What is hope? Is hope just wishful thinking or something more? What does the Bible say about hope?
Examine this Bible study on hope for the answers to these questions and more!
Key Bible Verses on Hope
11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Biblical Insights and Definitions on Christian Hope
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Hope: To desire with expectation or with belief in the possibility or prospect of obtaining; to look forward to as a thing desirable, with the expectation of obtaining it…
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
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). (par. 3594)
New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words
When we use the word “hope” in casual conversation, it often has a wavering, uncertain sound. “I hope I can make it,” we say doubtfully. At times we sense the same uncertainty in Scripture. Herod “hoped” he would see Jesus do some miracle (Lk 23:8). Felix “hoped” Paul might offer him a bribe (Ac 24:26). Both men were disappointed. (par. 4352)
Most often where we find “hope” in the English versions, the Hebrew word is miqweh, tiqwah (from the common root qawah), or yahal. Each Hebrew word invites us to look ahead eagerly with confident expectation. Each also calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of hope lies in the future. (par. 4360)
Commentary by William Barclay on Hebrews 11:1-3
To the writer to the Hebrews, faith is a hope that is absolutely certain that what it believes is true and that what it expects will come. It is not the hope which looks forward with wistful longing; it is the hope which looks forward with utter conviction.
J. D. Watson, A Hebrew Word for the Day
The concept of hope in modern thinking is that of uncertainty, a wish that something will happen the way we want it to. In Scripture, however, hope means “expectation.”
Christian hope isn’t “wishful thinking,” but expectation in a Savior who has never failed to keep His promises, expectation that He will forever be all He says He is, for Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Indeed, better things are coming. Not because I think so, but because Jesus promises to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand. 1
Hope is what Christians cling to in suffering (2Corinthians 1:7), what we live in day by day (1Peter 1:3), and what we look forward to in that which God has prepared for us (1Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:3-4).
Hope isn’t just a word we speak in uncertainty. It’s the life we live in relationship to a God who does the impossible (Matthew 19:26; 2Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5), a God who cannot fail (Isaiah 55:8-11). Hope is the heartbeat of Christian faith.
Standing on the promises of Christ my King;
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing;
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail;
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail;
Standing on the promises of God. 2
Are you standing on the promises of God? Do you have a hope which burns within your heart for Jesus?
Hope in God
4 LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. 7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. 2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. 3 Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
Hope in God’s Word
Psalms 119:74, 105
Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word….Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Bible Promises to Give You Hope
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
…The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Photography and Bible Study by Chris Esty
1. My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, Edward Mote
2. Standing on the Promises, Russell Kelso Carter