We believe the following 22 Bible verses about joy (and our other quotes) have the power to turn your attitude around.
In the words of American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” St. Thomas Aquinas himself said “It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.“
Thank you to pastor Laura Gentry for inspiring me to write this article and initiating the conversation with the following list of Bible verses about joy in the old and new testament!
Bible Verses about Joy in the Old Testament
The ancient Psalms are filled with expressions of human emotions, some of which are great joy. Many personify the earth to imply that nature itself rejoices. So when we laugh, we are laughing along with the earth!
- “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22
- “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” – Psalm 47:1
- “God has a smile on His face.” — Psalm 42:5
- “God, who sits in Heaven, laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” — Psalm 2:4 (Note on this one: When the kings of the world set themselves against God and take counsel against God, it says that he who sits in the heavens shall laugh. God will hold them in derision. It’s sort of a “huh!” kind of laughter. It’s not a jovial response of happiness, but nevertheless it’s laughter.)
- “He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” — Proverbs 15:15
- “I commend mirth.” — Ecclesiastes 8:15
- “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow.” — Jeremiah 31:13
- “Let the shield exult and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” — Psalm 96:12
- “Let your heart be merry.” — Judges 19:6
- “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break into joyous song and sing praises.” — Psalm 98:4
- “The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.” — Psalm 65:12-13
- “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.” — Psalm 126:2
- “You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” — Psalm 30:11
- “You shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and hills before you shall burst into song, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” — Isaiah 55:12
Click on any of the following images to enlarge them:
Bible Verses About Joy in the New Testament
Notice that the verses about Christ and his coming speak emphatically of joy. This is why many of the Christmas carols have the word “joy” in them: Christ brings joy!
- “Although you have not seen Jesus, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” — Peter 1:8
- “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh!” — Luke 6:21
- “But in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” — Peter 4:13
- “I have said these things to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” — John 15:11
- “The angel said to Mary: You will have joy and gladness and many will rejoice at the birth of your son.” — Luke 1:14
- “The angels said to the shepherds: Do not be afraid, for see – I am bringing good news of great joy for all the people.” — Luke 2:10
- “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 18:3
- “When the wise men saw that the star had stopped over the place where the christ child lay, they were overwhelmed with joy.” — Matthew 2:10
“Laugh”, “Laughed”, and “Laughter” in the Old and New Testament
Thank you https://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/ for making the following search easy!
The categorization is my own. The message I wanted to share with it is that laughter is a powerful tool that can be used for both good and bad, and that we should learn to use it properly. The fact that many of these verses contradict each other merely suggest to me that, just like with knives, or fire, or so many other things, laughter can be of tremendous value to mankind … or very detrimental, and it all depends on how we choose to use it. Do not blame the tool for how it is used. Watch therefore not the laughter itself but the energy that’s put behind it: Is it a laughter of separation or inclusion? Is it to celebrate, or to ridicule? Are you laughing at, or with others? Are you laughing to move away from pain, or to get closer to joy? Etc. To negate yourself the experience of laughter because you believe you are sinner or that it is a sign of frivolity is precisely what keeps you a sinner and in a world of darkness. I personally am extremely good at being serious and somber. It’s just not interesting anymore and I know better.
|#||Laughter of fools
Being a laughing stock
Laughter of derision
|Laughter of celebration, expression of joy||Laughter as expression of strength, fearlessness|
|1||Genesis 17:17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”||Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.||Job 5:22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals.|
|2||Genesis 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”||Psalm 126:2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”||Job 39:7 It laughs at the commotion in the town; it does not hear a driver’s shout.|
|3||Genesis 18:13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’||Ecclesiastes 3:4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,||Job 39:18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.|
|4||Genesis 18:15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”||Ecclesiastes 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.||Job 39:22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.|
|5||Genesis 21:6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”||James 4:9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.||Job 41:29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance.|
|6||Genesis 38:23 Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”||Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.||Psalm 2:4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.|
|7||Exodus 32:25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.||Psalm 37:13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.|
|8||Job 12:4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!||Psalm 59:8 But you laugh at them, Lord; you scoff at all those nations.|
|9||Psalm 52:6 The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying,||Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.|
|10||Proverbs 1:26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—||Habakkuk 1:10 They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them.|
|11||Ecclesiastes 2:2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”||Luke 6:21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.|
|12||Ecclesiastes 7:3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.|
|13||Ecclesiastes 7:6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.|
|14||Jeremiah 51:39 But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter— then sleep forever and not awake,” declares the Lord.|
|15||Lamentations 1:7 In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.|
|16||Lamentations 3:14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.|
|17||Ezekiel 22:4 you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries.|
|18||Matthew 9:24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.|
|19||Mark 5:40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.|
|20||Luke 6:25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.|
|21||Luke 8:53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.|
Did Jesus laugh?
It’s purely speculative whether or not Jesus laughed. Here is what we know:
He talked about it:
- Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. – Luke 6:21
He taught with humor. This one is difficult to track, however, unless you have a knowledge of the original language and its idioms (which we don’t), as it’s easy then to miss the intended humor. But even with over 2,000 years of distance, isn’t the following still humorous?
- Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? – Matthew 7:3-5
- You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. – Matthew 23:24
Last, we’re told in the Old Testament—for example, in Ecclesiastes— that certain things are appropriate at certain times. There’s a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to build, a time to tear down; there’s a time to dance, a time to sing, a time to laugh, a time to cry. Since God has, in his seasons, appointed appropriate times for laughter, and Jesus always did what was appropriate, it would seem to me that when it was time to laugh, he laughed.
A few churches in the USA use laughter for inner healing, and it works for them. Read more.
Here is what Rev. John and Pattie Chappell (www.laughcry.org) recommend you do: “When you are feeling discouraged or have hurts that need healing, close your eyes, force yourself to raise your head, and begin praising the Lord in tongues or English for a minute or two. Then begin saying ‘Hee, hee, ha, ha, ho, ho!’ and repeat it several times. If you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, this will usually release a flow of holy laughter. If that doesn’t work, try saying, ‘Ho, ha, hee, hee’ or ‘ho, ho, hee, hee, ha, ha! This is not being silly. It is being spiritual! God takes the “foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” These words are holy words, heavily anointed by the Holy Spirit, and amazingly effective. To the natural mind, this “method” is so absurd, so ridiculous, but it will usually produce holy laughter in anyone. God’s methods bear fruit.”
Recently there has been a liturgical reclamation of what is known as “Laughter Sunday,” “Holy Humor Sunday” or “Lighten Up Sunday”. It is sometimes observed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is called “Laetare Sunday,” which comes from the first word of the traditional collect for the day – Rejoice.
It is also sometimes observed during Eastertide. Early Orthodox churches gathered on the Monday after Easter to tell stories, jokes and anecdotes. To this day in Slavic regions Christians gather the day after Easter for folk dancing and feasting in the churchyard. This was a time of celebrating the big joke that God pulled on Satan. It is known as Bright Monday, White Monday, and Emmaus Day in various countries. It is also called it ̃Risus Paschalis” – God’s Joke, the Easter Laugh.
Whenever “Laugher Sunday” is celebrated, and by whatever name, it is characterized by joking around, singing, dancing, and merry-making. And it reminds participants that God is a God of laughter as well as of sorrow – much as God is Lord of the valleys as well as the mountain tops (Genesis 21:1-6).
Hymn: “Give to Us Laughter”
Words: Walter Farquharson
Tune: Slane (Be Thou My Vision)
1. Give to us laughter, O Source of our life. Laughter can banish so much of our strife! Laughter and love give us wholeness and health. Laughter and love are the coin of true wealth.
2. Give to us laughter as sign of deep joy; let us in laughing find Christian employ, joining with stars and with bright northern lights, laughing and praising and sharing delights.
3. Even in sorrow and hours of grief, laughter with tears brings us healing relief! God, give us laughter, and God, give us peace, joy of your promise among us increase.
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