Question: "What does the Bible say about hope?"
Answer: The Bible has quite a lot to say about hope. Biblical hope has as its foundation faith in God. The word hope in English often conveys doubt. For instance, “I hope it will not rain tomorrow.” In addition, the word hope is often followed by the word so. This is the answer that some may give when asked if they think that they will go to heaven when they die. They say, “I hope so.” However, that is not the meaning of the words usually translated “hope” in the Bible.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word batah and its cognates has the meaning of confidence, security, and being without care; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word. We find that meaning in Job 6:20; Psalm 16:9; Psalm 22:9; and Ecclesiastes 9:4. In most instances in the New Testament, the word hope is the Greek elpis/elpizo. Again, there is no doubt attached to this word. Therefore, biblical hope is a confident expectation or assurance based upon a sure foundation for which we wait with joy and full confidence. In other words, “There is no doubt about it!”
One of the verses in which we find the word hope is Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This verse at the beginning of the faith chapter (Hebrews 11) carries with it all of the confidence that comes with knowing for sure, with no question, what we have been promised by God in His Word. Our faith is confident assurance, for it is founded upon the Rock of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the actions of the heroes of the faith recorded in Hebrews 11 were made possible because they had this faith based in their confident assurance or hope in God. As believers, we are also called to give an answer for that hope that is within us to any who would ask (1 Peter 3:15).
Therefore, biblical hope is a reality and not a feeling. Biblical hope carries no doubt. Biblical hope is a sure foundation upon which we base our lives, believing that God always keeps His promises. Hope or confident assurance can be ours when we trust the words, “He who believes on Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47, NKJV). Accepting that gift of eternal life means our hope is no longer filled with doubt but, rather, has at its sure foundation the whole of God’s Word, the entirety of God’s character, and the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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