Thursday, May 16, 2013


There are many words in the Bible which have a different meaning today than they did when the Word was written.  A perfect example is the word "charity."  Today, we see it as taking pity on the poor, or supporting research or some other cause.  The Bible's use of the word means "love."  "Charity" is from the Greek ἀγάπη (agapē), which is translated "love" 86 times, and "charity" 27 times.  "Agapē" speaks of the heart of the person showing charity, rather than describing a mutual relationship. 

"Hope" is the same way.  Today, when one thinks of the word "hope," he is sort of "betting on the odds" that something will occur.  According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the modern use of the word does not express a total confidence, but rather, more of a "hope so" connotation.  The dictionary also agrees that the archaic definition of the word focuses more on trust.    

"Hope" is translated from two Greek words:  ἐλπίς (elpis), translated "hope" 53 times and "faith" once; and ἐλπίζω (elpizō), which is translated "hope" 10 times and "trust" 18 times.  Both words involve faith, that is, a confident expectation of something promised by Someone whose character is above reproach, and in His ability to make the thing hoped for, happen.  Notice that both Greek words involve faith and trust; in other words, both have to do with believing.

While witnessing to a young man, I asked him where he thought he would go when he died.  He responded, "I hope I will go to heaven."  I then asked him upon what he was basing his hope.  His response was a list of good things he had done.  In other words, he was basing his hope on his works.  When I told him that the Bible says that salvation cannot be attained by works, but that it needed to be accepted by faith (Eph. 2:8-9), he was willing to listen to the Gospel, the good news that Jesus died for his sins, that He was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures, and lives to be his King of kings, and Lord of lords (1 Cor. 15:1-7; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:16)!  I shared that one becomes a genuine Christian by simply believing, and that the Word must be the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ.  The Apostle John wrote:  "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life...."
Is your hope in going to heaven a hope-so, or a know-so?

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