In today’s times, many people are looking for something or someone to give them hope. When they cannot find hope, their lives become hopeless. Too often this hopelessness leads them to self defeating behaviors and habits, which wreak havoc upon their lives. Before long, desperation sets in most will seek the advice and counsel of anyone who well tell them something that makes them feel better. Unfortunately, most of the people in this situation never ask the question, can hope be found in the Bible? Worse yet, those offering help are usually just as blind to knowing the answer to this question and it is just a matter of time before they both end up in the ditch (Matthew 15:9-14).
The word hope is mentioned 129 times 121 verses in the Bible. In many verses where it is used it is used in the traditional sense in communicating a desire of some good as mentioned in Websters 1828 dictionary:
HOPE, n. [L. cupio.]
1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God”s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.
HOPE, v.i.1. To cherish a desire of food, with some expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.
Hope for good success.
However, the Bible is more specific about its definition of the word hope. In the New Testament the vast majority of the verses link hope to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:8; Romans 8:23-25). Of particular note is Hebrews 11:1 as follows:
(Hebrews 11:1 KJV) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
In this verse faith is defined two ways. First, as “the substance of things hoped for” and second, as “the evidence of things not seen.” In the first definition, faith is what creates our hope. However, to have faith, we must have something that we can trust. The Bible tells us how this works as follows:
(Romans 10:13-17 KJV) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“
In these verses, we are told that when we call upon the Lord, Jesus Christ, we shall be saved. It does not say might be saved, it says shall be saved. To call upon the name of the Lord, we must be able to trust Him. We learn to trust Him by reading the Word of God, the Bible (Romans 15:4). This is because the Bible, the Word of God, is Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14). For more on this truth, read the Wisdom4Today article: “Is the Bible subject to interpretation?“
After all, real hope is not like a lottery ticket that you scratch off and “hope” you win. With Jesus Christ, it is a sure thing. Something you can count on. The symbol for hope used by ancient Christians is an anchor. This is because hope in Jesus is a sure thing that holds fast and protects us as a refuge in the worst of storms (Isaiah 25:1-4; Hebrews 6:18-20).
Simply stated, when we trust the Word of God, we trust Jesus because the Word of God testifies of Him. When we hear His Word and believe it we will not come into condemnation, but have everlasting life (John 5:24). It is this truth then that is the substance of our faith in Hebrews 11:1. In addition to these references to Jesus as our hope, the Bible is more specific about the same in the following verses:
(Colossians 1:23-27 KJV) “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (24) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (25) Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; (26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
(1 Timothy 1:1 KJV) “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;”
(Titus 2:11-14 KJV) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
When we read the Word of God diligently seeking what God is trying to say to us, we learn to trust him, which results in faith. When we have faith, or trust what God says, we are able to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). When we have faith, God declares us righteous (Romans 4:3) and we become children of God (Galatians 3:26). When we become children of God, we also become children of Abraham’s family by faith (Galatians 3:6-7). As children of Abraham, we are then heirs to the promises God gave to Abraham (Galatians 3:8-14).
As heirs of the promises of Abraham, God gives us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee (earnest) of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:9-14). This Holy Spirit is what gives us eternal life (2 Corinthians 3:6), resurrects our mortal bodies (Romans 8:10-11), and enables us to overcome all the difficulties of life (Philippians 4:13). When we see the positive changes in our life that the Holy Spirit enables us to make, it is “the evidence of things not seen,” the second definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1). This evidence of God working in our lives then gives us more faith to trust God with control of our lives, which gives us more hope.
So, it is clear that Jesus Christ is our hope. Since Jesus is the Word of God, we can find hope, or Jesus Christ, in the Bible. We then can find hope for eternity, and hope that the teachings of Scripture will enable us to live an abundant and victorious life while we are living on this earth (John 10:10). So, the answer to the questions, “Can hope be found in the Bible?” The answer is yes, abundantly.