LONGSUFFERING (Heb. ’erekh, ‘appayim, slow to anger, Gr. makrothymia). The noun preferred by KJV (other versions use “forbearance”) to account for the delay of the Lord in inflicting punishment or exercising his anger/wrath. The idea is that God delays his exercise of wrath to give time for repentance and amendment of life (
KJV also uses the noun to describe human beings (other versions use “patience” and “forbearance”). As so used, it refers to being patient especially when being faced with evil. It is one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (
’Ereke ’appayim means lit. “length of noses” or “faces.” Hence “length of wrath” (or “slowness of anger”) because anger is manifested by violent, rapid breathing through one’s nostrils. Makrothumía is lit. “long of mind” or “soul” (considered as the locus of the emotions); opposed to shortness of soul or mind, i.e., impatience, intolerance.
The divine longsuffering is illustrated by (1) the song of the vineyard (
Christians ought to imitate God’s long-suffering (
A. Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, I (n.d.), 68; J. Owen, “Of Communion With God The Father, Son, and,” Works, II (1850-1853), 85f.; J. Wesley, “Sermon XXII Upon Our Lord’s Sermon On The Mount,” Works, V (1872), 276; J. T. Mueller, Christian Dogmatics (1934), 174f.; J. Smith and R. Lee, Handfuls On Purpose, I (1947), 247; F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, I (1950), 461; P. Melanchthon, “Apology Of The ,” The (c. 1959), IV. 160. 345; L. Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine (1965), 67f.