Bible Study on Joy

Joy – Joyful


  1. Sometimes small/annoying things hurt my joy and cause me to complain about the bad things instead of rejoicing in the many blessings I have.

  2. I am normally relatively happy and content, but often don’t feel that enthusiastic to sing or show it in other ways.



  1. The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure

  2. A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

  3. The expression or display of glad feeling


Chara: “joy, delight”. It is sometimes connected with falling into trials. It is the word used in Hebrews 12:2 and also that Paul uses saying the readers are his “joy”. Akin to “chairo” which means “rejoice”.

Agalliases: “Exultation, exuberant joy”.

Euphrosune: “joy”

Note: “Joy” is associated with life, e. g. 1 Thess 3:8,9. Experiences of sorrow prepare for, and enlarge, the capacity for “joy,” e. g., John 16:20; Rom 5:3,4; 2 Cor 7:4; 8:2; Heb 10:34; James 1:2. Persecution for Christ’s sake enhances “joy,” e. g., Matt 5:11,12; Acts 5:41. Other sources of “joy” are faith, Rom 15:13; Phil 1:25; hope, Rom 5:2 (kauchaomai, see B, No. 2); 12:12 (chairo, see B, No. 1); the “joy” of others, 12:15, which is distinctive of Christian sympathy. Cf. 1 Thess 3:9. In the OT and the NT God Himself is the ground and object of the believer’s “joy,” e. g., Ps 35:9; 43:4; Isa 61:10; Luke 1:47; Rom 5:11; Phil 3:1; 4:4.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

In OT:

Simchah OT:8057, “joy.” This noun, which also occurs in Ugaritic, is found 94 times in biblical Hebrew. Simchah is both a technical term for the external expression of “joy” Gen 31:27 — the first biblical occurrence; cf. 1 Sam 18:6; Jer 50:11 and (usually) a representation of the abstract feeling or concept “joy” Deut 28:47. In another technical use this noun signifies the entire activity of making a feast before God: “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth [literally, “to make a great rejoicing”]…” Neh 8:12.

The noun catches the concrete coloring of the verb, as in Isa 55:12: “For ye shall go out with joy…: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

C. Adjective.

Sameach OT:8056, “joyful; glad.” This adjective occurs 21 times in the Old Testament. The first biblical occurrence is in Deut 16:15: “Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee… therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.”

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Title: Be insanely joyful

Intro: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” 
— Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

The pursuit of happiness or joy is the pursuit of every person on the planet. Everybody wants to be happy. They want to be happy now and after they die. This is the supposed basic right of everyone and a self-evident fact. However, the pursuit of joy will lead people in many directions. It leads some thousands of feet below the ocean looking for beautiful coral and fish. It leads some kilometers into the sky up Mt. Everest. It leads some from the countryside to big cities to work and make more money. It leads others from the big cities to the countryside to escape the city noise. It leads some to marriage. It leads others to divorce. So with people going in all directions, how can we be truly joyful? With oil prices skyrocketing, wars rocking the world, natural disasters everywhere, terrorism, broken families, and persecutions how can we possibly be joyful? What is the key?

I want to encourage all of you to be joyful, to be insanely joyful. This is the title of our talk today, to be insanely joyful. What do I mean? Firstly, to have true joy we must reject the methods of the world. The way we believe we get joy is insane to the world. If you “pursue joy” like the Bible says, many of your friends and family will think you are insane. But that is OK, because we want to be insanely joyful. Secondly, insanely also has another meaning, extremely. So we have reason to be extremely joyful. We are going to discuss how to have true joy.

What is joy? First, go back and discuss the meanings. To Christians, it is much deeper contentment and satisfaction.

Key Points:

  1. True joy comes from God and a proper relationship to Him. It is God based. This is exactly the opposite from the “joy” of people in the world. The world’s joy is a selfish joy, based on self.

    1. God wants us to be joyful. Ecclesiastes 2:26, John 16:24, John 15:11, John 17:13.God is the giver of joy. It doesn’t come from “inside us”. Neither does it come from some mystical source or other physical things. If you want to pursue joy as we discussed early then we need to pursue God. The closer we get to Him the more joyful we will get. God wants our lives in this world to be joyful. He doesn’t want us going through life depressed or discouraged or discontent. He wants us to have complete, full, joy in Him. God is sovereign and the world has a lot of problems. In Jesus’ day the world also had problems. In the lifetimes of some people He was talking to, Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans and the Jewish people scattered in poverty around the globe. This doesn’t change the fact that God wants us to be joyful and that we can be joyful in Him. This is the reason Jesus came. The world scoffs this notion that God wants us to be joyful. First, they will ask “where is God?” and then they will say, “the world is such a terrible place and full of problems, if God wanted you to have joy wouldn’t He fix it?” Yet our joy is based on a proper relationship to God and that is why we can be joyful even when things seem like they are falling to pieces. Knowing that God wants us to be happy should make us insanely joyful.

    2. We are to rejoice because our names are in the book of life. Luke 10:20, 1 Peter 1:5-7, Ephesians 1. When you start to feel down and out, remember what position you have in Christ. What do we have in Christ? We have an eternal inheritance. We are His sons. We have eternal life and salvation. We have numerous blessings in this life on earth. There is nothing more important for us than having our names in the book of life. Sometimes we lose our joy in this world because we didn’t get the degree we wanted, failed a test, missed out on a job opportunity, etc. But all of those things is nothing compared to having your names where it counts, in the book of life. Just think about what you have in Christ for a minute. If this doesn’t make you joyful, then your faith is lacking. Faith and hope in what God has promised for the future are sources of joy in our lives. That is why the world thinks we are insane because they don’t believe it. Faith in God’s promises and knowing our names are in the book of life should make us insanely joyful. If you start to get down and out go back and read Ephesians 1.

    3. We are to rejoice because of who is our God. Psalms 21:1, 35:9, 70:4, 92:4, 119:11 (read just a couple depending on time) 1 Kings 8:23. John Piper said something like this, “the chief pursuit of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him fully.” We get our joy by enjoying God. God is our strength and our salvation. He is sovereign and in control of everything. He loves us and cares for us and saves us. He has our best interests at heart. His plans are for our good (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah). His Word should also be a joy to us as it brings us closer to God. Again, the more we learn about God and become like Him the more joyful we will become. If God is like the evil Baals or like the violent Allah or like other bloodthirsty (Aztec) gods then we would have reason to be embarrassed, shamed, scared, etc. But God is not. He is perfect. The world will again look at us and say we are crazy. Who pins their joy on something they can’t see? But we know it is true, so it is cause to be insanely joyful.

    4. Sin destroys our joy. David. Psalms 51. Just as true joy comes from God and a proper relationship to Him so misery comes from being separated from God either in relationship or for believers in fellowship. David had all of the things we discussed above. His name was in the book of life. But committed sin. Read Psalms 51. How did this sin make him feel? David was miserable and unhappy. Guilt was seeping out of his bones.
      I think all of us have experienced this kind of guilt to various degrees. If you haven’t, either you are perfect or you don’t have the proper sensitivity towards your own sin. Sin wrecks our fellowship with God. Sin is us saying we want to do things are way. It will likely bring short-term happiness, but it will kill our long-term joy. So if we want to be joyful we must repent quickly when we sin and ask God to restore our joy. Once again, this goes against all the thinking of the world. The world says to experience happiness you need to pursue pleasure and reject limitations and authority. Make your own decisions. That is hedonism, which is basically the world religion these days. Just like the people who hated the light in the Bible, people today hate it. They think that sin brings joy when the exact opposite is true. Sin brings slavery.

  2. True joy is not dependant on circumstances.

    1. We are to rejoice always. Philippians 4:4. I was reading a poll online talking about how happy different groups are. Apparently marrying makes people more joyful as 60% of married people are supposedly joyful as opposed to 41% of singles. Apparently having children makes most people more joyful. Making more money helps people be more joyful. But according to the Bible, there is not some circumstance in our life that can magically make us joyful. Marriage is good, but if you aren’t happy without it you won’t be happy with it. Children and money are good, but if you aren’t happy without them you won’t be happy with them. We are to rejoice always, whether or not the girl of our dreams or our perfect job has come. This is not an option either where we have the right to be unhappy. We are commanded to be joyful. What does this show? It shows that being joyful is largely a decision of the will and not an emotion. We can decide to be joyful always or we can decide to not be joyful. This is the same as biblical love. It is not just “falling in love and I can’t help it”. We make conscious choices to love or not to love. Being joyful is basically just having a good attitude and a pleasant spirit. Once again, this is insane to the world. They would advocate that you “need” certain things to be joyful and that a person can’t control his joy or not. But by God’s strength we can as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Galatians 5:22.

    2. We are to rejoice in trials and difficulties. We are to rejoice always, even when our natural instincts and the world our telling us not to. Philippians 4:10-13, James 1:2, 2 Corinthians 7:4, 8:2. As believers, we are to look beyond the uncomfortable circumstances of the trial and focus on God and the lesson He wants to teach us. This is another indicator that joy as the Bible describes it isn’t just a natural reaction. Our natural reactions in these kind of difficult situations would be what? To complain, have a bad attitude, take out our frustration on others, etc. But we are to make a conscious decision to be joyful even when things around us aren’t going smoothly. Have any of you faced trials or difficulties recently? How did you respond? Were you joyful? What will help you to be joyful when you face these kinds of trials? Hint: it’s not eating. Negative example: Naomi. Discuss.

    3. We are to rejoice in persecutions. Matthew 5:11-12, 1 Peter 4:13. We aren’t just to rejoice when tough things happen to us, but we are to rejoice when people purposely persecute us. Why? It’s part of God’s plan to refine us. It shows we are living our life the right way. God has rewards for us. We can be a testimony to those around us. Positive example: Paul and Silas. Discuss.

  3. True joy should come when we see God’s work done

    1. We are to rejoice when people’s lives are changed by God. 3rd John 4, Philippians 2:2, Luke 15:7. Certainly our relationship to God should be enough to bring us joy. But because of our relationship to God we will be even more excited and joyful when we see God’s work being done in the world. Few things bring me more joy than seeing a sinner come to Christ or someone growing in the Lord. We should be concerned with these things. Also, if these are the things that bring us joy, then these will also be the things that we will be focused on for where our heart is there will our “treasure” or “joy” be also. Negative example: Jonah. Discuss.

    2. We are to rejoice in a job well done. Jesus. Hebrews 12:2. Psalms 122:6. Sometimes the joy of seeing a job well done or seeing a promise fulfilled gives us endurance and perseverance to finish a task. When first starting off on a big task it is easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged at the prospects in front of us. But if we look ahead to the finished project, to the completed plan of God, we can have endurance to finish the job. Doing our best, by working wholeheartedly for the Lord, will make us happy. Sometimes we think that sitting around and watching movies or video games is the most satisfying thing. But actually it is very satisfying to finish the work that God has put in front of us, whether it is a project at work or at home, or a ministry goal, or whatever. Positive example: David when the Ark came to Jerusalem

    3. We are to be a joy to those in authority over us. Hebrews 13:17. As believers, we are also to be a joy to those around us. As a teacher, I know how annoying students can be sometimes (especially Moses o ). Bad and lazy students can take all the joy out of teaching. In a similar way, we can either be a thorn in the side of our authorities (bosses, parents, teachers, etc.) or we can be a real blessing. We need to graciously obey those in authority over us. So you should also ask yourselves. Are you a joy to those around you? Do you help others be more cheerful or do you squeeze the joy of living from them by arguing, strife, selfishness, laziness, etc.

Applications: When tempted to complain or be discouraged I will remember the many blessings that I have.

When singing, I will try to always think of the words and what God has done for me. This will help me to be more excited and enthusiastic.

Verses on Joy

Psalms 122:6 – He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 – God gives joy to the righteous, but the ones who aren’t have to collect for the righteous. Joy comes from God.

Psalms 119:111 – God’s Word was the joy of David’s heart.

Psalms 92:4 – God made David glad and David’s resolution to sing for joy because of God’s works.

Psalms 90:14 – It is God’s lovingkindness that satisfies us and makes us joyful.

Psalms 51 – Sin drives joy away and brings guiltiness.

John 15:11 – These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full. God wants us to be joyful.

John 16:24, John 17:13 – God wants us to be joyful.

Romans 14:17 – The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 7:4 – Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Paul was flowing with joy even in the midst of affliction.

2 Corinthians 8:2 – Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. And our joy will cause us to want to serve God.

Galatians 5:22

Philippians 4:10-13 – We can be content in all circumstances.

Hebrews 12:2 – Jesus’ joy was finishing the work that God set for Him and the reward of seeing human souls saved that followed.

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders with joy.

James 1:2 – Go through trials with joy.

3 John 4, Philippians 2:2, Luke 15:7 – Seeing others do right should bring us great joy just as our doing right brings joy to God.

Psalms 35:9, Psalms 21:1, Psalms 70:4 – Rejoice in God’s strength and in God’s salvation.

Matthew 5:11-12 – Rejoice even when we are persecuted because we have a great reward in heaven.

Luke 10:20 – Rejoice that our names are recorded in heaven. 1 Peter 1:5-7

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always.

Examples of Joy:

Jesus- Hebrews 12:2. Jesus had the toughest job anyone has ever had. He didn’t complain or shirk from it. He didn’t grow bitter. The joy of finishing the job was worth whatever He had to go through.

David- Psalms 51. When David sinned with Bathsheba he was robbed of joy. He was guilty and miserable. Only repentance restored his fellowship with God and made him joyful again.

David- Danced when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem.

Paul and Silas- Acts 16:25. They were in prison for sharing about Jesus with others. In middle.

Jonah- Didn’t rejoice when the people were saved. Instead complained.

Naomi – Wanted to be called Mara, “bitter”, because of all the bad things that had happened to her and her difficult circumstances.

Mary- Luke 1:46. She rejoiced in the Lord and that God was using her, a lowly creature, for His purposes.


“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  – C.S. Lewis

“Holy joy will be oil to the wheels of our obedience.” – Matthew Henry

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