Practicing Biblical Hospitality -- By: Patricia A. Ennis

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 11:2 (Fall 2006)
Article: Practicing Biblical Hospitality
Author: Patricia A. Ennis

Practicing Biblical Hospitality

Patricia A. Ennis

Establishing Chairperson, Professor of Home Economics-Family and Consumer Sciences
The Master’s College
Santa Clarita, California

Whether enjoying personal devotions, a Bible study, or a worship service, what mental images emerge when you are presented with the passages that encourage the practicing of hospitality? For many, the images are based on the glossy photos in women’s magazines—an immaculate home, a gourmet menu, and an exquisite table setting. While some of these images could be applied to biblical hospitality, what they actually portray is entertaining. When hospitality is described in the Scriptures, there is an absence of instructions relating to the home décor, menu, or table setting and an abundance of directives about the character, home, and guest list of the hostess.

John 14:15 and 21–24 clearly state the primary evidence that individuals are Christians and that they love their heavenly Father is their choice to obey his commands. Though we live in a world that promotes “have things your own way,” I learned that to please my heavenly Father I need to respond to all of his instructions with an obedient spirit, not just pick those that appeal to me—and that includes my response to what his Word teaches about hospitality.

Romans 12:13b says I am to practice hospitality. According to Hebrews, I am even to “pursue the love of strangers” (Heb 13:2)—not simply offer hospitality to my friends. If I want to demonstrate obedience to my heavenly Father, I will choose to practice hospitality.

First Peter 4:9 builds on the instruction to practice hospitality and reminds me that my attitude is of utmost importance—I am to practice hospitality without complaining! This verse challenges me to search my heart to discern whether I am approaching this opportunity to minister with a “hearty attitude” (see Col 3:23).

I am reminded in Heb 13:2 that my willingness to extend hospitality may have far-reaching implications. If I study the lives of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:1–3), Lot (Gen 19:1–2), Gideon (Judg 6:11–24), and Manoah (Judg 13:6–20), I

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