The concept of hosting travelers in your home or in large style buildings existed from biblical days. In this article, the different types of lodgings and the practice of hospitality will be discussed with specific bible verses referenced. The Travel Virgin unveils “Airbnbs, Guest Houses, Hotels and Inns in the Bible”
Before there was Airbnb and big hotel chains, there were established places hosting people in the bible. In the New Testament there are three Greek words used to describe different types of lodgings. These are: kataluma, ksenia and pandocheion. These will be discussed.
Petaluma-Airbnbs,Guest Houses, Hotels and Inns in the Bible
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn“
Luke 2 verse 7
“And ye shall say unto the good man of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?”
Luke 22 verse 11
In the verses above, Luke uses the Greek word Kataluma to describe what is now translated in English to Inn. Kataluma means to “unloose” or “unharness” which most likely meant a place where animals or people slept for the night. Scholars believe that the reference in Luke is to a guest room rather than a formal inn. A guest room is not for people alone but their belongings including animals. This is quite similar to the offerings of Airbnb where someone rents out a single room in their home. I am not certain of the prevalence of Airbnbs hosting pets though.
Kataluma is also used to describe where Jesus and his disciples had their last supper. Most likely Jesus and his disciples used a private room in someone’s house for their last meal.
ksenia-Airbnbs, Guest Houses, Hotels and Inns in the Bible
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening“
In the above bible verse, the Greek term ksenia is used to reference a type of lodging. The Apostle Paul was housed in a ksenia whilst he was under house arrest. Scholars, however, indicate that the word could generally refer to the concept of hospitality or a specific quarters in a home used as a guest house.
Pandocheion-Airbnbs, Guest Houses, Hotels and Inns in the Bible
“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him“.
Pandocheion would be the modern version of a hotel. In the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke, he takes the man to a Pandocheion. At the Pandocheion he would have paid money for overnight accommodations and food. Pandocheion would have been public places for lodgings.
Hospitality in Biblical Times
The use of inns are clearly evident in the Old and New Testament. The Jewish practice of hospitality is founded from Genesis, where Abraham hosted three strangers.
“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.“
Genesis 16 1-6
Bible Verses on The Art of Hospitality
The practice of hospitality was encouraged in the bible, this is evidenced by the bible verses below.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares“
The above bible verse shows the importance of hosting strangers, as some strangers may have been angels in disguise
“Use hospitality one to another without grudging“
1 Peter 4.9
3 John 5
Last but not least,
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun“.
Ecclesiastes 1: 9
Written By: Anna Blake, Guest Writer