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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Patience

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Among the many qualities that the Spirit of God develops in the life of believers is that of patience (Galatians 5:22). Some older English versions called it longsuffering, and at times forbearance. Patience is that quality of character that develops within believers as they learn to put up with people and things that test, try or annoy them (Romans 5:3-4; Ephesians 4:1-2; James 1:3-4). The specific feature of Christian patience is that believers exercise it in a spirit of love, joy, humility and forgiveness (1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Colossians 1:11; Colossians 3:12-13; cf. Matthew 18:23-35).

Patience is a characteristic of God himself. He is patient with sinners, withholding his judgment and providing instead a way of salvation (Psalms 103:8-9; Jonah 4:2; Romans 3:25-26; 1 Peter 3:20). Those who respond to his patience in faith and repentance receive his forgiveness; those who despise or ignore it fall under his punishment (Exodus 34:6-7; Romans 2:3-4; Romans 9:22; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Peter 3:9).

Jesus was the perfect example of forbearance and longsuffering (Matthew 26:50-53; Luke 9:51-56; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:21-23). His example assures Christians that patience is more than tolerance; it is endurance and steadfastness (2 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 12:3). God’s people must be prepared to endure insults, hardship, injustice, persecution, suffering and trials of every kind (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4; Hebrews 11:25-27; James 1:12; James 5:10-11). This sort of patience is especially necessary for those who serve God in the work of evangelism and church care (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Timothy 2:24; 2 Timothy 3:10-11; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Patience also means perseverance, whether in particular matters such as prayer (Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2) or in the overall matter of steadfast commitment to the end (Matthew 24:13; Colossians 2:23; Hebrews 10:36). What Christians look for is the return of Christ. Although, in the meantime, they must bear patiently with the trials of life, their expectancy of Christ’s return gives purpose to their perseverance. It is their Christian hope (Hebrews 6:11-12; James 5:7-8; see HOPE; PERSEVERANCE).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Patience'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/p/patience.html. 2004.

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