Recently a friend of ours shared with us an article he found by Phillip Jensen on hospitality (thanks Tim!). And I enjoyed reading it so much that I wanted to share it with you all.
The article begins with some introductory information about hospitality, not different from what we’ve covered on this blog. But the main part of the article goes on to defend the truth and authority of the whole Bible, while referring to the Rev C. H. Dodd’s interpretation of 2 John 10-11.
I would highly recommend heading over to read the article for yourself here, but I did want to share the last paragraph with you. I think it summarises the whole message of the article, and is a good read in itself (especially the last sentence).
“Christians must be hospitable, but not naïve. We are not to let false teachers abuse our hospitality to promote false gospels. The creation of purported historical scenarios to re-contextualise the clear teaching of scripture is a false method that evangelicals must avoid. An evangelical is not one who professes belief in the Bible as the word of God, but one who, without twisting it, lives by what it says (2 Peter 3:16, James 1:22f).”
In my search for examples of hospitality in the Bible, I stumbled across the story of Lot entertaining angels. However in this story Lot does look after his guests, but in the process offers his daughters to be raped. A trade off no one today would make.
Genesis 19 tells of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It starts with two angels entering the town, Lot sees these two people and offers his house as a place to rest. The angels decline and want to sleep in the city square, but Lot urges them to stay with him, and they eventually agree to. Once they arrive back at Lot’s house, he prepares a feast for them, and they eat.
To stay in the city square or in someone else's home?
So far this appears to be a good example of hospitality. Lot has opened up his home in love, and is caring for the needs of his guests. They are travellers with no place to stay, and Lot gives them a home. It’s interesting to note that Lot entertains angels, which is what is said in Hebrews 13, where the writer tells us to show hospitality to strangers, as by doing this, some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Lot is one of those people who has shown hospitality to strangers, and it’s a good thing that he does!
I’ve really enjoyed doing a word study of hospitality, looking at the 9 instances that hospitality is explicitly mentioned in the Bible. However to fully understand hospitality in the Bible, we need go go past just the word hospitality, and need to look at situations in the Bible where hospitality is demonstrated as well.
In order to understand any topic in the Bible, we can’t just take single passages out of context and apply them, but instead we need to look at each passage in the context of the book that it is in, as well as in the context of the whole Bible and God’s ultimate plan.
That’s what I’m hoping to do over the coming weeks.
Hospitality is something that is shown throughout the whole of the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and I’m really excited about looking at all instances of not just the word hospitality, but the practice of hospitality as well.
Just as this post was the centre of the word study of hospitality, this post will be the centre of the whole Bible approach to hospitality. All posts in this series will be linked to below.
This blog is all about Christian hospitality, and the most important influence on any aspect of Christian living is the Bible. That’s why I’m so excited to be able to come to some sort of conclusion about what the Bible means when it talks about hospitality. So here it is.
Hospitality is loving and caring for people around you through sharing your home with them.
This is a very dense sentence and needs some explanation.
- Being hospitality isn’t about caring for just believers or non-believers. Although the greek word for hospitality means the love of strangers, there are other parts of the Bible that talk about showing hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4, 3 John 1 and Hebrews 13).
- It involves only the sharing of your home as the Bible appears to only mention hospitality when people are opening up their homes to people. (Acts 28)
- Hospitality is mainly about caring for people’s physical needs (through food, clothing and shelter) but also includes caring for people mentally and spiritually. (more of an inference of mine, would love to hear what you think in the comments below)
- Hospitality is important for all Christians to practise (Romans 12) and is a requirement for leaders (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1)
As the title of this post suggests, this is only a finalish understanding of hospitality in the Bible, as so far I have only looked at when the Bible specifically mentions hospitality. There are of course other times in the Bible where hospitality is shown, but the word may not be used. In the future, I hope to look at these more so as to gain a more holistic biblical understanding of Christian hospitality.
I’ve really enjoyed learning about what the Bible says about hospitality, and although this is a conclusion of what I have learnt so far about Biblical hospitality, I’m sure my views will grow and I learn more from God’s word.
Thanks to all who have participated so far through the comments!
Here are Practising Hospitality, we hope to gain an understanding of what it means to be a hospitable Christian. The first place to look for any wisdom on Christian living is of course the Bible, and that is what we have done.
Below is the list of posts that look at each time the Bible mentions hospitality.
In the future we’re also going to look at situations in the Bible where hospitality is shown, even though it is not directly mentioned.
There are also other posts that we have written that relate to the Bible and hospitality.
What is Hospitality #1
Here we list all of the Bible verses that mention hospitality, all of the verses are also linked to the passages in context.
What is Hospitality #3
Calum looks at the Greek word for hospitality to try and gain an understanding as to what hospitality means in the Bible
Stay tuned for…
What is Hospitality #4 (A Final(ish) Understanding of Hospitality In The Bible)
A Guide to the Word Hospitality in the Bible