vs. Loneliness
Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those God brings into my life

Key Verse

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Hebrews 13:2

The operational definition of hospitality is “cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those God brings into my life.” The New Testament word for hospitality means brotherly love to others, including those who were not family. In Bible times, people invited weary travelers to eat and rest in their homes before continuing a journey. Hospitality can still be practiced today! You can befriend others and invite them to a meal, game night, or Bible study. Since the spirit of hospitality is to welcome people into your life wherever you are, your family could invite someone to join your picnic, church event, or outing. Share God’s love without expecting a favor or invitation in return. Do not exclude nonbelievers from your hospitality. Instead, take the opportunity to give them Jesus’ love through your words and actions. You can be kind and respectful to an unbeliever without approving of his sin or false beliefs. Hospitality starts at home by practicing good manners, caring for each other, and working together to prepare for guests.

Hospitality is often demonstrated through loving preparations to warmly welcome others into one’s life and home.
Just as people are repelled by the sharp quills of a porcupine, unfriendliness repels potential ministry and friendships.

The opposite of hospitality is unfriendliness. Because an unfriendly person focuses primarily on himself, he easily overlooks others’ feelings, desires, and needs. He doesn’t welcome newcomers and may avoid most people because he is overly concerned with what others think of him. Or he may be exclusive, meaning he will be unfriendly unless he really likes someone. Perhaps he has been hurt and avoids people, or doesn’t know how to befriend others. He may fluctuate between thinking “I don’t care if I’m alone” and “I wish I wasn’t so lonely.” Rather than share what he has, the unfriendly child clings tightly to his possessions. As a result of his selfishness, others avoid him and he misses out on enjoyable friendships. Unfriendly people are not experiencing and expressing the love of Jesus, the Friend Who gave His life for them. (See John 15:13.)

Evaluation Questions

  • Has our family purposed and prepared to use our home to offer hospitality to others?
  • Do we regularly remove clutter so that our home is tidy, peaceful, and inviting?
  • Have I learned to practice proper etiquette not only when company comes but also with my own family?
  • Have we welcomed guests who may not be able to return our kindness?
  • When have I included someone who seemed lonely or left out of an activity?
  • During conversation, do I focus on the interests of others or on my accomplishments?
  • Does the atmosphere in our home convey calmness and family harmony?
  • Do we have anything in our home that would offend a visitor?
  • Do I go out of my way to greet newcomers?

More About Hospitality

Hospitality is sharing the love and light of Christ with those who are attracted to it.
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Hospitality with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Readily receive visitors.

“Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

Affirm others’ value.

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

Prepare for guests.

“But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.” Philemon 1:22

Anticipate others’ needs.

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” I John 3:17

Greet others.

“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” Matthew 5:47

Expect nothing in return.

“And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:34–35

Overcome loneliness.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

Open my home.

“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” I Corinthians 16:19

Welcome the overlooked.

“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13–14

Initiate relationships.

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila . . . with his wife Priscilla . . . . And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” Acts 18:1–3

Hospitality in Scripture

The Shunammite Woman Prepares for a Guest

“Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber . . . .”
II Kings 4:10–11
After the prophet Elijah was taken to Heaven, his helper, Elisha, carried on Elijah’s ministry. During a conflict with the Moabites, three Israelite kings followed Elisha’s counsel, and the Moabites were miraculously defeated. God also sent Elisha to minister to the common people. Once, a poor woman requested Elisha’s help when her Godly husband died. If this widow failed to pay her husband’s debts, her home and children would be seized by creditors. Elisha told her to borrow many containers from her neighbors and to then pour her remaining oil from her small jug into the borrowed containers. As she poured, God worked a miracle and multiplied the oil to fill all the containers! The widow then sold the oil, paid the debts, and had money left to live on. Often Elisha would travel great distances, teaching in the schools of the prophets across the land. Whenever the prophet passed through the small village of Shunem, an affluent, influential Shunammite couple hosted him for dinner. One day, the wife was inspired to extend greater hospitality to this prophet. Which of his needs did she anticipate? What request did she present to her husband? Would God bless her for the hospitality she offered to His prophet?

Revealed in Nature

Bighorn Sheep

With specially equipped hooves that can provide good traction on sheer rock, bighorn sheep inhabit areas around rocky cliffs rarely disturbed by humans. They travel in bands of 5 to 15 and show hospitality by looking after each other and sharing resources in their rugged mountain environment.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to welcome all people and extend God’s love to them.

View the Hospitality booklet sample:

Get the complete Hospitality booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Hospitality

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
When there is room in the heart, there is room in the house.
Dutch Proverb