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INTRODUCTION AND MAJOR TAKEAWAYS

Introduction

As I wrote in an earlier article, I am writing my first book.  My editor suggested I include more content about hope for everyday living that comes from salvation.  Her suggestion was excellent.  The following question arose:  how do I identify Scriptures about hope for everyday living that comes from salvation?  As the title of this article reveals, I tried using a Bible dictionary to locate relevant passages to better comprehend biblical “hope” in the context of encouragement that comes from the fact that salvation creates a present-day benefit as well as an eternal benefit.

Major Takeaways

I developed a number of major takeaways from reading the below data from selected Bible dictionaries.  These takeaways are set forth below.

First, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (HCSB) teaches that hope (elpis) is an inherent attributes of a believer:

13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Peter 3:15 (NET) corroborates that a believer possesses hope (elpis) in Jesus Christ:

15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.

Ephesians 2:11–12 (NASB95) characterizes lost people as without hope (elpis):

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Possession of hope (elpis), i.e., looking forward to something beneficial, is reliable evidence of salvation.

Second, one fundamental aspect of a believer’s hope is in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Paul revealed this kind of hope when he wrote Titus 2:11–13 (NET), which reads:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.12 It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is the reason for a believer not to fear Jesus’ Second Coming per the teaching of 1 John 4:17–18 (HCSB), which reads:

17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.

Third, another essential component of a believer’s hope is in the benefits of salvation during this life on earth.  Paul instructed his audience that a believer’s hope generates love when he wrote Colossians 1:3–6 (NIV), which reads:

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

Fourth, a believer’s hope in Christ produces endurance per Romans 8:22–23 (NASB95), which reads:

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Fifth, the trustworthiness of God gives a believer reassurance through their hope per Hebrews 10:23 (NET), which reads:

23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.

Sixth, hope does not put a believer to shame according to Romans 5:3–5 (ESV), which reads:

3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Seventh, hope encourages believers to be bold according to 2 Corinthians 3:12 (ESV), which reads:

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,

Eighth, Hebrews 6:10-12 (HCSB) teaches that hope leads to persistent godly living:

10 For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them. 11 Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

Ninth, hope in a believer equips them for spiritual warfare per 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NET), which reads:

8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.

Tenth, Philippians 1:20 (HCSB) teaches that hope facilitates a believer to confidently face suffering and even death:

20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

DETAILED RESULTS ABOUT HOPE FROM BIBLE DICTIONARIES

Bible dictionaries provided much detailed data.  If you have an interest, I drew the takeaways from the relevant data  set out below.

An older Bible dictionary[i] defines “hope” as follows:

HOPE—one of the three main elements of Christian character (1 Cor. 13:13). It is joined to faith and love, and is opposed to seeing or possessing (Rom. 8:24; 1 John 3:2). “Hope is an essential and fundamental element of Christian life, so essential indeed, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity (1 Pet. 3:15; Heb. 10:23). In it the whole glory of the Christian vocation is centred (Eph. 1:18; 4:4).” Unbelievers are without this hope (Eph. 2:12; 1 Thess. 4:13). Christ is the actual object of the believer’s hope, because it is in his second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled (1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; Titus 2:13). It is spoken of as “lively”, i.e., a living, hope, a hope not frail and perishable, but having a perennial life (1 Pet. 1:3). In Rom. 5:2 the “hope” spoken of is probably objective, i.e., “the hope set before us,” namely, eternal life (comp. 12:12). In 1 John 3:3 the expression “hope in him” ought rather to be, as in the Revised Version, “hope on him,” i.e., a hope based on God.

A more recent Bible dictionary[ii] reads [in part]:

HOPE An expectation or belief in the fulfillment of something desired. Present hurts and uncertainty over what the future holds create the constant need for hope. Worldwide poverty, hunger, disease, and human potential to generate terror and destruction create a longing for something better. Historically, people have looked to the future with a mixture of longing and fear. Many have concluded that there is no reasonable basis for hope and therefore that to hope is to live with an illusion. Scripture tells us that those who do not have God do not have hope (Eph 2:12).

The modern world has sought hope in human effort and a belief in the inevitability of progress that assumed everything would naturally get better and better. The threat and reality of war in the 20th century challenged that optimism and left growing despair in its wake. Though many still find little reason to hope, others have returned to a humanistic basis for hope. It is held that because people are the source of the world’s problems, they can also be the solution. This position can be called into question on the basis of present and historical evidence to the contrary.

**

Biblical hope is hope in what God will do in the future. At the heart of Christian hope is the resurrection of Jesus. Paul discussed the nature, certainty, and importance of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:12–28). That Paul is certain that Christian hope points to the future can be seen by his statement “If we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world” (v 19, NLT). The significance of Christ’s resurrection is that it not only points to his victory over death but also extends that victory to those who are his: “Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised” (v 23). The apostle Peter said, “All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead” (1 Pt 1:3, NLT). In that passage, Peter attributes living hope to the resurrection of Christ and points to God’s future blessing upon those who belong to Christ. That future hope empowers the Christian to live without despair through the struggle and suffering of the present (cf. Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:16–18).

Christian hope is securely based upon the words and actions of God. The promises of God have proven to be dependable. The resurrection of Jesus becomes the ultimate basis for hope. Since God has already overcome death through Christ, the Christian can live with confidence in the present. No matter how dark the present age seems, the Christian has seen the light to come. People need to hope, and hope placed in the personal promise of God is secure. This secure hope is full of social significance, however, freeing one from bondage to materialism and its natural selfishness. Christian hope offers security for the future and loving involvement in sharing for the present.

Another dictionary[iii] reads [in part]:

9610 – hope

In Scripture, a confident expectation for the future, describing both the act of hoping and the object hoped for. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble.

9613 – hope, as confidence

Hope means more than a vague wish that something will happen. It is a sure and confident expectation in God’s future faithfulness and presence. The horizon of Christian hope extends beyond death into an eternity prepared by God himself, the reality of which is guaranteed by Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus Christ are the hope of believers

Ps 71:5; 1Ti 1:1 See also Jer 14:8; 17:13; Mt 12:21; Isa 42:4; Ac 28:20; Ro 15:12-13; Isa 11:10; 1Ti 4:10; 1Pe 1:21

The hope of resurrection and eternal life

Ac 23:6 The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection whereas the Pharisees did; Tit 1:2 See also Ac 2:26-27; Ps 16:9; Ac 24:15; Ro 8:24; 1Co 15:19; Tit 3:7; Heb 6:11; 7:19; 1Pe 1:3

The hope of future glory

Ro 5:2; Col 1:27; Tit 2:13 See also Ro 8:18-21; 2Co 3:10-12; Gal 5:5; Eph 1:12,18; 1Th 2:19; 5:8; 2Ti 4:8

Hope is a Christian virtue

Ro 5:3-4; 1Co 13:13 See also Ro 12:12; 15:13; 1Co 13:7; Eph 4:4; Col 1:23; Heb 3:6; 1Pe 3:15

The effect of future hope on living now

Col 1:4-5 See also Ro 8:22-23 Hope induces a longing for what will be when Jesus Christ returns; 1Th 1:3; 5:8; Heb 6:19; 1Pe 1:13; 1Jn 3:1-3

9614 – hope, results of its absence

An absence of hope leads to a loss of vision, a sense of despondency and ultimately to despair. This contrasts sharply with the Christian hope.

Feelings produced by a lack of hope

Despair Job 17:13-15; Pr 13:12; 1Ch 29:15 See also Job 6:11; 7:6; Ps 88:15-18; Ecc 2:17; Isa 19:9; 38:18; 2Co 1:8

A sense of being abandoned by God Ps 22:1-2 See also La 3:18; Eze 37:11

A deep longing for life to end 1Ki 19:4; Job 3:20-21; Ecc 4:1-2 See also Ge 27:46; Nu 11:15; Job 7:13-15; Jer 8:3; Jnh 4:3,8; Rev 9:6

The outcome of a lack of hope

The choice of trusting in God or futile self-effort Ro 4:18 See also Jnh 1:13-14; Jer 18:11-12; Ac 27:20

Suicide Mt 27:5 See also 1Sa 31:4; 2Sa 17:23; 1Ki 16:18

9615 – hope, results of

Hope gives believers confidence and reassurance in this present life, allowing them to lead effective lives for God. It also reassures them of the reality of eternal life, allowing them to face death with confidence.

Hope reassures believers in this present life

Hope reassures believers in their faith Heb 3:6 See also Eph 1:18-19; Heb 7:18-22; 10:23

Hope encourages believers Ps 31:2 See also Isa 40:31; 49:23; Ro 5:3-5

Hope encourages believers to rejoice Ro 12:12 See also Ro 5:1-2

Hope encourages believers to look for restoration Ps 37:9; Jer 14:8; 31:17; La 3:29-31; Hos 2:15; Zec 9:12

Hope leads to more effective Christian living and witness

Hope encourages believers to be bold 2Co 3:12

Hope encourages believers to evangelise See also 1Pe 3:15

Hope leads to godly living Ps 25:21; Heb 6:10-12; 1Jn 3:2

Hope equips believers for spiritual warfare 1Th 5:8

Hope enables believers to face suffering with confidence Ro 5:3-5 See also Ps 22:24; 147:11; Php 1:20

Hope enables believers to face the future with confidence

Hope assures believers of an eternal dimension to life 1Co 15:19

Hope enables believers to face death with confidence Ps 16:9-10 See also Job 19:25-27; Ps 33:18; 1Co 6:14; 2Co 4:10-14; Php 1:3-6; Rev 1:17-18

Hope assures believers of their eternal life Ac 2:26-27; Ro 8:23-25; Tit 1:1-2; 3:7; 1Pe 1:3

Hope enables believers to face the coming wrath with confidence 1Th 1:10

Hope assures believers of their heavenly inheritance 1Pe 1:3-5 See also Eph 1:18

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change. 

Today can be the day of your salvation!  Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.  You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ). 

Please send me any comments to steve@stevebelsheim.com or use the comments feature of the blog.

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Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  The quotations from news sources are fair use.

Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Scripture quotations marked “RSV” or “NRSV” are from Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”

Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible®  http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.


[i] Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

[ii] Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[iii] Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.