What Does it Mean Patience Is a Virtue?

Patience is a virtue is a popular phrase. While author is hard to pin down, the meaning is certainly of Biblical origin. The meaning of virtue is found in the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23).

Contributing Writer
Updated May 21, 2021
What Does it Mean Patience Is a Virtue?

"Patience is a virtue" is a famous saying that's been around for generations. What does it mean to be virtuous? Or to be patient? According to Strong’s Concordance, the word virtue in the Greek means to be of moral excellence or goodness. Being virtuous is producing goodness from the Fruits of the Spirit. Being patient is also a part of the Fruits of the Spirit. So, how many times a day do we actually produce these fruits?

Patience and Virtue Meaning

2 Peter 1 says, His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you (2 Peter 1:3-11).

Let me highlight verses 5-8 and state that in part of growing in faith, we need these fruits in our lives. Patience has become a difficult fruit to produce in today's world. Our lives are rapidly being built around a fast-paced society. We cannot keep up or even have a chance to breathe because everything has to be “right now.” 

So, how do we patiently endure through all of the circumstances and daily life situations? In Romans 12, it is essential to be quick or fervent in patience. But most importantly, to take the time and effort to pray. “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, it says to “pray without ceasing.” Praying and patience are in accordance with each other. How can we pray and not be patient? How can we be patient if we don't pray? Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Prayer helps produce patience. We all endure many situations in life, and through that endurance, it produces patience. 

Patience Is a Virtue Meaning

We've analyzed the list of the fruit of the spirit. Patience comes forth in the queue of characteristics of God that Christians strive to emulate. When someone says the phrase, "Patience is a virtue," they often mean that you are displaying signs of impatience. And that, in essence, good things come to those who wait. This doesn't mean that everyone who exercises patience will get every earthly desire they hope for. That falls under something known as the prosperity gospel, which is not biblical.

But we want to become more like Jesus. And Jesus showed an enormous amount of patience. The disciples were often dense, religious leaders often tried to trick Jesus, and the crowds had many demands of our Messiah to the point where it exhausted him. Still, he exercises patience. He displayed the virtue of patience in his words, thoughts, and actions. We want to do the same thing. But how? Patience seems like one of the hardest virtues to get a hold of, after all.

How to Be Patient in a Biblical Way

When I think about how Jesus persevered through all of the testing, temptation, and trials in His life, I am so thankful. Jesus chose us over Himself. He went through long days and nights of the enemy attempting to tempt Him to give up (Matthew 4:1-11). He endured the beatings, persecution, and even death itself. God gave us His Son so that we can be led back to Him. 

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).

There are times in my own life that I had to be patient and endure. The times of being afflicted with infection after infection in a two-month time period pushed me to my limits. I was actually in overdrive with my emotions, fear, and worry. I feared for my life and pleaded with God to take it all away. But even in those times, the fear was not strong enough to take away my relationship with God. Those times had me grow so much closer to God. I am thankful even if the enduring was unbearable. 

Hebrews 10 speaks to perseverance and endurance; to endure all suffering even when the cost is high. Hebrews 10 says,

Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised (Hebrews 10:32-36).

Trusting and being patient is what they needed during those perilous times. Even though those times have come and gone, that doesn't mean we cannot learn from what they endured. In conjunction to the Hebrews, the book of James states that being patiently enduring reaps its rewards. 

For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy (James 5:10-1).

Ultimate Endurance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).

In all things, be patient, persevere, and endure. Our life passes by as quickly the spring flowers fade. Trust God, chase God, and remain in God. He is our ultimate prize of this life. 

Other Sources

Is 'Good Things Come to Those Who Wait' Bibilical?

Virtue Definition and Meaning

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Rebecca Mashburn (Gordon) has a wonderful husband named Joseph. She has a blog, Trust. Lean, Seek and is working on becoming what God is calling her to. She has a bachelor's in psychology and hopes to one day pursue a degree in biblical counseling. Rebecca loves to be in nature, especially in springtime, and she loves to travel. She has a loving family and hopes one day to have children of her own.

This article is part of our Christian Terms catalog, exploring words and phrases of Christian theology and history. Here are some of our most popular articles covering Christian terms to help your journey of knowledge and faith:

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