Hope in the New Testament! The Word "Hope" Does Not Mean What We Think Today...

Life is full of both hope and anxiety. Many of us have hopes every single day. But in today's language,  the word "hope" implies that there is doubt that what we hope for will actually happen. 

In today's language, just by using the word hope, we imply that there is at least a little bit of anxiety present, because in today's language,  we are not certain that what we hope for will actually happen.

This is not true of the Biblical language. The word used for "hope" in the Bible contains no doubt that the hoped for event will happen.

Did you get that? In the Bible -- the word "hope" is appropriately translated as something expected to occur without doubt. That's a big difference from what the word "hope" implies today. Let me explain further by giving some background information.

The word for "hope" in the original Greek is ἐλπίς, pronounced elpis. This word, as it was used in ancient times, would be properly translated today as "anticipation" or "expectation" or even "confident expectation."  Elpis implies that something is going to happen, and the subject is anticipating it with confidence. Furthermore, in the ancient times, this word was also sometimes used when someone was confident something bad would happen.  In the Strong's Greek concordance, it clearly states that the word elpis may be translated as "hope", but that it should be understood that this type of hope is an expectation of what is sure or certain.  (Strong's Greek, 1680). 

In short, whenever you read the word "hope" in the New Testament, you may now read that verse appropriately by inserting the phrase "confident expectation" in its place. 

Ok? Well, let's try some.

In these verses below, substitute the phrase "confident expectation" in place of the Greek word derived from elpis

"Therefore, since we have such elpida, we are very bold." - 2 Cor 3:12
"Therefore, since we have such confident expectation, we are very bold."

"May the God of elpidos, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with elpidi by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13
"May the God of confident expectation, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with confident expectation by the power of the Holy Spirit."

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have elpida."  - Romans 15:4. 
"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have confident expectation."

"This truth gives them elpidi that they have eternal life, which God -- who does not lie -- promised them before the world began." - Titus 1:2
"This truth gives them confident expectation that they have eternal life, which God -- who does not lie -- promised them before the world began." - Titus 1:2

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the elpidos that you have." - 1 Peter 3:15. 
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the confident expectation that you have."

And finally -- this next one is my personal favorite:

"We have this elpidos as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." - Hebrews 6:19
"We have this confident expectation as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."


There are over 50 uses of this word elpis, or "certain hope" in the New Testament, many of them in Romans. So I encourage you to remember -- the next time you are reading your New Testament and come across the word hope -- to remember that this hope is not a doubtful hope! 

It is a certain and confident expectation that may bring peace and joy to your innermost soul. 



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