Paul and I spent 24 days at Mick and Lilly’s in The Villages, Florida recently, helping them settle in at their new home. (Note previous post. Scroll down to see some pictures.)
Now, we are at The Good Samaritan Mission in Florida (in the Sun City Center area) where Paul is helping them move their store front office back to the mission property (long story). I help in smaller ways, such as putting stamps on letters, making meals, and interacting with folks. Yesterday, I helped with a little tea luncheon for a new volunteer. Sweet fellowship with just three ladies. Lots of action around here. (Scroll down to see some pictures.)
Whether in The Villages or here at Good Samaritan’s, I find it hard to carve out sufficient study-write time. I keep losing my momentum, but I know I need to be involved in the needs of the situation around me. That’s why we’re here. I love the people….
Today’s post will be simpler than the last post. I made the previous one too complicated. I hope you are patient with me!
I’ve been pouring over the book of I Peter again, which has so much to say about suffering and joy. Today, I’d like to consider some observations and reflections mainly on I Peter 1: 3 ( in context through verse 9) which speaks of a “lively hope,” as it is so intriguingly worded in the KJV. What is a “lively hope”?
Let’s check out the verse. Beginning with the affirmation, “blessed,” this verse causes me to smile. Here is I Peter 1:3 in two translations: ESV and KJV:
ESV: “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,” …. Note that the second sentence of this verse continues through verses 4-5.*
KJV: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”…. In the KJV and NASB, verse three is one sentence, not two, and the sentence continues through verse 5.
When you read Scripture in your own Bible or on a device, it is helpful to highlight key words, to think about how they are related to each other, to look at the relationships of sentences within a passage, and to consider the parts and then the whole.
We pray: “Lord, what are you drawing to my attention? What do you want me to do with this insight?”
The key words I note are blessed, mercy, caused, begotten again or born again, and lively hope or living hope, and resurrection. And, of course, I immediately note the Godhead: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the previous verse.
The beautiful and quaint KJV describes God’s grace of hope as a “lively hope” which is now more commonly translated “a living hope.”
A “lively hope” lives. It moves, influences, warms, guides, motivates. A “lively hope” is like a lively toddler — active, on the go! Yet, a “lively hope” is not immature. “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a an, I did away with childish things,” wrote the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13: 11. Hopeful wishing is childish; a “lively hope” is a spiritual work of maturity.
Translated in the ESV and NASB and others as a “living hope” in I Peter 1:3, a “lively hope” is real, and like faith, has substance even though it is invisible (Hebrews 11:1). This is the nature of eternal verities.
Spiros Zodhiates explains that the Greek word used in I Peter 1:3 translated lively or living means “not only living, but causing to live, vivifying, quickening” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible).
Now let’s read the verse again, noting some context. (If you have time, read the entire chapter.)
Here is I Peter 1: 3- 5 (ESV):
“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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
This is one potent passage! I’m focusing on the “lively hope” – the “living hope.” The passage persuades us of the liveliness of this hope:
- God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the sole cause of this hope.
- God caused us to be born again to give us access to this hope.
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the means by which we’re born again to this living/lively hope.
- This lively hope shows us our imperishable, undefiled, unfading, heaven-protected inheritance.
- Not only is our inheritance protected and secured, but we who are born again to this lively hope are equally protected and secured. Otherwise, there’d be no hope or inheritance.
- God’s power guards us through faith.
- Our ultimate salvation will be revealed in the last time, so our focus is long-term.
- Thus, our hope is lively — life-giving, confident, vivifying, God-caused.
Like a coach’s leadership before the big game, verses 3-5 prepare us for verses 6-9. Here come verses 6-9:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Your “lively hope” is vivifying you to face your trials, to run your race, to support your team. Our “lively hope” strengthens us to pass our faith-exams and grow a faith resulting in praise and glory to Jesus which is all a part of God’s purpose (outcome)– the salvation of our total selves (souls) — that happy ending for which we’re longing.
This life is hard. Without this God-caused, lively hope, we’d succumb to despair.
However, like Jesus, who “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 11:2), we fix our focus on Him and the long-term future He is preparing for us. The shocking result is an inexplicable joy.
In our trials, a “lively hope” infuses us with gutsy joy.
*Here you can read chapter 1 in the ESV and NASB: https://biblehub.com/p/esv/nas/1_peter/1.shtml . This is interesting. Note how close they are but the ESV divides some clauses into more sentences, making it easier to break down the units of meaning. The authors of the original, Greek texts tended to string together many clauses into extremely long sentences.
** Pictures of progress at Mick and Lilly’s in The Villages followed by a few pictures at Good Samaritan Mission in Wimauma, Florida (near Sun City Center):
I would love to show you the smiling faces of Mick and Lilly (not their real names) and family, but I don’t feel free to do so. (I read the last post to Lilly and she not only agreed to it, but teared up while I read to her.) Lilly loves Jesus and has a quiet, timid hope. May her and our hope be truly a “lively hope.”
I think we’ve scoped out a “lively hope” found down in Florida.
Praying that your hope too will be lively — born again by God to a living hope (I Peter 1:3).
Thank you Karen, for sharing your work and your study. Both are such a blessing to those of us watching you live out your faith. Love you both!!
Needed these words during a season of greyness!