Perseverance

One of the parables that bugs me is the parable of the woman with the unjust judge.
Luke 18: 1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3 There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4 For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
I don’t like being a pest, and I don’t like pestering God.  If I ask… why do I need to keep bugging Him?  But it’s pretty clear that that is His will.   That’s what he’s been working on with me lately.  Not just praying in the Spirit, getting down and going deep – but praying for the same list of things every day.  On paper.  Perseverantly.
And so I was thinking about that, and it brought to mind the verses in 2 Peter about the progression of virtues, and because I have used both the KJV and NASB, patience and perseverance both stuck in my head.   So I looked it up, and it turns out that  perseverance in the NASB = patience in the KJV.   Well, that’s weird.  Because I don’t think of the same virtue with those two words.  Let’s study.

 

KJV first:

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Now NASB:

2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

What’s interesting is that dictionary.com defines perseverance as:

1.steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc.,especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2.Theology. continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.
Synonyms: 1. doggedness, steadfastness.
And patience as:
1.the quality of being patientas the bearing of provocation,annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper,irritation, or the like.
2.an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with  delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:to work with patience.
Synonyms: 1. composure, stability, selfpossession; submissiveness, sufferance.
Both the KJV and NASB are good word-for-word translations, but sometimes… sometimes words bring you up short.  Perseverance is an ACTION word – read the definition – it’s about persistence in a course of action.  Patience, on the other hand, is a PASSIVE word – it’s mostly about not acting out under provocation.
Thus, we are off to the Greek.  What’s the word, and what does it mean? (Biblestudytools.com)
ὑπομονή
hupomonē
hoop-om-on-ay’

  • steadfastness, constancy, endurance
    1. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
    2. patiently, and steadfastly
  • a patient, steadfast waiting for
  • a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance
Reading that definition carefully, I see both.    You’re “not swerved” from your chosen course of action.   But you “patiently wait” too, which usually implies staying in one place.   Come to think, both “stand” and “walk” are metaphors used of the Christian experience.  (So is “run” – as in “run with patience the race that is set before us…”)
And where I end up?  Patiently waiting for the result of a course of action from which I shall not swerve.
Which is what the widow did with the unjust judge.
Things are starting to make a bit more sense….

1 thought on “Perseverance

  1. Elspeth

    Good thoughts, Hearth. I used to find that parable troublesome also, but mainly because somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that faith means asking once (three times max like Paul perhaps) and believing. Any further asking was a lack of faith.

    I have more I could say but I want to think about it more rather than comment off the cuff.

    Reply

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