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Bible verses about Longsuffering
(From Forerunner Commentary)

The heroes of today's culture, portrayed in the media as angry, aggressive defenders of democracy, destroy without patience or forethought all opposing forces regardless of their personal qualities. In our impatient, self-centered world, one quality of character has all but perished: longsuffering. Similar to patience and forbearance, longsuffering is the quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation. A person who is longsuffering is not quick to retaliate or promptly punish someone who has insulted, offended, or harmed him. The opposite of anger, it is intimately associated with mercy. Longsuffering is an attribute of God and thus a fruit of His Holy Spirit.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Genesis 20:17-18  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

How long did God forbear with converted Abraham? We are talking about the "father of the faithful"! Verse 17 takes place after everything was all cleared up between him and Abimelech.

How long did it take them to notice that all the women in Abimelech's house were barren? At least a couple months. God did not strike him down for his lie. He gave Abraham a chance to repent, to confess both to God and Abimelech what the truth was, but he never did it. So finally God stepped in, giving Abimelech a dream that told him he was keeping His prophet's wife, and he had better give her back.

Notice God's forbearance. Not only did He do this over a long time, but He kept Abimelech from defiling Sarah. He also kept Abimelech from killing Abraham for lying to the king. God worked everything out. It could have been an awful situation. Isaac might never have lived, because Isaac is not born until the next chapter. God also shows His forbearance with Sarah - call her "the mother of the faithful" - because she was in on the lie. Yet, she is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith.

Perhaps the most astounding fact is that this was the second time that it had happened! Genesis 12:10-20 records that the same thing occurred between Abraham and Pharaoh fifteen or twenty years earlier. How long did God forbear with Abraham? Fifteen or twenty years! He had given Abraham a couple of decades to repent of this sin, but he did not do it - so God tested him again. Eventually, Abraham did repent, but there was a fifteen- or twenty-year period in which God forbore with him in this problem to help him grow in character.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Exodus 34:5-8  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God expounds eleven attributes: YHWH, El, the Merciful One, the Gracious One, the Longsuffering One, the Mighty One, the Kind and Loving One, the True One, the One who Preserves Kindness, the Forgiving One, and the Chastising One.

God gives Moses, not so much a vision of His power and majesty, but of His love, of how He relates to His creation. The real glory of God is His character, His nature, especially toward His children. His names are signposts of His nature, reminders of what we can expect Him to do as we live by faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 34:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God was preaching him a sermon on what He is. The names of God describe Him. They tell us what God is, what He does, and what He will do for us.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Exodus 34:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When God passes before Moses, He preaches him a sermon on His attributes, fulfilling the proclamation of His name. Patience is a major characteristic of our God, and that should fill us with gratitude.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Exodus 34:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God bears long and is slow to anger. Longsuffering is proof of God's goodness, faithfulness, and His desire to grant us salvation. Romans 2:4 describes God as forbearing and longsuffering. Forbearance is refraining from the enforcement of something that is due like a debt, right, or obligation. Longsuffering differs slightly in that its emphasis is on temperament.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Proverbs 8:13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The four examples of evil in Proverbs 8:13, which always end up doing harm, were manifested in Satan, and all of his children continue to exhibit them (see John 8:38, 41, 44). A progression is shown: Pride and arrogance are conditions of the heart, which is where it all starts. Where there is pride in the heart, it will come out in "the evil way," that is in action.

Evil also emerges in words, though it may not always be obvious. Jesus cautions in Matthew 12:34, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in perverse speech, language contrary to the truth of God and to love. James 3:8 declares that "no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." He also says, "If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man" (James 3:2). We can only reach that perfection with God's intervention and help, which, thankfully, we have.

The apostle Paul essentially says that the foundation of good works—particularly within the church of God—is humility or lowliness:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

However, if works are done with pride or arrogance, or for the sake of appearance rather than truth and righteousness, they will cause harm. They may also produce some good, but the account of the Two Trees in the Garden of Eden teaches that, in the context of eternity, a mixture of good and evil is really only evil.

David C. Grabbe
Hating Evil, Fearing God


 

Joel 2:13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God relents from doing harm. His longsuffering is seen in His gracious restraint of His wrath towards those who deserve it. Despite the rebellious condition of the world, He waited patiently for 120 years while Noah built the ark and gathered the animals. God's longsuffering does not overlook anything. Unlike man, God has the end in view. He has true insight, knows what is best, and is not swayed by human emotions.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Jonah 4:2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's patience delays His wrath, allowing time for good to occur. We should also note the other qualities patience is combined with here and in Exodus 34:6. In combination with patience, the qualities of grace, mercy, lovingkindness, goodness, and truth allow God to work with people so they can remain alive and eventually transform into His image. If God struck out at people just as short-fused humans frequently do, no one would be alive today. Jonah, in a typically human reaction, wanted God to wipe the sinners of Nineveh, Israel's enemy, off the face of the earth!

Nineveh was undoubtedly just as full of sinners as Israel. But God, bearing patiently with them in their ignorance, sent Jonah to proclaim His warning message to them: Destruction would fall on them in forty days. They, however, believed the message, proclaimed a fast, prayed mightily to God, repented, and turned from their evil ways. Their repentance may not have been Davidic, but under the circumstances God was pleased.

II Peter 3:9 affirms that God still operates in the same manner:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Romans 2:3-6 discusses the same theme on a more personal basis, warning us that we should not abuse God's patience by viewing it as inattention, indulgence or mere tolerance. Solomon warns of the same perversity of nature that reveals itself in those lacking faith (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13). Clearly, God's patience is exercised so He can work on the situation and produce repentance. All too frequently, though, His goodness and patience are abused through stubbornness or neglect. Be assured, God is aware, and there comes a time when His patience is exhausted and His judgment falls if the change God expected does not occur.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Matthew 11:29  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Both "lowly" and "gentle" imply nonresistance, suggesting someone who is submissive, yielding, and long-suffering in contrast to an assertive, aggressive, arrogant, obstinate, and haughty person.

He goes even further, however, to describe His approach to God. David, a type of Christ, writes in Psalm 22:6, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." God uses animals and insects to describe human traits. A worm is not only lowly but it also has no power to resist anything. Because Jesus never resisted God, He could honestly say, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me" (John 4:34). Those who, without murmuring, subject themselves to the will of God benefit from His almighty rule over all.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten


 

Matthew 17:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ's patient and enduring handling of sinners demonstrates His longsuffering. God promises that He will be long-tempered with us as we repent and dedicate ourselves to the obedience and service of God. As in everything else, Jesus Christ sets the standard of longsuffering.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Matthew 24:12-13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The apostle John declares that sin is the transgression of God's commandments (I John 3:4, KJV), including the two great commandments Jesus spoke in Mark 12:28-31. The word translated as "sin" literally means "to miss the mark." Combining these principles gives us a very broad definition of sin: Sin is imperfectly loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and imperfectly loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Romans 3:23 declares that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." In other words, all have sinned in the past, and in the present all fall short in reflecting God's love, which is a major part of His glory. Godly love does not have to grow cold for it to be shown imperfectly. It will be shown imperfectly when it is demonstrated by God's still-imperfect children. We all are in this state.

This is not to say that we should give up trying to perfect God's love. On the contrary, we have every responsibility to do our utmost to perfect it (I John 2:5; 4:12, 17-18). At the same time, it should not shock us when our spiritual brothers and sisters show God's love to us imperfectly, for we are guilty of the same toward them—and toward God.

Perhaps we find ourselves in a situation where it appears that God's love is growing cold. Maybe we see God's standard of holiness being ignored or compromised, and some form of lawlessness is beginning to show up. We may see little evidence of sacrificial love, and relationships are beginning to be strained. What should we do?

There are two possibilities. The first is that our discernment is correct, and what Jesus Christ foretold is coming to pass, perhaps not in its ultimate fulfillment, but at least in type. The second is that our discernment is incorrect, and that God's love is actually present and not growing cold, but we are having trouble seeing it.

If our discernment is correct, and we truly are in a circumstance where agape love is waning, Jesus has already indicated what He wants us to do. Matthew 24:13 says, "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." When many are letting their relationships with God deteriorate, the emphasis is on patient, active endurance.

I Corinthians 13 gives a beautiful description of agape love, which parallels Jesus' exhortation to endure in several points. Verse 4 says that godly love "suffers long." It displays patience and endurance, even in the face of being loved imperfectly. Verse 7 adds that godly love "bears all things" and "endures all things." However, if we are not showing patience or endurance in response to imperfect love, then we are simply responding with carnality rather than with God's love.

Similarly, verse 5 says that godly love "thinks no evil." True love pays no attention to a suffered wrong, nor takes account of the evil done to it. It does not keep a running list of all the ways it has been offended or loved imperfectly. That, again, would be responding to imperfect love with carnality. So, if we find ourselves in the midst of a fulfillment of Matthew 24:12, we really have our work cut out for us because we will have to endure patiently and continue to display God's love rather than allow our own agape to also grow cold in response.

Conversely, God's love may be present, but our discernment may be incorrect, and we are missing it by looking for agape only in one application. We may be continually waiting for a specific type of sacrificial love, and if we do not receive it, we may suppose that God's love is absent. However, we are not all the same in how we show love or how we recognize it. We may need to take a step back and look for facets of God's love that are present, rather than focusing on what may be absent.

In addition, given that human nature is still present within us, we also have to remember that nothing inhibits or damages our ability to see things clearly like focusing on the self. That is, we tend to evaluate whether God's love is present based on how we feel or how we are affected, rather than on objectively looking for God's spiritual workmanship in the overall situation.

David C. Grabbe
Is the Love of Many Growing Cold?


 

Luke 13:9  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

That the owner wants to destroy the tree but the keeper prays for its continued life for another year is not a case of the owner being full of wrath and the keeper defying him. The owner and the keeper have the same goal: to help the tree to produce fruit, if possible. Similarly, both the Father and the Son are angered by sin. Any thoughts Christ had toward Israel were also the thoughts of the Father (John 5:19; 10:30). Even though He is longsuffering, Jesus agrees with the owner of the vineyard in cutting down the tree if it refuses the offer of help (Hebrews 6:4-6; Proverbs 29:1). The Son never denies the right of the Father to destroy, and both agree in offering grace to the sinner at the best time.

Since the vineyard and the tree planted in it belong to the owner, he has a right to expect it to bear fruit—or to destroy anything barren or useless on his land. Some people falsely believe this delay means judgment will not come against them. However, the owner clearly says to cut the tree down if it ultimately does not produce fruit—a righteous decision since it would be given every opportunity to bear fruit. If a tree does not produce fruit, it wastes valuable resources and occupies needed space where a fruit-producing tree could stand (John 15:2-6). Within this parable stands a warning for anyone to whom God has revealed His truth: Do not delay producing good fruit (I Peter 4:17-19; II Peter 3:3-10)!

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


 

Acts 17:30  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God overlooked, tolerated, or bore with it because of, in this case, our ignorance. God made excuses, as it were, to Himself to restrain Himself from striking out. This is, of course, bringing God down to a human level so we can understand. This is the kind of language Paul and Luke used to allow us to grasp the fact that God bore with us. We have to learn to do the same toward others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 8): Ephesians 4 (E)


 

Galatians 5:22-24  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These qualities are aspects of God's character that we all need to have and use:

Love: Outgoing concern for others. True concern for all of mankind. Not being self-centered. Doing for others what is right, despite their character, appearance, social status, etc. (I Corinthians 13).

Joy: Related to happiness, only happiness requires right circumstances where joy does not. Jesus Christ felt joy though He faced heavy trials (Hebrews 12:2). We should all be joyful having been called by God.

Peace: Peace of mind and peace with God (Philippians 4:6-7).

Longsuffering: Bearing with others who are working out their salvation. Being slow to anger (Romans 15:1; Luke 21:19).

Kindness: Behaving toward others kindly, as God has behaved toward us (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Goodness: Generosity of spirit that springs from imitating Jesus Christ (Psalm 33:4-5).

Faithfulness: Being reliable. This describes a person who is trustworthy and will always stand up for God's way. We can count on, and should work at imitating, the faithfulness of God (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Gentleness: Considerate and tactful in conduct and correction. Never angry at the wrong time (Matthew 5:22-24; Ephesians 4:26).

Self-Control: Discipline which gives us victory over the wrong pulls of our mind and body (I John 2:15-17).

John O. Reid
Time for Self-Evaluation


 

Galatians 5:22  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It is not difficult to trace the source of biblical patience in God's children. I Corinthians 13:4 states, "Love suffers long and is kind." Patience is directly associated with love and hope. In the "love chapter," Paul lists patience first among love's works (I Corinthians 13:4). Romans 5:5 adds that "the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

This makes it evident that God's patience stands behind His children's patience as its source and pattern and as a link in a chain. Because the Bible lists it with the fruit of the Spirit, it is less a virtue achieved than a gift received. It comes with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we reproduce it.

However, since we are beings of free choice, we are still obligated to God to activate it, exercise it, and use it as a witness that God lives in us. To this end, Paul writes,

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12-13)

"Put on" is literally a dressing term. Used as an idiom, it can also mean to assume the office, manner, character, disposition, or perspective of another. We must "put on" Christ, meaning we must conduct our lives as closely to the way He would were He in our position. We are to practice His way of life because it is eternal life—the way God lives His life. It will help prepare us for His Kingdom, and it enables us to glorify Him here and now.

Patience is a vital part of the process that enables God to work over a long span of time, if needed, to produce in us other important aspects of His image so that we "may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." God is the Source and His Spirit the means of this very valuable fruit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Galatians 5:22  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Various translations use "longsuffering," "patience," or "forbearance" to translate the Greek word makrothumia. This word combines the roots makro, meaning "long," and thumos, meaning "temper," so it literally means "to be long-tempered." It implies the opposite of "short temper," describing the mind holding back a long time before it expresses itself in action or passion. Makrothumia is rarely rendered as "patience" and never as "forbearance" in the New Testament, although both words are considered synonyms of "longsuffering."

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Ephesians 4:2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The overall instruction here has to do with keeping the unity of the faith. Paul names four characteristics of conduct that are "attractively adorning" in two sets of two. The first two go together closely like bread and butter, and the second two go together. All four of them are linked, but the traits within the two pairs are most closely related to each other.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 6): Ephesians 4 (C)


 

Ephesians 4:2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

With all means "with every possible lowliness," "with every kind of lowliness," or "in all situations," or "at all times." In other words, always wear the apron of humility wherever one is, whatever one is doing, whoever one is dealing with, whatever the time happens to be. We should never be without it because it will serve us and God and unity well. It will never divide; it will always cement and hold the group, the family, the community together.

This is to be a fundamental element of our character. We may feel we have something to be proud of. For some, it might be money or ancestry or family. It might be brains, looks, athletic ability, or in the church, our understanding of doctrine. We have to be careful because human nature is always looking for a way to assert what it is proud of and to display it, and this causes division.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 7): Ephesians 4 (D)


 

Philippians 3:13-14  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is the temper of patience. It enables a person to plod determinedly on. It may not be spectacular, but such a person will go on toward perfection. This quality will have to be part of the makeup of the Two Witnesses. God has clearly prophesied of three-and-a-half years of their lives being filled with great confrontation, persecution, and at its end a shamefully undeserved and public death!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


 

Philippians 4:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The New King James translates this literally. The margin, however, reads: "Let your forbearance or graciousness be known to all men." Let it shine. Why? "The Lord is at hand."

This is a Book written to us! We are coming upon the absolute worst time in human history, and Paul left us a note from nearly two thousand years ago, telling us that this time, as it was in the days of Noah, is the time to exhibit forbearance to all men. Forbearance should be on the top of our list of virtues that we want to include in our character. We should let our gentleness, graciousness, forbearance be known to all men, especially at the end. Squabbles, fights, and offenses only make things that much worse in this terrible era of human history.

Among us there should be peace and unity. If anyone is to be seen showing love and forbearance for one another, it should be God's church - and lately, in the past decade, we have failed the forbearance test. It does not mean we must put up with evil for long, but that we give others a chance to change. If they fail to change, then matters must be worked out so that there will be peace. But we have to start with forbearance.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Colossians 1:9-11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Paul tells the saints in Colosse that he prays they will possess the trait that is the opposite of wrath or revenge. He speaks of having an even temper, an attitude that in spite of injury or insult does not retaliate. We can develop longsuffering only as a fruit of the Spirit, not as an independent character trait. It grows from the common root of love and bears fruit only along with other spiritual fruit.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

Colossians 3:12-13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

As the elect of God, we must put on or clothe ourselves with longsuffering. By doing this in unity as a church, we rid ourselves of, or at least dramatically reduce, friction. To be loving and effective, a minister must correct, rebuke, and encourage with longsuffering.

Martin G. Collins
Longsuffering


 

2 Timothy 3:10-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Paul had himself found Timothy, taking him with him in his travels. In a way, Timothy had grown up under the wing of the apostle Paul. So, when he says that Timothy had followed his manner of life and doctrine, he really had for quite a while. He was Paul's protégé. He is warning him: "You've seen what I've gone through, and you are following in my footsteps. You're going to face these things too—not only the good things, but also the bad. This is just part and parcel of the job."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Itching Ears


 

2 Peter 3:15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

That God is longsuffering or forbearing with us means that we are able to have salvation. It will not happen any other way. If He were not longsuffering with us, there would be no salvation. We could never please Him with our miserable works, and our sins would qualify us only to be grease spots on the road. "The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation." We had better be glad that God is patient, that He will take the time to work with us, however long it may take, so that we can be in His Kingdom and grow in His character.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Find more Bible verses about Longsuffering:
Longsuffering {Nave's}
 




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