TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Faith and Hope

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Chapter 22  Part I

Faith and Hope

Faith in God is absolutely fundamental to the Christian life. We in fact need to continually live by faith, doing so in all areas of our lives. Hope is also vital for Christians. It is necessary for such things as sustaining and strengthening us – particularly in sustaining our faith.

Have Faith in God

See also:

Have faith in God and Jesus Christ

Mark 11:22  And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. ▤ 

1Thes 1:8  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. ▤ 

Paul appears to be saying that the Thessalonians’ faith in God had become known everywhere (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV).

1Pet 1:20-21  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. ▤ 

The segment “who through him are believers in God” (v. 21a) may primarily be speaking of trusting in God (cf. NET, NRSV) – through Christ, with what God has done for and by him. Thus believers’ “faith and hope are in God” (v. 21b).

Eph 1:15  For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your lover toward all the saints, … ▤ 

r Some manuscripts omit your love

Eph 3:11-12  This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. ▤ 

Col 2:5  For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. ▤ 

Rev 14:12  Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.s ▤ 

s Greek and the faith of Jesus

  • Have a sincere faith:

1Tim 1:5  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. ▤ 

Faith must be sincere and genuine. Note that in 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul speaks of Timothy’s “sincere faith”.

Live by faith

God’s people are to live by faith, persistently having faith in God and the realization of his promises.

2Cor 5:6-7  So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. ▤ 

Paul was “always of good courage” (v. 6a), knowing that his final destiny was to be with Jesus Christ in a more tangible sense (v. 6b; cf. v. 8). As such, he lived by faith, in the belief of this which he could not yet perceive (v. 7).

Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ▤ 

Heb 10:37-38  For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” ▤ 

This is a quotation from Habakkuk 2:4b – “… the righteous shall live by his faith.” The writer of Hebrews appears to use it here to indicate that the righteous will live in faith (cf. AMP).

Pursue faith – and grow in faith

See also:

1Tim 6:11  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. ▤ 

2Tim 2:22  So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ▤ 

2Cor 10:15  We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, … ▤ 

2Thes 1:3  We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,t as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. ▤ 

t Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church

  • Quality rather than quantity of faith is what matters:

Luke 17:5-6  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. ▤ 

Jesus’ reply appears to be emphasizing genuine or quality faith, rather than amount of faith. His illustration is hyperbole emphasizing that through genuine faith one can do the seemingly impossible.

Have strong faith . . .

Matt 8:5-10  When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,u ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israelv have I found such faith. ▤ 

u Greek bondservant

v Some manuscripts not even in Israel

Acts 6:5  And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. ▤ 

Rom 1:8  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. ▤ 

Such was the degree of the faith of Paul’s readers, it had become very widely known (cf. Eph 1:15; Col 1:4; Philem 1:5).

Rom 4:20-21  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

The phrase “he grew strong in his faith” may mean that “his faith grew stronger” (NLT) – hence its inclusion here; but it also could mean that “His faith made him strong” (CEV; cf. AMP, GNT).

2Cor 1:24  Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. ▤ 

Paul is either speaking of the Corinthians standing firm by means of their faith or firmly holding to their faith. The latter meaning would make the verse pertinent to this subsection, speaking of their faith being strong (cf. CEV). Bear in mind that each alternative implies that the other is true anyway. The same could be said of “firm in your faith” below in 1 Peter 5:9.

2Cor 8:7  But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for youw—see that you excel in this act of grace also. ▤ 

w Some manuscripts in your love for us

Col 2:5-7  For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. 6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. ▤ 

Note that “the faith” (v. 7) refers to the body of Christian truth rather than one’s own faith. But the fact that it refers to what Christians believe indicates that it also involves one’s own faith – reflected by some translations having “your faith” – and thus it also is pertinent to this subsection, along with v. 5.

2Tim 1:5  I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. ▤ 

Titus 2:2  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. ▤ 

The term “sound in faith” may be referring to having “strong faith” (NLT; cf. NCV) – hence the verse’s inclusion here. But with Paul speaking in the preceding verse of teaching what is in accordance with “sound doctrine”, it may instead refer to having a sound understanding of the truths of the faith (cf. 1:13).

Heb 10:22  … let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ▤ 

The expression “in full assurance of faith” points to “a faith that is sure and strong” (NIrV®; cf. GNT, NCV) so as to give such assurance.

1Pet 5:9  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ▤ 

. . . For faith is tested

James 1:3, 12  … for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ▤ 12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. ▤ 

As suggested by “the testing of your faith” (v. 3), testing of one’s faith is in view in v. 12 – as is generally the case with references to believers being tested.

1Pet 1:6-7  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Matt 9:28-30a  When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30And their eyes were opened. ▤ 

In v. 28 Jesus tests or checks the blind men’s belief. Verses 29-30a indicate that their answer reflected sound faith.

Matt 15:22-28  And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.x ▤ 

x Greek from that hour

Jesus appears to test the Canaanite woman’s faith by firstly not answering (v. 23a) and then highlighting the priority of the Israelites in his mission (vv. 24, 26). The woman’s faith “came through with flying colours”.

Luke 8:13  And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. ▤ 

Shallow belief – with “no root” – fails in “time of testing”; one’s faith needs to be strong.

John 6:5-6  Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. ▤ 

Heb 11:17-19  By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. ▤ 

  • God allowed Satan to test Job:

Job 2:3-10  And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” 7So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. 9Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”y In all this Job did not sin with his lips. ▤ 

y Or disaster; also verse 11

Note that in v. 3b God refers to allowing Satan to earlier test Job (cf. 1:8-22). There the testing involved taking away virtually all Job had; here it involved afflicting him physically. Verse 10 shows Job’s faith standing firm.

Persist in faith

See also:

In conjunction with having faith in God in regard to issues we face in our everyday lives, we are to persist in our belief and faith in the Bible’s teachings. This latter aspect is what is primarily in view in the following verses – and likely also in view in a number of the verses in the previous subsections.

1Tim 1:18-19  This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, … ▤ 

“By rejecting this” (v. 19b) refers primarily to rejecting “a good conscience” (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT, NRSV), which is vital for holding to our faith in the Bible’s teachings.

Heb 3:14  For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. ▤ 

The use of “confidence” (cf. Heb 10:35 ) is akin to “faith” (CEV, NIrV, NCV) – with the writer speaking of “trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed” (NLT).

Heb 10:35  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. ▤ 

Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. ▤ 

The patriarchs appear to be largely in view here (cf. vv. 8-12). They persisted in faith until they died. They did not receive the things promised – notably possession of the promised land (v. 8) – but by faith they envisaged the future fulfillment of the promises. Ultimately by faith they were looking toward a heavenly land (cf. vv. 10, 16), as do all who live by/in faith (cf. vv. 39-40).

Luke 18:8  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? ▤ 

This points to the need to persist in faith (cf. AMP) until Christ’s return. Jesus makes this statement immediately following a parable concerning persistence in prayer (vv. 1-8a), thus faith in prayer may be its prime concern. However, perseverance in faith amidst the pressures of this world is seen by some commentators to be more likely the main focus.

Reasons to trust in God: God’s steadfast love; . . .

See also:

Note that trusting in God is an integral part of having faith in him, as discussed in the following section What Faith in God Involves Doing.

Ps 13:5  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. ▤ 

Trusting in God’s steadfast love is equivalent to trusting in God because of his steadfast love.

Ps 52:8  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. ▤ 

1Jn 4:16a  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. ▤ 

In speaking of coming “to believe” God’s love, John indicates that we should “adhere to and put faith in and rely on” (AMP; cf. NCV, NIV) God’s love.

Ps 21:7  For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. ▤ 

The above verses speak of trusting in God’s love. This and the following verses refer to trusting in God while also speaking of God’s love, showing it to be a prime reason for trusting in him.

Ps 32:10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 143:8  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ▤ 

. . . God’s power; . . .

See also:

Ex 14:31  Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. ▤ 

God’s great power led the people to not only fear God, but believe in him and consequently put their trust/faith in him (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT).

Ps 31:14-15  But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! ▤ 

The statement “You are my God” (v. 14; cf. Ps 91:2 ) implies that the Lord is the one David trusts in as sovereign over his life, the one who by his incomparable power held David’s present and future circumstances in his hands (v. 15a).

Ps 91:2  I will sayz to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ▤ 

z Septuagint He will say

The psalmist speaks of God as being an effective refuge or fortress (cf. Isa 26:4 ) – reflecting God’s power. He appears to point to this as a prime reason for trusting in God, in conjunction with the fact that he is “my God”.

Isa 26:4  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. ▤ 

In the OT God is often compared to a rock, alluding to the protection and stability he gives to his people – through his power.

Ps 115:9-11  O Israel,a trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 11You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. ▤ 

a Masoretic Text; many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac O house of Israel

The description of God as his people’s “help and … shield” points to his willingness to help them and the fact that in his great power he is able to help them.

Rom 4:20-21  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

2Cor 1:9  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. ▤ 

2Tim 1:12  … which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.b ▤ 

b Or what I have entrusted to him; Greek my deposit

If the alternative rendering in the text note is to be preferred (cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV), then Paul would appear to be speaking of trusting God to guard his ministry and its fruits, along with himself – even through death. As such, the verse suggests that it was because of God’s power that Paul was convinced that God was “able to” (cf. Rom 4:20-21 ) guard what he had entrusted God with, against any foe or circumstance.

. . . and God’s past deliverance

See also:

Ps 9:9-10  The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ▤ 

In v. 10 God’s past deliverance is primarily in view (cf. vv. 3-6), as suggested by v. 9.

Ps 40:1-3  I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. ▤ 

Many would see what God had done for David, leading them to trust (and fear) in God.

Ps 106:9-12  He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry, and he led them through the deep as through a desert. 10So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. 11And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left. 12Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. ▤ 

God’s miraculous deeds of salvation (vv. 9-11) are reason to believe his promises (v. 12; cf. Num 14:11b), and thus trust in him.

Ps 116:2  Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. ▤ 

In saying that he will “call on” God, the psalmist indicates that he will trust God and pray only to him – particularly in times of need (cf. v. 4). The reason he gives for doing so is that God had previously responded to his pleas for help – “inclined his ear to me”.

Isa 12:2  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord Godc is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” ▤ 

c Hebrew for Yah, the Lord

The second half of the verse may well allude to God’s deliverance from the Egyptians, virtually quoting Exodus 15:2a which is part of a song celebrating this deliverance.

1Sam 17:37  And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” ▤ 

Ps 18:2-3  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ▤ 

Because God was his deliverer, the “horn” of his salvation who had saved him from his enemies, David would take refuge in God and call on him in times of trouble – i.e. trust in God.

2Tim 4:17-18  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

The Lord (probably Jesus Christ) had earlier delivered Paul (v. 17), giving Paul reason to continue to believe and trust that the Lord would take care of him (v. 18).

  • Trust God because he judges justly:

1Pet 2:23  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

What Faith in God Involves Doing

See also:

This section discusses what having faith in God (and Jesus Christ) involves doing. Generally speaking, it involves believing and trusting God. More specifically, it involves believing and trusting that God will: fulfill his promises; care for us; and respond to our requests.

Note that as is the case in several other sections, some subheadings refer to “God and Jesus Christ”, while others only refer to “God”. The latter are not intending to imply that what is said of God is not applicable to Jesus Christ. The subheadings are merely reflective of the content of the verses that follow.

To have faith in God and Jesus Christ: believe in them and what they say; . . .

See also:

Faith involves believing in God and Jesus Christ – and what they say. The following verses clearly link and even equate belief with faith. Moreover they imply that we are to have faith and believe.

Note that a number of them speak of saving faith/belief for righteousness through Jesus Christ rather than ongoing faith/belief in God in daily living, which is more the focus of this chapter. They nevertheless serve to illustrate the link between faith and belief.

Rom 3:22a  … the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. ▤ 

Those who have “faith in Jesus Christ” are those “who believe” (cf. Gal 3:22 ). Note that the phrase “faith in Jesus Christ” can be understood as “believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ” (AMP).

Rom 4:5  And to the one who does not work but believes ind him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, … ▤ 

d Or but trusts; compare verse 24

Rom 4:11, 18-25  He [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, ▤ 18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. ▤ 

2Cor 4:13  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, … ▤ 

Gal 3:22  But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ▤ 

1Pet 1:20-21  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. ▤ 

1Tim 4:12  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. ▤ 

This illustrates that “the believers” have faith, pointing to the correlation between faith and belief.

. . . and trust in God

See also:

Trusting in God is an integral part of having faith in God. As suggested earlier, having faith in God can be defined as believing and trusting God. For we are to believe in God and what he says, and also confidently trust in him and what he says in regard to our own lives (cf. comment on Rom 3:22a ). One could say having faith means that: in our minds we are to believe and in our hearts we are to trust.

Note that the following verses simply indicate that we are to trust God, rather than explicitly associating trust with faith by also mentioning the latter. However Romans 4:20 (in both of the adjacent subsections) in effect does do this, by speaking of “distrust” as being opposite to faith.

Prov 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. ▤ 

We should trust God wholeheartedly and not rely on our own understanding, which is quite limited.

Ps 62:8  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah ▤ 

Ps 26:1  Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. ▤ 

Ps 37:3, 5  Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. ▤ 5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. ▤ 

e Or and feed on faithfulness, or and find safe pasture

“Commit your way to the Lord” (v. 5) means to hand your way over to him – i.e. entrust God with what you do and the direction/s your life takes.

Ps 55:23  But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you. ▤ 

Heb 2:13a  And again, “I will put my trust in him.” ▤ 

Taken from Isaiah 8:17 where the prophet asserts his trust in God amidst difficult times, this quote is usually understood to be applied here to Jesus’ trust in God in his often difficult life on earth as a human being. By trusting God, Jesus both identified with and was an example to his “brothers” (cf. vv. 11-12).

2Ki 18:5  He [Hezekiah] trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. ▤ 

Hezekiah’s exemplary trust in God was unparalleled amongst all the kings of Judah.

Ps 71:5-6  For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. 6Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. ▤ 

Isa 10:20  In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. ▤ 

This speaks of truly relying on or trusting in God.

  • Wise teachings lead one to trust in God:

Prov 22:19  That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you. ▤ 

Have faith that God will fulfill what he promises

See also:

Note that God’s promises include promises to take care of us and to answer prayer – the subjects of the following two subsections. Also prominent amongst them are promises regarding the afterlife.

Luke 1:45  And blessed is she who believed that there would bef a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. ▤ 

f Or believed, for there will be

Acts 27:23-25  For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. ▤ 

Rom 4:18-21  In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

Verse 18 begins by saying that even though there was no reason for hope, Abraham – having hope in God – believed God’s promise.

Heb 11:13, 20-22, 24-26, 39-40  These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. ▤ 20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. ▤ 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. ▤ 39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. ▤ 

The actions of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph (vv. 20-22) expressed faith in God’s promises for the future of their people. This is also true for Moses, though in addition mention is made of his faith in God’s promise regarding his own reward (v. 26). In v. 39, “all these” is inclusive of a number of other men and women of faith in the OT (cf. vv. 32-34 ). Verses 39-40 show that here God’s promises of the afterlife are ultimately in view.

2Pet 3:13-14  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. ▤ 

The two references to “waiting” (vv. 13, 14; cf. Gal 5:5 ) for a new heaven and earth indicate faith in God’s promise of these things being fulfilled.

Gal 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ▤ 

Opinions vary as to whether “righteousness” here refers to being pronounced “not guilty” on judgment day, or to being made completely righteous – following Jesus Christ’s return. Either way, God promises both of these and we are to wait by faith for such promises to be fulfilled.

Ps 106:12  Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. ▤ 

Here God’s “words” are “promises” (GNT, NIV, NLT).

Ps 119:41-42  Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; 42then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word. ▤ 

God’s “word” (v. 42) in which the psalmist trusted, primarily refers to God’s “promise” (v. 41).

Isa 7:5-9  Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, 6“Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer itg for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” 7thus says the Lord God: “‘It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. 8For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. And within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people. 9And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If youh are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.’” ▤ 

g Hebrew let us split it open

h The Hebrew for you is plural in verses 9, 13, 14

Verse 9 contains an exhortation to Ahaz, the king of Judah, to firmly have faith in God’s promises (vv. 7-8) regarding the failure of a threatened invasion (vv. 5-6) to eventuate. Note that vv. 8a, 9a are pointing to the human leadership of the enemy, which are in stark contrast to the lordship of the sovereign God.

  • Jesus’ promise to Martha, his exhortation to believe it and its fulfillment:

John 11:23, 39-40, 43-44  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” ▤ 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” ▤ 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” ▤ 

Jesus’ question to Martha in v. 40 appears to refer to his earlier promise to her in v. 23. As such it suggests that implicit in such a promise is a call to believe it and an anticipation of the glorification of God in its fulfillment. In regard to the latter, the wording of the question may well allude to Jesus’ earlier statement to his disciples in v. 4 that Lazarus’s condition would be “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Have faith that God will care for you

See also:

Ps 25:1-2  To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. ▤ 

Ps 143:8-9  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge!i ▤ 

i One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts To you I have covered

Three times here David appeals to God to take care of him, and immediately following each of these David speaks of his trust in God to do so.

Isa 50:10  Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. ▤ 

This is most likely directed to godly people living in the darkness of difficult circumstances (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT), exhorting them to trust in and rely on God to take care of them. Alternatively, some interpret it as speaking to those living in the darkness of sin (cf. CEV).

2Chr 20:20  And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” ▤ 

As his people prepare to face a vast invading army, Jehoshaphat encourages them to believe or have faith (cf. NCV, NIV) in God and in his word spoken by the prophets – the latter presumably primarily referring to an earlier prophecy of deliverance (cf. vv. 14-17).

2Chr 14:11  And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” ▤ 

Rom 8:28, 38-39  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,j for those who are called according to his purpose. ▤ 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

j Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good

Faith is implicit in the expressions “we know” (v. 28; cf. Phil 1:19 ) and “I am sure” (v. 38; cf. 2Tim 1:12 ).

Phil 1:19  … for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, … ▤ 

2Tim 1:12  … which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.k ▤ 

k Or what I have entrusted to him; Greek my deposit

If the alternative rendering in the text note is to be preferred (cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV), then Paul would appear to be speaking of trusting God to guard his ministry and its fruits, along with himself – even through death.

2Tim 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

The Lord had recently rescued Paul from physical danger (cf. v. 17) – in fact he had done so many times (cf. 3:11). However in light of vv. 6-8 which indicate that Paul’s death was near, it appears that here Paul is not this time referring to a physical rescue but a spiritual one – where the Lord would bring him “safely into his heavenly kingdom”.

Heb 11:23, 27, 29, 32-34  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. ▤ 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. ▤ 29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. ▤ 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. ▤ 

Various people of God are shown here to have had faith that God would take care of them amidst the threat of things such as powerful rulers and their forces, wild beasts, fire and the sword – most of which carried the threat of imminent death.

Heb 13:6  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” ▤ 

Have faith that God and Jesus Christ will do what you ask

See also:

Ps 5:3  O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for youl and watch. ▤ 

l Or I direct my prayer to you

Particularly in light of the alternative rendering in the text note (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV), David appears to speak of making requests of God and then watching, presumably in faith, for God to answer.

Matt 8:5-10, 13  When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,m ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israeln have I found such faith. ▤ 13And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. ▤ 

m Greek bondservant

n Some manuscripts not even in Israel

Matt 9:18, 25  While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” ▤ 25But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. ▤ 

The ruler showed astonishing faith, asking Jesus to bring his dead daughter back to life.

Matt 9:27-30a  And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30And their eyes were opened. ▤ 

“According to your faith” (v. 29) in effect means: “Because of your faith” (CEV, NLT; cf. NCV).

Mark 10:51-52  And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. ▤ 

In saying, “…your faith has made you well,” Jesus appears to indicate that the man’s faith meant that he had made himself open to Jesus healing him. As such he was healed because of his faith (cf. CEV, NCV).

Note: Faith involves believing in what we do not see

Heb 11:1, 6  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ▤ 6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ▤ 

Verse 6 illustrates that faith involves believing in “things not seen” (v. 1), indicating that faith is needed to believe that the invisible God exists, and that he will reward those who earnestly seek him.

Heb 11:7-8, 27  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. ▤ 27By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. ▤ 

Abraham’s faith displayed in obediently leaving his homeland “not knowing where he was going” (v. 8) shows – like Noah’s and Moses’ actions – that faith involves believing in what we do not see.

1Pet 1:7-9  … so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ▤ 

Verse 8 indicates that “your faith” (vv. 7, 9) involves believing in something – or someone – we have not seen.

John 20:29  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ▤ 

2Cor 5:7  … for we walk by faith, not by sight. ▤ 

Living by faith does not involve living by sight, but by faith or belief in what is not physically perceived or is yet to be realized (cf. vv. 1-8).

2Cor 4:18  … as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ▤ 

Faith is implicit here, in focusing on and so believing in “things that are unseen”.

  • Likewise, our hope is in what is not seen:

Rom 8:24  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Importance of Faith (I): Godly Living

By faith we stand firm

See also:

Rom 11:20-21  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. ▤ 

By faith we “stand fast” as part of God’s people (v. 20a). Thus we should be wary of unbelief and its consequences (vv. 20b-21).

2Cor 1:24  Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. ▤ 

As noted earlier in this chapter, here Paul is either speaking of the Corinthians standing firm by means of their faith or firmly holding to their faith. The former meaning would make the verse pertinent to this subsection – though each alternative implies that the other is true anyway. The same quite possibly applies to the similar expressions below in 1 Peter 5:9 and Isaiah 7:9b.

Eph 6:16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; … ▤ 

1Thes 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. ▤ 

As with Ephesians 6:16 above, this uses battle equipment to illustrate the power of faith in providing protection against the dark forces that oppose “the day” – enabling us to stand firm.

James 1:2-3  Count it all joy, my brothers,o when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ▤ 

o Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church; also verses 16, 19

Faith that perseveres through testing becomes strong and enables us to hold fast, to be faithful to God in the face of persecution or temptation.

1Pet 1:4-5  … to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ▤ 

This shows that it is God’s power rather than our faith that actually shields us, but for this protection we need to have faith in God and his power.

1Pet 5:8-9  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ▤ 

Christians are to stand against Satan by faith in God.

2Chr 20:20  And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” ▤ 

This is speaking of being “established” or being enabled to “stand firm” (GNT, NLT; cf. NCV) against enemy forces, but is also applicable to standing firm in one’s Christian life, particularly against opposing forces. The same applies to Isaiah 7:9b immediately below.

Isa 7:9b  If youp are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. ▤ 

p The Hebrew for you is plural in verses 9, 13, 14

  • We are strengthened by faith:

Rom 4:20-21  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

The phrase “strengthened in his faith” may mean that “His faith made him strong” (CEV; cf. AMP, GNT) – hence its use here; but as noted earlier it also could mean that “his faith grew stronger” (NLT). Note that Isaiah 30:15 similarly speaks of having strength through faith (or trust) – “in quietness and in trust shall be your strength”.

Faith produces obedience to God

See also:

Rom 1:5  … through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, … ▤ 

The phrase “the obedience of faith” (cf. 16:27) may be speaking of “the obedience that comes from faith” (NIV®), hence the verse’s inclusion in this subsection. Alternatively it may be speaking of faith itself as being an act of obedience, to the gospel message.

Heb 11:7-9, 17  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. ▤ 17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, … ▤ 

Regarding v. 7b, Noah’s faith – and resultant obedience to God’s command to build the ark (cf. Gen 6) – highlighted the rebellious state of those around him. He thus demonstrated that following God was not impossible, therefore showing the failure of others and consequently that they were deserving of condemnation. In contrast Noah himself was credited with righteousness, because of his faith.

Heb 11:24-31  By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. ▤ 

Although not specifically stated in every case, these actions of faith were acts of obedience in response to direct commands from God, recorded elsewhere in the Bible. The only exceptions are the earlier actions of Moses (vv. 24-27) and Rahab’s (v. 31). But even these acts of faith are here implied to be ones of obedience, with Moses being spoken of as spurning sin (v. 25) and Rahab being contrasted with “those who were disobedient” (v. 31). Note that there is disagreement as to whether v. 27 is referring to Moses initially fleeing Egypt – after having killed an Egyptian – or to the Exodus.

Acts 6:7  And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. ▤ 

The final clause means that these priests began to obey or live in accordance with the teachings of “the faith”. “The faith” is the body of truths which Christians believe; believing them – or having faith – entails obedience.

2Pet 1:5  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,q and virtue with knowledge, … ▤ 

q Or excellence; twice in this verse

Our faith should lead to “moral excellence” (NASB, NLT) – indicative of obedience.

Faith produces work in service to God

See also:

A sound faith in God inspires service of him. A person with such faith will seek and be drawn into God’s will, and so they will not be idle when there is so much work to be done for God’s kingdom. Furthermore, if we look to God in faith wanting God to care for us and answer our requests, we should in turn be prepared to do what God wants.

Phil 2:17  Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. ▤ 

The expression “the sacrificial offering of your faith” likely speaks of the sacrifice and service coming from their faith (cf. NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV).

1Thes 1:3  … remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

The term “work of faith” (cf. 2Thes 1:11 ) suggests “work produced by faith” (NIV®; cf. AMP, GNT, NCV).

2Thes 1:11  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, … ▤ 

2Cor 4:13-14  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. ▤ 

Paul’s faith and belief in God – such as his confidence that God would raise him from death (v. 14) – motivated him to pursue his work of telling others the gospel.

Gal 5:6  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. ▤ 

In speaking of “faith working” this suggests that faith produces work for God – which should be done “through love”.

James 2:17-18  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ▤ 

Rev 2:19  I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. ▤ 

The listing of faith (and love) with works and service arguably implies support for the concept that faith produces service to God.

Rom 12:3-6  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members,r and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; … ▤ 

r Greek parts; also verse 5

Commentators differ in their understanding of the phrase “measure of faith” (v. 3). One prominent view is that the context suggests that it is referring especially to our faith as applied to serving others, with v. 4 speaking of each member of the body having a “function”. As such it is possibly referring in particular to serving others with the gifts we have been given (cf. vv. 6-8), with the latter phrase “in proportion to our faith” (v. 6) probably alluding to “according to the measure of faith” (v. 3).

There are also different views regarding this latter phrase “in proportion to our faith”, as to whether “our faith” refers to the Christian faith or to faith in God. The latter arguably better fits the context. As such it appears to mean that the gift of prophesying – like all gifts – should be used according to (or to the extent of) the amount of faith one has. It can be inferred from this that faith not only produces service, but the extent to which we serve corresponds to the amount of faith we have.

  • God’s work entrusted to us is “by faith”:

1Tim 1:4  … nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardships from God that is by faith. ▤ 

s Or good order

The “stewardship from God” may well refer to our responsibility in advancing God’s kingdom and his plan of salvation. As such, given the context, the last clause may well speak of being given and/or of carrying out this responsibility by or in faith (cf. CEV, NCV, NIrV).

Faith is vital to prayer, for God to grant requests

See also:

Matt 21:18-22  In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. 20When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” ▤ 

Belief is vital in petitioning God, particularly in regard to things that seem impossible, as Jesus figuratively points out (v. 21; Mark 1:22 ; Matt 17:20 ; 1Cor 13:2 ). Such a “mountain” signifies a seemingly insurmountable difficulty, presumably primarily alluding to difficulties encountered in advancing God’s kingdom. (For further comment on this passage, see Believe and do not doubt that what you ask will be granted.)

Mark 11:22-24  And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have receivedt it, and it will be yours. ▤ 

t Some manuscripts are receiving

James 1:6-8  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ▤ 

James 5:14-15  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. ▤ 

For comment, see the comment on James 5:14-15 – under Believe and do not doubt that what you ask will be granted.

1Chr 5:20  And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. ▤ 

2Chr 14:11-12  And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. ▤ 

The phrase “we rely on you” may refer more to them generally trusting God rather than specifically to faith that God would answer the request for help. Nevertheless along with the act of actually making the request it at least to some degree reflects such faith.

Ps 22:5  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. ▤ 

If we have faith nothing will be impossible

If we have faith nothing will be impossible, both in our service of God and in confronting issues in our lives. As such we are to have faith (and pray) that what we understand to be in accordance with God’s will, will take place.

Matt 17:19-20  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”u ▤ 

u Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting

In v. 19 the disciples are referring to their inability to drive out a demon. In v. 20 Jesus is probably emphasizing the need for genuine or quality faith (cf. Luke 17:6 ) – in contrast to the concept of a large quantity of faith (cf. Luke 17:5 ). As noted in the previous subsection (cf. Matt 21:18-22 ), the “mountain” (v. 20) signifies a seemingly insurmountable difficulty.

Luke 17:5-6  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. ▤ 

Mark 9:22-23  And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” ▤ 

John 14:12-14  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask mev anything in my name, I will do it. ▤ 

v Some manuscripts omit me

The amazing promise of doing even greater things than what Jesus had been doing (v. 12) – here coupled with the promises that he will do whatever we ask in his name (vv. 13-14) – would come to fruition through the power of the Holy Spirit. Commentators point to the response to Peter’s sermon at Pentecost and the expansion of the gospel way beyond Palestine as examples of the fulfillment of this promise. The promise would appear to be for all Christians.

Heb 11:29-30, 32-35a  By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. ▤ 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. ▤ 

These are examples of seemingly impossible things being done through faith.

  • Even with faith that can “remove mountains”, one is nothing without love:

1Cor 13:2  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. ▤ 

In addition to teaching that such a person is “nothing”, this may also be suggesting that the works of such a person are similarly largely ineffective.

Further points on the importance of faith in living the Christian life

Ps 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ▤ 

Faith (or trust) prompts joy and thanksgiving. It likewise prompts praise (cf. Ps 106:12 ). Note that “I am helped” may refer to God’s help or to David being encouraged through trusting God.

Ps 106:12  Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. ▤ 

Eph 3:12  … in whom [Jesus Christ] we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. ▤ 

Through faith in Christ we can confidently access God (cf. Heb 10:22 ).

Heb 10:22  … let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ▤ 

By faith we have full assurance that God consents to us drawing near to him.

1Tim 1:5  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. ▤ 

Faith is vital for love.

Rom 14:23  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.w ▤ 

w Some manuscripts insert here 16:25-27

Here “faith” is being used in a subjective sense. It refers to our beliefs or convictions (cf. AMP) as to what is right, or at least what is right for ourselves, before God. As such, Paul is saying that acting in a way that is opposed to our beliefs and conscience is in effect sin.

  • Our faith is extremely valuable:

1Pet 1:7  … so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Importance of Faith (II): Blessings

Note that the topics in the previous section should also be viewed as blessings that come through faith.

By faith we remain in a right relationship with God and Jesus Christ

See also:

Rom 11:20-21  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. ▤ 

By faith we remain as part of God’s people (v. 20a).

Col 1:21-23  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creationx under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ▤ 

x Or to every creature

Continuing “in the faith” (v. 23) involves continuing to have faith (cf. CEV, NCV, NIV, NLT). By continuing “securely established and steadfast in the faith” (NRSV, v. 23a), we remain reconciled to God (v. 22a), in our righteous standing before him (v. 22b).

Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ▤ 

“I now live by faith in the Son of God” is usually understood to be speaking of trusting or depending on Jesus Christ. However in line with the references earlier in the verse to Christ living in oneself and to living “in the flesh” (which “in the Son of God” could be intended to parallel), the sense may be “I live in the Son of God by faith”. The beginning of the second sentence could then be rendered, “The life I live in the body, I live in the Son of God by faith.” As such the verse would underline the importance of faith for remaining in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. But it should be pointed out that there appears to be little or no obvious support for this interpretation amongst modern translations.

Eph 3:16-17a  … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith … ▤ 

Col 2:5-7  For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. 6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. ▤ 

Paul correlates having a firm faith in Christ (v. 5; cf. v. 7) with living in him (v. 6) and being “rooted and built up in him” (v. 7).

Heb 3:14  For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. ▤ 

We “have become partakers of Christ” (NASB) – “partners of Christ” (NRSV; cf. GNT) and share in all that belongs to him (cf. NLT) – if we continue holding to our confidence or faith.

Like Abraham, by faith we receive what God has promised . . .

See also:

Heb 6:12, 15  … so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ▤ 15And thus Abraham,y having patiently waited, obtained the promise. ▤ 

y Greek he

Note that it is debatable as to whether “the promises” (v. 12) is referring primarily to blessings of this life (cf. AMP, CEV, v. 15) or of the afterlife (cf. v. 11) – as per the following subsection. Quite possibly the writer is speaking generally, inclusive of both cases.

Rom 4:16, 18  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, ▤ 18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” ▤ 

For comment, see the comment on Rom 4:13-24 – under By faith Abraham was declared righteous and received the promise – and so will all who emulate him.

Heb 11:11-12, 32-33  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. ▤ 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, … ▤ 

Gal 3:22  But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ▤ 

The “promise” primarily refers to righteousness or justification by faith (cf. vv. 6-11) – possibly along with the associated promise of the Spirit (v. 14b) and other related concepts, notably salvation and life. All these are given to those have faith as Abraham did (cf. vv. 6-18).

John 4:49-53  The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51As he was going down, his servantsz met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh houra the fever left him.” 53The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. ▤ 

z Greek bondservants

a That is, at 1 P. M.

Following the faith he showed initially in his request (v. 49), the official displays exemplary faith in his response to Jesus’ promise (v. 50) – faith that was well vindicated (vv. 51-53).

. . . By faith we will receive the promises and salvation of the afterlife

See also:

Heb 10:35-39  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. ▤ 

“For you have need of endurance” (v. 36a) in the context may well have endurance in confidence/faith in view (v. 35) as much as persevering in doing God’s will (v. 36); the two are very closely associated anyway. The result of such endurance is receiving what God has promised (v. 36b; cf. v. 35, 39). In vv. 38-39 Paul further stresses the importance of continuing to live by faith, finishing by emphasizing that it is those who have faith who will “preserve their souls”.

Heb 11:39-40  And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. ▤ 

The phrases “what was promised” (v. 39b) and “something better” (v. 40a) probably refer to aspects of the consummated salvation and sanctification of the afterlife (cf. CEV, NLT), as also referred to by the latter part of v. 40b. The people of faith in the OT did not receive such things in their lifetime or on their death, but will only do so together with us. Another possibility is that these verses have in view – or at least also encompass – all that God’s people have now from what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ.

1Pet 1:4-9  … to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ▤ 

The term “obtaining” (v. 9) suggests that their salvation – the outcome of their faith – is in the process of being realized, to be consummated on Christ’s return.

  • Having kept “the faith”, Paul would receive his reward:

2Tim 4:7-8  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. ▤ 

Here Paul speaks of keeping the teachings of the Christian faith resulting in forthcoming reward. Similarly in 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called …”

By faith our needs are met

See also:

2Chr 20:20-22  And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. ▤ 

Jehoshaphat and his army were facing the daunting task of repelling a much larger invading army. As such they were in great need.

Mark 5:25-29, 34  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. ▤ 34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” ▤ 

As noted earlier on 10:52 regarding the same wording, “…your faith has made you well” (v. 34; cf. Luke 17:19 ), Jesus appears to indicate that by faith the woman had made herself open to him healing her. As such she was healed because of her faith (cf. CEV, NCV).

Luke 17:12-19  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,b who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”c ▤ 

b Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

c Or has saved you

The request (v. 13) and response (v. 14b) of the ten men demonstrated their faith – and consequently they were healed (v. 14b). The gratitude of the Samaritan appears to demonstrate a more sincere faith, reflected in Jesus’ words to him (v. 19), which in turn appear to point to a deeper, spiritual aspect of his healing.

Acts 3:16  And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesusd has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. ▤ 

d Greek him

The expression “by faith in his name” refers to faith in Jesus and his power, here in particular his power to heal.

Acts 14:8-10  Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,e 10said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. ▤ 

e Or be saved

Mark 2:3-5, 11-12  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” ▤ 11“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” ▤ 

Here it is the faith of others that is spoken of as leading to the sick person being healed.

Trusting in God leads to his deliverance and protection

See also:

Note that the passages in the previous subsection also speak of God or Jesus Christ’s deliverance. There “faith” or belief is said to have led to such deliverance, whereas here “trust” in particular is usually referred to. With trust being an aspect of faith, these two subsections are very closely related.

Ps 22:4-5  In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. ▤ 

Jer 39:18  For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord. ▤ 

1Chr 5:20  And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. ▤ 

2Chr 13:14-15, 18  And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. ▤ 18Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. ▤ 

2Chr 14:11-12  And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. ▤ 

2Chr 16:8  Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. ▤ 

Dan 3:28  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set asidef the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. ▤ 

f Aramaic and changed

Dan 6:23  Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. ▤ 

Ps 32:10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. ▤ 

In saying that God’s love “surrounds” those who trust him, this points to God’s protection.

Ps 116:6  The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. ▤ 

The “simple” appear to be those who have “childlike faith” (NLT).

Prov 29:25  The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. ▤ 

Ps 37:5-6  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. ▤ 

Some commentators interpret “righteousness” and “justice” as being used here as qualities of God. But other translations support the ESV, indicating that they are probably qualities of the person concerned; thus v. 6 appears to be referring to the vindication of one who trusts in God (v. 5).

Ps 20:7-8  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 8They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. ▤ 

In trusting in God, Israel prevailed in battle, with God helping and strengthening them. This is applicable to God’s people prevailing in adversity, being protected and delivered through trusting in God.

Trusting in God brings joy and peace

See also:

Ps 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ▤ 

Taking refuge in God is indicative of trusting in him.

Ps 13:5  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. ▤ 

Here the psalmist may be speaking of rejoicing at the prospect of God’s salvation (cf. Phil 1:18b-19 ), his rejoicing then being a direct result of trusting in God to affect his salvation. Alternatively he may be speaking of rejoicing when he experiences God’s salvation, his rejoicing then being an indirect result of trusting in God.

Ps 16:8-9  I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beingg rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. ▤ 

g Hebrew my glory

David’s trust is implicit in v. 8.

Ps 21:6-7  For you make him most blessed forever;h you make him glad with the joy of your presence. 7For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. ▤ 

h Or make him a source of blessing forever

Ps 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ▤ 

Ps 33:21  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. ▤ 

Trusting in God brings release from one’s concerns and fears – with the knowledge that God has all our needs in hand. Such a realization inspires rejoicing (and peace). Note that other verses here (e.g. Rom 15:13 ; Isa 26:3 ) indicate that God actually provides joy and peace to those who trust him, rather than just speaking of trust itself leading to these things.

Ps 34:5  Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. ▤ 

Those who look to God in trust are radiant with joy.

Isa 26:3  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ▤ 

Rom 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ▤ 

Phil 1:18b-19  Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, … ▤ 

Paul’s faith is underscored by the phrase “I know” (v. 19a).

Ps 131:2  But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. ▤ 

David had “calmed and quieted” his soul or inner self – reflecting his trust and hope in God (cf. v. 3). As such he was like a “weaned child”, content and no longer anxious (for its mother’s milk).

Further blessings of trusting in God

Prov 28:25  A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. ▤ 

Ps 52:8  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. ▤ 

The green olive tree is indicative of such things as prosperity and productivity (cf. Prov 28:25 ; Jer 17:7-8 ).

Jer 17:7-8  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” ▤ 

Ps 112:7-8  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. ▤ 

“His heart is steady” implies confidence (cf. NCV, NLT).

Ps 125:1  Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. ▤ 

Isa 28:16  … therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laidi as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ ▤ 

i Dead Sea Scroll I am laying

It is debatable as to whether “cornerstone” here speaks of God himself and/or his salvation, or the Messiah; certainly Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of this verse (cf. Rom 9:33; 10:11; 1Pet 2:4-6). Those who believe or trust in this “precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation”, “will not panic” (NRSV).

Isa 30:15a  For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returningj and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” ▤ 

j Or repentance

In trusting God we find strength.

Ps 84:12  O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! ▤ 

Prov 16:20  Whoever gives thought to the wordk will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. ▤ 

k Or to a matter

Pray for persecuted Christians

Have Hope in God

Hope for a believer involves an assurance of their future, based on the truth of God’s promises – rather than merely being an unfounded optimism.

Put your hope in God and Jesus Christ

See also:

Ps 131:3  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. ▤ 

Ps 39:7  And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. ▤ 

Ps 71:14  But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. ▤ 

Particularly in light of the second part of the verse, the implication is that the psalmist is talking of hope in God.

Jer 17:13  O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from youl shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water. ▤ 

l Hebrew me

1Tim 5:5  She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, … ▤ 

1Pet 3:5  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, … ▤ 

Eph 1:12  … so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

1Thes 1:3  … remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Put your hope in God’s promises

See also:

Ps 119:81, 114, 116, 147  My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. ▤ 114You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. ▤ 116Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! ▤ 147I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. ▤ 

Verse 16 indicates that the psalmist had based his hope on God’s promises. Likewise, the references to hoping in “your word” involve primarily having hope in the promises that God has made in his word – as is also the case in 130:5 below.

Ps 130:5  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; … ▤ 

Acts 26:6-7  And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! ▤ 

For comment on this promise see the comment on Acts 26:6-8 – under Set your hope on Jesus Christ’s return and what will follow.

Rom 4:13, 18  For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. ▤ 18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” ▤ 

It can be inferred from this that Abraham had hope both in the promise and because of it – a hope that led to belief (v. 18).

Titus 1:1-2  Paul, a servantm of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages begann … ▤ 

m Or slave; Greek bondservant

n Greek before times eternal

Believers put their hope in God’s promise of eternal life.

Heb 6:17-18  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. ▤ 

In speaking of holding to the hope set before us (v. 18b), the writer is speaking of putting our hope in what God has promised – to Abraham (cf. vv. 13-15) and Abraham’s spiritual heirs. The “two unchangeable things” (v. 18a) are God’s promise itself and his confirmation of it with an oath (v. 17).

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ▤ 

This implies that believers put their hope in what God has promised.

2Pet 3:13-14  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. ▤ 

The two references to “waiting” (vv. 13, 14) for a new heaven and earth indicate hope in God’s promise of these things.

  • God’s promises sustain us and give us reason to rejoice:

Ps 119:50, 162  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ▤ 162I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. ▤ 

In v. 50, “your promise gives me life” may well refer to God’s promise giving hope and reason to keep persevering, thus sustaining one’s life.

Set your hope on God’s timely care

Ps 33:17-19  The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. 18Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. ▤ 

Ps 71:4-5  Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. 5For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. ▤ 

The implication is that the psalmist continues to hope in God for deliverance such as is spoken of in v. 4.

Ps 119:166  I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments. ▤ 

Isa 51:5  My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. ▤ 

The return of the exiles is the immediate context for the reference to “righteousness” and “salvation”, and it is for such saving acts that other peoples will wait in hope. Quite possibly this has ultimately in view God’s foremost saving act – the promised salvation to come through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Zec 9:11-12  As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. ▤ 

The exiles were “prisoners of hope”, captivated by the hope of both deliverance (v. 11b-12a) and blessing (v. 12b). Note that the coming Messiah and his rule (cf. vv. 9-10) could also be the object of the hope spoken of here.

2Cor 1:10  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. ▤ 

1Tim 6:17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. ▤ 

  • Paul’s hope in God that he would have the courage to act so as to honor Christ:

Phil 1:20  … as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. ▤ 

Presumably Paul is speaking of hope in God, that through God he would not do anything in his trying circumstances that would bring shame (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT), but would have the courage to always act in a way that would honor Christ.

Set your hope on Jesus Christ’s return and what will follow

See also:

Titus 2:11-13  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

We should wait in hope for Jesus Christ’s wonderful appearance – “our blessed hope”.

1Pet 1:13  Therefore, preparing your minds for action,o and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

o Greek girding up the loins of your mind

1Jn 3:2-3  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appearsp we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ▤ 

p Or when it appears

The phrase “thus hopes in him” (v. 3) refers to hope in Jesus Christ’s appearance and becoming like him (v. 2).

Acts 24:14b-15  I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. ▤ 

Acts 26:6-8  And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? ▤ 

The promise of God in which Paul had put his hope, presumably involved the resurrection of the dead (v. 8; cf. Acts 24:15 ) and – according to a number of commentators – the Messiah and his kingdom. This is probably also what Paul had in mind later in 28:20b with the term “the hope of Israel” – “… it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”

Rom 8:23-25  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ▤ 

Rom 5:2  Through him we have also obtained access by faithq into this grace in which we stand, and wer rejoices in hope of the glory of God. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts omit by faith

r Or let us; also verse 3

s Or boast; also verses 3, 11

Believers have the hope of sharing in God’s glory (cf. Col 1:27 ). Some commentators think that the clause in question also, or alternatively, alludes to experiencing God’s glorious presence.

Gal 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ▤ 

As noted earlier in this chapter, opinions vary as to whether “righteousness” here refers to being pronounced “not guilty” on judgment day, or to being made completely righteous in the afterlife. Both are things following Jesus Christ’s return on which we are to set our hope.

Col 1:5  … because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, … ▤ 

“Hope” can be a verb – what believers do; or a noun – what believers hope for. In this case it is a noun – like a number of the other verses in this subsection – denoting the wonderful blessings for believers in the afterlife, for which they hope (cf. ZBC).

Col 1:27  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ▤ 

1Thes 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. ▤ 

Titus 3:7  … so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ▤ 

Col 1:23  … if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creationt under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ▤ 

t Or to every creature

The “hope of the gospel” largely refers to the promised happenings involved in and subsequent to Jesus Christ’s return.

  • Non-believers have no future hope, in contrast to all that believers have to look forward to:

1Thes 4:13-17  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,u that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ▤ 

u Or by the word of the Lord

Non-believers who have no hope for anything beyond death (v. 13), in contrast to Christians who have hope and belief in: Christ’s return, the resurrection and eternal life.

Reasons to have hope in God: God’s steadfast love and faithfulness; . . .

See also:

Lam 3:21-23  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;v his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ▤ 

v Syriac, Targum; Hebrew Because of the steadfast love of the Lord, we are not cut off

Ps 33:18-19, 22  Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. ▤ 22Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. ▤ 

Putting our hope in God’s steadfast love (v. 18; cf. Ps 147:11 ; Jonah 2:8 ) is equivalent to putting our hope in God because of his steadfast love.

Ps 147:11  … but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. ▤ 

Ps 130:7  O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. ▤ 

The final phrase suggests that God is willing and able to save (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV). As such it is reflective of his steadfast love.

Rom 5:5-8  … and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ▤ 

As believers we can be assured that our hope will not disappoint us (v. 5; cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV) because we have been made keenly aware of the extent of God’s love. For it has been manifested in us by the Holy Spirit (v. 5) and superlatively demonstrated in God sending Christ to die for us (vv. 6-8).

Jonah 2:8  Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. ▤ 

Despite the negative context, this verse indicates that God’s steadfast love is something that his people can place their hope in.

Ps 146:5-6  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; … ▤ 

Note that along with God’s faithfulness, this also points to him being the Maker of all creation as being a prime reason to put one’s hope in him. As such, like some of the other verses in this subsection, it is also pertinent to the following subsection.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ▤ 

Titus 1:1-2  Paul, a servantw of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages beganx … ▤ 

w Or slave; Greek bondservant

x Greek before times eternal

One aspect of God’s faithfulness is that he does not lie. Thus we have sound reason to hope for the eternal life that he has promised.

. . . and the deeds of God, our Savior

See also:

Note that the verses in this subsection speak both of God having brought salvation from difficulties and of God’s spiritual salvation – as well as other things that God has done.

Ps 62:5-6  For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. ▤ 

David’s hope was in God as the one who had provided him with salvation and security, and continued to do so.

Ps 65:5-7  By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, … ▤ 

Ps 78:4, 7  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. ▤ 7so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; … ▤ 

Note that in addition to his past deeds and power (vv. 4, 7), possibly God’s law or commands (cf. v. 5) are also in view in v. 7 as reason to hope in God.

Jer 14:8, 22  O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? ▤ 22Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things. ▤ 

2Cor 1:10  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. ▤ 

1Tim 4:9-10  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10For to this end we toil and strive,y because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. ▤ 

y Some manuscripts and suffer reproach

As well as speaking of God as being “the Savior of all people”, note that this verse refers to the fact that he is “the living God” as an additional reason to put our hope in him.

1Pet 1:3, 20-21  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ▤ 20He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. ▤ 

For comment on v. 3, see the comment on 1Pet 1:3 – under Further general points on hope. Regarding v. 21, two reasons as to why Peter can say that God’s raising and glorifying of Jesus Christ gives believers reason to have hope (and faith) in God are that: (a) through it (and Christ’s death) God has saved them; and (b) it shows God can likewise raise and glorify them.

Other godly sources of hope

See also:

  • [Blessings of God’s word:] Hope

Rom 5:3-4  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, … ▤ 

A person of resolute character, forged and tested by endurance (cf. Rom 15:4 ) through suffering, has already experienced God’s faithfulness in seeing them through thus far and so has good reason and the inclination to hope in God. Also such spiritual maturity leads to positiveness and clarity in one’s perception, fertile ground for a believer’s hope.

Rom 15:4  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. ▤ 

2Cor 3:5-12  Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us competentz to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. 12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, … ▤ 

z Or sufficient

The new covenant, with “the ministry of the Spirit” (v. 8), has glory that surpasses that of the first covenant and the ministry associated with it (v. 10). This is particularly evident in view of the fact that it brings righteousness (v. 9) and life (v. 6), and is everlasting (v. 11). As such it gives great hope to those who adhere to it (v. 12).

Philem 1:22  At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. ▤ 

Prayer encourages hope in God.

Ps 119:43  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. ▤ 

Obeying God’s “rules” gives one hope of such things as: the fulfillment of God’s promises to his obedient people; and a life free of dangers typically encountered by the wicked and foolish who live contrary to God’s rules.

Prov 23:17-18  Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. 18Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. ▤ 

Keenly fearing God (v. 17b) – in contrast to envying the ungodly (v. 17a) – gives one reason for a sure, ongoing hope (v. 18). Finding wisdom is presented as a source of hope in a similar fashion below in 24:14.

Prov 24:14  Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. ▤ 

Further general points on hope

1Pet 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, … ▤ 

The believer’s hope is called a “living hope” because it is real and existing. This description also reflects the fact that it is dynamic, revitalizing and ongoing. Moreover, the teaching that God “has given us new birth into a living hope” suggests that our new spiritual life is begun in and sustained by this hope, permeated by it and lived within it.

1Cor 13:13  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ▤ 

Hope – along with faith and love – will “abide”, i.e. “continue forever” (NCV™, cf. NLT).

Rom 8:24-25  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ▤ 

We do not already see or have what we hope for; otherwise it would not be hope. Christian hope is anticipation of future realities.

Eph 4:4  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call ▤ 

All Christians are called to (cf. Eph 1:18 ) and have the same hope – basically that of salvation, with all that it entails.

Heb 6:11  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, … ▤ 

Earnestly following and serving God until the end ensures that we can be fully assured of the soundness of our hope. Note that the salvation for which we hope is secured – not earned – by lives devoted to God.

  • Paul’s prayer that the Ephesians would know the hope to which God had called them:

Eph 1:16-18  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, … ▤ 

Quite possibly Paul has the saints’ “glorious inheritance” (v. 18b) at least partly in view in speaking of “the hope” (i.e. that for which believers hope).

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Importance of Hope

Hope is vital for faith

See also:

The hope believers have is not a groundless longing, but a confident assurance. Such hope stimulates and supports ongoing faith, which has as its focus that for which believers hope. This is also reflected in the following subsection.

Rom 4:18  In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” ▤ 

Col 1:4-5a  … since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. ▤ 

Col 1:22-23  … he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creationa under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ▤ 

a Or to every creature

Titus 1:1-2  Paul, a servantb of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages beganc … ▤ 

b Or slave; Greek bondservant

c Greek before times eternal

The intended relationship here between hope and the duo of faith and knowledge is open to debate. Paul may have in view that faith and knowledge are based on the hope of eternal life (cf. GNT, NCV, NIV) – as per the theme of this subsection – or conversely that faith and knowledge lead to this hope (cf. CEV, NLT). Alternatively, with v. 1 as a whole in view, “in hope of eternal life” could even be being given as part of the reason for Paul’s mission.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ▤ 

The Christian hope is what Christians confess to believe – i.e. Christian belief or faith concerns and is based on this hope.

Heb 11:1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ▤ 

Gal 5:5  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ▤ 

As with the preceding verses, this illustrates that what we hope for – here “righteousness” in particular – is the focus of our faith.

Job 11:18  And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. ▤ 

The Hebrew translated as: “you will feel secure”, can also be rendered as: “…you would trust” (NASB), or “…you will have confidence” (NRSV). As such this verse shows that hope generates faith.

Phil 1:20  … as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. ▤ 

This shows Paul’s faith (“my eager expectation”) and hope working together, appearing to complement each other – and as such reflects the theme of this subsection. This also seems to be the case in the following verses from 1 Peter 1:21 and Psalms 71:5-6, which further associate hope with faith. See also the comment on Romans 8:23-24a below.

1Pet 1:21  … who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. ▤ 

Ps 71:5  For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. ▤ 

This associates hope in God (v. 5a) with trust/faith in God.

  • Hope is critical for salvation:

Rom 8:23-24a  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. ▤ 

Paul often states the need for faith to be saved. The last statement (v. 24) does not contradict this, but underlines the close relationship between hope and faith, largely inseparable components of our salvation (cf. Col 1:22-23 ). Furthermore, note that “wait eagerly” (v. 23b) reflects both hope and faith.

Hope helps us remain firm

See also:

1Thes 1:3  … remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

The phrase “steadfastness of hope” may well mean that their steadfastness came from hope (cf. NCV, NIV). As such the verse would be relevant here. Alternatively, it may be speaking of their hope itself as being steadfast (cf. CEV, GNT).

1Thes 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. ▤ 

The “hope of salvation” – along with “faith and love” – gives protection against whatever might harm believers spiritually and/or lead them astray.

Heb 3:6  … but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.d ▤ 

d Some manuscripts insert firm to the end

By holding onto our hope (and confidence) we remain a part of God’s “house” or “household” (NLT), his people (cf. CEV).

Heb 6:17-20  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. ▤ 

Verses 19b-20 may mean that our hope extends into God’s very presence, where Jesus has entered as a “forerunner” on our behalf – giving us an assured hope that we will be able to follow. (As such our future, ultimate entry into God’s presence would appear to be in view.) Alternatively, or along with the above, the verses may mean that our hope is based on Jesus’ ministry for us in God’s presence, in his role as high priest.

  • Hope enables us to wait patiently:

Rom 8:25  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ▤ 

Having now the strong hope of the wonderful blessings to come in the afterlife is a great encouragement and enables believers to wait patiently for these blessings.

Further ways hope is important for living the Christian life

Rom 5:2  Through him we have also obtained access by faithe into this grace in which we stand, and wef rejoiceg in hope of the glory of God. ▤ 

e Some manuscripts omit by faith

f Or let us; also verse 3

g Or boast; also verses 3, 11

The hope of sharing God’s glory causes us to rejoice (cf. Rom 12:12 ; Heb 3:6 ).

Rom 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ▤ 

2Cor 3:12  Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, … ▤ 

Col 1:4-5a  … since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. ▤ 

This verse was used earlier in regard to hope’s importance for faith. It is included again here as additionally it indicates hope is important for love. Having such a future hope spurs one on in loving others – as in other aspects of the Christian life (cf. 1Tim 4:10 ; 1Jn 3:2-3 ).

1Tim 4:10  For to this end we toil and strive,h because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. ▤ 

h Some manuscripts and suffer reproach

This shows that the Christian’s hope is a key stimulus for their hard work for God.

Heb 3:6b  And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.i ▤ 

i Some manuscripts insert firm to the end

The description of our hope as something in which we boast indicates that our hope is something in which we can: take confidence (cf. GNT, NLT); take pride (cf. NRSV) and have a “sense of triumph” (AMP); and rejoice (cf. NKJV).

1Jn 3:2-3  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appearsj we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ▤ 

j Or when it appears

The “hope” of Jesus Christ’s return and of being like him (v. 2) leads one to make or keep themselves pure (v. 3). For focusing on such a hope makes anything that it is not pleasing to Christ incompatible with one’s own goals and desires. Also one would not want to do anything that would bring Christ’s disapproval on his return.

  • God watches over those who fear him and put their hope in his love:

Ps 33:18  Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, … ▤ 

Note: The depressing plight of a lack of hope

See also:

The following verses illustrate the depressing plight of a lack of hope.

Job 7:6  My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope. ▤ 

Job 17:13-15  If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, 14if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ 15where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? ▤ 

Job is saying that if his only hope is to go to the grave then he has no real hope.

Lam 3:18  … so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” ▤ 

The writer is speaking not only of himself but on behalf of his people. God’s judgment on Jerusalem had seemingly taken away any hope of blessings from God, stifling any prospect of endurance. Nevertheless, note that in the subsequent verses the writer could still speak of God’s love and faithfulness giving him hope (cf. vv. 21-26).

Ezek 37:11  Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ ▤ 

Acts 27:20  When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. ▤ 

1Thes 4:13  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. ▤ 

Unbelievers without hope can only grieve over death – both over the deaths of loved ones (primarily in view here) and their own certain deaths. Believers still grieve over the deaths of loved ones, but it is not a grief devoid of hope.

  • The deferring of hope is sickening:

Prov 13:12  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians