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?
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?
Heb 12:3; R2313 col. 2 ¶2; R2879 col. 2 ¶1, 2; R2616 col. 2 ¶1; R3543 col. 2 ¶2
(Heb 12:3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
R2313 c2 p2
The narrative of our dear Redeemer's shame, endured so patiently on our behalf, is most touching, and perhaps the relation of it and the reading of it have brought more hearts to repentance than almost anything else. Nor does it lose its power with those who have already accepted our Lord and the redemption which his blood effected: it mellows our hearts every time we consider him who endured such great contradiction of sinners against himself, when we remember that it was unmerited by him, and that it was a part of his sacrifice on our behalf. The Apostle points one of his most forcible lessons with this subject, urging that all of the Lord's followers should consider the meekness, patience and sufferings of Christ, endured most unjustly, lest we should be weary or faint in our minds, when enduring comparatively light afflictions, while seeking to walk in his footsteps. (`Heb. 12:3`.) Again, the Apostle refers to this, in connection with the other sufferings of Christ, saying that he who was rich for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich; that he suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; and that as he laid down his life on our behalf, a willing sacrifice, "we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren."
R2879 c2 p1,2
Combative people will always (while in the flesh) feel a disposition to retaliate; but those who have learned of the Lord the lesson of self-control, and who have developed meekness and brotherly-kindness and pity, will thereby be prepared to fulfil the demands of our text,--to not render evil for evil, or railing for railing. And looking to the Lord as the pattern they will see how it was with him, that "When he was reviled he reviled not again." Not because his enemies had found in him something that could properly and justly be reviled and evil spoken of;-- nor because his enemies were so nearly perfect that he could find nothing in them to revile and speak evil of; but because he was so full of submission to the divine will that he was enabled to take the scoffs and railings of the people, and to bear these humbly and patiently, and to remember that even hereunto he was called, that he should endure patiently and learn the lessons, and prove himself faithful, and develop and demonstrate his true character, and feel and manifest his pity for the people, in their blindness and ignorance, and his love for them.
And so it must be with us as we grow in our Lord's character-likeness. We also will be less disposed to rail at those who rail, and to revile those who revile us. We also will be ready to suffer the loss of all things, and to do so with cheerfulness; yea, even to rejoice in the trials and difficulties of this present time, knowing, as the Apostle declares, that these are working out for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory. We note here the harmony between Peter's statement of this matter and our Lord's statement of it: "Bless them that curse you; bless and curse not" (`Phil. 3:8`; `2 Cor. 4:17`; `Matt. 5:44`; `Rom. 12:14`). So the Apostle says we should rather render blessing. If we have not yet attained to this high standard which is at the end of the race, the mark of perfect love, where we love our enemies and are ready and willing and anxious to bless them, to help them, to desire their uplifting out of darkness and degradation, and to wish and do all that we can in harmony with this, the divine plan, let us not be discouraged; but let us press onward, that as soon as possible we may reach this point, which is the mark of perfected character. For, as the Apostle says, "even hereunto we were called, that we might inherit a blessing."
R2616 c2 p1
The Apostle mentions some of these crosses, and declares that the endurance of them are marks of his faithfulness as a servant of the Lord: "In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings," by dishonor, by evil report, as deceivers and yet true, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things. (`2 Cor. 6:4-10`.) How much our Master knew of being counted a deceiver, while yet he was the true one, of being called Beelzebub, while really the Prince of light! What a cross it must have been to endure such slanderous misrepresentations, and contradictions of sinners against himself; and how faithfully he bore the cross. And shall not all of his followers expect to similarly share this cross with him, and be misunderstood, misrepresented, misjudged, by those who are more or less blinded by the Adversary! Such dishonor, such evil reports, are amongst the things which our Lord specifically declared would be a part of our cross-bearing when he said, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad (in all such cross-bearings), for great is your reward in heaven."
R3543 c2 p2
We may be sure that our Lord's conduct in dealing with Judas is not only a proper outline of what our conduct should be to any of a similar class, but additionally we should note the lesson that the Lord is long suffering toward all who become his disciples, not willing that any should perish, but disposed to do for them until the very last, and to bring to their attention the error of their ways repeatedly, in hope that thus they may be turned therefrom. The latter lesson has associated with it the thought that those who have received the Truth, and who in spite of all the favors connected therewith encourage and develop in themselves the spirit of selfishness, are apt to become so hardened, so calloused, that not even the Master's reproofs and the words of the Scriptures will influence them. This reminds us of the Apostle's words, "It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance"--to a proper course--if once the Spirit of the Lord has been fully subjected to the spirit of selfishness in their hearts.
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 ‘?