(1st Corinthians 13:13).
This famous chapter of the Bible is certainly about love: about the power and necessity of selflessness and personal commitment to others (as people) above all other forms of righteous behavior. I think that, over everything else that the Bible has to say, when we forget that (insomuch as we have forgotten that), we have lost our way- and our definition of what is hope and what is faith is skewed beyond recognition because we have forgotten what is love.
But, the chapter itself does a good job of defining for us the character and attributes of love. At the same time, though, so overwhelming is our focus upon love (as it should be), we may easily miss the enigma of faith and hope.
Often we use these two words interchangeably. In fact, the King James translated the Greek word for "hope" (elpace) as "faith" in Hebrews 10:23. But, in 1st Corinthians 13:13, they are identified as two distinct and individual ideas.
What is the difference between faith and hope?
Hebrews 1:1 provides a startling definition.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
So, faith is not confidence, belief or attitude. Faith is "substance" and "evidence". Biblical faith is not the antithesis of science. Rather, it is the science of hope. When the disciples asked the Messiah to "increase our faith," (Luke 17:5), they weren't asking for a deeper sense of conviction. They had already abandoned everything for Him (Luke 18:15). What they were looking for was stronger evidence. The Messiah responds with two, seemingly unrelated stories (if you consider faith to be a synonym for conviction). He says that "if you have faith as much as the grain of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Be planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." And then he tells of the "unprofitable servant" who does only what is commanded of him.
But, faith is not what you find on the inside. It is what is manifest on the outside. It is the substance and evidence that fuels hope (both for ourselves and for others): "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
So, do we need more faith?
But, we need to know what it is that we are looking for.
"But without faith, it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must have evidence that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him," (Hebrews 11:6).
The connection between these three ideas (faith, hope and love) is demonstrated most succinctly by Paul in Romans 5:1-5.
"Therefore, being justified by faith (evidence), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom we have access by faith (evidence) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we boast in hard circumstances, knowing that hard circumstances build endurance. And tested endurance brings confidence. And confidence establishes hope. And hope (developed under these conditions) never, ever results in disgrace, because the love of God (through our continued evidence of hope) is poured out from our deepest, most inner being, being supplied by the Holy Spirit."