23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.
Hope Built on Faith
by Jason Carter, Ph.D.
“How do you study Scripture?” I remember being asked this simple question by a good friend who has become a beloved brother in Christ. I knew I was about to give a very weak response when I answered, “I consistently read the Bible before I go to sleep,” but also sensed he was going to share with me some new ideas and strategies. And he did – but through a challenge. He shared something passed down from his father-in-law, a pastor, who had it passed down to him. He challenged me to read a single book in the Bible 25 consecutive times over a couple months before moving to other Scripture, and to “listen” to what God was saying through that repetition. We began with baby steps, tackling 2 Peter – only three chapters!
I fell in love with the practice. It is amazing what can happen when you read, and reread, the word of God – soaking yourself in what God is speaking to you not through a pastor, friend, small group, or podcast – but one-on-one. That doesn’t dismiss the great value of these other sources for learning more of Christ’s redemptive power, or anything else that sharpens the sword. However, it has taught me that spending repetitive time directly with Scripture, in an intentional manner like one would when studying for a big exam, can be invaluable.
I bring this up because that same good friend, as well as another brother in Christ and myself, most recently challenged one another this past year to do this with Hebrews. A big step up from the three chapters of Peter – but the extra time was a fulfilling experience. In fact, I went well past my 25 times because of the many rich truths offered, and the way Hebrews kept speaking deeper into the love of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:23 on hope and faith is just one of multiple passages within Hebrews where God intertwines hope and faith. Indeed, the interconnectedness of hope and faith can be found throughout the Bible, including frequently cited verses in both Romans and 1 Corinthians. However, I would argue that Hebrews packs as strong of a punch as any book on this interconnectedness of hope and faith.
I have heard the distinction between hope and faith described many ways, but the explanation I gravitate toward the most is the following – faith is grounded in truths of the past, while hope is when we look to truths of the future. They are complementary. Biblical hope is built on faith, and both are built upon the truths of Scripture. So, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season, I pray you have faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and as noted elsewhere in Hebrews (6:19) that you “have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Merry Christmas!
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Jason Carter, Ph.D.
Jason R. Carter, Ph.D., was appointed Dean of the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences in August 2022. In his role, Dean Carter oversees the third largest college on the Baylor University campus, which offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in health and human sciences on-site and online. Robbins College houses several academic units, including Communication Sciences and Disorders; Human Sciences and Design; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and Division of Health Professions. Dean Carter is an active researcher focusing on neural control of the cardiovascular system in humans and the role of sleep in cardiovascular disease. He has been the principal investigator or co-PI on more than $74 million in external research awards. This includes two active NIH R01 grants, as well as a recently secured $63 million partnership to expand collaborative translational health research between the University of Washington and Montana State University.
Prior to his appointment at Baylor, Dean Carter served as Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education at Montana State University (MSU), where he oversaw the University’s research enterprise, including sponsored programs, research compliance, research development, technology transfer and graduate school, in addition to serving as a professor in MSU’s Department of Health and Human Development. Before his time at MSU, Dean Carter served for 14 years as a faculty member, department chair, associate dean and associate vice president for research development at his alma mater, Michigan Technological University (B.S. summa cum laude and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences).