Hope gives us purpose and a reason to keep going. It sees beyond the obvious and pushes us forward when life gets rough. It’s a crucial part of the human experience, and the Bible has a lot to say on the subject.
Watch our video series called “Reflections of Hope”. It is an eight-lesson Bible study that helps women deepen their understanding of Jesus’ love and care for them. They learn of His promise to be with them each step of life’s journey.
Let’s look at 20 biblical passages about hope.
1. Put your hope in God (Psalm 42:11)
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
The human heart runs on hope. When things are trying and difficult, we need something to anticipate. We need something to pursue and prepare for. Unfortunately, we so easily place our hope in things that never materialize or never meet our expectations.
The psalmist addresses his discouragement by reminding himself to put his hope in God, where it belongs. No matter how dark things get for him, he will continue to praise his maker and trust in God’s goodness.
2. I have put my hope in your word (Psalm 119:114)
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119 is a beautiful reflection on God and Scripture. This long Psalm is full of well-loved, often-quoted verses like:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (v. 11).
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (v. 97).
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (v. 105).
The psalmist reconfirms his trust that the Lord will protect him from his adversaries. He puts his hope in God’s Word, which is how he has learned of the Lord’s goodness. It’s the same for us. Trusting in the Lord means putting our hope in the truth of His Word.
3. Hoping in God’s unfailing love (Psalm 130:7)
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
The nation of Israel was always under threat from enemies who wanted to scatter or conquer them. Sometimes the struggles they experienced were a result of the Lord’s discipline. But even in their darkest moments, Israel had to have confidence in God’s love for them. They needed to believe that ultimately, God would deliver them.
As His children, we need to walk through life’s challenges and troubles anticipating God’s redemption and deliverance. This hope can even change the way we face our challenges and give us the strength we need to persevere.
4. The Lord delights in those who fear Him (Psalm 147:11)
The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147 is a reminder to praise God, who sustains and cares for all creation. Instead of putting his trust in his own strength and plans, the psalmist reminds us of the wisdom of putting our confidence in God’s power and love.
There are times when we’re tempted to tremble at challenges that seem insurmountable. When we put our hope in God’s love, we discover strength we didn’t realize we had to endure the most difficult circumstances with grace and resolve.
5. There is a future hope for you (Proverbs 23:17-18)
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
The classic hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” includes the lyrics: “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.” This is the promise of Proverbs 23:17-18.
In trying times, it’s tempting to look at what others have and become envious. It’s at times like this that we need to keep turning our heart toward God, trusting that this moment isn’t the end of our story. As Paul promises us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
6. Your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 24:14)
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
The wise see things that others cannot. In a world where everyone’s confidence is based entirely on their situation at any given moment, the wise see the larger picture. That’s why the writer of Proverbs tells us that wisdom is like honey. It takes life’s bitterness and makes it sweet.
When we have the wisdom to put life into its proper perspective, we’re not so easily discouraged when the going gets tough. We learn to recognize the patterns in life. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, we realize that life is full of seasons-some are delightful and some are taxing (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). When we develop this kind of outlook, we have a future hope. We’re able to put our trust in the Lord to come through for us.
7. Where is my hope? (Job 17:13-15)
If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness, if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope-who can see any hope for me?
The story of Job is about a man who loves God and loses everything: his livelihood, his children, and his health. As the story progresses, we watch Job try and make sense of what’s happening to him.
In these verses, Job struggles with complete discouragement and disillusionment. His question is critical. If death is the only break from his suffering that he can expect, what does he have to look forward to?
As the story progresses, Job answers this question for us:
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)
Job knows that when all else is gone, God will remain, and one day he will experience the joy of His presence.
8. Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When these words were spoken, Israel was in exile for their disobedience. A false prophet had told Israel that God would deliver them from Babylon in two years’ time, and Jeremiah had come to set the record straight.
He delivers the heartbreaking news that Israel will spend the next 70 years in Babylon. This is not the news that they wanted to hear. This would mean that an entire generation would die in exile.
But God wants them to know that He still has a plan for the wayward nation. As time drags on, they’re going to need to hold onto the belief that God isn’t finished with them. This hope will help them maintain their stamina in the decades to come.
9. Those that hope in the Lord (Isaiah 40:31)
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah perfectly explains the power of hope. Hope can give you strength and endurance. When our hope is in the Lord, we can continue to push through the difficult times. We’re able to run and not grow weary because we’re running toward the Lord.
10. Hope does not put us to shame (Romans 5:1-5)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Paul tells us that, thanks to Jesus, we can be reconciled to God. We can brag about the glory of God that is present in our lives. It’s this hope that enables us to shrug off suffering, knowing that it’s increasing our endurance and ultimately strengthening the hope we have.
And we’ll never have to worry about whether we’ll be ashamed that we put our hope in a fairy tale because God has placed the Holy Spirit into our hearts as a deposit on His promise.
11. Hope that is seen is no hope at all (Romans 8:24-25)
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Hope is about expectation. You don’t look forward to things you already possess. Hope requires that we look forward to something and move toward that thing with the assurance that we will eventually acquire it.
Thanks to the Spirit within us, we can put our hope in God and wait patiently to be united with Him.
12. Be joyful in hope (Romans 12:12)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
What makes some people equipped to endure trials while others crumble? What is it that encourages people to continue in prayer even when they don’t see any change? How is it that some people are able to maintain a sense of joy in the most trying times? Hope.
Hope sees what’s coming-even when it’s veiled to everyone else. Everyone can have hope, but for those who follow Jesus, not even death is the end of hope.
13. Written so that we might have hope (Romans 15:4)
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Scripture is full of stories about people who persevered because of their faith and hope. People like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, and Joshua pressed on-even when they didn’t “receive what was promised” (Hebrews 11:39).
By familiarizing ourselves with their stories, we’re reminded of the importance of pressing on and trusting in God’s promises. Scripture edifies and encourages us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking with the hope that God’s deliverance is imminent.
14. So you may overflow with hope (Romans 15:13)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Martin Luther King Jr. explained why hope was so critical to the human experience, “Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation, they cry for the bread of hope.”
King equates hope to bread-a euphemism for the bare minimum of sustenance. People cannot live without a feeling that things can and will get better. That’s why in Dante’s Inferno, the saying over the door to Hell is “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Without hope, life becomes unbearable.
That’s why the Holy Spirit wants to fill us with hope to the point of overflowing. And this isn’t the kind of hope the world has. It isn’t just an expectation that the weekend is coming or we just have to endure until vacation rolls around. The Spirit wants us to carry more profound hope.
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:3-5).
15. These three remain: faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is all about the importance of love, and Paul reinforces this point with this powerful sentiment. Since ancient times, philosophers have argued about the highest virtues. And here, Paul tells us that faith, hope, and love are the most important-with love being the chief.
Faith and hope are explicitly linked. Hope is a sense of optimism based on an expectation or a desire. Faith is the confidence we have in that hope. Love is the proper outward expression of that faith and hope. How we obey God or treat others based on the faith and hope we have is incredibly significant.
16. Fixing our eyes on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
While this passage doesn’t mention the word “hope,” it’s clearly the point. Paul had endured much in his missionary journeys. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, slandered, and hated. But he sees all these experiences as “light and momentary troubles” when he compares them to what is to come.
How do we maintain that same perspective? We refuse to focus all of our attention on what we can see, taste, feel, and touch. These things are momentary in light of the eternal glory we’ll experience.
17. The hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
In the Old Testament, the temple was where God dwelt among the nation of Israel. But now God dwells among the Gentiles, too. In fact, humanity’s hope for glory lies in the fact that God is no longer found in a temple, but dwells in those who have put their faith in Jesus.
18. The hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7)
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
While we were His enemies, God was preparing a way to reconcile Himself to us. Jesus’s death and resurrection was our ticket to peace with God. We didn’t do anything to earn His grace and favor. We are His purely because of His unbelievable kindness. If you’re looking for a Scripture that clearly communicates the gospel, this is a great one to memorize. It explains how we become heirs to God’s kingdom and are filled with the hope of eternal life.
19. Confidence in what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). So it makes sense that we would need to understand what faith is. This verse is God’s working definition of this essential virtue.
Hope is the optimism built around our expectations and things we are longing for, and faith is the confidence that these expectations are real enough that we would continue to press toward them, making sacrifices and enduring hardship to see them become real.
Hope is vital, but faith is what makes us strive to attain what we’re longing for.
20. All who have this hope purify themselves (1 John 3:1-3)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Right now, we only see a dim reflection of what is to come (1 Corinthians 13:12). But we do know that we have been adopted as children of God, and this means that we’re heirs of the kingdom. While we don’t have a precise understanding of what that means, we know it will be incredible. When Christ appears, we will be like Him: eternal, imperishable, glorified. This hope is everything. It’s the reason we deny ourselves. It’s the reason we make sacrifices. It’s the reason we, like Paul, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
In this way, our hope purifies us.
Video: Jesus offers hope
The essence of our optimism
German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said, “The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.”
When Jesus is our source of inspiration and vitality, we have a reason to carry on-and that hope will never disappoint us. To learn more about hope read this short article.