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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Hospitality

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Most people in Bible times recognized that they had a responsibility to practise hospitality. The custom was to welcome both friends and strangers and to give them food, water and other provisions to make them comfortable (Genesis 18:1-8; Genesis 24:32; Exodus 2:20; Deuteronomy 10:18-19; Deuteronomy 23:4; Judges 13:15; Judges 19:16-21; 2 Kings 4:8; Job 31:32; Luke 7:44-45; Acts 9:43; Acts 16:15). A mark of special honour was to wash the guest’s feet or to anoint the head with oil (Psalms 23:5; Luke 7:37-38; Luke 7:44-46). Hosts were responsible to protect all those who stayed with them (Genesis 19:1-11; Judges 19:22-23).

God’s people must be ready always to practise hospitality to those in need, whether close friends or people they have never seen before. And they must do so without expecting anything in return. Those who fail in this matter are in danger of God’s chastisement (Isaiah 58:7; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 14:12-14; Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:10; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). Church leaders in particular should be an example to the rest of the church by their hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; 3 John 1:5-6). If Christians have not practised generous hospitality to others, they are in no position to call upon the church for financial support when they themselves are in need (1 Timothy 5:9-10).

Christians have a special duty to give hospitality to travelling preachers and teachers of God’s Word (Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 9:4-5; Titus 3:13-14; Philem 22; 3 John 1:5-8). They should give no hospitality at all to those who are false teachers (2 John 1:9-11).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Hospitality'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/h/hospitality.html. 2004.

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