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Bible verses about Enduring Hardship
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:16

The first curse includes the whole processes of childbearing, from conception to birth. The Hebrew word rendered "conception" in the New King James version (NKJV) includes the entire pregnancy, while "bring forth" can mean both the beginning or end of the birth process. The Revised Standard Version translates these clauses as, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children."

A human female is unique among mammalian creatures in this respect. Animal females generally bear their young without pain and rarely sicken and die during or from the experience. Women, on the other hand, always experience pain and grief throughout their pregnancies—from morning sickness to contractions—and have historically had a very high mortality rate from childbirth. Better nutrition and hygiene have cut the numbers of deaths dramatically, but the pain and grief remain.

Fortunately, God is a God of mercy. He put within the human female the ability to "forget" her pains in childbirth soon thereafter. Jesus Himself mentions this in John 16:21:

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

This curse on Eve has a direct relationship with the end of the curse on the serpent, which involves the woman's "seed," both general and specific (Genesis 3:15). We can infer that God intends us to understand that, because of sin, producing "seed" to fight Satan and his seed will be made more difficult. In a spiritual sense, the church, "the mother of us all," endures great hardship in producing children of God.

Thus, the Bible testifies, "the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12), "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), and "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). Even the sinless Christ, the promised Seed, was "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3), forced by sin—yet willing—to bear the agonies of human life and death to become the Son of God, the Firstborn among many brethren.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part Two)


 

Job 2:10

Should a Christian allow himself to bemoan God's goodness even during a trial? When Job's wife wanted him to curse God for bringing trials upon him, Job expressed the right principle of God's universal goodness and fairness when he rebuked her for grumbling.

There are times when we may feel like God is not treating us fairly. Job points out that, as God's creations and recipients of His generosity and benevolence, we have no right to complain when He allows us to be afflicted or tests us through hardship.

Martin G. Collins
Fear the Lord's Goodness!


 

Joel 1:13-15

The warning has gone out to the church. God has said, "Get ready! Prepare for the worst." We are right on the threshold of the greatest period of testing and trial ever to come on mankind, and we must have something to sustain us if we are to endure it.

Jesus said to His disciples that love will wax cold (Matthew 24:12). But "he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved" (verse 13). He hints that some of His brethren will go through that terrible time. If God permits us to escape it, then great. This is why Joel 2:14 says, "Who knows? Maybe He will leave a blessing behind." We do not know for sure if that will be the case with us.

In the past, many in the church of God played an incredible game of being prudent agnostics, of believing but not being truly committed, as shown by their conduct. They were acquainted with God, but not really seeking to know Him. They were just hanging loose, hedging their bets, floating around, ready to go in any direction that offered the most comfortable, non-sacrificial solution. In that circumstance, the church often merely became nothing more than a fraternal organization.

But this is reality: Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master. He owns us. He redeemed us, bought us with a price, and He can do whatever He wants to do with us—and we committed ourselves to Him. Wholehearted commitment is part of the deal. We do not want to be like the Israelites who prostituted themselves in faithlessness, forsaking their covenant with the government of Almighty God.

We in the church are not without warning. God expects us to use the warning to be both comforted and prepared.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

Habakkuk 2:2

First, God allays some of the prophet's fears by implying that what He has told him is not necessarily a revelation of doom and despair. It may seem that way, but ultimately, the vision is encouraging, hopeful, and glorious. This is why He instructs him to write it down plainly so people will understand it and be encouraged by it—and thus run.

Hebrews 12 contains a similar metaphor of running. Perhaps Paul had Habakkuk in mind as he wrote it, since he quotes Habakkuk in Hebrews 10:37-38. The apostle explains in Hebrews 12:1 that the race we run is our Christian lives. We can take the words of Habakkuk and run because we know that it all works out right in the end (Romans 8:28). Our Savior has already done His work, so if we finish our race, we will be saved. There is no doubt about this because He is not only the beginner of our faith, but He is also the finisher of our faith. So we can run with patience, just as God told Habakkuk to do. Even if it seems to tarry, patiently wait for it, because it will happen just as He has promised. His will will be done.

In Hebrews 12:5-11, Paul goes through a section on discipline, chastening, correction. This is what Habakkuk had just heard—that God would discipline, chasten, correct His people by the wicked hand of Babylon. Paul says in Hebrews that if God does not chasten us, we are bastard children! The chastening, though unpleasant, is for our good. We may not like the humiliation of it, but we can patiently endure it because it is for the best.

Our chastening is not a time to lag or worry but to strengthen ourselves through God and move forward because it is important that we endure and finish (Hebrews 12:12-13). When things get tough, the tough get going. Do not be like Esau (Hebrews 12:15-17), who had a great promise and inheritance and threw it all away for some temporary relief. We should never settle for temporary relief if it will knock us off the path! It is not worth it because it will end in bitterness, tears, disappointment, and failure.

Paul shows in Hebrews 12:28 how we should approach God, even when things do not seem to be going the right way. We must serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear, just as Habakkuk did. Yes, he questioned Him, but he said, "You are God, and You know something that I do not understand, so I will wait patiently. I will see this through, and then I will respond." If we do not approach God properly, we may find ourselves caught under the heel of the Chaldean with the sinners.

"That he may run who reads it" suggests a herald, like in medieval times, who went from place to place with a message from one person to another. God is instructing Habakkuk to put the revelation down clearly so that someone in the future can take it and deliver it into the right hands, those who need to hear it. Anyone in the end time who is speaking God's words fulfills this.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Habakkuk


 

Malachi 3:13-16

Malachi wrote in Judea between the return from Babylon and Christ's birth. During that period God's people had grown lackadaisical in their worship, yet a faithful few remained.

"'Your words have been harsh against Me,' says the LORD." God accuses them of calling Him into account for what was happening within the nation. They were experiencing difficult times, just as the people of God have frequently endured difficult times. These are times when we cry out to God, "Why, God? Why are you allowing this to happen? When are you going to intervene?" but He does not seem to be listening.

"Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?'" They did not feel that their accusations were against God, but He gives them an example (verses 14-15).

The faithful can see that these others are not very godly. Maybe they see that "the proud" are sinning openly, breaking the commandments of God. Maybe the proud do not have a submissive, quiet, and gentle spirit. Maybe they are aggressive and assertive, and they maneuvered themselves to the head of the group. And they seemed to be getting away with it!

Notice what these faithful people did in response to the difficult times they were enduring as part of the ekklesia (verse 16). All of God's faithful people should do these things:

1). They feared God. They respected and revered Him. They stood in awe of Him. Some may have even felt an appropriate measure of terror.

2). They thought on His name. They meditated on it. It can suggest that they esteemed His name. They spoke highly of it. They honored Him. They looked to Him, though they were complaining for leadership and guidance. His name, of course, stands for everything that He is. He does not have just one name, He has many names. They show, or advertise, what He is, what He will do, and what He requires.

3). They fellowshipped with one another. No doubt they spoke of their trials and their blessings, about the things that were going on in the ekklesia of that day, of their studies into God's Word, of their plans, of their expectations of the Kingdom of God. God heard! God watched and responded, maybe not when they would have liked Him to respond, but God did respond in His time, when it was right for His purposes.

So will He respond to us!

Then God makes a wonderful promise to those who fear Him: "'They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts, 'on that day that I make them My jewels [special treasure—margin]. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him'" (verse 17). In Isaiah 49:15-16, God says, "Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands...." He is watching! He is aware of what is going on, and He will act!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!


 

Matthew 24:12-13

The Bible shows us the damage caused when God's people do not believe how special we are to Him. How do we keep our love from going cold? We must go to the source to replenish it. Where is that source? Where does real love come from? The answer is found in I John 4:19: "We love Him because He first loved us."

The next verse, Matthew 24:13, reinforces this thought: "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." Jesus sets up a contrast. Verse 12 describes people without faith in God's love for us growing cold and not enduring. In verse 13, "but" suggests that those with faith in His love will endure and be saved.

What happened over the past decade or so is nothing compared to what is ahead for some of us. The time of Jacob's trouble will be terrible. Many will face famine, pestilence, and persecution. Friends and family may turn on us. Church members will die. When all this happens, there may be no physical evidence to see how much God loves us. How will we endure those times? We will, but only if we absolutely believe in how special we are to God, how much He loves us. That is the faith we will need to endure any trial.

Pat Higgins
Faith to Face Our Trials


 

Romans 5:2

The word "stand" is translated from the Greek histemi, and in this context it means "to continue, endure, or persist." Our calling, election (Romans 11:5-6), repentance (Romans 2:4), and justification enable us to stand before God in the sense of being given access into His presence. After that, receiving the gift of His Spirit and continuing on to salvation itself are accomplished by means of grace.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Amazing Grace


 

2 Corinthians 4:17

To help us endure hardship, Paul gives us a valuable mindset when he says our suffering “is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” To see our afflictions as light (Matthew 11:30), we must recognize the value of our calling. We would do well to consider its benefits often. As Paul indicates, the understanding that there is “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” is a necessary component to seeing our trials in this life in comparison as a light affliction, a recognition that enables one to endure to the end.

Therefore, it is vital to know that the price we pay now is minuscule compared to the reward that awaits us. Note the power of that vision:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Having this vision in their lives as a daily reality enabled the heroes of faith to endure to the end. In modern jargon, they did a cost/benefit analysis and concluded that the benefits made the costs insignificant. Christ and Paul made the same analysis, concluding that their burdens and afflictions were light costs compared to what the benefits of eternity held for them.

In Romans 8:18, even with the weight of his trials, Paul again emphasizes that they are infinitesimal costs, so trivial that they are insignificant compared to the mindboggling benefits that await us: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

In the King James Version, the first part of Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” For “perish” a better translation is that they “cast off restraint.” Without a vision they lack restraint, leading to disobedience. This results in a people who will not endure to the end, whose fate, then, is to perish. Without a vision of the future that is as tangible to us as the present, we will walk by sight, only seeing the now, rather than by faith seeing as real a true vision of the future. Without that vision, we risk trading the future for the now (Galatians 6:9; II Thessalonians 2:15), a poor bargain indeed.

Pat Higgins
Light Affliction?


 

2 Corinthians 10:5-6

Our battle is to bring down every deceptive argument and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ. Once we are sure of your obedience we are ready to punish every disobedience. (Phillips)

Paul makes it very clear that we are involved in a war! This does not mean that this warfare will always be going on at the same level of intensity. In warfare between nations and states, there are lulls in the battle as one side or the other prepares to make their next push. There are short periods during war in which a great number of people die or are injured, which are usually followed by longer periods when the two sides regather their strength, regroup, and get ready for the next attack.

It will be much the same way in the warfare we are involved in. I am here to tell you, please do not let down when it appears as if nothing is happening. Those very dangerous periods of time—the easy times, the good times, the affluent times.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier


 

Galatians 5:23

The NKJV translates the Greek word prautes as "gentleness," while the KJV uses "meekness." II Corinthians 10:1 refers to Christ's meekness (prautes) and gentleness (epieikeia) as separate virtues. Prautes describes a condition of mind and heart—an internal attitude—whereas gentleness (mildness combined with tenderness) refers to actions—an external behavior. Although English has no direct equivalent words to prautes, "meekness" comes closest. The drawback to this is that in modern English "meekness" carries the stigma of weakness and cowardliness. In contrast, the meekness manifested by God and given to the saints is the fruit of power. It is enduring injury with patience and without resentment.

Martin G. Collins
Meekness


 

Ephesians 6:10-13

In conclusion, be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless strength. Put on God's complete armor so that you can successfully resist all the devil's craftiness. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. (Phillips)

It is clear that we are fighting a spiritual war against enemies who are far greater in numbers, intelligence, subtlety, and power than Israel had to wage war against in terms of the Amalekites, the Moabites, and so forth. In addition, our enemy is invisible.

Paul tells us to "stand," a military term for holding on to a position. In effect, before one can launch an attack, he must first hold the position he is in. In the Phillips translation, the word "against" is used four times, probably to stress the determined hostility that our enemy has. The Christian soldier is confronting something that, as a soldier, he could not overcome except that he himself also has invisible help to draw upon as a resource.

In military strategy, perhaps one of the most basic of all rules is never to underestimate the enemy. Our struggle is not merely against human foes, yet we find, in other places, that it is a war to the death. In fact, here in Ephesians 6, this idea is hidden in the Greek. It is a war to the death against supernatural forces. The word "powers" denotes those who aspire to world control, and ancient writers used the term to designate the savior gods of pagan religions. That is who we are fighting against—demons!

Our warfare, then, has all the trappings of a literal war, but it is something that we cannot see yet happening nonetheless. The qualities that we need to fight this war are not things we have inherently. We have to be given them by God. Our relationship with God is of supreme importance as to whether we are going to have the proper resources to fight this battle. We have to go to Him to get them, and we also need to be on good terms before He gives them to us.

One of the most valuable of all of these resources is the mindset that we are involved in a war. There are times when we, as a soldier, are going to face privation and hardship. There are going to be times of pain—both physical and mental. There are going to be times of sorrow that may lead us to depression or even bitterness. There will be occasions when we will be in fear and feel a great sense of insecurity. There are times we will win our battles, but other times we will lose and thus feel guilty and maybe depressed. There are going to be times of obedience that give a feeling of exhilaration and of being in control, as well as times of disobedience when just the opposite will be the effect.

There will also be times when we will be aware that God is disciplining us—sometimes in terms of punishment for sin and at other times in training to prepare us to master what we are doing. There will be times of sacrifice and even times of death. Nevertheless, all of these are part and parcel of a soldier's life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier


 

2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

So stand firm, and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father (who has loved us and given us unending encouragement and unfailing hope by his grace), inspire you with courage and confidence in every good thing you say or do. (Phillips)

When we read I and II Thessalonians, it does not appear that these people were going through any hard or difficult persecution, yet things were happening within the church. He tells these people, "Hold on!" There must have been pressure coming from somewhere to turn these people away from the truths, the traditions, they had learned from the apostles.

That causes one to think that, even though their neighbors were not persecuting them, nonetheless something was happening. They were in danger of being persuaded to turn away from the things that they had been taught.

It appears as if the focus of this pressure to which they were subject was something mental, doctrinal, and theological. So he tells them to "hold fast." The words J.B. Phillips uses in his translation sound like the words spoken in war: "Hang on! Hold fast!" he says. "May God inspire you with courage!"

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier


 

2 Timothy 2:1-4

So, my son, be strong in the grace that Christ Jesus gives. Everything that you have heard me teach in public you should in turn entrust to reliable men, who will be able to pass it on to others. Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ's army. Remember: 1. That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled in business, or he will not please his commanding officer. (Phillips)

He shows us that a soldier's primary responsibility is to please the one who enlisted him in this service. He makes it clear that our primary responsibility, our loyalty, is to Jesus Christ—not a corporation, not even to an apostle of that corporation. Christ is the one who enlisted us. The man was merely used.

He goes on to say that a soldier must be single-minded. If he is not single-minded and gets himself involved in things other than carrying out the commands of his officer, then he will not be trustworthy. He will not be willing to endure hardship and put up with his share of suffering. He will not endure if he is deeply entangled in civilian pursuits or distracted by other concerns.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier


 

2 Timothy 3:10-12

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


 

James 1:2-3

We are counseled here by James, who was Jesus' brother. Hardly anyone knew Jesus as James did—he grew up with Him. He was able to watch Him over the course of His entire life, and so he knew the mind of Christ exceedingly well. James says that we are to consider trials as a reason for great joy because trials are capable of producing good results. However, we must understand that trials do not automatically produce good results. They can easily make one bitter rather than better. Whether one comes out better for the experience depends upon how faith, hope, and love are used. How the trial is used is the issue, and whether faith, hope, and love produce a higher level of spiritual maturity. What determines whether they make us better rather than bitter is how we use them.

James describes a person surrounded by trials of many kinds. We live in that period when iniquity abounds, and we are admonished by Jesus that we will need endurance during this time (Matthew 24:12-13). We are assaulted by many kinds of trials, and they will increase. James is concerned about whether they will produce perseverance in us.

The King James version renders this word as "patience." That may be an acceptable translation, but it is not really correct. "Perseverance" or "endurance" is better, as most modern translations translate it. This is because the Greek word that equates to our "patience" is passive, meaning that one is merely waiting something out. But the Greek word used here, hupomone, indicates activity rather than passivity. The person is not just waiting for something to happen, though he is patient in what he is going through.

Commentator William Barclay defines hupomone as "having the quality to stand, facing the storm, struggling against difficulty and opposition." It is a quality that makes progress against a trial, rather than merely waiting a difficulty out. James is focused on the testing of our belief and trust or faith. There is also hope that comes from faith, which acts as a motivator to sustain the struggle against the difficulties of life.

Hope is not directly mentioned here, but James does mention endurance. There is no active endurance unless one actually desires to accomplish something, and he has the hope of good to come from what he is enduring.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

 




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