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What is the primary meaning of the term living hope, as opposed to any implied meanings?

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,
-1 Peter 1:3

Is it a term describing the quality or classification of the hope we are born to - that the hope itself is some how living and thus alive?

Does it describe the result of the hope that we are born to - resulting in us living with Christ?

Or does it describe the object of our hope - our hope is for living, that is, the life that we will have in Jesus Christ.

I suppose all these may be implied from each other, but I'm just trying to get at what is the primary concept that Peter is communicating with regard to the living hope we are born to.

I intuitively lean towards the third option, that Peter is describing the object of the hope we are born to, but I suspect that the grammar demands that the primary description is of the first option, that the hope itself has a quality of being alive.

4 Answers 4

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Surely he is referring to "hope" as a state or condition.

There is an implied contrast with our previous state in which we were without hope (because we had no faith) and were spiritually "dead". In other words, "living hope" as a synonym of "hopeful life".

We have been born into a new life, and hope is part of what we experience as reborn people. I would understand New Testament "hope" as faith directed towards the future (your original third suggestion). None of the timidity or uncertainty implied in the modern English word.

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The "living hope" listed in 1 Peter 1:3 is answered in the same verse and highlighted below.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Paul talks about this in other places as well:

  • Titus 2:13 - as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Tim 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
  • 2 Tim 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
  • Titus 1:1, 2 - Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began
  • Col 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.

Thus, the "living hope" is clearly centered in Christ Jesus precisely because He is living and our eternal Savior and the only source of eternal life as per 1 John 5:11, 12.

The idea of being "born" is described elsewhere is Jesus' teaching on the new birth such as:

  • Titus 3:5 - He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
  • 2 Cor 5:17 - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!
  • John 3:3, 5, 7, 8 - Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” ... Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. ... Do not be amazed that I said, ‘Youb must be born again.’

The "Living Hope" into which Christians are "born" is a reference to the Living Christ because Christ is our great Hope.

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  • +1 @Dottard I really like this answer. Can I copy your answer here and share it with the members of my subreddit?
    – user35953
    Dec 15, 2022 at 23:13
  • @TonyChan - No problem - very welcome
    – Dottard
    Dec 16, 2022 at 1:18
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A reality of “faith” can be either living, or dead: if we practice our faith in good deeds, then faith is living, if not, then it is dead (James 2:26). Like, if you have a garden with apple trees, if you take care of it, irrigate it, then the trees thrive and you have a “living” garden, and if it is left unirrigated, the trees wither and no 🍎s are on them, then what you get is a “dead” garden.

What is true of the faith and the apples, exactly applies to the hope as well. So, if you express your love to a girl and she declines your romantic advance, and you think about suicide for this disappointment, then 100% clear that your hope in Christ has not been alive, for you are distressed so exaggeratedly. Just an example.

NB. But mind that it is not strictly binary, for both faith and hope can be alive but lukewarm (cf. Revelation 3:16) and moribund before being dead.

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SHORT ANSWER.

THE LIVING HOPE IS IMMORTALITY AND INCORRUPTIBILITY

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, -1 Peter 1:3

1Pe 1:4 BLB to an inheritance imperishable and undefiled and unfading, being reserved in the heavens for you,

DEATH SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.

1Co 15:53 KJV For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Co 15:54 KJV So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

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