How Many Times Is Hope Mentioned in the Bible? (What Does the Bible Say About Hope?)

I’ve preached several sermons on hope in my 15 years of ministry. It’s hands-down my favorite subject, particularly the hope of salvation and redemption. Once, in a prison mission, I taught on the hope for redemption. In preparation, I began my teachings with the question, “How many times is hope mentioned in the Bible?”

The word hope appears more than 100 times in the Bible, depending on the version. We find it 151 times in NKJV, 133 in KJV, 180 in NIV, and 164 in ESV. In most of these, hope is tied to the promises of God. Hope is unshakable trust in the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Bible gives examples of people who persevered in hope, waiting patiently on the Lord.

So join me as we explore these stories. I hope this article encourages and gives you a clearer understanding of what it means to have hope in the Lord.

What Does the Bible Say About Hope?

How Many Times Is Hope Mentioned in the Bible? 
What Does the Bible Say About Hope? Image source: Pixabay

The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, uses several words for hope, all denoting unshakable trust, confidence, and security about the future. This trust is grounded in God’s promises and character. The Bible teaches several characteristics of hope.

True hope is unseen

The first thing about hope is that it’s unseen. That is to say, we expect good things even when we cannot see any indications. Romans 8:24 teaches that our current salvation culminates in the redemption of our bodies. That is to say, we will enjoy complete freedom from sin.

God is the source of hope

As mentioned, our hope is based on the promises of God. As such, we can conclude that God is the source of hope. In Him, we have hope for salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8), resurrection (Acts 23:6), and redemption (Romans 8:23). All these are God’s promises to us fulfilled through Christ Jesus. Therefore, we look to the future with hope because we know that God will uphold His end.

Hope perseveres through hardship

As we wait on the fulfillment of God’s promises, we go through suffering. Romans 5:3-5 teaches us that hope perseveres through tribulations. Paul teaches that suffering builds character and hope. Clearly, God uses suffering to strengthen our hope, but I find it interesting that, without hope, we cannot persevere.

Bible Verses About Hope

As mentioned, there are over 100 references to hope in the Bible. Here are ten to get you started on studying this fascinating topic.

  1. Job 14:7 teaches that there is hope for a tree that’s been cut.
  2. David prays in Psalm 16:1 that God will preserve him. He rests his hope in God.
  3. Psalm 31:24 encourages us to uphold courage and hope in God.
  4. Psalm 42:5 says we shouldn’t let discouragement get us down.
  5. Lamentations 3:20-21 teaches that remembering God’s faithfulness in the past builds hope for the future.
  6. Zechariah 9:12 promises redemption for Israel, calling them prisoners of hope.
  7. Acts 23:6 says that Paul faced persecution because he hoped for the resurrection.
  8. Romans 4:18 teaches that Abraham hoped in God’s promise.
  9. Romans 5:2 says that we rejoice in hope because we’ve been justified by faith.
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:7 lists hope as a characteristic of love.

Stories of Hope in the Bible

How Many Times Is Hope Mentioned in the Bible? 
Stories of Hope in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

The Bible is replete with stories of hope that encourage us through difficulties. Here are three.

Hope for salvation- Luke 7:36-50

Here, we have the story of the sinful woman who wept at Jesus’ feet as he dined at Simon’s house. The woman came in and fell at Jesus’ feet. She washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with fragrant oil. Jesus used this incident to teach about the depth of God’s love and forgiveness, even for the worst sinners. This story appeals to those ostracized because of their sin and offers them hope for salvation in Jesus.

Hope for Resurrection—Luke 24:1-20

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith. It offers us hope that we will rise on the last day. Jesus died for our sins, and after three days, God raised him, proving that His sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to the Father. Paul calls Jesus the first fruit of the resurrection and uses this to refer to all who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Hope in God’s promise—Genesis 11-:29- 21:2

Finally, the story of Abraham is one that every believer draws hope. We know Abraham as the Father of Faith, but as mentioned, you cannot separate faith from hope. In Abraham’s case, God called him from his homeland and promised him a new land and a son. Abraham believed these promises and obeyed God’s command. What’s interesting is that Abraham waited 25 years before Isaac was born. The apostle Paul put it perfectly in Romans 4:18. He taught that Abraham hoped against hope for a son.

Types of Biblical Hope

What Does the Bible Say About Hope?
Types of Biblical Hope. Image source: Pixabay

The Bible distinguishes between earthly and spiritual hope.

Earthly hope

Earthly hope is more like wishful thinking. It fades in light of suffering, allowing true hope to flourish. This kind of hope is limited by our experiences; therefore, it is transient. We see it expressed in Ruth 1:12 when Naomi sends her daughters-in-law away, citing her inability to have children.

Spiritual hope

The Bible exalts spiritual hope that perseveres through suffering. It is borne out of faith in God’s promises and looks to a glorious future. In believers, it’s manifested as the hope for salvation and patience through tribulation (Romans 12:12). This hope helps us see beyond present suffering and wait for our redemption in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

When does hope first appear in the Bible?

There isn’t a specific answer as to when hope first appears in the Bible. As mentioned, the Bible uses several words for hope. In the Old Testament, for instance, we have three prominent words translated as hope.

The first is Yachal which translates to wait, hope, or expect. This word first appears in Genesis 8:12.

The second is Tiqvah which translates to cords or attachment. However, it’s figuratively used to mean expectation and hope. It’s the word used in Ruth 1:12 and Joshua 2:18.

Finally, we have Batach, which translates to trust or confidence. It’s the word David used in Psalm 22:9.

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