Monday, October 10, 2016

Translating and Understanding MAKROQUMIA

The Greek substantive MAKROQUMIA (μακροθυμία) is commonly rendered "patience," whereas the NWT once used the wording "long-suffering."

LSJ (my copy) has this to say about the verb MAKROQUMEW, "to be long-suffering, patient; MAKROQUMEIN EIS TINA to be forebearing or long-suffering towards one."

So MAKROQUMIA can be rendered "long-suffering" or "patience."

BDAG reports that MAKROQUMIA may refer to a "state of remaining tranquil while awaiting an outcome" or a "state of being able to bear up under provocation," whether the referents are human or transcedent beings.

Moulton-Milligan provides a helpful example from the Greek papyri (The Apocalypse of Baruch or POxy III.403), which is worded as follows:


Translation: "for assuredly in its season the wrath will be awakened against thee which now is restrained by long-suffering as it were by a rein."

One point that I want to extract from referencing the pertinent lexica is that we should avoid confusing long-suffering with the type of patience that may be shown when one has a broken leg, for instance, or with occasions when we may have spent 30 minutes or more waiting for a city bus.

MAKROQUMIA is not only characterized by the willingness to wait upon a trial to pass nor does it simply mean that one endures ill-treatment from a superior (e.g., a boss) without publically blowing one's stack or even inwardly remains calm and tranquil because he/she is afraid of being fired for opening his/her mouth.

Authentic long-suffering is demonstrated when it resides within our power to rectify a situation, but we remain patient anyway. The supreme exemplar of this quality is God Almighty, who manifests patience or long-suffering towards those who sin against Him willfully and frequently (Romans 2:4-5). Now God could immediately rectify a situation where one of His creatures chose to disobey Him, if He so desired. However, Jehovah patiently restrains Himself in the hope for a positive outcome, namely, METANOIA.

Jehovah does not show longness of spirit because circumstances are not within His control as with a late city bus. No, God lovingly and willingly manifests MAKROQUMIA and helps His worshipers to develop this quality by means of the holy spirit. How difficult it is for some of us to cultivate patience, however. The ancient VIR ARDENS from North Africa
(Tertullian) also lamented his seeming inability to show patience, especially in his polemic treatises like Adversus Praxean. On the other hand, a perfect man named Jesus did show patience, even after he was resurrected and seated at the right hand of God. Paul thanked both God and Christ for their sublime MAKROQUMIA (See 1 Tim 1:16); Christians today can also be grateful for the MAKROQUMIA and XARIS manifested through our Lord Jesus Christ (Tit 2:11-14).


Matt13weedhacker said...

Really nice and insightful comments here Edgar. I enjoyed this post.

Edgar Foster said...

Thank you, Matt13weedhacker.