Patience and Resistance

John K. Stoner (February 24, 2015)

Many people have said, "The trouble with life is that it's so daily."  I don't know who said it first.  Maybe Adam or Eve!

One could learn or fail to learn many things from that little bit of wisdom.

Anyway, has anyone ever described the book of Revelation as too daily?

There's a word repeated in Revelation which brought this to mind.  In the Greek it is "hupomone"--meaning patience, patient endurance, or steadfast resistance.   (I'll quote the Greek sometimes as a reminder that reading the Bible is a cross-cultural, historical and linguistic exercise, and that few words in any language have a full equivalent in another language.  One reason we use YHWH instead of God in the book.)

The first of the 7 churches addressed by the 7 angels, Ephesus, is complemented for its "hupomone"/steadfast resistance.  Resistance to what?  To "evildoers."  (Rev. 2:2,3,18;3:10; EMPIRE p. 328).  The point is that following Jesus is not a cake walk, there is struggle, not everybody is doing it, and to continue in the way of Jesus takes effort every day.  

English Bibles often, probably usually, translate "hupomone" as  "patience."  That's a little weak. "Patience" denotes more passivity than the Greek word allows.  This is not patience in view of boredom or dull repetition--it is maintaining a stance of resistance to evil in the face of fear or weariness.  

We've all seen how it is easier to quit doing the disciplines of a simpler lifestyle, writing one more letter to the local paper, or withholding a symbolic amount of those war taxes than it is to maintain a steadfast resistance to the evils we deplore.  

The letter of James emphasizes this same "hupomone" posture of discipleship (EMPIRE, p. 319). 

Steadfast resistance is not about boredom, it's about doing a hard thing when it would be easier not to.

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