6 Truths About Biblical Hospitality
Hospitality is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I love inviting people into my home. I enjoy menu planning and decorating. I love eating good food…and my husband is a great cook (we make a good team on that front).
When we provide hospitality, we’re providing for the practical needs of others and showing love.
I have a board on Pinterest called, hospitality. It’s mostly about decorating and what to provide for guests…to make them comfortable. These things can be a part of hospitality (when kept in proper perspective), but there's a deeper meaning to hospitality. Hospitality, according to the Bible, is a mandate for those who follow Christ. But I don’t believe this means that we all need to be Pinterest perfect hosts who throw dinner parties on a regular basis. A more accurate word for that kind of thing might be, entertaining. I decided to dig a little deeper, into what is meant by the word, hospitality, in the Bible. Here are six of the main ideas that I found…
1.Biblical hospitality is less about dinner parties and more about brotherly love for the stranger.
When I hear the word, hospitality, the first idea that comes to mind is, inviting friends over for dinner. This is a natural and common association to make with the word. It’s fun, yes? I love having friends over for dinner. When hospitality is mentioned in the Bible, though, it’s clear that hospitality is about much more than dinner parties with friends…
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. -Hebrews 13:2
The Greek term that’s used in the Bible, that’s often translated into the English word “hospitality” is made up of two concepts: Philao, which means brotherly love, and Xenos, which means stranger or immigrant.
2. Biblical hospitality is a practical way to show our love for Jesus…by loving others, especially those who cannot repay us.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ -Mathew 25:35-40
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” -Luke 14:12-14
3. Biblical hospitality should be done with a cheerful heart.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. -1 Peter 4:9
4. Biblical hospitality means taking care of each other.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. -Romans 12:13
5. Biblical hospitality is all for nothing if not done in love.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. -1 Corinthians 13:2
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. -Galatians 5:13
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. -Romans 12:10
6. Don’t give up on Biblical hospitality. Keep at it, even when it’s hard.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
Now that we’ve spent some time on the topic of what Biblical hospitality is, I would love to spend some more time exploring some practical ways to practice it. So please, consider this part one of a series. There's more to come!
Were there any practical ideas, for extending hospitality to strangers that came to mind as you were reading? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.