Original Research

‘Hope Kept in Heaven’ in Colossians and 1 Peter

Alistair I. Wilson
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 2 | a2002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i2.2002 | © 2016 Alistair I. Wilson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Alistair I. Wilson, Highland Theological College UHI, United Kingdom and Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


In Colossians 1:5, Paul (who is assumed to be the author for the purposes of this article) writes of ‘the hope stored up for you in heaven’ (New International Version [NIV]). This text appears to present hope (ἐλπίς) as an objective reality, which can be ‘stored up’ in heaven, rather than a description of the subjective attitude of Christian believers. This article attempts to clarify the content of the term hope in this particular text by means of careful attention to the immediate context of the verse (particularly the connection between ‘hope’ and ‘gospel’). Attention will also be paid to the use of the term ἐλπίς on two further occasions (Col 1:23; 1:27) and to other texts, which might be understood to be conceptually related to ‘hope’ without using that explicit terminology (particularly the reference to Christ appearing in 3:1–4). It is also argued that further light can be shed on Colossians 1:5 by considering texts in 1 Peter (particularly 1:3, but also 1:13, 21 and 3:5, 15 where ἐλπίς or the cognate verb is used). I will then reflect on any similarities and/or differences between the presentations of the concept of hope in these two canonical documents and draw some conclusions for New Testament theology.


Hope; Gospel; Inheritance


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