Berean Studies / Ber05 - Patience
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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?
R2790 PATIENCE AS AN ELEMENT OF CHARACTER, first four paragraphs
WE WILL not here discuss this verse from the standpoint of its application to the Philadelphia epoch of the Church's history, but will content ourselves with examining the principles implied in its statement, believing, as we do, that the Lord's dealings with his Church throughout this Gospel age follow the same lines, are in harmony with the same principles. Whatever condition, therefore, would be acceptable and pleasing to the Lord as respected the Philadelphia epoch of the Church's history would be acceptable and pleasing to him in respect to ourselves and all others of his people during this age.
Special stress, we see, is laid upon patience-- "the word of my patience," or, the patience which my word inculcates. Examining the word critically we find that two quite distinct words in the Greek are translated by our English word patience in the New Testament; the one is makrothunia (`Heb. 6:12`; `James 5:10`; `Acts 26:3`): this is the word which in a general way corresponds to the common thought of patience, as we speak of it connected with every-day affairs of our lives; it means merely long-suffering, and, indeed, makrothunia is generally so translated throughout the New Testament. (`Rom. 2:4`; `9:22`; `Eph. 4:2`; `Col. 1:11`; `3:12`; `1 Tim. 1:16`; `2 Pet. 3:15`, etc.) But this is not the word used in our text, nor the word generally translated patience throughout the New Testament, viz., hupomonee.
This word, hupomonee, has a much deeper and fuller significance than attaches to our English word patience. It signifies rather constancy,--the thought being an endurance of evil in a cheerful, willing, patient manner. It represents, therefore, an element of character, and not merely a temporary condition or restraint of feeling or action. For instance, a worldly man might have a great deal of patience in connection with the prosecution of his business;--he might be very attentive to his customers, very obliging, very painstaking, and show no dissatisfaction in connection with the inconsiderateness of his customers; and "patience," in its ordinary sense, might be ascribed to his conduct. But the word in our text rendered patience signifies such a development of heart and character as manifests itself in an endurance of wrong or affliction with contentment, without rebellion of will, with full acquiescence in the divine wisdom and love, which, while permitting present evils, has promised to overthrow them in God's due time. We believe it will be profitable for us to examine carefully this element of Christian character, of which our Lord speaks in such high commendation, that recognizing it clearly, we, as his followers, may attain to it more completely, and thus have his more abundant approval.
Since our text mentions this patient endurance as being the Lord's "word" or teaching, let us glance backward to the Gospel narrative, and note the Lord's use of the word in his teaching. Twice it is recorded as a part of his utterance. In `Luke 8:15`, in the parable of the sower, we read: "That [sown] on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [with cheerful endurance, constancy]." The thought here is that in order to be of the fruit-bearing class which the Lord will approve and accept to his Kingdom, it is necessary to do more than to receive the word of his testimony, even tho we receive it with joy--for that class in the parable is represented by the stony ground, which at first gave
evidence of great fruitfulness and vigor, but which, when the sun of persecution arose, withered, because of lack of depth of soil. That stony, shallow soil represents, the Lord explains, a class of hearers who rejoice greatly in the truth, but do not endure, such as cannot withstand persecution or opposition, but wither under it, become discouraged. Such cannot be of the Kingdom class, all of whom must be overcomers.
4. Why is ‘patient-endurance’ so necessary?
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’?
Ro 5:3; R2737 col. 1 ¶6, 7; R3123 col. 1 ¶3; R3281 col. 2 ¶1, 2
(Rom 5:3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
R2737 c1 p 6,7
Such an advanced Christian looks back through the year and recalls life's storms as well as its sunshine, its sorrows as well as its joys, its tears as well as its smiles, and sorrows not as others who have no hope (but who, instead, have more or less of vague fear and dread of the future, both of present life and that which is to come). His troubles have been divested of their hobgoblin features, and minimized by the spirit of a sound mind, and the instructions of God's Word, which assures all such that the trials, difficulties and adversities of life, rightly accepted as lessons, are blessings in disguise,--which will work out "a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory" in the life to come. --`2 Cor. 4:16,17`.
He will perceive too, that his joys have been of a purer and a more solid kind than any he ever knew before he was begotten of the holy spirit. They have not had commingled with them the bitterness of envy, malice and hatred, but have been unalloyed; because they have not been rejoicings in iniquity, but rejoicings in the truth. Moreover, they have been much more numerous than ever before; because he not only is able to joy in the Lord, joy in his Word, joy in the holy spirit, joy in fellowship with brethren of like precious faith, but by the grace of God he has been enabled additionally to joy in tribulation also;--not because he loved tribulation, but because he loved the patience, the experience, the character, which God assures us are a fruitage which all tribulations must yield us under his providence, if we are rightly exercised thereby.-- `James 1:3,4`; `Rom. 5:3`.
R3123 c1 p3
How remarkable it must seem to the worldly, who have never tasted of the joys of the Lord, that these men could thus rejoice in tribulation--rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer afflictions for the cause of Christ! How little the world knows of the peace of God which passeth all understanding, that rules in the hearts of the Lord's people who have grown in his grace and heart-likeness! How little can they appreciate the fact expressed by our Lord when he said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." And again, through the Apostle, "We glory in tribulation, also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts." (`John 14:27`; `Rom. 5:3-5`.) And as these faithful servants of the Lord could rejoice in whatever experiences God permitted to come to them in the discharge of duty, so may we remember that ours is the same God, that he changes not; that he is equally able and equally willing today to grant the sunshine of his favor to those who trust him and seek to walk in his ways. It is the reverse condition that the followers of Christ need to dread, need to fear, as expressed by the poet,