen. 39:7-9) Yes, Jehovah was real to him. If God is real to us, we will not view unclean entertainment or do anything else in private that we know displeases God. Our resolve will be like that of the psalmist who sang: “I shall walk about in the integrity of my heart inside my house. I shall not set in front of my eyes any good-for-nothing thing.”—Ps. 101:2, 3.

Guard Your Heart by Exercising Self-Control

Self-control, the final aspect of the spirit’s fruitage, enables us to say no to things that God condemns. It can help us to guard our heart. (Prov. 4:23) Consider the scenario found at Proverbs 7:6-23, which describes how “a young man in want of heart” succumbs to the wiles of a prostitute. He becomes ensnared after “passing along on the street near her corner.” Perhaps he ventured into her neighborhood out of curiosity. All too quickly, he fails to discern that he is being led into a foolish course that “involves his very soul.”

How could the young man have avoided this disastrous mistake? By heeding the warning: “Do not wander into her roadways.” (Prov. 7:25) There is a lesson for us: If we want God’s spirit to lead us, we need to avoid placing ourselves in the path of temptation. One way a person could wander into the foolish course of the “young man in want of heart” is by aimlessly flipping through television channels or surfing the Internet. Whether intentionally or not, he might well chance upon sexually stimulating scenes. He could gradually develop the unclean habit of viewing pornography, with devastating consequences to his conscience and his relationship with God. It could involve his very life.—Read Romans 8:5-8.

Of course, we can and should exercise self-control by taking immediate action if we are confronted with a provocative image. But how much better if we avoid the situation in the first place! (Prov. 22:3) Setting appropriate safeguards and adhering to them involve the exercise of self-control. For example, keeping the computer in an open area can serve as a protection. Some find it best to use the computer or watch television only when others are present. Others have decided not to have access to the Internet. (Read Matthew 5:27-30.) May we take whatever measures are necessary to protect ourselves and our family so that we can worship Jehovah “out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy.”—1 Tim. 1:5.

The fruitage produced through the operation of holy spirit brings many benefits. Mildness and long-suffering contribute to peace in the congregation. Kindness and goodness promote family happiness. Faith and self-control help us to remain close to Jehovah and clean before him. Moreover, Galatians 6:8 assures us: “He who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.” Yes, based on Christ’s ransom, Jehovah will use holy spirit to impart endless life to those who allow themselves to be led by the spirit.

Are the qualities listed at Galatians 5:22, 23 the only aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit”?

Those verses list nine Christian qualities: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” We need not, though, view those as being the only fine qualities that God’s spirit can help us to develop.

Note what the apostle Paul wrote in the preceding verses: “The works of the flesh . . . are sexual immorality, uncleanness, brazen conduct, idolatry, spiritism, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these.” (Gal. 5:19-21) So Paul could have mentioned other things as being “works of the flesh,” such as those referred to at Colossians 3:5. Similarly, after listing nine good qualities, he stated: “Against such things there is no law.” So Paul was not trying to list all the fine qualities that we can cultivate with the help of holy spirit.

This is apparent when we compare this list with what Paul wrote to the congregation in Ephesus: “The fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph. 5:8, 9) Yes, “goodness,” along with righteousness and truth, is part of “the fruitage of the light,” but it is also an aspect of “the fruitage of the spirit.”

Similarly, Paul urged Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, and mildness”—six fine qualities. (1 Tim. 6:11) Only three of those (faith, love, and mildness) are mentioned as aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit.” Timothy would, however, also want the help of the spirit to develop the other qualities mentioned: righteousness, godly devotion, and endurance.—Compare Colossians 3:12; 2 Peter 1:5-7.

Hence, it is not that Galatians 5:22, 23 sets out a complete list of Christian qualities. God’s spirit can help us to develop the nine aspects listed as “the fruitage of the spirit.” But there are more qualities to be cultivated as we grow in Christian maturity and “put on the new personality that was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”—Eph. 4:24.

Fruits of the Spirit By List:

LOVE

JOY

PEACE

PATIENCE

KINDNESS

GOODNESS

FAITH

MILDNESS

SELF-CONTROL

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