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What Does the Bible Say About..Variance in the Works of the Flesh?

What does the word variance mean? And what word from the fruits Of the spirit is opposite of it?


"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal 5:19-23)

Your question is obviously about this passage. In verse 20, the word "variance" would better be translated "strife" or "contentiousness". Obviously the next question would be, how does that differ from the word "strife" later in the same verse. Experts on the Greek language would point out that the word there carries the idea of gaining a political advantage through unfair means. From what I can find, a better translation of verse 20 would be, "idolatry, drug use [or sorcery], hatred, strife, jealousy, uncontrolled anger, gaining unfair political advantage [or putting oneself ahead of others], division, heresy."

The fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit are not necessarily opposites of these, as is obvious from the difference in number (17 works of the flesh, 9 aspects of the fruit of the Spirit). The ones which would be closest to opposites of variance/strife would be peace, gentleness, and temperance.

Prior to this Paul has made a point that those who rely on the grace of God through the faith of Christ for their salvation are more at liberty than those who rely on keeping law for their salvation. Here he is saying that this liberty doesn't allow one to do whatever he wants, but that that which a man becomes because of the word of God, the Holy Spirit, is naturally different from what one would desire if he did not have the Spirit. The opposites are not specific items in the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, but instead the opposites are the nature of the fleshly man and the spiritual man. And he concludes by saying that even those who rely on law could never find a law against any of the things that a born of the spiritual mind.