|Johnson's Dictionary (1828 Edition, Google Books)|
Although I trust that Bible translators have taken great pains to use our “hope” when the text strongly suggests something positive, I do wonder how an underlying negative sense might alter our understanding of a particular text. For example, in Ephesians 4:1-6 the Apostle Paul stresses the unity of believers who share a common “body,” “Spirit,” and “hope” (ἐλπίδι in 4:4). Although this typically might be interpreted as the first century Church expecting Christ’s return and the resurrection of the dead, maybe it also could be the expectation of God’s fierce judgment and the eternal punishment for sin if we don’t comply with His demands. In other words, we’re not just united by our “hopes,” but also by our fears. Rather odd to think about.
This post’s topic is based on the Wednesday Devotional Theme covered tonight at Alhambra Church of Christ.