Hope–A Virtue

Hope appears 129 times in the Bible. It is one of the most important virtues for Christians.

I share below some of what I found in my research into this important virtue as well as some of my feelings.

Hope in Hebrew

Two main Hebrew words are translated as hope in the Old Testament. The first word is yachal. It appears about 48 times in the Old Testament.

Yachal is most often associated with waiting on God; it may be waiting on His word, promises, or actions such as in Job 13:15 “Though He slays me, I will hope in Him.” But sometimes yachal is used when waiting continually or enduring such as in Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.

The second word is tiqvahor qavahTiqvahmeans cord or attachment. It first appears in Joshua 2:18 “you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window…” and is translated as cord in the book of Joshua only. In other books, it is translated as hope, such as in Ruth 1:12, Job 4:6 and Jeremiah 29:11.

Tiqvah means to expect, and it is related to the Hebrew word qavah, which means to wait for, to expect. or look eagerly. Qavah comes from the root word qav, which means cord. Qavahis a feeling of tension and expectation while waiting for something to happen, like pulling a cord tight to produce a state of tension. Qavahappears in Genesis 49:18, Job 7:2, Psalm 25:3, Psalm 37:4, and is primarily translated as wait.

Hope in Greek

The word hope in the New Testament is from the Greek word elpis. It means expectation, trust, and confidence. It comes from the root word elpo, which means to anticipate and to welcome. Elpis is an expectation of what is guaranteed.

Elpis appears over 50 times in the New Testament and is used when in anticipation of future events that are certain to come.  Hope in the New Testament means a reasonable expectation, looking towards the future with assurance. It is also accompanied by joy and pleasure and is related to Jesus.

I feel that sometimes when we use the word hope, we utter it with some doubt instead of with confidence, patience, joy and pleasure. Hope in the Bible is not a mere wish as used today that implies doubt. When we say and believe with confidence that something will come to pass it is because God has promised it will.

Hope is looking expectantly towards the future based on our faith in God in the present and His faithfulness in the past.

As Christians, we need to have hope. It motivates us to move forward because life is a never-ending flow of hardships, challenges and trials. When we have hope, we can navigate turbulent waters without despair. We can have joy and peace despite our circumstances because we know we have a God that works all things for our good.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” –      Hebrews 6:19

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” –     2 Corinthians 3:10

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”    –  Desmond Tutu

Written by Agatha Pratt

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