Hope is a Beautiful Word

There is a cloud of apathy, anger, and angst that seems never to go away these days for so many people. Smiles, joy, and peace just don’t seem as common as they once did. An underlying tone in many conversations I have is a sense of hopelessness. For a couple of minutes, let’s reconsider what it means that instead of hopelessness - we are people of hope.

Hope is a beautiful word. It represents the possibility of a positive outcome, a light at the end of a dark tunnel. It is very significant in the Bible. However, hope in the Bible is different from its everyday use – it is far better!

Today, most often, hope is expecting something to happen, but not being entirely sure it will. It is more like a wish. Webster’s Dictionary defines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or to be true.” This definition is based on doubt and uncertainty, but biblical hope is knowing that the desired outcome will happen. It’s not wishful thinking, but a solid reality. When God speaks of a future hope, it is as good as done already.

Hope in Hebrew

Two main Hebrew words are translated as "hope" in the Old Testament. The first word is yachal, and it appears about 48 times in the Old Testament.

According to Strong’s concordance, yachal means to wait or to be patient. Yachal is most often associated with waiting on God; it may be waiting on his word, promises, or actions, such as in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” But sometimes yachal is used when waiting continually or enduring, such as in Psalm 71:14, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.

The second word is tiqvah or qavahTiqvah means cord or attachment. It is the word translated "hope" in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Tiqvah means to expect, and it is related to the Hebrew word qavah, which means to wait for or look eagerly. 

In conclusion, "hope" in the Old Testament means to wait for something with expectation and anticipation that it will happen. It is often accompanied by joy and pleasure, and it’s related to God. It is as if there is a cord attaching the hope to its completion.

Hope in Greek

The word "hope" in the New Testament is from the Greek word elpis. According to Strong’s Concordance, elpis means expectation, trust, and confidence. It comes from the root word elpo, which means to anticipate (with pleasure) and to welcome. Elpis is an expectation of what is guaranteed.

Elpis first appears in the New Testament in Matthew 12:21, “and in His name, the Gentiles will hope.” The word "hope" in this verse comes from the verb form, which is elpizo ["trust" in some versions].

Elpis appears over 50 times in the New Testament and is used in anticipation of future events that are certain to come.  "Hope" in the New Testament means looking towards the future with assurance. It is also accompanied by joy and pleasure, and it’s related to Jesus.

Putting it all together

Biblical hope is confidently expecting that something will happen and waiting patiently for it with joy and pleasure. John Piper puts it this way: “Christian hope is a confidence that something will come to pass because God has promised it will come to pass.”

Our hope’s foundation is from faith. Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” We cannot have one without the other. Hope is looking expectantly towards the future based on our faith in God in the present and His faithfulness in the past. When we have hope, we can navigate those turbulent waters without despair. We can have joy and peace despite our circumstances because we know we have a God that works all things for our good. As Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Friends, what an opportunity we have right now to share Jesus. The world seems to be dominated by darkness, but light will always conquer darkness. Jesus is the Light of the World! May our lives and our congregations shine as beacons of hope!


Nick Mundis - Director of North American Mission

JOY: The Tone of God’s People

Thanks so much for engaging the Forge and this blog. I wanted to give you a quick overview of what to expect from this blog in the near future. Our hope is to encourage you with useful information as you serve the Lord and your congregation in our unified call to make disciples. Our goal will be to have approximately four posts each month. The posts will fall into four categories:

  1. Congregational Vitality – “Words that Matter”
  2. Church Planting and Multiplication
  3. What’s up in our North American context?
  4. Guest Bloggers


JOY: The Tone of God’s People

Biblical joy is an essential component of walking with God and being his people. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Though the Bible can also use joy to describe a feeling of happiness, it differs in significant ways. Let’s look at the original Hebrew and Greek words.

Joy in Hebrew

The word joy appears often in the Old Testament translated from 15 Hebrew words. For instance, there is simchah, which means joy, gladness, or mirth. Then there is sason [saw-sone’], which means exultation or rejoicing. All these Hebrew words generally mean to be happy or joyful and they have a variety of sources. For example, people rejoiced in each other, in their children, in abundant harvest, in victory, or an apt answer. However, believers found their ultimate source of joy and satisfaction in Yahweh (Ps. 32:11). They rejoiced in him because of his salvation, his justice, his protection, his word, etc.

Joy in Greek

There are eight Greek words for joy in the New Testament, but the most prevalent one is chara. Its first occurrence is about the nativity of Jesus in Matthew 2:10, which says, “when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” According to Strong’s Concordance, chara means joy, calm delight, or inner gladness. It is related to chairo, which means to rejoice, and charis, which means grace. Therefore, chara means to rejoice because of grace. It is the awareness of God’s grace through Jesus, as well as our reaction to it.

Biblical joy comes from the Lord.

It is a perpetual gladness of the heart that comes from knowing, experiencing, and trusting Jesus. Joy is our God-given response to knowing and walking with Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean life is always easy. God invites and in fact calls us to be “real” - we should express our grief and pour out our hearts to God like we so often see in the Psalms. We see Paul possessed this joy when he said, “being full of sorrow and yet rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10) and “in all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy (2 Cor. 7:4).

Charles Spurgeon said, “believers are not dependent upon circumstances. Their joy comes not from what they have, but from what they are, not from where they are, but from whose they are, not from what they enjoy, but from that which was suffered for them by their Lord.”

Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah who will bring everlasting joy.

When the angel announced his birth to the shepherds, he said it was good news of great joy for all the people, and when the shepherds saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Even unborn John the Baptist leaped with joy at the coming of Jesus. They all rejoiced because God had come to dwell with them as Immanuel. His rescue sets us free from sin, death, and judgment and makes us right with God. It is truly good news of exceeding joy! As the Church, we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and joyfully anticipate his second coming, when he will reign forever and we will experience the fullness of His joy.

Therefore, the Church is a place of Joy!

The Church is God’s creation. He designs it, builds it, and sustains it. Part of this reality is that he fills it with His gift of joy.

If you find yourself or your congregation lacking joy – Pray for God to bring his joy! In this time of angst, fear, and divisiveness may our CLB churches serve as beacons of joy. Remember that this is God’s work, and it comes through repentance and faith. Lord, transform us to bear your fruit of JOY!

In the joy of our salvation,

Nick Mundis – Director of North American Mission