What does the word patience mean in the Bible?

Patience means forbearance and long-suffering. This is a rare virtue in a world where impatience and intolerance prevail. Solomon the wise said, “The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23).

Christians who have this attribute understand that all humans are weak and may manifest errors due to our inherited sinful nature. To these erring ones the believers are to, “Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another” (Ephesians 4:2 also Colossians 3:12).

Patience is opposed to haste, or passionate expressions, and to irritability. “Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace” (Proverbs 15:18). Patience allows people to harbor a state of mind that enables a man to be quiet when wrongfully accused, and even persecuted (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:2; 2 Peter 3:15; Matthew 26:63; 27:12, 14; Matthew 5:10–12).

This virtue also means that we are to quietly submit to God’s will. “I waited patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry” (Psalms 40:1). For the Lord grants His blessing in His own timing. “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—And it is best to learn this patience in our youth” (Lamentations 3:25-27).

Finally, patience is closely connected to trust, hope, faith, love and good character. “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Therefore, Paul admonished the believers who are waiting for the coming of Christ “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times” (Romans 12:12); “You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8).

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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