The practice of hospitality is older than the Bible. Certainly in Genesis 19 and probably in Genesis 18, we see righteous men offering food and lodging to strangers gratis (I say “probably” because I’m unsure whether Abraham is aware from the beginning that he’s talking to God). Christians are instructed to be hospitable in multiple New-Testament passages.
However, in our own time, hospitality has largely fallen by the wayside. Most Christians will no longer invite unfamiliar people into their own homes (and the Greek word for hospitality, xenophilia, literally means “love of strangers”); many Christians won’t even invite their friends. This is a problem. It’s good for us to follow the pattern of the first-century church, but we ought to pay equal attention to imitating the example of first-century Christians. Continue reading