Category — Classic Wisdom Quotes
We have all heard the maxim “patience is a virtue” throughout our lives, and when we’re frustrated that something is taking too long, someone always seems to blurt it out. We live in the age of microwave ovens and the Internet where we can have nearly anything we want instantly. So while the world around us is moving ever faster, and we see that patience is in short supply, we should also recognize that possessing the virtue of patience is a necessity for the followers of God. But does the quote patience is a virtue come from the Bible?
“Patience is a Virtue” – Origin : William Langland, The Vision of Piers Plowman, c 1370
The origin of the quote patience is a virtue comes from a classic work by William Langland written during the middle ages. Yet, if you are looking for the orginal text of this quote from The Vision of Piers Plowman you’re not going to find it unless you are looking for the original Middle English language “suffraunce is a soverayn vertue”.
Translation: Suffraunce is a soverayn vertue : Patience is a sovereign (supreme) virtue
Although you will not find the quote in the Bible, one can easily argue that it was inspired by the Bible. The Vision of Piers Plowman is a poem that is a theological allegory of what it means to be a true Christian. In his poem, Langland refers to the four cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. Patience is one of the characteristics of fortitude, i.e., the ability to endure pain or hardship.
The Biblical reference to patience (longsuffering, sufferance) as a virtue can be found in the book of Galations where it is listed among the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. Galations 5:22-23 KJV.
Since the time of its first appearing, other writers have used the quote patience is a virtue in their writings. The most notable was a more popular contemporary of Langland, namely, Geoffrey Chaucer who said that “patience is a great virtue of perfection” in The Canterbury Tales. Here are a few very early places where you can find today’s Bible or Not quote.
Pacience is a greet vertu of perfeccioun. – Chaucer Tale of Melibee, c 1386
Patience is a vertue, but pinching is worse than any vice! – Lyly Mother Bombie, 1594
Patience is a virtue. – The Works of Thomas Chalkley, 1724
Aunt Prue in Yorkshire… will be able to instruct you, that patience is a virtue; and that you ought not to be in haste to take a first offer. – Richardson Grandison, 1754
Patience is and always was a virtue. – 1858 Trollope Dr. Thorne, 1858
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 NKJV
This post sponsored by the professional photography studio of Bohm-Marrazzo.
February 19, 2013 No Comments
There’s a song from back in the 60′s that quite possibly could have been inspired by today’s quote: Simon and Garfunkel released I Am a Rock (I Am an Island) in 1966. The song takes the defiant position that a man can be an island, in contrast to the quote “no man is an island”. It’s a song about loneliness and one way to deal with it. But is the idea that no man is an island Biblical?
“No Man is an Island Entire of Itself.” – John Donne’s Meditation no. 17 – 1624
In the Bible we do find passages that support this idea. In the Book of Hebrews we read that we should consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24 NKJV). In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches us that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we show one another (John 13:34-35). From the Old Testament with the regular gatherings at the temple, through the New Testament with the saints gathering on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:2), it is clear that God has intended us to to gather and associate with fellow believers. How else could we love and serve one another unless we spend time together? That is a significant function of the Church.
I would conclude that Biblical speaking, that indeed no man is an island, and God has not intended anyone to be an island entire of itself. From an entertainment standpoint, here is a vintage black and white video from 1966 of Simon & Garfunkel performing I Am a Rock I Am and Island – talk about a throwback! Enjoy!
More about John Donne’s Meditations
John Donne was a medieval writer, lawyer and priest born January 21, 1572 in London, England. During his life he wrote sermons, satire, elegy and love poems. In 1624 he wrote his Meditation XVII (17) that contains the famous “no man is an island” quote and also another famous quote, “because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”. John Donne went on to write a total of 23 meditations before he died on March 31, 1631 at the age of 59.
For those who would like to see more of John Donne’s writings, I found a complete list of the works of John Donne here.
June 13, 2011 1 Comment
Today’s Bible or Not quote is well-known contemporary wisdom, but its origin goes back to ancient times. A universal concept throughout history is the idea to do those thing which are good, and to shun those things which are evil. The maxim of the 3 Wise Monkeys conveys this concept in a very simplified visual.
“Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.” – Bible or Not?
No, the proverb of the 3 wise monkeys, namely “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” is not from the Bible. The origin of the quote, as depicted by the above ancient carving, goes back to the 17th century. But depending on your sources, its origin can also be traced as far back as the 8th century originating in China. The theory is that it originally came from Confucius’s Code of Conduct, but without the famous picture of the 3 monkeys. You can read more about the origins of the three monkeys maxim at Wikpedia.
So what does this quote have to do with the Bible? Well for sure, the Bible teaches to do no evil. As a matter of fact, in the book of Thessalonians we see, “Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22 NKJV). Here are some particular verse that support each of the “do nots” of the three monkeys:
Hear No Evil
The Psalmist teaches us, in the very first verse of the Book of Psalms, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” – Psalms 1:1 NKJV. Therefore, do not listen to ungodly counsel, or in other words, hear no evil.
Speak No Evil
The Apostle Paul admonished the saints in Ephesus to speak purely: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29 KJV
See No Evil
Jesus Himself, when it comes to “seeing no evil”, teaches us to go to extremes to keep our eyes from causing us to sin: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” – Matthew 5:29 NKJV
So there we have it; the 3 wise monkeys in not in the Bible, but nevertheless, the saying itself has merit and can be supported by the Bible. Do you have any verses that support this? Feel free to leave additional Bible verses about hearing, speaking, seeing and doing no evil by submitting your comments.
April 6, 2011 11 Comments