American Christians suffer little to no actual persecution. Oh sure, a Ten Commandments monument is toppled here and there, but no Christians were actually hurt in the toppling. And, yes, I equate persecution with physical suffering.
I do so because the word “persecution” in Greek actually has the word “suffer” involved in its meaning.
The best verse in the Bible on persecution is 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The English words “shall suffer persecution” are all from the one Greek word for “persecution.” It involves actual harm and suffering.
Now, if we examine this verse we see that ALL of a group of people, all is from a Greek word that means “all” by the way, will suffer persecution. ALL with no exceptions.
Who is this group who will ALL suffer persecution? They are “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus.”
Note it isn’t even all who are living godly, but all that will live godly. “That will” carries the idea of resolving, being determined to. Even having the intent of living godly in Christ will lead you to suffer.
Note also it’s not just living godly, but living godly in Christ Jesus. Earlier in 2 Timothy 3 Paul talked about people who had “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” There is an outward show of what people think godliness is, but it lacks any spiritual power.
True godliness is only possible in Christ Jesus. You must be born again and walking in the Spirit, in the newness of life. Living godly truly means living the life of Christ–no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.
As Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:3-4 the person who obeys the words of Jesus Christ is the one who will live according to the doctrine of godliness.
If you have the life of Christ living through you, people will come after you to do you harm. The reason why is because that’s what people did to Jesus, it has to follow logically that it will happen to those whom the life of Christ is lived through.
2 Timothy 3:12 is one of the toughest verses Paul says about practical Christian living or about proof of salvation. It is rarely mentioned. It should be mentioned more.