WAIT! If you haven’t read pt.1 yet, please go back and do that! You’re gonna need the full picture for this series.
A couple weeks ago, the mantle fell on me to continue a study on Galatians 5:22-23. It’s always been a fun passage to read, especially once I realized that “fruit” is singular for a reason–this is a package deal. I ended up picking patience, but I quickly realized that the word itself is a package within a package.
Here are some different translations of the passage (focus on what’s bolded):
NASB: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ‘
KJV: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ‘
AMP: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.’
AMPC: ‘But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].’
We end up with all these translations because the Bible wasn’t written in English, so context is super important. These bolded words and phrases all come from the Greek word μακροθυμία, or makrothumia, which comes from makros (long, far distant) and thumos (passion). Makrothumia means “patience, long-suffering, and it’s usages are patience, forbearance, or long-suffering. (Forbearance is the objective usage; long-suffering and patience are both subjective–objective is based on facts, subjective is personal.)
Knowing that, here are the definitions in plain text and the etymologies in italics:
Forbearance – patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.
“Middle English forberen, from Old English forberan to endure, do without, from for- + beran to bear”.
Longsuffering – having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people
“bearing wrongs without retaliating,” 1530s, from long (adj.) + suffering (n.). Old English had langmodig in this sense. From 1520s as a noun, “patience under offense.”
Patience – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
“Middle English pacient, from Anglo-French, from Latin patient-, patiens, from present participle of pati to suffer; perhaps akin to Greek pēma suffering”
Now I can get into the Bible stuff. To endure and to bear are common concepts, but what does it look like to do without? We often think of Job, who continued to lose until all that was left was his life. His story makes me think of Matthew 6:19-21:
‘”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ‘
This puts things in perspective. No matter what we have to deal with, or without, we have to keep our eyes on God. Jesus offers us His burden, which is light because He’s the one giving us strength.
‘”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The different translations and definitions all tie into patience meaning one thing. Patience is the way we endure, bear, tolerate our suffering, no matter how long it might last. We need to be patient with our situations, with others and with ourselves. And with God.
So that’s what patience means… in this verse. There’s another kind of patience (or “perseverance”, depending on your translation) that comes from the Greek word ὑπομονή, or hupomoné, which means “a remaining behind, a patient enduring”. If you want to look more into that, I recommend starting with this website. This whole breakdown came from me wondering what one word in the Bible really meant. One word. The KJV translation has 783,137. I’d probably have to drop STEM and literally everything else to sit and learn where all those words came from. Joshua 1:8 even says:
‘This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.’
In the passage, God is telling Joshua what he’s to do now that Moses is dead. Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with instructions like this to study and reflect on God and His Word, and I think we should take that seriously. It may require some patience *finger guns*, but doing so feeds and strengthens the Spirit, which is what will allow us to live in truth and strength. This is what we want to produce as followers of Christ – patience and compassion and all the rest. With His Spirit, we have the ability to accept and utilize the many gifts God has given us. Are things starting to come together? Comment below, or use my contact page!
be blessed bbys ✨