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Christian, tell me why are you so confident about your hope in Christ? The things we hope for don't always come to pass, after all!

Because…The Bible’s definition of “hope” is not the same as our current English usage. Christians are looking forward to something that is certain to happen.

What do we mean when we say that we hope for something? Usually, it means that we wish for it, or desire it: “I hope it doesn’t rain.” “I hope I get a raise.” Implicit in that hope is an element of doubt: We may not get what we want. Maybe it will rain, or maybe we won’t get a raise.

Christian Definition of Hope

That is not what the Bible or Christians mean when talking about our hope in Christ. I learned some interesting etymology when I looked up the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as “hope” in English. Of 135 times that the word appears in my New American Standard Bible, it is a translation of one of eight Hebrew words 1 or two Greek words 2. In other verses, those same words are also translated as “expect”, “expectation”, “wait”, “wait expectantly”, “confidence”. They are never translated as “wish” or “desire”. Those are translations of completely different Hebrew and Greek words, usually the Greek thelō.

So Christian hope is not wishful thinking, hoping without confidence that our desire will be met. Rather, it is looking forward with anticipation to something that we are sure will happen. Do you remember being a child looking forward to the first day of summer break? Or as an adult, anticipating your graduation or wedding day, or a long-planned vacation trip, or moving on to a great new job? That excited, eager anticipation is the kind of hope that we are talking about.

Christian Object of Hope

OK, then, what exactly is it that we are anticipating? What Hope are we looking forward to?

  • We are looking forward to Resolution.
    • All of the issues that make our current life difficult will go away. Problems will be solved. Conflicts will be reconciled. Questions will be answered. Grief and pain will be erased.
  • We are looking forward to Life…forever.
    • That life will be full of joyous activity. There will be endless opportunities to learn and grow and be productive. That life will be shared with loved ones, with old friends and with new ones, with people born around the world and across the ages.
      • Note: For more on what the Bible teaches about that life, I recommend the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. His Biblical research describes so much more than just sitting on a cloud with a harp forever!
  • We are looking forward to Home.
    • We will be our best selves, completely accepted, fully relaxed, and absolutely, totally loved.
  • We are especially looking forward to God.
    • We will be surrounded by His presence constantly. A common opening to Jewish blessings is “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe”. We will be in direct contact with that King, welcome to snuggle into His arms at any time.
    • That is true even now, I know. But here, that Spirit within us can be drowned out by the clamor of everyday routine. The Hope we anticipate is a time when that Spirit is our everyday routine!

…Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

Revelation 21:3-4

Christian Reason for Hope

What makes us so confident? How are we so sure that we have this Hope and can look forward to it so expectantly? After all, it hasn’t happened yet.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:24-25

Our confidence is based on God Himself. He has been revealing His character to us since the beginning of time. This Hope that we anticipate is what He has promised to those who accept Jesus’ gift, freely offered to everyone. He has proven that He is trustworthy, and that He always keeps His promises.

Other articles on this site explore the reasoning that leads to this conclusion. For instance, see these posts:

  • God Is“: The physical, biological, and moral world around us points to an all-powerful Creator.
  • The Bible, God’s Word“: The Bible gives evidence that it comes to us as written words from that Creator.
  • Jesus, God’s Word“: The human man Jesus is the up-close-and-personal Living Word who further expands on the written Word of God.
  • Resurrection: Fact“: Jesus’ resurrection proves that both He and the written Bible are telling the truth.
  • Ascension and Return“: When Jesus left Earth at the completion of His mission, it was with the promise that He would be back to collect us and fulfill all Hopes.

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:2-3

Bottom Line

What other religion or worldview promises so much, with such power behind those promises? I know of none that even comes close. We really do Hope in an incredible God!

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast

Hebrews 6:19

Footnotes and Scripture References

  1. miqveh, tiqvah, yachal, tocheleth, seber, sabar, bittachon, qavah
  2. elpis, elpizō

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture reference links go to, which defaults to another good translation, the New International Version (NIV).  The site has 20 or more translations available for reference.