Berean Studies / Ber05 - Patience
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Single Click a triangle below to see the references CT Russell selected for the associated question. The study questions (with the references) are also included as an attached Adobe PDF file at the bottom of this page.
1. What is the importance of Patience as an element of Christian character?
2. What is the common significance of this word?
3. What is the deeper significance of this word as used in Scripture, especially in Rev 3:10 and Luke 8:15?
4. Why is ‘patient-endurance’ so necessary?
R2791 c2 p1,2
THE NECESSITY FOR PATIENT ENDURANCE.
Here the question properly arises, Why is this so? In what sense is such endurance necessary? We answer that it is one of the conditions which God has attached to the call to joint-heirship in the Kingdom, and the wisdom of this is manifest when we consider the work to which we are called--the work of blessing all the families of the earth, as God's Millennial Kingdom, under and in joint-heirship with our Lord. That will be a great work, and it is eminently proper that the Lord should demand that those whom he would account worthy of it shall not only appreciate his goodness and his character, and prefer these to sin and iniquity, but that they should demonstrate their thorough loyalty to these principles to the extent of a joyful willingness to suffer on behalf of right, to endure patiently. A transitory endurance of one or two or three brief trials would not prove the person to have established character for righteousness; but a patient, cheerful endurance even unto death, would prove and demonstrate such a character.
We might illustrate this with the diamond. Suppose that we were able to make diamonds out of some plastic material, so that they would have the full diamond measure of brilliancy; and suppose that they became hard, but not so intensely hard as the diamond, would they have the value of the diamond? By no means. And so with the Christian; if we should suppose him possessed of every grace of character that could possibly belong to the sons of God except this one of firmness, of endurance, he would not be fit to be numbered amongst the Lord's jewels. Hence the Lord's demand is that the quality of firmness, cheerful endurance of whatever his providence may permit, shall be a characteristic of all those who will be fit for the Kingdom.
5. What is the relation between patient- endurance and self-control ?
6. How should we endure our trials and thus ‘possess our souls’?
7. What is the relation between faith and patient-endurance?
8. Why should we ‘glory in tribulation’?
9. What particular thoughts constantly kept in mind will enable us to be ‘patient in tribulation’?
10. Does faithfulness to our covenant of self- sacrifice demand patience?
11. How should we meet persecution and opposition?
12. How can we be ‘patient toward all ‘?
13. Why is there special need of patience in the Harvest of the Gospel age?
14. Is it possible to pervert the grace of patience?
15. Why does the Apostle rank patient-endurance above even Love ?
Ti 2:2; 2Ti 3:10; R2723 col. 1; R2791 col. 2 ¶3, 5; R2792 col. 1 ¶1
(Tit 2:2) That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
(2Ti 3:10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
THE APOSTLE PAUL penned the words of our lesson, instructing Titus, an overseer (bishop) of the Church--ministering to the believers in the island of Crete. The instructions are not intended for, nor applicable to others than consecrated believers, and refer specifically to six classes in the Church at Crete. (1) The elderly men--not merely the aged, but rather the advanced, the matured, who doubtless oftenest would be also advanced in years. (2) The aged women --advanced, matured. (3) The younger women. (4) The younger men. (5) Those who, tho freemen in Christ, were bondmen according to the flesh,--servants. (6) To Titus himself. (7) The lesson ends with an exhortation applicable to all classes in the Church.
Titus, as a preacher, should have before his mind a certain standard or ideal in respect to each class in the Church, and should as a wise workman labor to the attainment of that ideal, which the Apostle here brings clearly to his attention,--intimating that instructions along the lines here laid down are in fullest accord with "sound doctrine." It has been claimed by some that the people of Crete were specially degraded and lacking of good character, and that this thought is necessary to the Apostle in giving such an exhortation to those who had left the world and joined themselves to the Lord as his Church. We shall see, however, that every word of the exhortation is quite applicable to the Lord's people today, even tho they live under the most enlightened conditions.
The Elderly Men, the advanced, were to be sober, grave, temperate (moderate)--not light, frivolous and excitable. Not only their years of natural life, but also their years of experience in Christian life, should bring them to conditions of maturity and sobriety. These three qualities would belong to a large extent to their mortal bodies, exercised and influenced by their new minds; but in addition to these there should be three other graces, characteristic of their new natures; viz., soundness in the faith, and in love, and in patience. It is of intention that the Apostle here emphasized (in the Greek) the faith, the love and the patience, for there are various faiths, various loves and various kinds of patience, and he meant to be understood as inculcating the faith, the love and the patience which are of God, and respecting which he is instructing his people through his Word, as it is written, "They shall be all taught of God."
It was not by accident that the Apostle placed "sound in the faith" before "sound in love," for since love is one of the fruits or graces of the spirit of truth, and since one cannot receive much more of the spirit of the truth than he receives of the truth itself, therefore the importance of the truth, in the having of the sound faith.
Often we are told it matters not what a man believes, but matters all how he does; but to this we answer that a sound faith is all-important, not only in shaping conduct, but also in inspiring it. It is only in proportion as we have the truth that we have the sanctifying power: in proportion as we hold errors which vitiate or nullify the truths which we hold, in that same proportion we will be lacking and deficient in the sanctifying power; and hence deficient also in the sanctification itself. We should ever remember and cooperate with our dear Redeemer's prayer to the Father on our behalf, "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."
Neither was it by accident that the Apostle placed love before patience; because, altho patience may be cultivated from a natural standpoint, as, for instance, in the interest of worldly aims and desires, nevertheless, such patience does not affect the heart, but is merely a forcing or curbing of the outside life, and when the force is removed there is a rebound as of a spring, to the original condition of impatience. The patience which will last and become an integral part of character must result from a change of heart: the mainspring of love must first replace the mainspring of selfishness.
R2791 c2 p3,5
This importance of endurance in the Christian character is fully borne out by the Apostle Paul's use of the word; for on more than one occasion he ranks it as above and beyond Love, which we have seen is the "mark" of character for which we are to run,-- the mark of the prize. For instance, in writing to `Titus (2:2`), enumerating the characteristics of the advanced Christian, the Apostle uses the following order: "Vigilant, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity [love], in patience [patient, cheerful endurance]." Tho we have all the other qualities, this final test of patient, cheerful endurance must be passed before we could be accepted of the Lord as members of the "very elect."
It may be asked, How can this quality rank higher than love, if love is the fulfilling of the Law, and the mark of the prize of our high calling? We reply, that patient endurance does not merely come in at the close of our race, but is requisite all the way along the race course. We need this cheerful endurance of the earliest trials in the Christian way, and as we speed along in our race for the mark the spirit of cheerful endurance should be growing stronger and stronger at every step of the journey. It is with us at the first quarter mark, and at the second quarter mark, and at the third quarter mark, and still with us at the fourth quarter mark, the mark of the prize, perfect love. And when we have reached this mark of the race in which we love not only our friends, but our enemies, it is required of us that we shall stand up to the mark faithfully, cheerfully, patiently enduring the tests which the Lord will even then see proper to let come upon us. Hence it is that the Apostle exhorts us, "Having done all, stand"--endure. Having reached the "mark," "Let patient endurance have her perfect work," or "perfect her work." Let patient endurance demonstrate, not only that you have the character, the qualifications of love, demanded in the race for the prize, but also that you have it as an element of character, deep-rooted, immutable, so that you can endure oppositions cheerfully.
R2792 c1 p1
Ah yes! we can see now a reason for the Lord's arrangement that we should have our trial as the Master had his, under an evil environment--that we might not only have the qualities of character, but have them rooted, grounded, established, and that all this should be demonstrated and proven by our cheerful endurance of whatever divine providence shall see best to permit to befall us.
16. What is the relation between patience and ‘enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ’?
17. How are we to run the race for ‘the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus’?
18. Why is patient-endurance the final test ?
19. How is God’s promise to those who ‘keep the word of his patience’ now fulfilled?
20. What lessons do we learn from Jesus’ example of patience?
21. What other notable examples of patience are recorded in Scripture?
22. Is patience an essential quality in an Elder?
23. How can we cultivate patient-endurance?
24. What additional thoughts are suggested by reference to the Topical Indexes of ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘ and the ‘ Watch Tower Bible ‘?