"Temperance" or "Self-control" in Galatians 5:23 et al.?
The word for "self" is not in Greek. The Greek "εγκρατεια" is derived from the word "κρατος," which means "strength" (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary). εγ-κρατεια literally means "in-strength" or "strength within" (as opposed to outward physical strength). "Self-control" gives the wrong impression because it is not the "self" that gives this control. εγκρατεια is a fruit of the Spirit, which means the Spirit is the one who does the controlling. Many Christians who struggle with temptations soon realize that the "self" cannot provide this control. Thus a focus on "self-control" is futile. What we need instead is "Spirit-control," which is the very point of the passage in Galatians 5. A Spirit-given "self-control" is inherently contradictory. Temperance is an accurate translation because the word does not focus on the self.
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