The Bible has many verses on patience. What are some of the most prominent verses and what do they mean in application to the believer today?
The word patience in the Hebrew is “qavah” which means “to wait for, to look for, to hope, or to expect.” All of these words in themselves are very descriptive of patience. In the Greek, it is used most often as “hypomenō” which means “to remain, to abide, to preserver, endure, or to bear bravely and calmly.” Again, these words fit nicely with the word patience and so if we see what the word patience could mean throughout the Bible, we could say that, biblically speaking, patience is: waiting for, looking and hoping for, expecting, persevering, enduring, bearing, remaining and abiding. If you see how God is patient, particularly with us, you can see that He is the epitome of patience. What are some Bible verses that Christians can apply that have to do with patience?
Top 7 Patience Bible Verses
Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.”
The idea of being “still before the Lord” to “wait patiently for Him” is a command in this Psalm. Here we are seeing the patience when we regard the one who is prospering and “carries out evil” meaning that we must bear this and remain steadfast for all will stand before the Lord to give an account someday (Rev 20:11-15) and it will not go well with those who have not trusted in Christ. This is what we are “waiting for, looking for, and expecting.” God is just and as a just Judge, all will be made right. We must leave judgment to God and be patient and not allow our impatience to get the best of us vengeance is the Lords (Rom 12:19).
James 5:7-8 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Once again we are told to be patient “until the coming of the Lord” because even a farmer must be patient and not seeing the unseen seed the farmer knows that its time will come and so he or she is patient in this sense. The patience James talks about is the patience to be waiting, expectantly, on the Lord’s coming, which James emphasizes twice and every time you see something mentioned twice, God wants us to see its importance.
Revelation 14:12 “Here is a call for the patience of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
Even when you are persecuted, we should rejoice (Matt 5:12) because they persecuted Jesus, even to death, so don’t grow weary in doing good (Gal 6:9) because “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” and not giving up is enduring patiently. In Revelation 14:12 John is writing that the patience of the saints is equal to that of keeping the commandments of God and their faith in Christ. Obedience is not easy and we can’t keep them perfectly but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to obey them and it takes patience with ourselves and with others.
Romans 15:4-5 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.”
Here Paul ties in patience with reading the Scriptures that we “might have hope” and a lack of patience could be a lack of being in the Scriptures. I don’t know how often I have counseled with someone about their quick temper and I ask them, did they begin the day with the Scriptures and with prayer? Are those an everyday thing for you as Jesus said we must ask for our daily bread, each and every day? The Scriptures have the power to change our attitudes and the “washing of the word” (Eph 5:26) is part of our sanctification.
Romans 2:6 “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
Every Christian today will be rewarded for their works on earth. We are not saved by works but a faith that saves works. Good works are a natural byproduct of our faith. The patience in well-doing must be understood that the glory, honor, and immortality will not come until He returns with His reward for us. We may not be rewarded as much in this life, although obedience frequently produces better consequences, but patience is more easily retained when we live with the end in mind.
Proverbs 25:15 “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.”
When I read this I thought of the employee in dealing with their employer who through patience might be persuaded. Solomon writes this in conjunction with using a “soft tongue” so the idea is that with patience, a soft voice and gentle words, someone can more easily be persuaded to make a decision or a choice that you want them to make. It’s interesting that the author said that “a soft tongue will break a bone” but we could read it in the Hebrew vernacular as being “a soft voice can break a bone” or with gentleness and respect, even a strong bone (hard headed person or a difficult decision?) can be persuaded but only if accompanied by patience..that is, sometimes it takes a lot of time.
First Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
This last verse is particularly special to me because after we admonish the idle (lazy?), encourage the fainthearted (fearful?) and help the weak (in the faith and the elderly?) Paul tells us to do these things patiently. I have never failed to gain understanding from an elderly person who may take longer saying something but it is worth the wait. I visit nursing homes and they frequently speak a little slower but like gold is formed over longer amounts of time, these nuggets from these seniors are so valuable because experience is a good teacher and they have a lot to tell. Also, for those who are fearful, have doubts about their salvation, and may lack assurance, it may be because they are new in the faith and it takes time to grow in the faith so patience is not only a virtue, it is a necessity with the very young or new believer and with those who are our elders.
If you want patience then ask God for it. God is patient with us but for those who haven’t trusted in Christ yet and have failed to repent, God’s wrath is pounding against the dam of His patience but sooner or later, His justice will break in pieces the wall of His mercy and the fury of the judgment of God will come pounding down all around every unrepentant sinner in this world. Today may be your day to become a child of God and be pardoned from that day that is coming. That is my prayer for you, if you are not already save.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon