The word “hope” is thrown around quite a bit in the Christian faith. Truely, we’re hopeful about the future, about God’s plan for us on Earth, about the return of the Lord, and about our everlasting life in Heaven. But what does it mean to be hopeful in a Biblical sense?
The definition of hope in the Bible is slightly different from the modern use of the word. Biblical hope is a confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises to us. In fact, it is also a sense of trust in Jesus and His saving work. We need hope to get a new perspective on our lives and can incorporate it by engaging with our faith.
Here’s what you should know about the definition of hope in the Bible.
The Definition of Hope in the Bible
Of course, the modern definition of hope, as an expectation or optimism for the future, portrays it as a flimsy, almost foolish emotion. However, in the Bible, hope is defined differently, as a cornerstone of Christian beliefs and the way Christians should live their lives.
In the Old Testament, the word we translate as “hope” is the Hebrew “qawa,” more literally meaning “to trust.” It’s used by Jeremiah when he addresses the Lord in Jeremiah 14:22, saying “Our hope is in you.” Even more, in some translations, the, phrase is instead translated as “We wait for you.”
Therefore, the meaning of hope in the Old Testament is confident anticipation, or to have patience and know that God will provide.
In the New Testament, a different verb is frequently translated as “hope” – “elpizo.” This word is frequently used by Paul in his letters. In 1 Timothy 1:1, he introduces himself as writing “by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” Further, in Romans 5:5, he says that “hope does not put us to shame” (in some translations, “hope will not lead to disappointment”).
This phrase, then, means something closer to confidence and trust in a particular person; in this case, that person is Jesus.
Why Christians Need Hope
At its core, hope is an important part of the Christian faith for many reasons. Primarily because it is the strength given to us by God that allows us to survive suffering on Earth. Hope in salvation and in our place in God’s kingdom motivates us to endure the trials set to us by God.
It is essentially God’s way of giving us an advantage by offering us perspective on our problems. Simply put, it also gives us greater understanding of them in the larger plan.
This shift in perspective also allows Christians to live more fulfilled lives. If we know that our actions impact our place in God’s kingdom and the places of our fellow men, we’re more likely to make wiser choices. This can be done even when these choices are difficult.
That trust in God and the anticipation of our reward in Heaven means that we are emboldened to take risks we might otherwise be afraid to take.
How to Incorporate Biblical Hope into Your Life
If you struggle to incorporate Biblical hope into your life, try some of the following tips:
- Get involved with your local church. By participating in services and giving back to your community, you’re directly doing the work God asked of you. This might help you reconnect with that anticipation and trust.
- Spend time each day in prayer. Set aside time every day to focus on why you should be hopeful, and to talk with God about that hope. Being mindful of hope can help inspire it.
- Understand that hope takes time. You may not instantly be filled with Biblical hope, and that’s okay! Know that it takes time to understand what it is you’re hopeful for.
Conclusion about Definition of Hope in the Bible
Biblical hope is harder to maintain than modern hope. It involves trusting in something you can never see, and in promises that often sound too good to be true. But the rewards of Biblical hope are so much greater than those of modern hope.
By maintaining Biblical hope, you’re ensuring that your faith is as strong as it can possibly be. You’re trusting that God will provide for you, now and in Heaven, which is exactly what He asks us to do.