James 1:4 ESV And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:4 KJV But let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:4 NIV Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What is “patience” (KJV), “perseverance” (NIV) or “steadfastness” (ESV)?
Patience may be a virtue, but you don’t get it overnight. This isn’t fast food faith here and we’re not going to rush patience. In Jas 1:3 we focused on testing. We saw, among other things, that the positive result of testing is patience/perseverance. As we move into this verse we’re going to explore a bit this concept of patience/perseverance. Here are some condensed dictionary definitions:
“Patience” is the capacity, quality, or fact of being patient. To be “patient” means to bear or endure pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness, tolerance, understanding without becoming hasty or impulsive.
To “persevere” means to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. “Perseverance” is the persistence to continue on a course of action, belief, or purpose with an attitude of steadfastness.
“Steadfast” is a quality marked by firm, dependable, unbendable determination or resolution; it is unshakable and unswerving. The root word, “stead,” literally means to be fixed, as in fixed in place. “Steadfastness” therefore is the quality of being steadfast.
Hupomone is the interlinear transliteration of the word rendered “patience” (KJV), “perseverance” (NIV), or “steadfastness” (ESV) in Jas 1:4. The word appears 31 times in the New Testament. The ideas conveyed by the word “perseverance” seem to be consistent with that of “patience.” Both terms speak to enduring a difficulty while remaining steadfast in one’s purpose and belief. My own interlinear Bible translates the hupomone as “endurance.”
It is critical that we understand the words we are using if we are to accurately know what a passage is really saying. That said, as we go through the next few questions I may use the terms “perseverance,” “patience” and “endurance” interchangeably.
This post is an excerpt (Question 4.1) from my book Ask James one.