Things Paul Wrote On: Hope

Paul writes often about “the hope” that is part of the Gospel message.  His best-known reference is in 1 Corinthians 13 (Faith, Hope, Love) but Romans and 2 Corinthians certainly have many references to this Hope.  This theme is not new with Paul or the New Testament so for further study see: Hope and LORD God and the links at the bottom of the page.

Hope is not used in OT until Judges/Ruth (so there is no “hope” in the Law) and is not used in Revelations (Hope is being fulfilled). The word hope is used the most in Psalms and Romans.  1679/1680 (elpizo/elpis) is used sparingly in the Gospels (mostly by Luke) and most of these refer to the future or the past, from their perspective.  The KJV translates 1679 as trust, which is also used sparingly in the Gospels. (Since you could see Jesus you did not need hope.)

The use of the word is easily separated into two categories:  the “hope” of the Gospel and non-gospel “hopes”.  Below are several of the Gospel “hopes”.

*Romans 8:23-25  23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

*Romans 12:12 be joyful in hope

*Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with joy

*Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called (all scripture are from the NIV)

*Colossians 1:5, 23, 27

*1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8

*1 Timothy 1:1; 4:10

*Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7

Does hope have a measure?   Faith and love can be given “quantities” like: “great faith”, or as a “mustard seed”, or “greater” love hath no man.  Hope does have descriptors and is used as a descriptor of Jesus: 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – good hope;1 Timothy 1:1 Jesus Christ our hope; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7 hope of eternal life, blessed hope; 1 Peter 1:3 living hope.  If you have not quit you have some measure of hope, however little.  Maybe, that is why Paul will use terms like patience and endurance with the concept of hope.

(You will need your Bible for this!).

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3:7 through the end of chapter 4, uses hope to bring together several concepts.  In verse 3:12 he talks about hope making him bold.  This refers to 3:7-11 and the “ministry that brings righteous” and how glorious this should be in comparison to the old covenant.  In 4:1 he again refers to this ministry and how he does not “lose heart”. (He repeats this term in 4:16.)  4:8-10 is showing what has happened to him and basically, he did not lose “hope” because of these problems.  He did not let them overwhelm him because he wanted Jesus.  That list includes many indicators of someone who is losing/lost hope. Because Paul worked through them he developed endurance.  Finally, in verse 4:18 he brings up the “unseen” part of hope by not losing heart (verse 16). May I suggest using Bible Gateway and use the search terms “lose hope” and “grow weary” to add to this study.

Thoughts: If you have a vision of what you are to be doing in the kingdom you have hope.

http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/hope

https://bible.org/article/hope

Things Paul Wrote About

Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, is responsible for many of the Books of the New Testament. Because of all of the different Churches, his circumstances, and the various needs of the people, he addresses many topics.  He likes to list things in his writings, and we love to form our beliefs around those lists.  But he does vary those lists according to the Churches/people he is writing too.  In this post I want to explore two topics he lists and how they are related.  The topics are: 1. “Armor” 2. “Faith, Hope, Love”.  I have previously written post on these topics, so if you want to see them they are: Faith, Hope, and Love; Putting On.

I think it would be safe to say that Paul’s habit of listing things has its foundations in the Old Testament.  One that he expounds on for this study is Isaiah 59: 17.  Isaiah is stating that the Lord was displeased because no one intervened for the sake of justice, so He clothed Himself with righteousness, salvation, vengeance, and zeal.  We love to use Ephesians 6: 14 as the Armor of God that we are to put on, but Paul uses the idea of armor and “putting on” in other Letters.  I think we focus on this one because it is a more complete list, and who does not want to be dressed up in armor!

1 Corinthians 13: 13 is our favorite verse for faith, hope, and love.  This in part is due to the beautiful explanation of love, and maybe because he uses the word “greatest.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 Paul brings these two themes together; faith and love are the breastplate with hope of salvation as the helmet.  In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 faith is paired with works; love prompts labor; and endurance is from hope in Jesus.

He weaves faith, hope, and love together in Colossians 1:4+5 with what is stored for us in heaven.  Changing ideas slightly Colossians 3:12 uses the idea of “clothe yourself” with a list that sounds like the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22.

To keep this mix going, in Romans 13:11 – 14 Paul tells us to “put on the armor of light” and “clothe yourself” with Jesus in order to “put off” deeds of darkness, which are listed.

Trying to “split hairs” over these lists is not in the spirit of Paul’s writings, and it would be better to combine all of these various thoughts to get the big picture/message.  One “big picture” I saw in doing this post is from 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 faith and love covers your heart, and hope covers your mind.