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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

Exegesis of Endurance

02.9.5

"Cicero defines patientia, its Latin equivalent, as 'the voluntary and daily suffering of hard and difficult things, for the sake of honour and usefulness'.

Barclay, W.  (2003, p. 349, l. 29).

 

The commentators cited describe perseverance/hupomone/ὑπομονή as characterized by:  endurance, patience, and steadfastness.  Sometime endurance is called for when dealing with inner temptations, and sometime when confronted by suffering from external causes.  At times endurance is called for when under chastisement, which is trial viewed as coming from the hand of God.  Extended, grueling work can also try one's endurance.

 

When in the midst of suffering, Hope is sought.  Hope can be found in the deliverance from temptation which will be found in the last days/heaven.  Hope is also sought during persecution or suffering from external causes, and is found in the promise of Christ's coming and the current solace of His Spirit in our lives.  Submission to Christ's Spirit in us produces the endurance needed to persevere.

 

Vine describes the verb hupomeno (ὑπομένω): "to abide under, to bear up courageously (under suffering)".  The noun hupomone (ὑπομονὴ) would have it "lit., a remaining under"..  This is a very popular option for understanding this term.

 

One use of this term appeared when discussing a type of torture used in that day.  If an enemy was captured and the officer wanted him to speak about the enemy, the captured soldier was placed on his back and bricks were piled on his chest.  If he refused to talk, and, as a result, was crushed by the weight of the bricks, he was said to have 'remained under' the pressure.

 

On the other hand, there seems to be some disagreement as to whether the origin of the term should emphasize ‘being under' or 'remaining behind'.  Hauck, writing for Kittel, comes down on the 'remaining behind' side.  The key here is that one tarries behind and does not flee with others, but one continues to face the problem.

 

The key to understanding Endurance/hupomone is that one does not try to flee whatever problem presents itself, but one 'tarries behind' to face it, or 'remains under' the pressure it exerts. This virtue describes one as bearing patiently whatever trouble appears.

 

While the Greek approach to Endurance was oriented to the manly virtue of courageously resisting evil, the Jewish approach was quite different.  The OT focused on the idea of 'waiting on God' with hope and confidence in His eventual deliverance.   Their approach seemed more geared to the nation of Israel, than the individuals within it.  The nation would 'wait' for God's deliverance.  The people would contemplate their status under the Covenant with God and were thereby inspired to Hope in Him.  The strength to resist comes from cleaving to God.  The strength of their relationship with God inspires the necessary strength to persevere.  Hope in God is the power that inspires perseverance.

 

In the New Testament the hope that inspires perseverance is the hope that the Kingdom of God will be actualized, that Christ will come again in glory.  Christian Endurance is not from self-selected burdens, like the Greeks, but externally imposed persecution and religious temptation.  The struggle of Endurance for the Christian tradition is more an inner struggle as opposed to the one found in the Greek system.  The strength to persist is given by God and appears in the form of Hope for His future and our place in it.  The Church awaits redemption by the returning Christ.  We are waiting for Jesus.

 

The Christian at Endurance feels the suffering one is called to face.  It is real.  He does not try to hide or 'explain it away'.  In the midst of this suffering, our submission to the needs of others or to God's will, our sacrifice for others, provides a sense of meaning or purpose in our suffering.  Because of this, Christians are able to reconcile themselves to suffering for the Lord and other people.  We have a reason for doing so.  We are suffering to meet the needs of valued others, instead of ourselves.  We are encouraged in our suffering by Hope in God.  We know that He will provide us the strength to endure and that He, and we, will have the ultimate victory.  When we cry out to Him, we know that He will provide, maybe not what we want or when we want it, but the Lord will provide what we need.  Eventually we come to humbly trust the Lord who cares for us in our suffering.  This experience of suffering produces an experiential knowledge of God's provision for us and thereby gives support for our continued Hope in Him.  Ultimately, endurance is found in a willingness to engage in sacrificial suffering for Christ.  It draws us closer to Him.  It is this very struggle for Endurance that is a perfect preparation for the next stage of Godliness.

 

 

Endurance requires:

          The consciousness of a right intent.

          The implicit confidence in God, and in our cause as approved by Him.

                    The main element in endurance is Christian submission to the will of God.

                    We shall grow patient under trials in proportion as we grow unselfish.

          An element of hope.

                    Patience under trial expects God’s appearing.

                    Patience in labour awaits God’s help.

                              Thompson, J. P.  (1977, p. 57-58).