A Study in Perseverance

Determination perseveres in spite of the word “no.”

When Rosalie Ranquist realized that she was called to be a missionary, her rough background and lack of education led church leaders to discourage her from pursuing her goal.  Even so, in 1967 she left for Papua New Guinea and her career was remarkable in every way — particularly in light of her seemingly inadequate preparation.  Although she is, technically, “retired” now, she continues her involvement as an international literacy consultant on a limited basis, and she still shares her favorite Scripture verse with others:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord,”

I Corinthians 15:58

Knowing that Rosalie is facing some health challenges, she and her verse have been on my mind lately, and since I’ve been reading in I Corinthians 15 for the past three weeks, this was the perfect time for me to visit Biblegateway.com for resources that deepen my insight into Rosalie’s verse.

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Since there are thirteen Study Bibles to choose from, I was able to review the verse’s historical context, and also found this insight from John MacArthur:

“The hope of resurrection makes all the efforts and sacrifices in the Lord’s work worth it.  No work done in His name is wasted in light of eternal glory and reward.”

Steadfast, immovable, and abounding are not words that most of us use in everyday speaking, so I was surprised to note how many of the newer translations have stuck with them.  You can check for yourself by clicking on the  I Corinthians 15:58 in all English translations link below the verse.

The NRSV and Amplified Bibles used the word excelling, and the New Living chose outstanding to speak of “abounding in the work of the Lord.”

The Good News Translation used firm and steady for steadfast and immovable, while the International Children’s Bible spoke of being steady and strong.

The Living Bible put some meat on the bones of Paul’s opening “therefore”:

“So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.”

This rendering of the verse anchors it deeply in the big picture of the chapter’s theme:  Resurrection.  A click on the four brown parallel lines beside the reference allowed me to view the entire chapter as needed, for I Corinthians 15 provides the most thorough teaching of any chapter in the Bible on resurrection and the Christian life.

Paul is not offering an empty or theoretical hope.  His admonition toward a steadfast and immovable perseverance on the narrow path —  even when it feels as if the narrow path may be squeezing the life out of you —  is not just a happy thought to keep us company as we endure.  It is a promise of future life that has been verified by the resurrection of God the Son.  Jesus was the “first fruits” of that promise, and based on that, we know that God can deliver the goods.

Resurrection is the bass note that thrums underneath every word that Paul has written in this long and theologically rich chapter, for the truth of resurrection is the basis of a living, breathing, get-up-in-the-morning-and-obey-God-all-day kind of faith.   It is only because God keeps showing up with power that I can war against sin — every day.  He offers freedom from slavery to other people’s approval and from my stubborn need to be “right.”  He brings life to this new creation so that I can find grace to hate the selfishness and small-living that would keep me at the center of my own universe.

Rosalie Ranquist and the truth of her favorite verse serve as a continual reminder to me that nothing is wasted in God’s economy:  our suffering and our service are all infused with meaning because we live in a hope that is based on Truth.

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Published by

Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

74 thoughts on “A Study in Perseverance”

  1. Ah, Michele, if only I could sit under your teaching in your class! You do such a phenomenal job here, I can’t imagine how rich it would be to hear you in person. (All you Mainers in her area ought to go!)

    I love so much about this, mainly because the word steadfast has been resonating with me for awhile. I also liked your line: “It is only because God keeps showing up with power that I can war against sin — every day.” Amen! I have zero power but He has all power. So thankful He empowers His children!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And could this mean that things that seem to be a ‘waste of time’ (because I am so slow…) may indeed be an investment in eternal dividends if done wholeheartedly as unto the Lord!?
    I love word studies; what a trove of resources are at our fingertips! I regularly use BlueLetterBible.
    Thx for your research and writing😊

    Like

  3. Michele,
    I needed this reminder that nothing is wasted in God’s economy. We continue to press on and persevere because the resurrection prize has been verified – what great truth. We, as Christians, need to form a “Perseverance Posse” as we persevere through life’s trials – knowing our work and steadfastness is not in vain. Great reminders Michele!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    Like

  4. “because we live in a hope that is based on Truth.” – so powerful, Michele. I too enjoy seeing how the different translations bring to light those single words that pop out at me. The Blue Letter Bible Linda62 mentioned is also great for discovering the original Greek and Hebrew meanings.
    Thank you for sharing and introducing Rosalie. I pray she overcomes the challenges she faces.

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  5. Michele, I love your posts, but this one is my favourite so far! I love when you take a verse, like a rib from a Southern BBQ restaurant and pull all the meat off of it! Thanks for tearing apart this verse and getting to the heart of it. I love the insight and how you shared your searches. I love the Word and studying it brings something alive in me like nothing else can! Thanks for your wise, deep and inspiring words!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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    1. Smiling big about that Southern BBQ, because we took the family west along a northerly route, but then came home through TEXAS, and we’ll never be the same again after eating their BBQ. I love your analogy of tearing into the Word. So great to have sweet sisters to study with!

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  6. I love the word steadfast. It takes determination to stay steadfast in the work God has called us to. No matter how small it is, God wants us to stick it out because it is His work. Thank you for sharing this reminder, with Thankful Thursdays.

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  7. Love, love, love this word study, Michele…maybe the start of a series based on the favorite verses of others? I thought of you this week when I read this quote, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” –Abraham Kuyper. Many blessings to you, sweet friend ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michele, what riches you found in this verse! Such an encouragement to me early on this Sunday morning, getting ready to face another ministry filled Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This I love: “Nothing is wasted in God’s economy: our suffering and our service are all infused with meaning because we live in a hope that is based on Truth.” Amen! Thanks for sharing Rosalie’s verse with us.

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  10. All the things we need to know and learn are in the Bible. The important lesson in perseverance here is incomparable. Must always bear this in mind.

    Have a blessed week, my friend.

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  11. What a testimony of God’s equipping in this ladies life!! As I read your article this quote stuck out to me! “The truth of resurrection is the basis of a living, breathing, get-up-in-the-morning-and-obey-God-all-day kind of faith.” Well said! This truth is certainly what should motivate our every thought and action! God Bless!

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  12. Michele. I love this verse, but I love learning new angles on old favorites. Thank you so much. Today I had meetings about 3 different students who are needing extra help, etc., and I came home feeling tired. But our work for God is never wasted or in vain. I’m so grateful for His never-ending love.

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  13. Thank you for sharing about this wonderful woman of God. I love to read about other people and how they persevere. And I love the living translation’s version of the scripture – “nothing you do for God is ever wasted…” #raralinkup

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  14. I can never get enough of hearing about God’s hope. Paul always points us forward and encourages us on our journeys. Immeasurable and steadfast perseverance will lead us to God and this is the path I want to take. Thank you for teaching us and pointing us to hope today.

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  15. This was rich, Michelle! Chalk full of good truth and I love love love reading different translations side by side. I prefer “abounding” too haha…. I fell in love with the TLB Translations a few years back and keep coming back to it. Thanks for all you do friend. I am sharing this today.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Rosalie sounds like an amazing woman. Your are so right, “nothing is wasted in God’s economy.” I’m learning this more every day. Thank you for this important encouragement, Michele!

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  17. Michele, thank you for opening up a whole new world to me with the study resources at Bible Gateway. All I can say is ‘wow’!
    I love the scripture that you chose and how you remind us of what is at stake. Surely the narrow way does not feel comfortable but remembering that it will all be worth it in the end really gives us hope.
    Thank you for digging deep and sharing these truths with us!
    Blessings!
    Marva | SunSparkleShine
    (I’m hanging out with you at #TheLoft today)

    Like

    1. I’m not a techy person, and would consider myself more comfortable with books than screens, but I do use Bible Gateway a lot (which is a testimony to its user-friendliness!). Thanks, Marva, for the visit!

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  18. You, my dear sweet sister, are a teacher. Taking these words and moving them from the mind to the heart. Steadfast! Immovable! Not tossed and turned by the winds of doctrine. God job! So glad you’re a sharer her at the Loft.

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  19. Love this meaty post! I especially love this:
    “Resurrection is the bass note that thrums underneath every word that Paul has written in this long and theologically rich chapter, for the truth of resurrection is the basis of a living, breathing, get-up-in-the-morning-and-obey-God-all-day kind of faith. It is only because God keeps showing up with power that I can war against sin — every day. He offers freedom from slavery to other people’s approval and from my stubborn need to be “right.” He brings life to this new creation so that I can find grace to hate the selfishness and small-living that would keep me at the center of my own universe.”
    If that doesn’t make you excited and thankful, nothing will! Love that you pulled out the major theme that we often ignore or take for granted: resurrection and ALL that it means for us, not just someday, but every day.

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    1. Yes, I was excited by the prevalence of resurrection in Paul’s writing — and funny you should have mentioned it, because I’ve moved on to II Cor. chapter 1 and was thrilled to find murmurings of resurrection there as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Just love this, Michele! ‘the truth of resurrection is the basis of a living, breathing, get-up-in-the-morning-and-obey-God-all-day kind of faith.’ Pinned, shared and etched on my heart. Thanks for the blessing.

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  21. I Corinthians 15:58 is an excellent verse to commit to memory. Thank you for highlighting the life of this precious saint! Our son and his wife spent three years as medical missionaries to Papua New Guinea, along with their small children. Indeed, “our suffering and our service are all infused with meaning because we live in a hope that is based on Truth.”

    Like

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