Understanding ‘Hope’


Many try to define hope in their own way. This could be good because it gives people an opportunity to express their view of what hope means. Yet, it can be baffling because readers can very easily overlook the power of hope. For instance, some confuse hope with attitude, wishful thinking, optimism, state of mind, or having a positive outlook on life. Hope is all these and even more. Hope is more powerful than any reality that one or all the above could describe.


‘Hope’ is a theological spiritual term and it is very much emphasized in the Bible. One of the most famous references for hope comes from The Letter to the Corinthians where St. Paul states: “Now there is faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.”


In St. Paul’s Christian understanding, ‘faith’ is already what is placed in us as human beings, to believe in God and that which cannot be seen by the plain eye.


The ultimate Christian view of ‘love’ is actually ‘Love,” God. That is why we read, “God is Love.”


Therefore, the Christian view of ‘hope’ is that which transforms the human ‘faith’ into ‘love.’ In other words, in St. Paul’s understanding, ‘hope’ is the human determination with heart, mind, soul, and power, to bring to life one’s ‘faith,’ and strive for a life modeled after ‘Love,’ that is modeled after God, and the exemplary life of Christ. 


Thus, ‘hope’ as defined in the Bible and utilized here, is that human determination to strengthen one’s faith and utilize it to ‘love God with heart, mind, soul, and power,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself.’