5-Minute Bible Studies

PATIENCE– a Five-Minute Study

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA

July 6, 2001


The story of Joseph is told in Genesis 37-50. This study will focus on the most critical verses; however, to get the most comprehensive picture of Joseph’s patience, read all 14 chapters.

Joseph, a favored son of Jacob, demonstrated exemplary patience. As a young man he was betrayed by his brothers who sold him into slavery in Egypt. (Gen. 37) In Egypt he found favor with one of Pharaoh’s officials (Potiphar) and was given charge of Potiphar’s household. Later when Potiphar’s wife seduced Joseph and accused him of trying to sleep with her, he was thrown into prison. (Gen. 39:1-20) After years in prison, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was freed and put in charge of the “whole land of Egypt”. (Gen. 41:1-43)

When a famine struck the land, Joseph was in charge and his brothers (who did not recognize him) came to ask for food. Eventually Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and they were frightened that he would seek revenge. But Joseph responded patiently:

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. (Gen. 45:8)

In a later conversation he told his brothers: ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (Gen. 50:19-21)

In the midst of numerous difficult situations (betrayal by his brothers, false accusations, imprisonment) Joseph demonstrated patience: he accepted his circumstances and made the best of them without growing bitter and angry. Joseph’s gracious words to his brothers revealed that he trusted God’s sovereignty and goodness even during the hard times in his life.


Some practical evidences of patience in our lives are expressed in the following “I will” statements: (Display these on a board or transparency, etc. or give students a written copy of them.)

I will change the things I can change and accept the things I can’t.
I will keep trying until I succeed.
I will make the most of my spare time.
I will not interrupt.
I will not complain if I don’t get my way.

Divide into pairs and discuss:

*What kinds of circumstances in our lives tempt us to be impatient? (Some possible answers: being tired, procrastinating, having unrealistic goals, poor planning, etc.)

*What are some of the consequences of being impatient? (Some possible answers: missed opportunities for relationships, witnessing, seeing God work; may miss God’s perfect timing; relational problems; physical problems such as ulcers, headaches, etc.)


Spend time in personal reflection:

*If God were to remove one difficult situation from your life, what would you want Him to remove?

*If God does not remove this difficult situation, what good might come if you patiently wait on Him?

*Share this perspective with a trusted friend, and pray together for grace to be patient in the difficulty.


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.