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Studies in the Book of JOB.
#13. "The patience of hope."
(Key to the enigma of the ages. No.3).
pp. 8 - 12
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord", said James
in his epistle (James 5: 11) and this twofold reference to the book we are studying must
be included in our survey. This verse forms part of a section that occupies chap. 5: 7-11,
and this in its turn is in structural correspondence with chap. 1. 2-4.
"My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that
the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye
may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1: 2-4).
The stress upon "patience" in its relation to "perfecting" cannot be avoided. It is
evidently an integral part of the epistle and the reference to Job must not be looked upon
as incidental. The reader of the book of Job, would probably think that James might have
said "Ye have heard of the impatience of Job", for Job, while enduring unprecedented
affliction did nevertheless exhibit great impatience. Yet we are sure that James is right
and that our reading of Job must be wrong.
The first thing we must do is to become acquainted, as fully as possible, with the
meaning of the keywords of this passage. The word "patience" in the English language
answers to more than one conception as expressed by the Greek. There is that form of
patience, which "suffers long" makrothumia, which is found in James 5: 10, where "the
prophets" are given as an example of those who, suffering affliction did so with
"patience". There is that form of patience, which James speaks of in Chapter 3: 17
where epiekes is translated "gentle", and there is that form of patience which patiently
bears up under evil, which should mark the teacher (II Tim. 2: 24), but these words are
not used of Job, either in the LXX or in the N.T. The word that James uses of Job is the
Greek word hupomone, which literally means "to remain under". The verb is hupomeno
and the noun and verb together are used in the epistle of James five times.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation" (1: 12).
"We count them happy which endure" (5: 11).
"The trying of your faith worketh patience" (1: 3).
"But let patience have her perfect work" (1: 4).
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job" (5: 11).
The reference to Job coming last in the list of occurrences suggests that in Job, James
sums up what he has said previously upon this subject of patience. It will be seen that in
James' epistle patience is connected with temptation and the trying of faith and that it has
a perfect work to accomplish. Other renderings of hupomeno that give further light are
those that speak of "enduring" to the end (Matt. 10: 22; 24: 13), "suffering" in view of
reigning (II Tim. 2: 12); and the four references in Hebrews, which speak of enduring