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Holman Bible Dictionary


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An active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. Patience and patient are used to translate several Hebrew and Greek words. Patience is endurance, steadfastness, longhysuffering, and forbearance.

God is patient (Romans 15:5 ). He is slow to anger in relation to the Hebrews (Exodus 34:6 ; Numbers 14:18 , Nehemiah 9:17 ; Psalm 86:15 ; Isaiah 48:9 ; Hosea 11:8-9 ). The Hebrews were frequently rebellious, but God patiently dealt with them. Jesus' parable of the tenants depicted God's patience with His people (Mark 12:1-11 ). God's patience with sinners allows time for them to repent (Romans 2:4 ), especially in the apparent delay of the return of Christ (2 Peter 3:9-10 ).

God's people are to be patient. The psalmist learned to be patient when confronted with the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 37:1-3 ,Psalms 37:1-3,37:9-13 ,Psalms 37:9-13,37:34-38 ). Christians should face adversity patiently (Romans 5:3-5 ). Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 ). Christian love is patient (1Corinthians 13:4,1 Corinthians 13:7 ). Ministers are to be patient (2 Corinthians 6:6 ).

Christians need patient endurance in the face of persecution. Hebrews stressed endurance as the alternative to shrinking back during adversity (Hebrews 6:9-15 ; Hebrews 10:32-29 ). Jesus is the great example of endurance (Hebrews 12:1-3 ). Perseverance is part of maturity (James 1:2-4 ). Job's perseverance is another example for suffering Christians (James 5:11 ). John frequently highlighted the patient endurance of Christians (Revelation 2:2 ,Revelation 2:2,2:19 ; Revelation 3:10 ; Revelation 13:10 ; Revelation 14:12 ). Christian patience is ultimately a gift from God (Romans 15:5-6 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:5 ).

Warren McWilliams

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Patience'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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