Last night I was listening to a teaching about “faith that changes the world” (free mp3 download here) and there was one point that got me thinking and curious about the meaning of the word HOPE in the Bible, before it was translated into English. Because the preacher pointed out that exercising hope helps us build up our faith. I just felt that the way he used the word hope does not seem to have the same meaning as the English word…
And what do we know, as I was reading this morning Philippians 1:20, I hear the word hope again, “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past.”
How can one man “fully expect” and “hope” at the same time? For sure, “hope” here must mean something more definite than the ‘hope’ we know which is only on the level of desiring and wishing, but with no assurance of actual fulfillment!
And so some Greek research comforted me with this awesome definitions from two websites:
“…we need also to look at the lexical meaning of elpis, “hope.”
Synonyms include “expectation, confidence, or one’s reason to believe in something or to expect an event.” The uncertainty that accompanies much English usage of “hope” – (“I hope it will – or won’t – rain!”) is completely absent from both classical and New Testament usage. Early English translators coped with this semantic anomaly by translating the verb form, elpizo, as “trust” (18 times, as opposed to “hope” only 10 times), but the Greek word does not “mean” different things in different contexts. It uniformly conveys “confident expectation”.” – Source