How many times is patience mentioned in the Bible? (What does the Bible say about patience?)

One thing that I always make sure to assert during our Bible study sessions is the importance of practicing unwavering patience. Throughout the Bible, this virtue has led to desirable outcomes, and I’m always keen to remind my students of its benefits. So, how many times is patience mentioned in the Bible?

Biblical researchers have estimated that patience has been mentioned nearly 70 times in the Bible. While some of these mentions are direct, like in Proverbs 15:18, some are through stories, like that of Joseph in Genesis 37 or Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 17:1-27.

In this article, I will discuss the meaning of patience, the instances in which it is mentioned in the Bible, and the people who had it in the Bible. I will also look into the various examples of patience in the Bible. Join me as I uncover answers to these and more questions.

What is patience in the Bible?

Gentle tolerance comes to most people’s minds at the mention of the word patience. They think of passive waiting, as would a prisoner with a life sentence waiting to be set free. However, the Bible implies otherwise. Hebrews 12:1 implies that action is a constituent of patience. The verse suggests that we should ‘run with patience,’ where running is the action and patience is the endurance of whatever difficulties come with the action.

The Bible suggests further in Colossians 1:11 that patience is a virtue that is developed by God’s power. The development happens through the trials that we go through every day. According to James 1:3-4, they are His way of helping us perfect our patience, as long as we rely on his perfect will and timing. So, patience in the Bible is the ability to endure difficulties in the course of our daily activities without giving up hope.

Where is patience first mentioned in the Bible?

What does the Bible say about patience?
Where is patience first mentioned in the Bible? Image source: Pixabay

The availability of many Bible translations makes it hard to pinpoint where patience mentioned first in the Bible. Biblical scholars, however, have noted that patience has been practiced by characters in the book of Genesis to the New Testament books. The most straightforward, though not the first, mention of patience is in Galatians 5:22. It recognizes patience as a fruit of the Spirit and a trait of anyone who is seeking to belong to Christ Jesus.

Two of the earliest notable examples of patience in the Bible are the story of Joseph and that of Abraham and Sarah. According to Genesis 37-39, Joseph endured the false accusations that were leveled against him by his brothers and the imprisonment and suffering he underwent in Egypt. Throughout that time, he maintained his trust in God. Genesis 17:1-27 implies that Abraham and Sarah patiently waited for God to fulfill his promise of a child for them. God made the promise to Abraham when Sarah was ninety years old. All that time, Abraham endured and trusted in God’s promise.

Who in the Bible had a lot of patience?

The Book of Job hints that Job had a lot of patience. The idiom “the patience of Job” has been used by many theologians because the story of Job tells of an incomparable amount of patience. James 5:10-11 further implies that the perseverance that Job had, and its fruition are examples of God’s compassion and mercy. Job’s patience is the only one that has been referenced in the New Testament. That goes to show how impactful it was.

Job’s patience is the prime illustration of this virtue because his suffering was so extreme that he lost not just his properties but also his children, and that too in a single day. In addition, he got covered with sores, and his wife kept nagging him to give up. Job 2:12 suggests that when Job’s friends came to see him, they blamed him for what had happened. As if all that he had gone through wasn’t enough, he had people around him who, instead of supporting him, added to his pain. Despite all that, Job endured to the end.

Examples of patience in the Bible

What does the Bible say about patience?
Patience in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

There are several verses in the Bible where patience is mentioned. A few are direct mentions, while others are implications. Examples of those verses are:

Romans 2:4 references the patience God has when he waits for us to repent, patience that we often presume.

Romans 8:25 addresses the patience that comes when we are hoping for something that we do not yet have.

Galatians 6:9 implies that we should not get weary when doing what is right because if we do not give up, we will reap the outcome.

Galatians 5:22-23 mentions patience as one of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Psalms 37:7-9 encourages us to patiently heed God’s word and his teaching because oftentimes, what is wrong seems to prosper but, in the end, fails us.

James 1:2-4 suggests that patience is a product of the trials and testing of our faith.

Proverbs 15:18 says that the result of temper is an argument, but that of patience is peace.

2 Peter 1:5-8 asserts the fruits of the Spirit by stressing that adding qualities of goodness, faith, knowledge, and self-control to endurance is the ultimate way to be active and effective in the knowledge of Christ.

Colossians 3:12 says that patience is a necessity for everyone who is loved by God.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 suggests that the Apostle Paul was filled with gratitude and reflected on the patience that Jesus showed and continues to show towards sinners.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 advises us not to be provoked because anger is a characteristic of fools.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 says that we should encourage those who are fainthearted and be patient with everyone.

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