|What is hope?|
And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
A Skeptic once pointed to Acts 24:16 above and asked, "Is Paul uncertain about resurrection when he uses the word 'hope'?"
No, he isn't -- and the word "hope" in the NT has an entirely different connotation than we realize. The word used, elpis, means an expectation or confidence. This has a more definitive connotation than our modern word "hope" often has, which carries the sense that there is some great unlikelihood that the thing hoped for will happen.
In Pilch and Malina's Handbook of Biblical Social Values [115/201-2], the entry under "hope" refers readers to the detailed entry under "trust", where we are told that hope is the value of placing allegiance in a trustworthy and reliable source with whom we have a solid, interpersonal relationship. Relating this to our item on faith, this means that we in our relationship with God, as our patron, have certainty in Him; and in the passage above means that Paul believes firmly that God will resurrect all persons as noted. It reflects his security, not his uncertainty. Therefore, "hope" in the Bible actually means exactly the opposite of what the Skeptic thinks it does.