Understanding Biblical Hope

How would you define biblical hope? Consider this definition:

Biblical hope is to believe so strongly in God’s promises regarding the future that it affects the way you live in the present.

Thus biblical hope has an eschatological aspect (it is directed toward the Bible’s view of the consummation), an anticipatory aspect (believing with expectation), a convictional aspect (confidence of the eventual possession of what is hoped for), and an ethical/moral aspect (an impact on present thoughts and behaviors).

Let’s look a little more closely at each of these four aspects.

The eschatological aspect points to the definitive and decisive fulfillment of all of the promises of God as they relate to the eternal future of people and of the universe.

While it is true that biblical hope is primarily directed toward the future (the end of history and the entrance into the eternal state), it is not exclusively future. This eschatological aspect does not discount the fact that our hope grows out of a past event (the saving life and death of Jesus Christ) nor does it discount that our hope has a present aspect (it is a “living” hope – I Peter 1:3).

The anticipatory aspect of hope is that most closely tied to the idea of expectation, the willingness to wait for something of value.

Not only does the full realization of this hope lie in the future but the direction of focus for the one who hopes is also toward the future. It is the anticipation, the longing, that what has been promised become reality—Amen, Come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

The convictional aspect of hope has two characteristics and both are related to the concept of faith.

The first is the conviction that what is hoped for is true and real. The second characteristic of the convictional aspect is the confidence of the eventual possession of the object of hope. Even for those who rely upon false or vain hopes, there must be some sense that the object of hope will deliver what it promises and that it may be attained. The convictional aspect of hope must be present.

The ethical/moral aspect of hope is a belief in the hope that is so strong that people live their lives now in light of the hope that is coming.

It is in this sense that a hopeless existence robs a person of a life that has meaning and significance in the present. This meaning related to hope can be seen in both the way a person thinks and the way a person acts. Seen in this light, hope is a transformational force in the life of a person.

Are you experiencing the transformational power of a living hope?


About Dr. John H. Harbison

Son of God, Husband, Father, Author of "Keeping Christ in Ministry,"Vice-President for Academic Affairs, College Pastor, Runner, Writer
This entry was posted in Successful Christian Living and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Understanding Biblical Hope

  1. Thank you for this enlightening exposition on Hope, John. Yes, hope does give meaning to life, and affects how one lives in the present, in having something worthwhile and exciting to look forward to. And I like the way it is defined in that it is tied to believing strongly in God’s promises regarding the future.

  2. Thanks, Dee, for taking the time to leave a comment – much appreciated. This perspective on hope is one that I am seeking to cultivate by God’s grace.
    Have a blessed weekend.

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