Author: Bill Klein
Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries – The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
This week we continue our study of the Greek noun ὑπομονὴ (Strong’s #5281), which means “patience, endurance, perseverance.” Its meaning expresses a remaining under or endurance in circumstances. It is helpful for the understanding of ὑπομονὴ to consider it in contrast to μακροθυμὶα(Strong’s #3115), which means patience or longsuffering toward people.
Last week we studied ὑπομονὴ as it appears in two texts from Luke. The meanings found there – the endurance of circumstances for growth and a virtue characteristic of the believer – are also found in teachings throughout the rest of the New Testament. This week our study is taken from James 1:1-4.
Verse 1: Introduction1)James, slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the twelve tribes of the Dispersion, greeting.
James, the Lord’s half-brother and first leader of the Church in Jerusalem, writes this letter about faith to the Jews who have been scattered from their homeland. The key verse that expresses this theme is found inJames 2:20: “But are you willing to know, O vain man, that the faith apart from works is dead?” The word used here for “works” (ἔργον, Strong’s #2041) means “activity.” James is teaching the dispersed, believing Jews about the contrast between living religiously and living by a faith which itself produces activity – a living faith.
Verses 2-4: The Development of Faith
Verses 2-3: The Process of Faith2)My brothers, count it all joy whenever you should fall into various trials;
James begins his letter with a command. With it, he tells believers what they are to do and when they are to do it. First, they are to “count it all joy.” The Greek word translated “count” is ἡγὲομαι (Strong’s #2233), which means “to lead, to be a leader.” The Greek word translated “joy” is χαρὰ (Strong’s #5479), which is the word used by the Greeks to express “satisfaction.” Next, James tells believers when they are to count it all satisfaction – “Whenever you should fall into various trials.” Although most English versions translate the conjunction ὅταν (Strong’s #3752) as “when,” it is literally rendered “whenever.” James is saying that believers are to let satisfaction be the leading thought of their mind, whenever (or at the time when) they should fall into various trials.3)knowing, that the testing of your faith is working out endurance (ὑπομονὴ).
In verse 3, James explains why believers are to be satisfied in the midst of trials. It is because of knowing something. The word translated “knowing” (γινὼσκω, Strong’s #1097) is a present participle and expresses that satisfaction in the midst of trials is to be based on continually knowing that the trial is the testing of faith to produce endurance. (The word for “testing” is δοκὶμιον (Strong’s #1383) and expresses a test by which something is approved.) James then writes that this testing of faith has a purpose – the working out of “endurance” (our word of study ὑπομονὴ). James completes the explanation of the process of the development of faith by stating that whenever believers encounter trials, they should be satisfied in knowing that it is a test of faith which is causing them to remain under the circumstances, trusting the Lord
Verse 4: The Production of Faith4)But let endurance (ὑπομονὴ) have its complete work, in order that you might be complete and whole, lacking in not one thing.
In this verse, James presents another command, one that expresses the principle of the development of faith: “Let endurance have its complete work.” The adjective translated “complete” is τὲλειος (Strong’s #5046), which means “to bring something to completion or to the end.” Since the process of learning to live a life of faith produces a faith which causes the believer to remain under circumstances, James is giving the command to remain under, so that the endurance process can complete its work of development. Then he states the purpose for letting endurance complete its work: “In order that you might be complete and whole, lacking in not one thing.” So, the purpose for remaining under is to bring believers to completeness (maturity), to make them whole. The word translated “lacking” is λεὶπω (Strong’s #3007) and is a modal participle describing what is meant by believers becoming complete and whole: to not lack in maturity and wholeness in Christ in any area of his life.
James presents that the testing of a believer’s faith is working out or producing in him/her the ability to remain under (ὑπομονὴ) circumstances. Everyone’s first reaction to difficulties is to want to escape them; but James commands believers to let “remaining under” produce its complete work, in order that spiritual maturity— trust in the Lord through any circumstance of life, in any area of life—can develop.
Next week, from Hebrews 12:1-2, we continue our study of the importance of ὑπομονὴ as an element in the believer’s growth process.
*hUPOMONE is the English font spelling of the Greek word ὑπομονὴ.
‘Greek Thoughts‘ Copyright 2019© Bill Klein. ‘Greek Thoughts‘ articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions:1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article, along with a link to https://www.studylight.org/language-studies/greek-thoughts.html 2) ‘Greek Thoughts‘ content may not be arranged or “mirrored” as a competitive online service.
hUPOMONE* – Part 1 – εχηγεομαι (Strong’s #1834) Patience, endurance, perseverance
This week we begin a study of the Greek noun ὑπομονὴ (Strong’s #5281), which means “patience, endurance, perseverance.” This word is made up of the preposition ὑπὸ (Strong’s #5259), which means “under,” and μὲνω(Strong’s #3306), which means “to remain.” Its meaning expresses a remaining under or an endurance in circumstances. Ancient philosophers listed “to be able to endure (ὑπομονὴ)” as a virtue of ἀνδρεῖος (BADG), “manly courage,” or “manly bravery.” It is helpful for the understanding ofὑπομονὴ to consider it in contrast to μακροθυμὶα (Strong’s #3115), which means patience or longsuffering toward people.
̔Υπομονὴ is used in both the Old and New Testaments: nine times in the Septuagint Old Testament scriptures to translate and represent the Hebrew word QAWAH (Strong’s #8615) meaning “to wait eagerly” or “to wait expectantly;” and two times in the gospels, both from Luke. This week’s study focuses onὑπομονὴ as it appears in the two texts from Luke.
Luke 8:1515)But the one in the good ground are those, who in a right and good heart, after having heard the Word, retain it and bring forth fruit, in patience (ὑπομονὴ).
While the Parable of the Sower is presented in all three synoptic gospels, only Luke’s account usesὑπομονὴ. The verse quoted above, Luke 8:15, ends the Lord’s explanation of the parable. In it, Jesus says that the person with a right and spiritually good heart will retain the word after hearing it and will produce fruit, in remaining under his circumstance.
Luke 21:1919)In your patience (ὑπομονὴ), gainF1 your souls.
Chapter 21 of Luke presents the hardships that will come upon those who belong to Christ in the last days. In our study text, Luke 21:19, Jesus commands His followers to gain their souls through the endurance of these hardships. This statement is parallel to one found in Matthew 24:13, “But the one having enduredF2unto the end shall be saved.” Both of these gospel writers present the teaching of Jesus as saying that the one who belongs to Christ will endure unto the end. Patient endurance, according to Jesus, is a characteristic of the one who is saved; it is not the work ethic of the believer.
These two applications of ὑπομονὴ, the endurance of circumstances for growth and a virtue characteristic of the believer, are found in teachings throughout the rest of the New Testament. Next week we will begin an in-depth study of this word from James 1:2-4.
*hUPOMONE is the English font spelling of the Greek word ὑπομονὴ.
F1: Some manuscripts read the future tense κτὴσεσθε here, “You will gain,” instead of the aorist imperative, κτὴσασθε, “gain.”
‘Greek Thoughts‘ Copyright 2019© Bill Klein. ‘Greek Thoughts‘ articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions:1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each article, along with a link to https://www.studylight.org/language-studies/greek-thoughts.html2) ‘Greek Thoughts‘ content may not be arranged or “mirrored” as a competitive online service.