Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
Today we study what the Bible says about “hope” because everyone needs an injection of it during these trying times.
But before we read the verses, let’s review the secular meaning.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of hope is “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.”
As an internalized mindset, hope has proven to be a life-saver under the harshest of circumstances. For example, one of the most popular psychology books ever written (over 15 million copies in print worldwide) is “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. He was an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist who survived the Nazi death camps. First published in 1946, the Kindle edition subtitle reads, “A classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust” — exemplifying the coping power of hope.
Frankl wrote, “that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Moreover, he wrote it is “spiritual freedom –which cannot be taken away –that makes life meaningful and purposeful.” And observed that “the prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed.”
Hope is an essential attitude of invisible action that keeps us moving forward by dispensing mental courage and the will to persevere during the worst of times.
Prepping for this study, I researched how many times “hope” appears in the Bible, but naturally, the number varies according to the translation. In the popular New International Version (NIV), the word is mentioned 167 times. The English Standard Version 151, and the New King James, 143.
Given that this is a “quick” Bible Study, what follows are a handful of verses that readers will find uplifting and meaningful on this summer Sunday.
We begin with a “Hallmark store” favorite. Yes, this Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) verse is overused on merchandise because it has inspired generations past, present, and hopefully into the future:
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Next, three major Biblical themes – fear, hope, and love – magnificently connect in this Hebrew Bible Psalm:
The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).
And from the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Proverbs is this sweet jewel:
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 24:14).
Turning to the New Testament, hope is often associated with the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Romans, Paul repeatedly mentions hope:
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:24-25).
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
The next “hope” verse is from the Book of Hebrews, also a Hallmark store best-seller with the most famous definition of faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Of course, I would be remiss not to include the familiar “wedding verse”:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Now, let’s get “real.” All those verses were meaningful and refreshing, but here is the real reason for today’s study topic.
Every week I have no clue what will appear in this space until I hear “ding” — the “sound” of a theme or verse(s) popping into my brain about which I feel “called” to write. After 22 “volumes,” I am blessed by the ding and anticipate its arrival.
For this study, the ding was “Christ, the hope of Glory.”
I knew it was Paul’s writing but didn’t know the Book. A quick search revealed only a portion had “popped,” with the full phrase reading – “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Here is the entire verse:
To whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
That verse inspired the “hope” theme.
But for some reason, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” has stayed with me like a song on repeat. Which I take to mean, THAT is today’s message, no explanation needed – only repeat and repeat. Do YOU hear the “ding?”
Myra Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.