Biblical Hospitality

Yesterday we looked at Merriam-Webster’s definition, and my own heart towards hospitality, a perhaps pleasant, but not very loving picture.

Conversely, when we look at the meaning of the Greek word found in the bible for being hospitable, it can be translated as “lover of strangers” and “generous to guests” (from Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon) 

"You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." -- Leviticus 19:34

The biblical accounts of hospitality are often tied to extending an offer to strangers. In a culture that lacked restaurants and hotels, travelers, as well as disciples, relied upon the opening of homes in each new town. Paul’s letters often thank cities for welcoming him into their homes. Similarly, he continued to urge the recipients of his letters to extend themselves, even to strangers and their enemies. (See Romans 12:20)

The closest I have seen to this form of hospitality has been on youth missions. Recently a friend and I recounted our separate yet very similar trips to Paraguay and Guatemala. Upon our arrival to a small community, a host family member was displaced from their own bed so that we might have a place to sleep for the week. These families served us meals that were more lavish than they typical afforded and often bough specific items, like Coca-Cola, for their American guests.

The bible also ties being hospitable with the attitude in which you serve – words such as gladly, without grumbling, heartily, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined.


"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling." -- 1 Peter 4:9 


What is the attitude associated with hospitality in your own life?

I will be spending time this weekend reflecting on Leviticus 19 – will you join me?

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