Yesterday, I was out in my yard and saw this dandelion just waiting to be plucked so that I could “make a wish.” I remember doing this as a child so many times. I’m sure you do, too.
hope . . . or wish?
It made me think of how we use the word “hope” in the English language. When I say the word “hope,” you immediately think of the meaning of the word “wish.” That’s what “hope” means to us these days. It’s so interesting to me how language changes over the course of time and across different cultures.
But friend, I have some GREAT news for you! The word “hope” in biblical terms means something far greater and more, well . . . hopeful than a mere wish! Let’s look at a few passages where the meaning of “hope” holds significance.
hope in scripture
Romans 4:18 – “In hope against hope he [Abraham] believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
Romans 5:3-5 – And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 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.
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 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it gives you a general idea of the uses of the word “hope” in the New Testament. . . . Here’s where the story gets really, really good.
hope’s true definition
In New Testament Greek, the word that is translated “hope” in these passages has a much greater degree of certainty than our modern English word for “hope. The Greek word means “a desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” As you can see from the Greek definition, “hope” in the New Testament was a word with some sure footing. It wasn’t some uncertain, hopeless wish.
Let’s look at what all this means for us.
When Paul said by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that “hope does not disappoint,” we can now see what that means in light of the definition. When he says that “through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope,” you see that the sure hope allows us the surrender to persevere! When he says in Ephesians that your heart can be enlightened to know “the hope of His calling . . . the riches of the glory of His inheritance,” we can know that this hope that Paul talks of is an eternal hope.
This New Testament hope is a hope you can bank on. We can know that when the battle gets hard and the victory looks unattainable, we have a hope! And that hope comes from our salvation and our glorious position as children of God. Because we are committed to surrendering it ALL to Him and staying the course, we have a hope that we will be victorious to the end. And that in the end, when we give up our earthly shells for a glorified heavenly body, that sure hope promises us that we will see Christ.
blow off that fuzz
I don’t know about you, but it encourages me to know that “hope” in the Bible means so much more than a measly wish like I offered up when I blew the fuzz off the dandelion as a child. It is my prayer that knowing this truth blows the fuzz off any complacency that may have settled in your heart. It certainly has blown my fuzz to bits! 🙂