Summary: We are to exercise patience toward others in the same manner in which God has been patient with us.

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As we’ve done each week, we’ll begin with a quick review of several important characteristics of the…


1) Is demonstrated by being not doing

2) Is developed as Christ followers cooperate with the Holy Spirit

3) Is to be delightful to an unbelieving world

The way we do that as a body is reflected in two aspects of our life together in the body:

• The way we treat each other

• Our corporate worship

Today we’ll be focusing on patience as one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. This morning’s story from Home Town Tales is called “Patience. Patience Patience!!!”.

[Read story]


Like we have experienced with the first three elements of the fruit – love, joy and peace – it is essential that we begin by defining what Paul had in mind when he wrote that the fruit of the Spirit is patience. There are two different Greek words that can be translated as “patience” in English:

The first is the Greek word “hupomone”. It is a compound word:

“hupo” [under] + “mone” [to abide] = “to abide under”

It is used in the New Testament to describe bearing up under difficult circumstances. We saw that word used several times in our study of the book of Revelation, where it was translated “patient endurance”. In other places, it is translated “endurance” or “steadfastness”.

But the word that Paul uses to describe the patience as an element of the fruit of the Spirit is a different Greek word – “makrothumia”. It is also a compound word:

“makro” [long] + “thumia” [temper] = “long tempered”

In the New Testament, this word is used in two distinct ways:

1) It describes a spirit that will never give in and which will endure to the end in order to reap the reward.

2) It is used more frequently to describe having patience with other people. When used in that way, it describes a person who has the opportunity to take revenge, but refuses to do so. I really like the way that William Barclay describes this kind of patience:

It is the spirit which can suffer unpleasant people with graciousness and fools without irritation.

Not surprisingly, it is this Greek word – makrothumia – that is used to describe the patience that God has toward us. We’ll see that in some detail a bit later.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the difference between these two words is to look at a passage where the writer uses both words. In some cases in this passage the words are actually the verb from of the two Greek words.

7 Be patient [makrothumiaI], therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient [makrothumia] about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient [makrothumia]. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience [makrothumia], brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast [hupomone]. You have heard of the steadfastness [hupomone] of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

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