Patience and Perseverance in the Bible

One thing that is stressed about living out our transformed life is to have “enduring patience” and “perseverance”. I wondered what the difference was between the two and how I could improve on both qualities/virtues. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that there is a difference in how we apply these terms to our Christian walk. What is the difference between Patience and Perseverance?

woman holding up brown placard with pinecone background

Why is Patience Important?

We are called to be a patient people. Patience is a heart attitude of self-restraint and calmness. It is a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22

It’s an important virtue that God values and wants us to emulate. We represent it in our attitude towards others, rather than things. 

But we can also exhibit patience in calmly tolerating delays or annoyances. For example, we can show patience (no complaining, losing our temper, etc.) when we’re in a hurry or waiting in a slow-moving line.

Or when you’re hearing this all day- “Mom… Mom… Mom…”

We all need of patience as we go through each day.

Praying for Patience

Whether it is hourly, daily, or in the long waiting, we can pray for patience, knowing He hears our prayers and gives us what we need. 

O Lord, increase my patience and help me lean not on my own understanding, but fully trust in You instead. You are a God of patience; teach me your ways! Help me be still before you and wait patiently. Amen.

Patience in the Bible

Patience is part of God’s extraordinary character. We see His infinite patience with His people in the Old Testament repeatedly.

 He redeems them, they repent, and then turn back to idol worship. We are stuck in the same sin cycle, but He never gives up on His own! 

2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

James tells us the farmer must wait patiently, there is no hurrying the process of growing crops.Likewise, we must wait patiently for the coming of the Lord., living by faith and working for His Kingdom.

James 5:7-

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” 

Another aspect of patience is regarding wrongs done to us. They are inevitable, but He asks us not to take revenge, rather patiently respond with love and forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:2-

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” 

 We can’t talk about patience in the Bible and leave out Job. He suffered terribly, but God continued to show him compassion and mercy.

 Like Job, we may undergo undeserved suffering. Cultivating the patience of Job (with the help of the Holy Spirit) helps us go (and grow!) through these times.

James used the story of Job to encourage persecuted Christians in the first century:

James 5:11

“We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” NASB.

Why is Perseverance Important?

Perseverance means continuing even when faced with difficult situations, discouragement, or even opposition.

So you could also say Job not only had patience, but perseverance as well.

Faith and Perseverance Scriptures

If we want our faith to grow, we must learn perseverance. Life is tough, and hard times come to all. Trusting in God’s love and guidance of the Spirit helps us persevere.

Run with Perseverance

“… 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our 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.” Hebrews 12:1-2.

As followers of Christ, we are to persevere in the race; building up our spiritual maturity. It takes discipline, hard work, and stamina.  

Studying the Bible, developing a powerful prayer life, and times of worship equip us for this marathon we are running. We can’t quit and sit on the sidelines.

This race needs sustained effort and determination. That is perseverance.

Perseverance in Faith

Likewise, Philippians 3:14- “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

We “press on”, we actively strive towards our goal of living like Jesus as best we can. We need focus, dedication, energy, practice, and commitment. All this takes perseverance.

No one said it would be easy. Without life’s pressures, it’s easier to show love and kindness, patience and understanding.  

Gaining the ability to persevere, however, often comes through trials of many kinds.

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Bible Verses about Perseverance through Hard Times

James has wonderful insights for us when (not if) we face times of trouble. He’s not asking us to be happy, but to keep a positive outlook on what we will learn from them.

James 1:2-3

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James 1:12

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” 

The crown of life is our reward of eternal life in heaven. We wait on God’s timing with patient endurance, perseverance, for that day to come.

Perseverance Produces Character

Romans 5:3-4-

“But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 

Trials will come into our lives. That is a guarantee. But instead of quitting, we turn these times of trial into learning how to stay on the course God has planned.  

We can use our trials as opportunities for building spiritual growth, asking ourselves what God has for us to learn about Him.

We persevere because it is a stepping stone towards building strength of character (our inner qualities) which gives us hope. 

Our hope gives us confidence that God is in control and will see us through any storm.

Perseverance in Prayer

•Persevering in prayer is the theme of Ephesians 6:18, NASB:  

“With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…”

•“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2. 

 Devotion to something means you spend time and energy on it. If you are devoting yourself to prayer, you persevere and are persistent in it.

•Or this from the Parable of the Persistent Widow– “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1. 

I’m betting that we have all prayed for a long time about something or someone and haven’t seen an answer to our prayers. Do you give up? No, that’s where we persevere in prayer.  

Our prayer life is part of our race. God hears every single one of our prayers, and always answers- in His time and in His way.

 The Power of Perseverance

The Christian life is not easy. We want to have trust and confidence in God and his purposes for our lives.  

We persevere because we know that when we see Jesus, he will wipe away every tear, claim us as His own, and usher us into eternity.  He has prepared a place for us!

In the meantime, we live in a world full of disappointments, hardships, stresses, and heart-breaking headlines.

We characterize the Christian life as a marathon. It’s hard work and comes with trials to overcome. But it’s also the most important work we will ever do.

Paul wrote an encouraging letter to Timothy, a close friend, and a young church leader while imprisoned. In his practical advice to him, he encourages him to persevere in his ministry and carefully guard his spiritual life.

Then Paul reminds Timothy:

 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And now the prize awaits me- the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give me on the day of his return.” 2 Timothy 4: 7-8.

How To Persevere in Faith

We, too, must persevere in our spiritual lives. 

•Know what you believe; continue to learn and grow in your knowledge of God. Read the Word of God daily to stay grounded in Him.

• Be on guard for things that pull us away from Jesus and the will of God.   

•Focus on Him and let the love of God empower and strengthen you.

•Persevere in prayer

•An attitude of sustained effort and determination

•Keep in fellowship with other Christians.

Jesus armed His disciples with knowledge of signs of the end of the age. These things characterize every age (vv4-8) and He doesn’t want us to be misled, either.

Matthew 24:13

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.”

This does NOT mean we can lose our eternal salvation!

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28. 

Jesus was warning them that times of intense persecution can weed out false Christians. He wants us to hold tightly to God’s promises and His glorious might. 

He wants our daily lives to be filled with the love, hope, joy, and enjoyment of His riches, freely given to us. Persevere as you walk with Him all the way to the end and into our eternal life with Him!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

Encouragement for the Week: Is there an area in your spiritual life where you need to show more perseverance? What steps can you take to make that happen?



All Scripture is from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

16 thoughts on “Patience and Perseverance in the Bible”

  1. I love this lesson. I would love to share some of it with my facebook group, with your permission. Thanks and God Bless

    1. Thank you, Debra for your kind encouragement. Yes, of course you may share! I am blessed that you are now partners with me in ministry to share His word 🙂
      It reminds me of God’s promise- “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

  2. Gm
    This was a great read.. I could relate and under stand the word of God more plainly. I buckle when trials and tribulations come, whether through people or my own emotions or shortcomings.

    1. Thank you Nada, I have the same issue! For me, it’s letting my emotions rule my heart instead of His truth and purpose. I think we all need these reminders from time to time. I’m so glad God led you to His Word! Have a blessed day.


    I placed an order a few days ago, but I’m unable to track it. I requested text updates but none have come through yet. Anxiously waiting, hopefully this is a problem I created for myself and not a system issue.

  4. This is a great post, Annmarie! I never thought about the difference between patience and perseverance like this before so thanks for explaining the differences. I love the cute example you gave of Cecil the kitty as a reference.

    1. Thanks Angie! This picture of Cecil came to mind when I was writing about patience, but I felt there was an aspect that didn’t quite match. As I did some scripture research, perseverance seemed to fit the picture, so I decided to use it 🙂

    1. I kinda felt like there had to be differences. It was fun to explore how the Bible describes the terms, and uses them!

  5. Love this! Thank-you for helping us explore and flesh out the difference between patience and perseverance according to the Bible! This is very helpful in understanding how to apply various verses to our day-to-day lives!

  6. I LOVE this Annmarie! I never thought about the difference between patience and perserverance. And I LOVE the example you gave of Cecil the kitty to help the reader understand. You are an awesome writer! ❤

    1. Thank you so much Donna! That means a lot coming from someone as accomplished as you. 🙂 I thought of this picture of Cecil when I was writing about patience, but he inspired me to explore the difference!

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