About a week ago we began a new series that has a connection to the previous series, ‘fruit,’ in its metaphorical manifestation. It consists of the qualities noted in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruits of the Spirit. If you missed the Hebrew Word from the Lord titled ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ we recommend that you read it now. You can find it in a previous email from about two weeks ago. The ninth fruit of the Spirit is modesty ‘hatz•ne•a le•chet.’
This is actually an expression that means ‘walk modest.’ Its first part, hatz•ne•a, means ‘act with modesty,’ while its second word, ‘le•chet,’ means ‘walk’ and ‘in your ways.’
In most English versions of the New Testament, the translation of hatz•ne•a le•chet in the reference to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23 is either ‘temperance’ or ‘self-control.’
This is not an accurate translation, neither in modern nor in ancient Hebrew. The correct meaning is quite synonymous to yesterday’s word: meekness, humility, modesty. Attributing hatz•ne•a le•chet to ‘self-control’ may have served a legitimate social purpose at a certain time in history, but we clearly state here that this is not what the Bible meant. See the only reference to the expression in the Old Testament:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love loving mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Obviously, there is no request here to exercise self-control or temperance before God.
Likewise, in Titus 2:5 the instruction is modesty and that’s what the King James translation suggests:
“To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home.”
Here, too, there is no request for temperance. Perhaps the habits of alcohol and drugs of latter times have affected the understanding of this fruit of the Spirit, but if we want correctness, we should adhere to the biblical intentions, as they are well reflected by the Hebrew language.