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The Difference Between Hope, Faith, And Trust

8 Mins read

Hebrews 11:1–2 (NKJV) 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

The above scripture, Hebrews 11:1, in the Amplified Bible version, captures these three words (Hope, Faith, and Trust) clearly.

What is Hope?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hope as:

  • To cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true, to desire with the expectation of obtaining fulfillment.
  • Trust: to expect with confidence.
  • Desire is accompanied by the expectation of or belief in fulfillment.
  • Something desired or hoped for.

What is hope according to the Bible? Hope is often used to express a wish; its power lies in the strength of the person’s desire. In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength lies in His faithfulness. Hope is about having confidence and trust with the expectation of fulfillment. It is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.

Colossians 1:27 (NKJV) 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Hope is an optimistic or positive expectation about the future. It involves desiring or anticipating that something desired or favourable will happen. Hope is often based on believing that circumstances can improve or that desired outcomes are attainable. It can provide motivation, resilience, and a sense of possibility in challenging situations. Hope can be deeply personal and can arise from individual aspirations, societal changes, or collective movements. It is often associated with a positive mindset and can contribute to overall well-being.

What is Faith?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines faith as:

  • Loyalty: Allegiance to duty or a person
  • Fidelity to one’s promises; sincerity of intentions.
  • In religious circles, belief and trust in and loyalty to God, belief in the traditional doctrine of a religion, and firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
  • Complete trust.
  • Something that is believed, especially with strong conviction, is a system of religious beliefs.

Now, what is faith? Faith is reliance, loyalty, or complete trust in God or a system of religious beliefs.

Biblically, “faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [We] hope for, being the proof of the things, [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Hebrews 11:1, Amp.)

Faith typically involves a strong, unwavering belief or trust in something or someone, often associated with religious or spiritual contexts. It goes beyond rationality and may involve a conviction without conclusive evidence. Faith often relates to beliefs about the divine, the supernatural, or philosophical principles. It can provide comfort, meaning, and a sense of purpose to individuals and communities. While external factors can influence faith, it is often seen as deeply personal and subjective.

What is Trust?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as:

  • Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
  • One in which confidence is placed.
  • Hope: dependable on something future or contingent.
  • As a verb, it defines it as belief: To rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of.
  • Entrust: To commit or place in one’s care or keeping.
  • To permit to stay or go or to do something without fear or misgiving
  • As intransitive verb. Trust is to depend, to place confidence and hope, to be confident.

Thus, to trust is to hope, to believe, to entrust, to depend on and to place one’s confidence in.

Biblically, trust means believing in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of something. Therefore, trusting God involves believing in His reliability, word, ability, and power.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Trusting in the Lord means more than believing in who God is and what God says. The word trust can also mean “to have confidence in.” Thus, trusting God is having confidence in Him. The Hebrew word translated in English as trust is “bittachon”. This Hebrew word comes from a root word meaning “to lean on, feel safe, or be confident.” That is why the Amplified Bible version translates Proverbs 3:5 as, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in” in the Amplified Bible version is translated as “trust” in the NKJV. In short, to trust is to lean on and be confident in. Trusting God is leaning on and being confident in Him. Trust involves the act of the heart and will. When you trust God, it means you have emotionally decided to put your expectations, hopes, dreams, desires, and your whole life into the care of the Lord and His provision for you.

Trust is the reliance or confidence placed on someone or something based on their reliability, integrity, or ability. It involves having faith in another person or entity’s character, competence, and intentions. Trust is typically built through consistent behaviour, honesty, and the fulfillment of promises. It often implies a sense of predictability and the expectation that the trusted person or thing will act in a dependable and desirable manner.

Faith & Hope

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV) 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Faith and hope are distinct yet related. The difference between faith and hope is clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Two of the three greatest gifts are faith and hope, listed separately. The connection between faith and hope is evident in Hebrews 11:1, which states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,” or as the NLT Bible version says, “Faith is confidence assurance in what we hope for.”

Faith is complete trust or confidence in something. Faith involves intellectual assent to a set of facts and trust in those facts. For example, we have faith in Jesus Christ. This means we completely trust Jesus for our eternal destiny. We give intellectual assent to the facts of His substitutionary death and bodily resurrection, and we then trust in His death and resurrection for our salvation.

Biblical hope is built on faith. Hope is the earnest anticipation that comes with believing something good. Hope is a confident expectation that naturally stems from faith. Hope is a peaceful assurance that something that hasn’t happened yet will indeed happen. Hope must involve something that is as yet unseen: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? (Romans 8:24). Jesus’ return is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) — you are not seeing Him now, but you know He’s coming, and you anticipate that event with joy.

An example of faith and hope. Jesus said He is coming again (John 14:3). By faith, you trust Jesus’ words, which leads to hope that you will one day be with Him forever. Jesus was resurrected from the dead, “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). That is or should be the basis for your faith. Then you have Jesus’ promise: “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). That is the basis of your hope.

The connection between faith and hope can be shown by the joy a child experiences when their parent tells them that they are going to visit Grandma tomorrow. The child believes that they will go to Grandma’s place based on their parent’s word — that is faith. At the same time, that belief within the child sparks an unstoppable joy — that is hope. The child’s natural trust in their parent’s promise is faith; the child’s squeals of delight and jumping in places are the expressions of hope. Faith and hope are complementary. Faith is grounded in the reality of the past; hope is looking to the reality of the future. Without faith, there is no hope; without hope, there is no true faith. Christians are people of faith and hope. We have “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2).

Faith is present-focused. Faith biblically is defined as an unwavering trust in God. It is a present trust because God showed himself to be reliable throughout the bible. Hope is future-focused and means to anticipate something. The ultimate hope of Christians is that Christ will one day return to earth. Faith and Hope are distinct but linked. NIV bible version says, “Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”(Hebrews 11:1). From this verse, you can see that faith serves as a foundation for hope. And as a Christian, hope always should arise and flow from your faith. It’s because of your faith, i.e. your current trust in God, that you have assurance for the future.

Hope and Trust

What is the difference between Hope and Trust? Hope is the feeling of desiring and expecting a particular thing to happen. Trust, on the other hand, is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. While hope is not based on reliability or confidence in someone, trust is based on reliability and confidence. “Hope is an optimistic or positive expectation about the future. It involves desiring or anticipating that something desired or favourable will happen. Trust is a reliance or confidence placed on someone or something based on their reliability, integrity, or abilities. It involves having faith in another person or entity’s character, competence, and intentions. Hope is often rooted in believing that circumstances can improve or that desired outcomes are attainable. Trust is typically established through consistent behaviour, honesty, and the fulfillment of promises.

Faith and Trust

Faith and trust have similar meanings, and people often interchange the words. Merriam-Webster defines faith as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” One difference is simply grammatical. Trust can be either a noun or a verb, depending on context. As a noun, trust means “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”; as a verb, it means “to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of,” “to believe,” “to commit or place in one’s care,” or “to place confidence.” Faith is always a noun (except in cases of its archaic use as a verb).

In Scripture, faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, faith involves trusting in something you cannot prove. You can’t separate Faith from trust; Faith is the confidence that God can and will do what He says in His Word. Faith includes both intellectual assent to something and trust in it. So, we believe something to be true, and we also place our trust in it — we rely on it. Faith recognizes that a bed is designed to support the person who sleeps on it, and trust demonstrates faith by actually sleeping in the bed.

“Faith without trust is not faith. Belief without reliance is empty. Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ, but knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by ‘faith.’ The biblical definition of faith requires trust in — a commitment to — the facts. Trust in God is a core aspect of biblical faith.

The original language and meaning of faith. Sure, here is a clearer version of the text you provided: To understand the meaning of faith and trust in the Bible, it’s important to look at the original language of the New Testament, which is Greek. In Greek, there are three primary translations of the word ‘faith’. The noun form is ‘pistis’, the adjective form is ‘pistos’, and the verb form is ‘pisteuo’. Each form’s meaning is a variation of the word ‘trust’. So, ‘pistis’ (noun) refers to trust in someone or something; ‘pistos’ (adjective) describes a trusting person, and ‘pisteuo’ (verb) literally means ‘I trust’. Therefore, when we encounter the word ‘faith’ in Scripture, we can understand it as ‘trust’. In this way, biblically, trust and faith have the same meaning.

Conclusion

All three terms — hope, faith, and trust — involve relying on or expecting something or someone. They can shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Additionally, they are subjective experiences that can vary among individuals and cultures. Hope, faith, and trust can also influence our perceptions of the world, impact our relationships, and provide a sense of security or meaning. Despite their similarities, the terms — hope, faith, and trust — differ in their specific meanings, contexts, and the level of evidence or assurance involved. Trust focuses on reliability and confidence, faith on conviction and spirituality, and hope on positive anticipation for the future. These three terms — hope, faith, and trust — are similar but also different.

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By Gilbert Magomere Ayieko
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