Biblical Thematic Outline: Priority of faith, hope and love


Putting God first–living according to his word–serves the glory of God and also the best interests of believers, by giving them true wisdom for daily living.

The wisdom of making faith a priority

Heb 11:6

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) — 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Putting the fear of God before other considerations

Ps 31:19

Psalm 31:19 (ESV) — 19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

See also Ex 1:17 ; Ne 5:15 ; Pr 1:7

Exodus 1:17 (ESV) — 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

Nehemiah 5:15 (ESV) — 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) — 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Preferring God’s way to sinful advice

Ps 1:1–2

Psalm 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

The precious wisdom of obeying God:

Pr 3:13–14; Pr 8:19; Pr 8:32

Proverbs 3:13–14 (ESV) — 13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Proverbs 8:19 (ESV) — 19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.

Proverbs 8:32 (ESV) — 32 “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.

Following sinful advice:

Nu 31:16; 1 Ki 12:28

Numbers 31:16 (ESV) — 16 Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord.

1 Kings 12:28 (ESV) — 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

Choosing imaginative action rather than laziness or fearfulness

Nu 13:30

Numbers 13:30 (ESV) — 30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

See also 1 Sa 25:33 ; Eph 5:16

1 Samuel 25:33 (ESV) — 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand!

Ephesians 5:16 (ESV) — 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Examples of failure to do this:

Mt 25:10; Mt 25:26–27; Mt 25:44–45; Mt 26:40

Matthew 25:10 (ESV) — 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.

Matthew 25:26–27 (ESV) — 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

Matthew 25:44–45 (ESV) — 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Matthew 26:40 (ESV) — 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

Patient waiting rather than impetuous action

Ps 40:1

Psalm 40:1 (ESV) — 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

See also Ps 27:14 ; Ps 37:5–6 ; Ps 62:5 ; Ps 123:2 ; Pr 3:5–6 ; Is 40:31 ; Ho 12:6 ; Jn 2:4–5 ; Re 2:10

Psalm 27:14 (ESV) — 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Psalm 37:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 62:5 (ESV) — 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 123:2 (ESV) — 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) — 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Hosea 12:6 (ESV) — 6 “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

John 2:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Revelation 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

The wisdom of making hope a priority

Heb 6:19

Hebrews 6:19 (ESV) — 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

See also Ps 147:10–11

Psalm 147:10–11 (ESV) — 10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Putting true riches above earthly wealth

Lk 16:9

Luke 16:9 (ESV) — 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

See also Dt 15:8 ; Mt 6:24 ; Mt 19:21 ; Mt 19:29 ; Heb 11:26

Deuteronomy 15:8 (ESV) — 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

Matthew 6:24 (ESV) — 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Matthew 19:21 (ESV) — 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Matthew 19:29 (ESV) — 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Hebrews 11:26 (ESV) — 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

Putting eternal joy before temporal hardship

2 Co 4:17–18

2 Corinthians 4:17–18 (ESV) — 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

See also Ac 14:22 ; Ac 16:25 ; Ro 8:18 ; 2 Ti 2:10 ; Heb 10:34

Acts 14:22 (ESV) — 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 16:25 (ESV) — 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

Romans 8:18 (ESV) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2 Timothy 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Hebrews 10:34 (ESV) — 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

The wisdom of making love a priority

1 Co 13:13 Paul’s concern that love, rather than competition over spiritual gifts, should be made a priority.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV) — 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Loyalty rather than opportunism

Pr 18:24

Proverbs 18:24 (ESV) — 24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

See also Ru 1:16 ; 2 Ti 4:10 Demas’ love for this world rather than loyalty

Ruth 1:16 (ESV) — 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.

2 Timothy 4:10 (ESV) — 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Following the Spirit rather than sinful human nature

Ga 5:16 Merely “human” activity betrays a failure of love for God.

Galatians 5:16 (ESV) — 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

See also Ps 147:10–11 ; Is 31:1–3 ; Ro 8:5

Psalm 147:10–11 (ESV) — 10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Isaiah 31:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! 2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. 3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.

Romans 8:5 (ESV) — 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Inner sincerity rather than outward appearance

Ro 12:9

Romans 12:9 (ESV) — 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

See also 1 Sa 16:7 ; Eph 6:5 ; Col 3:22

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) — 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Ephesians 6:5 (ESV) — 5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

Colossians 3:22 (ESV) — 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

Actions rather than mere words

Jas 2:18

James 2:18 (ESV) — 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

See also Mt 7:21–22 ; 1 Jn 3:18

Matthew 7:21–22 (ESV) — 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

1 John 3:18 (ESV) — 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Peace rather than disharmony

Ro 12:18

Romans 12:18 (ESV) — 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

See also Ro 14:19 ; Heb 12:14

Romans 14:19 (ESV) — 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV) — 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Truth rather than falsehood

Pr 12:19

Proverbs 12:19 (ESV) — 19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

See also Ac 5:4 ; Col 3:9

Acts 5:4 (ESV) — 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”

Colossians 3:9 (ESV) — 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices


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