by Rex Rouis
Bible hope is a desire based on a promise from God. This promise communicates the possibility of God’s blessing to the individual and encourages the soul. If one will plant this seed into the soil of the heart, and if the soil is kept right, it will bring forth a harvest of faith. Bible hope is faith in seed form.
But first, let us define natural (every day) hope, and then look at how it differs from Bible hope.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary – (Natural) Hope
1. A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable; an expectation of something, which is thought to be desirable; confidence; pleasing expectancy.
2. One who, or that which, gives hope, furnishes ground of expectation, or promises desired good.
3. That which is hoped for; an object of hope.
1. To entertain or indulge hope; to cherish a desire of good, or of something welcome, with expectation of obtaining it or belief that it is obtainable; to expect; — usually followed by for.
2. To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good; — usually followed by in.
Natural hope may or may not have a strong foundation, and may exist only as a feeling, or mental attitude. This hope gives us a reason to go on, based on a notion that the desire can be achieved. Natural hope then is based on the natural. Natural reasoning, convincing as it may seem to be, is not an absolute guarantee. In this world, a good result is never absolutely guaranteed.
Bible hope is similar to natural hope, in that it is also a belief in the possible expectation of a desire. The difference is that the foundation for Bible Hope is not founded on earthly reason, but rather on the promises given to us in the Bible from God.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Ephesians 2:12 …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.
Hope is Faith in Seed Form – Faith is Hope in Final Form
Both natural hope and Bible hope start with a desire, a longing, or a need. Add to this desire a reason for it to be expected and you have hope. Bible hope is a desire that has a corresponding promise from God. In Bible hope, the promises of God contained within the written scriptures are the foundation for this positive future expectation. The desires remain our desires, but now they have the added benefit of being a desire that is also an approved scriptural possibility. These desires are transformed into Bible hope (from now on referred to simply as ‘hope’) by the realization that they are in agreement with the will of God. We will learn later, how hope is further transformed into an object of faith by a direct and personal communication of God to our hearts. This faith will in turn transform the desire into a reality in our lives.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance (ownership, legal right) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen. (KJV, with additional meanings)
From Hopeless To Hope and Then To Faith
A person, who does not know Christ, is lost and without hope in the world. One day he is presented with the Gospel of hope (Bible) and he believes. He receives Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. He (Christ) is now his hope. His future is assured, but he still has physical needs in this life, one of which may be the need for a physical healing. His need for healing creates a desire in him for healing.
Learning further about the scriptures, he comes to realize that physical healing is also included within God’s salvation plan, and that he can be healed through the power and grace of God. The realization that physical healing is a Bible based possibility creates hope. Hope is the positive future expectation of receiving God’s promises fulfilled in our lives. Hope is a desire who’s answer is found in the promises of God.
John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish (desire), and it will be done for you…”
If we diligently preserver in seeking God on a matter, hope will turn to faith, and our desire to reality. Hope is the first step in our receiving ‘things’ from God. For, ‘faith is the (ownership or reality) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen.’
Hope is the start of the walk of faith. Hope believes you can have it someday. Faith believes that you have it now (in your heart). Hope is the possibility; faith is the surety. Faith transforms hopes into realities. Hope is the raw material from which faith builds the house. Transforming our godly desires into reality is the purpose of hope and faith.
Go Ahead and Hope Freely in God, for You Will Not Be Disappointed
Romans 5:5 “..and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
It is up to us to take our needs and desires to the God of the Bible, and seek Him through His word. Only through His word can we accurately judge our desires. Those desires that can stand the test of His word are viable candidates for reality.
Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, (12) so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
I believe hope dose not dissappoint
I really appreciate your study and interpretation into the matter of Biblical hope. I have always had a gift for faith, and yet hope is something I have struggled with. What I mean is I am able to believe something (typically the big things) is true based on what I have been told or read. Typically these things have a certain amount of evidence to them and I feel they require very little risk to believe. What I struggle with are the things that I want to be true but am not fully convinced of. Hope, in my opinion, indicates a lack of certainty. It’s a want and a deep desire, but not something I can yet be fully sure of. There is risk in that. I hate to admit I’m hoping for something because I don’t like to be disappointed, embarrassed, or proven wrong. Looking back over my life I can see where I have failed or outright refused to hope. I have failed to admit, even to myself, that I want something to be true until I am made quite certain that it is true. Sometimes I have been able to move directly from disbelief to faith, but in many things I have just given up the idea instead of allowing myself to hope for it. Kind of sad really.
Fortunately, God has me on a new path. God has led me back to the foundational things, starting with grace. Grace led me to trust, trust led me to surrender, and now surrender has led me to hope. I expect that hope is leading me to truer faith and that faith will lead me to deeper love, deeper love being that which I have actually been praying for.
I realize this may all sound backwards if you truly believe it is impossible to have faith without first having hope. I don’t wish to argue with anyone, I can only speak to the life that I have lived. I know what my experience has been and that God has gifted me with real faith even while I was unwilling to consider hope as an option. I don’t fully understand the how or why God has moved in my life, but I can clearly see the evidence that He has been there. If He has indeed worked things backwards in order to reach me, well for that I can only be grateful.
Thanks again for helping me understand the importance of hope. God bless you.
Jennifer, thank you for sharing. What you expressed is exactly how I feel but just didn’t know how to articulate it.
Thanks you so much it help me
Thank you for the encouragement to go deeper in The Scriptures to find out more about hope and faith.
JV – Thank you for the hunger to go deeper. It blesses God and it will bless you. Keep seeking Him and hearing from Him. It is the basis of faith.
Hope is not only a desire to have something very hard to get but it is a realistic desire based on an understanding that it is obtainable. Without that understanding it would just be a vain wishing. Your interpretation of Hebrews 11:1 unfortunate is founded on a mistaken grammar. There is just one word in Greek for the phrase “of things hoped for” and it is not a PAST tense verb but what grammarians call a PRESENT passive participle. It is an adjective that acts like a noun and means “of the things which one continues to hope for” – ελπιζομένων. So what does this passage tell us about the relation of faith and hope?
What we Christians presently hope for we will only receive in the future, which is eternal life in the glory of heaven, to see God face to face. But before we can hope for this glorious vision which is not yet seen, we must first BELIEVE in Jesus, and this faith which comes before Hope is the present substance (reality) of that future glory because it is the very reality that can make that glory a future reality for us. It is also the evidence that what we cannot see (and which is frankly humanly impossible!) is truly something real and obtainable. That is what Hebrew 11:1 says. Faith is the reality which starts us on journey toward our deepest desire, to see the Father face to face, and it is the inner proof that these unseen glories are not just pie-in-the-sky cleverly devised fables, but the truest realities that ever there was, is or will be!
Paul says that we are saved by faith but he also says we are saved by hope for only when our faith in the promise of salvation is joined with hope that the promise will be realized for us can we actually get that vision of God which will make our life eternally blessed. This virtue of hope is different from the human emotion of optimism with is based on confidence in our human power to achieve something – it is based on Faith in Jesus’s infinite power, which is the power of God and can make even the humanly impossible possible. “Lord who can be saved? With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.” Faith and hope are intimately connected and simultaneous, but first we must believe in the promise before we can hope for it. Bible Hope cannot exist without Bible Faith and Bible Faith without Hope is dead and useless because it is belief in something but despairing in obtaining it – a sin against the Holy Ghost. Finally, Love makes God abide in us now so it is in a way heaven already present here on earth, not in our minds eye as when we actually SEE God face to face, But when he is present in our affections. Faith will be superceded by something greater when we have the vision of God. Hope will be superceeded with something more perfect when we obtain glorious satisfaction. But love will never be superceded because the vision of God will only make his presence in our affections ever stronger.
The goal of faith is to see God, the goal of hope is to delight in God, but love has no goal but itself, to love God. So faith lasts by changing into vision, hope by changing into delight, but love lasts by staying forever love, so only three virtues in this world last, but since love is already what it is meant to be forever, the greatest of these is love.
Rock – Thanks for the comment. A desire becomes a hope when it receives ‘an understanding that it is obtainable.’ For Bible hope, that means a promise in the Bible. On that, I think we can agree. However, faith is the understanding in the eyes of Heaven that it has been obtained.
Hebrews 11:1 says that, “Faith is the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen.’ Nearly all major Bible versions paint the verse very close to this, including the word studies of K. S. Wuest, A.T. Robertson, and M. R. Vincent. The reality or ‘sub-stance’ that faith brings to hope is the verbal sanction of a mighty and sovereign God. Faith is the witness of Heaven upon our desires/hopes that give them spiritual reality, legal substance, and eventual visibility.
Hebrews 11:2 goes on to say, “For by it (faith) the men of old gained witness.” Faith after all “Comes by hearing..” Faith does not start you on the journey, that is the job of hope. And hope will keep you on the journey. But it is faith that actually gets you in the door.
Hope is the read sanction from scripture (Romans 15:4), and faith is the heard sanction from Christ Himself (Romans 10:17). Hope is the foundation of desire, and faith is the foundation of hope. Thanks again for the comment. God bless
The Greek word for hope is much stronger than the English translation. In the Greek, hope carries with it the assurance that God will provide, not the “i hope for something” in the English. Please spend a little time and research the Greek, it will help to define the true meaning of the word, it has been “watered down” should we say, over the translations.
Yes!! Love it!! Well put!! Very helpful!!
YES YOUR RIGHT RENEE HOPE VS. FAITH. TULAD KO HOPE ANG SECTION KO LAGI KAMING IKINUKUMPARA SA FAITH , TAPUS YUNG FAITH LAGING IKINUKUMPARA SA AMING MGA HOPE…. MATINDING LABANAN.
How can you scripturally support hope comes first? Hope is joyful confident expectation. It comes after you are fully persuaded (have faith) until you are fully persuaded there is no joyful confident expectation.
Think of the difference between the following two phrases – “I hope it will happen,” and, “I know it will happen.” Faith is knowing that it will happen because God told you so. Once you know that it will happen you will no longer hope that it might happen. Hope MAY have it in the future. Faith DOES have it now and WILL receive it in the future.
Yes, hope is a confident expectation that something is obtainable in the future, but don’t confuse the general confidence of hope with the absolute specific confidence of faith. Hope comes to us through the Bible text revealing the allowable will of God – what CAN happen. Faith comes by God speaking directly to us and confirming the will of God – what WILL happen. The absolute confidence of faith is based on a direct hearing from God concerning something promised in the Bible. In Rom 10:17 the ‘Word’ (Rhema) means a direct spoken message that is heard.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is (present tense) the substance or reality of things hoped for (past tense – already in hope).” Hope comes first, and then a witness can be placed upon that hope giving it reality. Faith gives our hopes reality. Hope knows that it is possible. Faith has God’s witness and knows that it will happen. See, Faith Is ‘hupostasis’ – Hebrews 11:1
this is accurate, God told me in a spiritual battle; hope&faith are the receptacles u need to receive other refreshments (supplies). He warned Not faith&hope but hope&faith. Pastor Prince-Ghana
The details of your explanation are VERY helpful! Thank you.
This is good, I am writing a book on faith and this adds up to what shall help my audience to know faith and hope. I am so blessed with this, God bless you.
Beautifully said!! Now I have a better understanding of Hope vs. Faith.
My borther. Need hope
God Bless You. I Agree.
Colin – Thank you. God bless you too.
good work done,keep it up
Thank you sir
I am blessed by your inspiration explanation of Hope and faith, and i have a batter ideal of understanding of this subject, Thank you.
Your statement “Bible hope is similar to natural hope, in that it is also a belief in the possible expectation of a desire.” is incorrect !
Bible hope is confident joyful expectation, it is the natural result when you have faith.
Faith is being fully persuaded.(see Abraham in Hebrews)
You can tell when you are in faith when you have HOPE confident Joyful Expectation.
Faith and Hope are co-joined twins.
You do not have faith unless you also have HOPE, confident joyful expectation.
I agree with some of what you have said. Yes, you cannot have faith until you have hope. And faith and hope are similar to co-joined twins, but only twins where the first came out a good amount of time before the second. Hope is not the result of having faith. Hope occurs in the heart before faith. It is the witness of God upon that hope which gives rise to faith. We receive hope and then we are encouraged and motivated to continue on till we receive faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not (yet) seen.
In the above verse, faith is mentioned in present tense and hope in past tense. Hope comes mostly from the written page and comes first. Faith is the coming alive in the heart the promises on the written page. The sound of faith is the sound of the word on the page becoming the word in your heart. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing the word of God (word=rhema – face-to-face communication) and not reading. Hope is the knowing that you CAN have something. Faith is the knowing that you DO have it.
Confident joyful expectation is not the sign of faith. It is the sign of hope. Peace is the sign of faith. You know that you have faith based on the ‘knowing’ communication from God, not the sense of hope in your heart.
Bible hope is similar to natural hope in that both rely on some kind of evidence to give ‘hope’ to a desire. Natural hope looks to some natural circumstance. Bible hope looks to God and His promises. They both give plausibility of expectation, one not absolute and the other absolute.
Really good article. Thanks
this is a great way to get the day started is to read our fathers word thank you margie
You have truly blessed me. I have read some of the scriptures mentioned several times in my 30-years and just realized the exact definition of hope. Thanks so much for the clarity. May God continue to bless you with wisdom.
I thought you may like this blog post from my blog. God Bless
Thanks for explaining Hope and relying on Bible scripture to be sure I’m listening and moving in line with God’s will for my life.
I enjoyed this lesson, this is wonderful explaining to young adults..may teenagers don’t understand and/or realize the difference..
Thank you, and God Bless You for these lessons
This teaching on hope really shine the light on God’s truth.
Thank you, very much for the lord using you to bring forth His word.