20 Hospitality Quotes from the Bible
“In a number of ancient civilizations, hospitality was viewed as a pillar on which all morality rested,” writes Christine Pohl in Making Room. In Bible times, welcoming the stranger was a cultural expectation, and so was hospitality among friends.
Each one of three sections into which the following quotes are divided, aims to share a glimpse of the heartfelt hospitality demonstrated in the Bible. They may also deepen our sense of hospitality, and cause us to be welcoming more often.
- First, there are ten first person welcome expressions, which readers may adopt as their own in appropriate situations. Slight variations, when necessary, will make them more specific.
- Then there are six statements of counsel on the practice of hospitality.
- Finally, four welcome episodes illustrate hospitality in action. In one account, the welcomer issues a fake welcome, but with good intention; the recipient was a trouble maker. The other three, imitated as far as possible, will make the recipients happy.
(1) Welcome Expressions
(1) What a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! (Genesis 33:10)
(2) Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! (1 Samuel 25:6)
(3) Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us . . . And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well. (Ruth 2:9)
(4) Don’t be afraid! . . . I intend to show kindness to you. (2 Samuel 9:7)
(5) Your brother is back. . . We are celebrating because of his safe return. (Luke 15:27)
(6) If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord . . . come and stay at my home. (Acts 16: 15)
(7) May the God . . . who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— may he bless these boys. (Genesis 48: 15, 16)
(8) Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the Lord! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you? (Genesis 24:31)
(9) My servants have never said, "He let others go hungry." I have never turned away a stranger but have opened my doors to everyone. (Job 31: 31, 32)
(10) Come, you who are blessed by my Father . . . I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. . . When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:34, 35, 40)
(2) Welcome Counsel
(11) Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! (Hebrews 13:2)
(12) Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. (1 Peter 4:9)
(13) Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome. (Proverbs 25:17)
(14) Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. (Luke 10:7)
(15) Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me [Jesus]. (Matthew 18:5)
(16) Anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me [Jesus], and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me. (John 13:20)
On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate your hospitality?
(3) Welcome Episodes
One Fake-Welcome Episode
(17) Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.
“Please give me some water,” he said. “I’m thirsty.” So she gave him some milk from a leather bag and covered him again. . .
But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. (Judges 4: 17-21)
This story (Judges 4: 17-24) is not instructional, as in "Go and do likewise." It just proves how commonplace hospitality was. This time it was the bait that caught a national oppressor.
Three Genuine-Welcome Episodes
(18) He [Abraham] looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them . . . My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.” (Genesis 18: 2-5)
(19) It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Hebrews 11:31)
(20) When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?”
“An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.”
“Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.”
Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. (Exodus 2: 18-21)
The importance of a welcoming attitude may be summed up in the words of Christian author, Ellen White, "The warmth of a genial welcome, a place at your fireside, a seat at your home table . . . would to many [guests] be like a glimpse of heaven." - Ellen White
Bible Quotes are from the New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.
© 2018 Dora Weithers