Revelation 2:3
And have borne, and have patience, and for my name's sake have labored, and have not fainted.
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(3) And hast borne.—This verse needs some change to bring it into harmony with the best MSS. It should stand, And hast (or, hadst) patience, and didst bear for My name’s sake, and didst not weary. In this last word there is a recurrence to the word (kopos) translated labour or toil in Revelation 2:2. They had toiled on to very weariness without wearying of their toil (Galatians 6:9), just as they could not bear the evil and yet had borne reproaches for Christ’s sake. “There is toil, and patience, and abhorrence of evil, and discernment, and again patience, and endurance, and unwearied exertion. What can be wanting here?” (Dr. Vaughan.)

2:1-7 These churches were in such different states as to purity of doctrine and the power of godliness, that the words of Christ to them will always suit the cases of other churches, and professors. Christ knows and observes their state; though in heaven, yet he walks in the midst of his churches on earth, observing what is wrong in them, and what they want. The church of Ephesus is commended for diligence in duty. Christ keeps an account of every hour's work his servants do for him, and their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. But it is not enough that we are diligent; there must be bearing patience, and there must be waiting patience. And though we must show all meekness to all men, yet we must show just zeal against their sins. The sin Christ charged this church with, is, not the having left and forsaken the object of love, but having lost the fervent degree of it that at first appeared. Christ is displeased with his people, when he sees them grow remiss and cold toward him. Surely this mention in Scripture, of Christians forsaking their first love, reproves those who speak of it with carelessness, and thus try to excuse indifference and sloth in themselves and others; our Saviour considers this indifference as sinful. They must repent: they must be grieved and ashamed for their sinful declining, and humbly confess it in the sight of God. They must endeavour to recover their first zeal, tenderness, and seriousness, and must pray as earnestly, and watch as diligently, as when they first set out in the ways of God. If the presence of Christ's grace and Spirit is slighted, we may expect the presence of his displeasure. Encouraging mention is made of what was good among them. Indifference as to truth and error, good and evil, may be called charity and meekness, but it is not so; and it is displeasing to Christ. The Christian life is a warfare against sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh. We must never yield to our spiritual enemies, and then we shall have a glorious triumph and reward. All who persevere, shall derive from Christ, as the Tree of life, perfection and confirmation in holiness and happiness, not in the earthly paradise, but in the heavenly. This is a figurative expression, taken from the account of the garden of Eden, denoting the pure, satisfactory, and eternal joys of heaven; and the looking forward to them in this world, by faith, communion with Christ, and the consolations of the Holy Spirit. Believers, take your wrestling life here, and expect and look for a quiet life hereafter; but not till then: the word of God never promises quietness and complete freedom from conflict here.And hast borne - Hast borne up under trials; or hast borne with the evils with which you have been assailed. That is, you have not given way to murmuring or complaints in trial, you have not abandoned the principles of truth and yielded to the prevalence of error.

And hast patience - That is, in this connection, hast shown that thou canst bear up under these things with patience. This is a repetition of what is said in Revelation 2:2, but in a somewhat different connection. There it rather refers to the trouble which they had experienced on account of the pretensions of false apostles, and the patient, persevering, and enduring spirit which they had shown in that form of trial; here the expression is more general, denoting a patient spirit in regard to all forms of trial.

And for my name's sake hast laboured - On account of me, and in my cause. That is, the labor here referred to, whatever it was, was to advance the cause of the Redeemer. In the word rendered "hast labored" (κεκοπιακας kekopiakas) there is a reference to the word used in the previous verse - "thy labor" (κόπον σου kopon sou); and the design is to show that the "labor," or trouble there referred to, was on account of him.

And hast not fainted - Hast not become exhausted, or wearied out, so as to give over. The word used here (κάμνω kamnō) occurs in only three places in the New Testament: "Lest ye be wearied, and faint," Hebrews 12:3; "The prayer of faith shall save the sick," James 5:15; and in the passage before us. It means properly to become weary and faint from toil, etc.; and the idea here is, that they had not become so wearied out as to give over from exhaustion. The sense of the whole passage is thus rendered by Prof. Stuart: "Thou canst not bear with false teachers, but thou canst bear with troubles and perplexities on account of me; thou hast undergone wearisome toil, but thou art not wearied out thereby." The state of mind, considered as the state of mind appropriate to a Christian, here represented, is, that we should not tolerate error and sin, but that we should bear up under the trials which they may incidentally occasion us; that we should have such a repugnance to evil that we cannot endure it, as evil, but that we should have such love to the Saviour and his cause as to be willing to bear anything, even in relation to that, or springing from that, that we may be called to suffer in that cause; that while we may be weary in his work, for our bodily strength may become exhausted (compare Matthew 26:41), we should not be weary of it; and that though we may have many perplexities, and may meet with much opposition, yet we should not relax our zeal, but should persevere with an ardor that never faints, until our Saviour calls us to our reward.

3. borne … patience—The oldest manuscripts transpose these words. Then translate as Greek, "persevering endurance … borne." "Thou hast borne" My reproach, but "thou canst not bear the evil" (Re 2:2). A beautiful antithesis.

and … hast laboured, and hast not fainted—The two oldest manuscripts and oldest versions read, "and … hast not labored," omitting "and hast fainted." The difficulty which transcribers by English Version reading tried to obviate, was the seeming contradiction, "I know thy labor … and thou hast not labored." But what is meant is, "Thou hast not been wearied out with labor."

And hast borne the contradiction of false teachers, and the persecutions of Jews and pagans; for at this time the second persecution was began by Domitian.

And hast patience; grace (with quietness and submission) to bear the will of God in any sort of evils.

And for my name’s sake hast laboured; and for me hast laboured actively in propagating the truths of my gospel, as well as passively in the furnace of trials and persecutions.

And hast not fainted; and hast persevered so as thou hast neither been seduced to other doctrine by false teachers, nor lost thy integrity and holiness of conversation. And hast borne,.... Not evil men, nor false apostles, but "burdens", as the Ethiopic version reads, and as the word signifies; meaning afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions, which pressed sore, and lay heavy on these ministers and churches; and yet they bore them with constancy and cheerfulness, and were not moved by them. The Arabic version reads, "and thou hast borne me"; my name and Gospel, among the Gentiles, and carried it from place to place; see Acts 9:15,

and hast patience; which they had from God, as his gift, and which they had in their hearts, and in exercise, and found it useful to them. It was in exercise in a suitable time, and it continued with them; it was not worn out through the length and greatness of their trials,

And for my name's sake hast laboured: which may refer either to enduring sufferings for Christ's name's sake, for his Gospel's sake, for righteousness sake, for the sake of the elect, and for the sake of the honour, glory, and interest of Christ; or to labouring in the ministry, not for filthy lucre sake, nor for party sake, but for the honour of Christ, and the good of souls; and there never was an interval in which this was more true:

and hast not fainted: so as to sink under the burden borne; to have patience quite tired out; to, be weary of labouring for Christ's name's sake; and so as to give out, and quit the service of Christ.

And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Revelation 2:3. As in Revelation 2:2 (καὶ ἐπείρασας, κ.τ.λ.) that is amplified which was briefly indicated by the words καὶ ὅτι οὐ δύνῃ βαστάσαι κακούς, so now, also, the first point of the acknowledgment (τ. κοπ. κ. τ. ὑπομ. σου) is developed on a definite side, and that, too, so that not only with ὑπομονὴν ἕχεις the above ὑπομονὴν σου is again taken up, but also the ἐκβάστασας διὰ τ. ὅν. μου[942] is placed in a significant antithesis to the οὐ δύνῃ βαστάσαι κακούς, and by the καὶ οὐ κεκοπίακες[943] it is indicated that the κόπος of believers furnished with the right ὑπομονή has resulted neither in succumbing nor weariness. Beng.: “I know thy labor; yet thou dost not labor, i.e., shalt not be broken down by labor.”[944]

[942] Cf. Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17; John 15:21.

[943] Cf. Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 6:7; John 4:6; Matthew 11:28.

[944] Cf. Vitr., Wolf., Ew., Ebrard, etc.Revelation 2:3. The tenses as in Revelation 2:2 denote a general attitude still existing, the outcome of some special stage of persecution for the sake of the Christian name. κεκοπίακες, cf. κόπον (Revelation 2:2), a slight play on words; “noui laborem tuum, nec tamen laboras, i.e., labore non frangeris” (Bengel). Tired in loyalty, not of it. The Ephesian church can bear anything except the presence of impostors in her membership.3. and hast borne, &c.] Read and hast patience; and didst bear for my Name’s sake, and hast not been weary.Revelation 2:3. Οὐ κεκοπίακας) Thus the Alex. MS. reads. The others also, with great agreement, οὐκ ἐκοπίασας: there is only the change of Σ for Κ made by the latter, from the rhythm ἐβάστασας.[28] See App. Ed. ii. on this passage.—ΚΟΠΙᾷΝ is used for ΚΆΜΝΕΙΝ, Matthew 11:28, 1 Corinthians 4:12; also John 4:6. Whence in the Septuagint it answers to the words חשׁל כאל לאה עיף חלה, and especially to יגע. Hesychius, ΚΕΚΜΗΚῺς, ΚΕΚΟΠΙΑΚΏς. The Antanaclasis [See Append. Technical Terms], praised by Wolf, is this: I know thy labour; and yet thou dost not labour, that is, thou art not wearied with labour.

[28] B has ἐκοπίασας: AC, κεκοπίακες (the Alexandr. form for—κας): so h Vulg. But Rec. Text, with little authority, adds καὶ οὐ κέκμηκας.—E.Verse 3. - The text followed in the Authorized Version is here very corrupt; we must read with the Revised Version, And thou hast patience (as in ver. 2), and didst bear for my Name's sake, and hast not grown weary. The last verb (κεκοπίακες) is closely akin to toil (κόπος) in ver 2. The seeming contradiction between "I know thy toil" and "thou hast not toiled" has caused confusion in the text. Yet οὐ κεκοπίακες does not mean "thou hast not toiled," but "thou hast not wearied of toil." It is all the more probable that this play of words is intentional, because "bear" (βαστάζειν) is used in two different senses in ver. 2 and ver. 3: "canst not tolerate evil men," and "didst endure suffering" (comp. John 16:12). "So is patience set over the things of God that one can obey no precept, fulfil no work well pleasing to the Lord, if estranged from it. The good of it even they who live outside it honour with the name of highest virtue... . Grand testimony this is to it, in that it incites even the vain schools of the world unto praise and glory! Or is it rather an injury,' 'in that a thing Divine is bandied about among worldly sciences (Tertullian, 'De Pat.,' 1.). The best texts omit οὐ κέκμηκας hast not grown weary, and read καὶ οὐ κεκοπίακες hast not grown weary. The transcribers supposed the verb κοπιάω to mean only to labor; whereas it includes the sense of weariness from labor.
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