What Is Gentleness?
- definition:Having the quality of being gentle or tender.
- word forms: adjective 'gentle' means 'considerate in disposition, mild in mood, soft, tender; well-managed, not sudden or rash or angry, taking care not to harm others.'
- synonyms and other words: meekness, tenderness, carefulness/being careful, chivalrous, and kindness.
- word origin: Old French gentil (courteous, noble) < Latin gentilis (of the same family or clan) < assumed Indo-European root gene- (procreation, birth, family). The Old French word (and thus Middle English) inferred that someone had a quality of meekness (Mod. Eng. 'genteel') that was supposed to be characteristic of noble birth or the ruling class - setting aside for the moment their institutionalized ruthlessness. The word "kindness" developed in a like manner, from the same Indo-European root, but through the Germanic side.
- Biblical terms: The Greek term in Galatians 5:22 is prautes, which is about mildness or meekness of spirit, taking care not to cause harm. The Hebrew word is 'anī, which refers mostly to the poor and the humble. Neither the Greek nor Hebrew words imply that the upper class is better, but the English word which translated them (and its Old French counterpart) developed that implication. However, that part of the English word's meaning has been fading out over the past two centuries.
The Bible says this about gentleness:
- Jesus was gentle.
- Be gentle when restoring a follower to fellowship.
- Gentleness is a way of life within a marriage.
- Pursue gentleness!
- God treats us gentle by forgiving us.
- While it's fair to say that the apostle Paul was sometimes quite difficult to deal with, he says to the church in Thessaloniki that he could have asserted apostolic authority, but instead was gentle as a mother with her babies. In 2 Timothy (2:24-26), he instructs Timothy to correct his opponents gently.
- A gentle word turns away wrath.