I don’t always understand everything I read in the Bible. There, I said it. I understand what I’ve read most of the time, but sometimes I don’t. I’ve noticed over the years that my tolerance for walking away in agreement with what I’ve read without understanding has waned. I see this as a good thing. If this doesn’t make sense, then allow me to explain.

Consider Hebrews 6:15

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Hebrews 6:15 (NIV)

If you’re not familiar with the story of God’s promise to Abraham, then I will do my best to summarize it.

When Abraham was 74 years old, the Lord promised he would have a child.

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”

Genesis 15:2-3 (NIV)

After twelve years of waiting with no son, Abraham’s (called Abram at that time) wife Sarai suggested he marry her servant Hagar. Abram agreed and had a son through Hagar. However, this was not the son the Lord promised Abram, for that child was to come from him and his wife, Sarai.

About twenty-five years after promising Abraham a son, he and Sarai have their son Isaac. Isaac was the son of the promise that Abraham waited for.

I’ve followed the same Bible reading plan for quite some time and used the YouVersion application. One benefit of this application is that I can take notes and read them later. Therefore, every time I read Hebrews 6:15, I can see all of the notes I’ve written on it. This has been an excellent tool for me to look back and see what the Lord has said to me over the years and give me insight into myself.

My first note, from many years ago, on Hebrews 6:15, says quite simply: “Except, he didn’t wait patiently.” A few years after that note, I have a lengthy “reply” that accepts that Abraham might not have waited patiently but to not question whether or not he did and to trust God’s word. I read through this exchange today and decided to delve further into this issue. I started with asking God and then went on from there.

The issue, I discovered, has to do with the word “patient.” The Greek word translated here is “makrothumeó,” meaning “to be long spirited.” Long-spirited means to patiently endure. To suffer and not lose heart. This same word, “makrothumeó,” is used in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)

Many translations say that “Love is patient.” However, the New King James says love “suffers long.” We might think impatience is the opposite of patience, saying that Abraham wasn’t patient. Since he married Hagar. We would be in error. The opposite of patience is giving up. Part of being patient is suffering. For a long time, if need be.

We can be impatient, give up, or endure until we receive what is promised. For example, I recently completed my first semester of Graduate school. I believed the Lord was directing me back to school in May of last year. After a lot of prayers, I applied and was accepted last fall. I started classes in January and completed them at the end of May. However, during that time, my classes hadn’t been paid for. I was waiting for the funds to come in.

Sometimes I wanted to give up because the coursework was so hard, and I thought I would be dropped from my classes for non-payment. Part of me didn’t want to put in all of that hard work and effort to be dropped. I didn’t want to suffer through that disappointment. However, the Lord kept me going, and finally, a month after I finished the classes, the funds came in!

Although there were times when I was impatient, I held onto God in faith and received what was promised. Abraham did the same thing. Sometimes, he might have been impatient, but he held onto the promise God made him. Now, I don’t equate myself to Abraham! Abraham waited twenty-five years to see God’s promise fulfilled to him in the form of Isaac. That’s patience!

God wants us to understand his word, and he has provided a vehicle to aid us in understanding his word. The Holy Spirit. If we don’t understand Scripture and agree with it, that’s okay. Trusting God’s word is better than leaning on our own understanding. However, if we don’t understand and wrestle with understanding, aided by the Holy Spirit. That’s better. At least for me, it is, because today, when I read through my notes on Hebrews 6:15, and started to walk away from them in ignorance. It occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t the only person confused by this verse. Now, I have a greater understanding of this verse and what patience truly means.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.