Patience: Our Great Need

R. A. Miller

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For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:36

J.C. Philpot was an Oxford-educated minister who left Anglicanism to become a Baptist. After leaving the church of England in 1835, he would go on to pastor two churches simultaneously in the following year. This arrangement would continue for over two and a half decades. After his death in 1869, his daughters published Ears from Harvested Sheaves, a daily devotional containing portions of his sermons. The entry for October 17 shares some of his thoughts on Hebrews 10:36.

This section of Hebrews details how the Jewish Christians were joyful in their suffering. They dealt with ill-treatment by keeping their eyes on the promise of heaven. The attitude they exhibited in the face of persecution was commendable, but now they are told that they “have need of patience.” Modern translations use the word “endurance,” as the writer is telling these believers that they’ll need patient endurance because their sufferings will surely continue.

In his brief commentary on this verse, Philpot shares several reasons why this virtue is vital, even for us today. To begin, our need for patience is broad. We need it in all areas of life because we may encounter frustrations and difficulties at any time. “We need patience with each other, with the world, with our relations in life, and with the Church of God,” writes Philpot.

He continues, “We need patience when anything is said or done to hurt our minds, wound our feelings, irritate our tempers, and stir us up to revenge.” Here, we can see that we need patience to avoid sin. At some point, all of us have lost our tempers because of a stinging word or a perceived slight. In that scenario, we lacked patience and let our sinful natures get the best of us. However, being patient instead of irritable can prevent resentment, bitterness, and unjust anger. If anyone is concerned about personal holiness, patience is a must.

Additionally, the Baptist preacher notes that Christians will face numerous difficulties. “Because if we are the Lord’s people,” remarks Philpot, “we are sure to have many trials.” What’s the connection between the two? Well, 1 Peter 4:12–14 tells Christians that they shouldn’t think it odd to suffer for their faith. If our Lord suffered, should we not expect to be partakers in His suffering? If we don’t experience trials because of our faith, are we really walking in our Master’s footsteps?

Many of us are lacking endurance, however. We are often quickly irked by the smallest of inconveniences. Philpot laments, “How soon our temper is stirred up, and our irritable minds roused in a moment by the smallest trifle! How little patience have we under the trials that God sees fit to lay upon us!” By nature, we aren’t patient, and that is why we are instructed to “count it all joy” when we are met with troubles (Jas 1:2).

So how can we improve in this area? Surprisingly, we become more patient when we suffer. That’s the great paradox of patience. Hebrews 10 explains that we need patience because we will suffer, yet the Bible also teaches that suffering produces endurance (Rom 5:3). “The Lord sends us afflictions that he may give us the grace of patience to bear them,” notes Philpot.

In the future, we might find ourselves in the middle of great difficulty. We may also feel that the world seems to be pressing down on us. When that time comes, let us then imitate our Hebrew brothers and sisters from the first century as they imitated Christ. If we keep our eyes on the promise, our great inheritance which is waiting for us in heaven, we’ll be able to make it through any trial that comes our way.

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R. A. Miller

R. A. Miller writes articles and speaks about church history and theology. He also runs a website called Church History Database (