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James 5:10

ESV As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
NIV Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
NASB As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
CSB Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name as an example of suffering and patience.
NLT For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
KJV Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

What does James 5:10 mean?

James is urging his oppressed Christian readers to remain patient in their suffering. They must refuse to give in to the pressure to turn on each other. Instead, they should continue to believe God's promise that the day of the Lord is coming and all will be made right.

Previously, James offered the example of the farmer's patience as he waits for the harvest. Here, James offers the example of the Old Testament prophets. These men delivered God's messages, which often included warnings of God's coming judgment. Many years could go by without those warnings coming to pass, and the prophets often suffered great persecution while they waited for God to keep His word.

These men remained patient in their suffering, James insisted, trusting God to sustain them through it until the promise was kept, or the suffering was over. We should do the same.

Hidden in this encouragement is a truth that James's readers surely would not have missed: Many of the Jewish prophets died while waiting for the Lord's promise. Predictions of the Messiah, for example, were not fulfilled until centuries later. This is a key perspective, because James is not promising that God will necessarily deliver his readers and make all things right before they die. He is urging them to remain faithful, as the prophets did, all the way through this life and into the reward of eternity.

That doesn't mean that the day of the Lord cannot come before our earthly lives run out. Rather, it means this promise from God is not earthly, but eternal. This life is short by definition; God calls us to wait in patience and strength, trusting Him all of the way through it, no matter our circumstances.
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