By Rondell, Founder, The immigration Project
In English, we typically understand hospitality as a willingness to host, feed, and entertain a guest… something we all do, and especially do this with our personal friends. However, the biblical term has a much deeper meaning. The Greek term that is often translated into the English term “hospitality” is the word φιλόξενος. The word is a combination of two concepts, that break down as follows:
φιλό (pronounced Philao) is one of several words for “love” in Greek. Being a more precise language than English, classical Greek has a few different ways to express the word “love”. In this case, the word that is used means “brotherly love” or “to love like a brother”, and is how we get the name Philadelphia- the City of Brotherly Love. The word ξενος (Xenos) which makes up the second half of the word we render “hospitality” actually means “stranger” or “immigrant”, and is where we get the word xenophobia which is the fear of strangers/immigrants. In light of these two words being combined, hospitality as commonly understood, isn’t exactly the best way to express this biblical truth. Instead of simply “entertaining guests” the word means “One who loves strangers/immigrants like you would your own family member”.
Today, however, Biblical hospitality is something many Christians struggle with applying to their lives because of racism and xenophobia (fear of Immigrants)–or simply because they just don’t feel the need to actually show hospitality to Immigrants, documented and undocumented, as if it’s only suggested in Scripture. However, it’s a command, and any Christian who says they love Jesus, must also demonstrate this love through hospitality to Immigrants, documented and undocumented.
So what are some ways we show hospitality to Immigrants today?
- Study scripture.
- Volunteer at a local immigration organization.
- Invite an Immigrant family over for dinner.
- Visit an Immigrant Church.
- Listen to an Immigrant’s story.
- Remember Immigrants have a name.
- Ride in an Uber.
- Chauffeur Immigrants to grocery store, park, school, laundry mat, etc.
- Visit a Park in an Immigrant Neighborhood.
- Eat at an Immigrant Restaurant.
- Move into an Immigrant Neighborhood.
- Encourage your Pastor to preach on Immigration at Church.
What would you add to the list?
This is what Biblical Hospitality means and how it must be applied for every Christian.
The immigration Project exists to help Immigrants flourish.