What Does The Bible Say About Patience? A Christian Study

by Derek Hill · Print Print · Email Email

Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that can be difficult for believers.  Not only is it a necessary part of our walk with God, but it also couples uncertainty.  So when uncertainty arises, how are we to act?  How are we to be patient?  As always, let us dig down deep into God’s Holy Word and find real, solid truths about patience.

Patience is a Choice

All over the Bible there are stories of men and women experiencing trials and tribulations.  The reactions vary from many of them.  Some grumbled against God because of lack of water (Exodus 15:24), others worshipped God in trials and adversity (Job 1:20), others cried out to God in despair (Psalm 18:6), and the list goes on.  What is important is that we all have a choice.  We get to decide how we are going to act when adversity hits.  We can be patient and wait on God, or we can be impatient and act on our own accord.  The men and women from Exodus 15:24 above chose to grumble and be impatient.  Job and David from the other two verses mentioned above acted rightly.  Job fell down and worshipped God in his afflictions.  He remained steadfast and patient through his torment.  Likewise, David did the same. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.  From His temple He heard my voice and my cry to Him reached His ears.”  (Psalm 18:6)

There are Side Effects from our Decisions

Take a look at two different stories from the Bible and the outcomes.

Moses’ Poor Decision

In Numbers 20:2-5, the congregation of people that Moses was leading was mad and grumbling at Moses saying things like, “Why have you made us come out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place?  It is no place for grains…and there is no water to drink.” (Numbers 20:5)  At this point in Moses’ journey, he had heard complaint after complaint from the people.  I can imagine how frustrated he was with them.  However, in the verses following, God gave Moses a very simple command, “tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water.” (Numbers 20:8) Instead of speaking to the rock as commanded, Moses calls the people “rebels” (Numbers 20:10) and proceeds to hit the rock with his staff twice.  Because of his lack of patience with the people, he made a poor decision and God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 20:12)  One simple, selfish decision cost Moses the promises and blessings of the Promised Land.

Jesus’ Redeeming Decision

Will you be patient and wait on God, or be impatient and act on your own will?

Will you be patient and wait on God, or be impatient and act on your own will?

While Jesus was alive on earth, he experienced all of the things that we experience.  Here is one trial that he went through in Matthew 4:1-11.Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”  Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”  Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

I can only imagine the physical side effects that fasting had done to Jesus at this point.  40 days and nights He did not eat.  His energy must have been completely drained.  He was probably very weak and unbelievably hungry.  This was the best time for Satan to attack. Jesus was extremely weak physically, but not spiritually.  If Jesus had fallen down to worship Satan on the last temptation, we would all be in judgment of hell still.  Praise God that Jesus stayed pure and holy as He drove Satan away with Scripture and worshipped God only.  Because of this decision, and many others along the way, Jesus completely fulfilled His purpose on earth.  He died for the sins of mankind, so that if we believe in Him, we can experience everlasting life with Him in heaven!

Patience Draws us Closer to God

As believers when we go through times of grief, agony, despair and all other kinds of trials and tribulations, if we choose to be patient, we will naturally draw towards God through prayer and worship.  Patience means that we are going to wait and rely on God’s timing.  When we rely on God’s timing, we can focus directly on Him and spend quality time with Him.  When you learn to fully trust in God, patience may not necessarily get easier, but you can bet that your relationship with the Father will grow stronger.


So, you may be at a fork in the road right now.  Whatever your problem may be, you must make a decision.  Will you be patient and wait on God, or be impatient and act on your own will?  I pray that you will stay patient my friends through all of your hardships.  Wash yourself with the Word and let it nourish you and give you peace that passes all understanding.  Pray to your Father in heaven and lay your burdens at His feet.  God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!

Take a look at some more Bible stories about patience in this article:

Bible Stories About Patience

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. YouTube “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller.

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