Holman Bible Dictionary


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; Psalms 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 (Psalms 37:1-3,Psalms 37:9-13,Psalms 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 (1 Corinthians 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 2:19; 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.