Bible Truth Examiner


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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

“Superadd to your . . . self-control patience.”

2 Peter 1: 5, 6 (The Emphatic Diaglott)

Our text states that we are to add to our self-control, patience. If there were no obstacles to the Christian course, self-control would be sufficient, but the Christian is confronted by many adverse conditions, so a more muscular grace, patience, is needed to reinforce our self-control. Patience is the strength of character whereby through steadfastness amid obstacles which are cheerfully endured, one presses on and reinforces self-control in well-doing.

Let us study this definition more carefully: (1) patience is strength of character; self-control and patience are the two ingredients of power, and as an attribute of character, the Bible does not mean physical force, but will power; the heart of the meaning of self-control is firmness, whereas the heart of the meaning of patience is steadfastness; some synonyms are perseverance, persistence, constancy and stick-to-it-iveness; (2) the obstacles that are met are not to be met with complaining and murmuring, but must be cheerfully endured; and (3) it presses on – keeps right on doing the Lord’s will, and reinforces self-control in well-doing.

Self-control and Patience illustrated

Let us illustrate the difference between self-control and patience by steam locomotives pulling a long train of railroad cars. Where the road is level, one locomotive is sufficient to pull the train along the track; likewise, where there are no difficulties to our course of well-doing, self-control is sufficient to rule our minds, affections and graces in well-doing. But when a steep grade is confronted, it needs the reinforcement of another locomotive to help it; and by the united strength of both locomotives the steep grade is surmounted. Similarly, when obstacles to our course of well-doing arise, patience is needed to reinforce self-control, so that by the united strength of both of these, the pertinent course of well-doing is traversed successfully.

Contrasts of Patience

The opposite of patience is inconstancy, fickleness and changeableness. This can be shown in one who starts out at doing something, then without proper reason gives it up; later he begins something else, and when obstacles appear, he gives that up. His is an inconstant course.

The perversion of patience is unreasonable and unscriptural persistence. Perverted patience injures all concerned, wrecks character and good works and continually violates principles.

Scriptural Passages and Examples of Patience

Matthew 10: 22: “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” The Emphatic Diaglott more properly renders the word: “He who patiently endures to the end, will be saved.” Endurance alone would not be enough; for it must be an active working as well as a passive endurance that enables us to overcome.

Hebrews 10: 36: “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive [inherit] the promise.” By doing “the will of God” the Apostle means to attain the mark of perfect love – toward God, Christ, the brethren, the world and even our enemies. If after reaching that mark, one is steadfast, not allowing any obstacle coming our way to turn us aside from well-doing, we will most certainly “inherit the promise” of eternal life.

James 1: 2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [trials]; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Let us notice what he says patience will do, if permitted to be active: “But let patience have her perfect work.” Next, he indicates what is accomplished by patience having done her perfect work – “that ye may be perfect and entire” – whole, holy in mind and heart – “wanting” – lacking – “nothing,” having every quality perfectly developed, not having anything absent which we ought to have.  

Some examples of patience include: Job (James 5: 11), Paul (2 Timothy 3: 10), the Thessalonian brethren (2 Thessalonians 1: 4) and John (Revelation 1: 9).

The Advantages of Patience

(1.) Patience reinforces self-control, so that the new will is so strong that it can withstand all the attacks made on it by Satan.

(2.) It assists self-control to break down and destroy the evil characteristics and perversions of our hearts and minds.

(3.) Patience resists all efforts to divert our attention from developing and doing good, and all efforts to engage in evil.

(4.) It accomplishes such a crystallization of every good word and work as no pressure of obstacles can break, thus fitting us for the wonderful Kingdom inheritance.