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Bible Lexicons

Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament


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The words ordinarily rendered hope in the A. V. are kavah (קוה - Ass. ) and yachal (יחל ). The first, which is frequently used in the Psalms, signifies the straining of the mind in a certain direction in an expectant attitude; the second, which occurs several times in the Book of Job, signifies a long patient waiting. The former is generally rendered ὑπομένω; the latter usually ἐλπίζω, but often also ὑπομένω.

Teaching of the NT

We now approach the N.T. with a clear distinction between faith on the one hand, and trust and hope on the other. Faith is the taking God at his word, while trust and patience and also hope are the proper fruits of faith, manifesting in various forms the confidence which the believer feels. A message comes to me from the Author of my existence; it may be a threat, a promise, or a command. If I take it as 'yea and amen,' that is Faith; and the act which results is an act of amunah or faithfulness towards God. Faith, according to Scripture, seems to imply a word, message, or revelation. So the learned Romaine says in his Life of Faith.: - 'Faith signifies the believing the truth of the Word of God; it relates to some word spoken or to some promise made by Him, and it expresses the belief which a person who hears it has of its being true; he assents to it, relies up on it, and acts accordingly: this is faith.' Its fruit will vary according to the nature of the message received, and according to the circumstances of the receiver. It led Noah to build an ark, Abraham to offer up his son, Moses to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, the Israelites to march round the walls of Jericho. 'I believe God that it shall be even as it has been told me' [Acts 27:25.] - This is a picture of the process which the Bible calls faith. It is the expectation (ὑπόστασις) of things hoped for; because it accepts God's promises concerning the future as true; and it is the conviction (ἔλεγχος) of what is (trusted, but) not seen, because those who have it do not depend up on the use of their senses, but are able to endure, ' as seeing Him who is invisible.' See Hebrews 11:1-40.

In the Gospels the Lord Jesus demands to be believed. He asks all men to take Him to be what He claimed to be. If they would only take Him as true, they would be in the way of receiving and entering into a new life. He said, 'I am the Truth.' All that Israel had to believe under the old dispensation was summed up in Him. If they believed Moses, they would believe Him. If they rejected Him, they were doing dishonour to God. Sin sprang from a disbelief of God's word. Christ came to manifest, in a life of love and purity, and in a death of self-sacrifice, what God had really said, and what his feelings towards man actually were. Those that accepted the Truth, as it was revealed in Jesus Christ, entered into life.

The Book of Acts carries this teaching a stage further by exhibiting the special facts which were prominently put forward as things to be believed. These facts were the mission, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the ground of pardon, the way of life, and the pledge of an inheritance beyond the grave.

The Epistles enter more fully into details, answer different questions, expound doctrines, apply sacred truths to the exigencies of daily life. But all is summed up in Christ; 'Whosoever takes him to be true shall not be ashamed' (Romans 9:33, quoted from Isaiah 28:16).

The word hope barely exists in the Gospels, but is frequently to be found in the later books of the N.T in Romans 15:12, the Apostle quotes from the LXX version of Isaiah 11:10 the words, ' in him shall the Gentiles hope,' [Here the Hebrew word is darash, to seek.] and then proceeds, 'Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.' in the A. V. the point of the connection is missed by the substitution of the word trust for hope in the first part of the passage. But there is no objection to this rendering in itself; for though ἐλπίζω represents trust with reference to the future, while πείθομαι represents confidence with regard to the present, yet they are both renderings of one Hebrew word, as we have just seen, and cannot be separated by a very strong line.

In Acts 2:26, St. Peter quotes from the Sixteenth Psalm the words 'My flesh also shall rest (or dwell) in hope (κατασκηνώσει ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι);' and this expression, ' in hope,' is repeated several times, being applied to Abraham (Romans 4:18), to Christians (Acts 26:6; Romans 5:2; Titus 1:2), to the ministry (1 Corinthians 9:10), and to creation itself (Romans 8:20). All hope is concentrated in Christ (1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27), and looks for the unseen realities of another world (Romans 8:24), even the resurrection (Acts 24:15), eternal life (Titus 3:7), and glory (Romans 5:2). The word 'hope' as used in ordinary conversation has an element of uncertainty in it, but the Christian's hope is absolute confidence. The two Greek renderings of the Hebrew word yachalnamed above (§ 6), ἐλπίς and ὑπομένη, are found together in 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

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Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Hope'. Synonyms of the Old Testament.
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