James Taught:

*James:1.2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing

I'm unable to comprehend the meaning of patience being a virtue that can work perfection, completion etc. So what does the perfect work of patience mean?


3 Answers 3


God's work does not happen over a day or a week. He works in our lives over a lifetime. Unfortunately, according to the Parable of the Soils in Matthew 13, many will fall away too early and not bring forth fruit to perfection. Only the fourth soil does that, and it requires patience.

Trials and troubles are part of the package God uses to perfect us, and we need patience to learn the lessons God is teaching us in trials. The general overview of this process is given in Romans 5:3-5, "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance [or patience], and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

In the end, the "perfect work" is hope. After we undergo our trials again and again, and find God being there with us no matter what and still working in our lives, we have an expectation (hope), that all will be well, no matter the trial, and so we are more patient when the next trial comes along.

  • Thanks Steve. It's a really good answer but I'll still leave it open for other perspectives on the subject.
    – user20490
    Sep 11, 2017 at 9:48

Hupomone, patience. Hupo under; mone abide.

Patience requires a subjection to present conditions. Patience requires an abiding, contentedly, in adversity. Only when one finally accepts - and stops fighting against - the situation, will patience be perfected.

It takes a long time, in my experience, for the dross to rise to the surface - over and over and over - until all of it has gone.

Then, 'twill be perfect.


We are not only imperfect in front of God, but also sinful; and this contrast is a dynamic one: God’s grace through our faith in Christ starts working in us burning our sins and imperfections as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) through our responsive initiative and co-action. But we have to suffer and undergo this perfect-making divine activity in a process, and this process needs a patience on our part, and thus this patience is a virtue, and not only that, but even a principal virtue.

Perhaps a metaphor can help in understanding for why the patience can be a virtue: timber can burn only gradually, “patiently” as it were, undergoing the working of the fire. Take as timber our sins and imperfections and as fire the uncreated, divine, perfect-making grace.

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