What is joy in the Bible?
One of the most important things in the Christian life is joy. However, it seems as if far too many believers are living without joy.
It seems as if we’re just barely getting by and going through the daily motions of life. We were meant for so much more than this! Let’s find out the key to experiencing joy.
Christian quotes about joy
“Joy is not a season, it’s a way of living.”
“Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.”
“If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
“The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.” Dwight L. Moody
“The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.” C.S. Lewis
“The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.” – Dwight L. Moody
“Joy is strength.”
“The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult seasons of life.” – Francis Chan
What does the Bible say about joy?
True joy is a gift from the Lord. In Scripture we see that joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Joy comes from believing God, belonging to His Kingdom, and knowing Jesus as Lord.
1. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
2. Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
3. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
4. Philippians 1:25 “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.”
5. Matthew 13:20 “What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it.”
6. 1 Chronicles 16:27 “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.”
7. Nehemiah 8:10 said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
8. 1 Chronicles 16:33-35 “Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. 34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”
9. Psalm 95:1 “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”
10. Psalm 66:1 “Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth!”
11. Psalm 81:1 “Sing for joy to God our strength; make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob.”
12. Psalm 20:4-6 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. 6 Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.”
13. Matthew 25:21 “His lord said to him,’Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
14. Luke 19:6 “Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.”
15. Luke 15:7 “I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.”
16. John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
17. Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
18. Proverbs 10:28 “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.”
19. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Always be joyful. 17 Always keep on praying. 18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
20. Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
21. Luke 10:20 “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
22. Psalm 30:5 “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Joy coming from your performance
One easy way to feel miserable on your walk with Christ is to allow your joy to come from your performance. There have been seasons when my joy was coming from my performance as a believer and I felt awful and defeated. I was hard on myself for everything. When your joy is coming from anything other than Christ that is idolatry. One moment you think you are saved, the next moment you question your salvation. One day you think you are deeply loved by God and the next day you feel that God loves you less because you didn’t read your Bible.
One thing that I learned about idolatry is that it leaves you dry. It leaves you broken and empty. I remember collapsing on my bed because of my failure to witness effectively. It didn’t take long for God to remind me that my joy shouldn’t come from my performance and my identity should not come from my ability to evangelize. It should be rooted in Christ alone. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of who God says that we are in Christ. Scripture says that we are more than conquerors, redeemed, we are loved, we are precious in His eyes, His special treasure, etc.
God is not looking at you saying, “you messed up today and now you have to work to get in My good graces!” He’s not saying that because we can’t. We mess up every day because we can’t live up to His standard, which is perfection. Sometimes we will get convicted by the Holy Spirit. However, we have to remember that we have been set free by the blood of Christ. In Christ we have no condemnation because His blood and His grace are greater than the things that seek to condemn us. There will be so much joy in your life when you realize that your identity does not lie in how good that you are, but how good Christ is!
23. Philippians 3:1-3 “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.”
24. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
25. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Where is your joy coming from?
Where do you seek to get your joy from? If you can be honest, what do you run to the most? How are you feeding your mind? From personal experience I can tell you that when my devotional life is healthy I experience more joy. When I get too consumed by TV or secular music I begin to feel empty.
We were made for Christ and while some things are not inherently bad, too much of those things can take our heart away from Christ. We have to remove these broken cisterns in our lives to drink the water that Christ has to offer. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. However, if we quench the Spirit we can miss out on all that the Holy Spirit has to offer. Most of us are missing the beauty of Christ because our hearts are in other places.
Let us repent and have that change of heart that leads us back to Christ. Anything that may be hindering you, cut it off so that you can fully experience Christ. Become more intimate with Him. Go to that special place to get alone with Him and get lost in His beauty. Don’t allow your love for Christ to become common or to remain common. Seek Him and set your heart upon Him. Allow Him to remind you of who He is and what He has done for you on the cross.
26. John 7:37-38 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
27. John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.“
28. Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
29. John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Happiness vs joy
Happiness is momentary and can be due to current circumstances. However, joy is a lasting inward experience. Pleasure can create happiness, but the effects do not last. True joy in the Lord is eternal.
30. Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 “I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 2 So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” 3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.”
31. Psalm 4:7 “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
32. Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Joy in trials verses
For some people having joy in the midst of trials seems like an impossibility. However, for a believer this impossible thought can become a reality when we fix our eyes on Christ and not our circumstance. Having joy in trials is easier when we trust in God’s sovereignty and His great love for us. Although the situation may seem hopeless we know that the Lord is sovereign, and we trust in Him accomplishing His will in our lives.
While Paul was in prison he wrote a letter to the Philippians and he told them to “rejoice always!” How could Paul say such a thing while he was stuck in prison with the possibility of being martyred? It is because the source of his joy was the Lord. Christ was victorious on the cross and now He is living inside believers. Our victorious Lord is living inside us and He will never leave us. Christ is the reason why we can smile in the pain. Christ is the reason why we can give the Lord praise in our trials. Instead of dwelling on your problems, dwell on Christ who is the solution.
Having joy does not mean that we don’t voice our concerns to the Lord. However, we are reminded of His goodness and we have a God who encourages and comforts us. When I first became a Christian, I went through years of pain and loneliness. However, during that time I was rooted in the Lord. I was constantly seeking His face in prayer and in His Word. I had peace and joy during those times of uncertainty.
As I look back, I know the reason for my joy during those hard times was the Lord. The reason I did not enter into a state of despair was because my joy was coming from Him and I knew that He was sovereign over my situation. Always remember this, there is so much strength in making Christ your focus.
33. Hebrews 12:2-3 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
34. James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
35. Romans 12:12 “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.”
36. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
37. 2 Corinthians 7:4 “I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”
38. Philippians 4:5-8 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
39. Psalm 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
40. Matthew 5:12 “Be joyful and triumphant, because your reward is great in the Heavens; for so were the Prophets before you persecuted.”
41. Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”
42. 1 Peter 1:7-8 “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
The joy in obedience to God verses
The deeper we get into sin the deeper we feel the effects of sin. Sin brings shame, anxiety, emptiness, and sorrow. There is so much joy when we surrender our lives to Christ. There is joy in obedience not because we are trusting in our own merit, but because we are living in God’s grace. His grace is our daily strength.
We were made to abide in Him and when we are not abiding in Him we feel and become weak. Abiding in Christ entails various different things such as depending on His grace, abiding in His love, walking by faith, trusting Him, cherishing His Word, and being obedient to His Word. There is joy in obedience because of the great price that was paid for us on the cross.
43. John 15:10-12 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.“
44. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
45. Psalm 119:47-48 “For I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.”
46. Psalm 119:1-3 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.”
47. Psalm 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
48. Psalm 1:2 “Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night.”
59. Jeremiah 15:16 “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.”
Joy from community
We were not created to be alone. If we are not involved in a community, we are hurting ourselves. As Christians, we are told to encourage our brothers and sisters. We need to continually remind each other of where our joy comes from. We need to continually remind each other to focus on Christ. Community is essential on our walk with Christ and it is essential for joy.
60. Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
61. 2 Corinthians 1:24 “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.”
62. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
63. Proverbs 15:23 “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply– and how good is a timely word!”
64. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].”
God’s joy verses
God rejoices over us with joy! I’m not sure about you, but that’s absolutely mind-blowing to me. Think about this for just a second. God takes joy in you. The Creator of the universe so deeply loves you that He sings over you. He’s not trying to love you. It’s not a struggle for Him to love you. He actually does love you and He has proven that love through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Sometimes I think to myself, God can’t love a sinner like me. However, that is a lie from Satan. Not only does He love me, He rejoices over me. He sees me and He’s excited! We talk so often about our joy in God, but we forget His joy in us. Let’s praise the Lord for His joy.
65. Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
66. Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”
67. Psalm 132:16 “I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.”
68. Psalm 149:5 “Let the saints exult in glory; let them shout for joy upon their beds.”
69. 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Joy in worship Bible verses
There is so much joy in worshipping the Lord. If I’m honest, sometimes I forget the power of worship and focusing on Christ, until I actually do it. There is something to always praise the Lord about. I encourage you to take time, maybe even after reading this article, to worship God and be still before Him. Remain in worship and wait until you experience the unexplainable joy that He offers.
70. Psalm 100:1-2 “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.”
71. Psalm 43:4 “Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.”
72. Psalm 33:1-4 “Sing for joy in the Lord, you who are right with Him. It is right for the pure in heart to praise Him. 2 Give thanks to the Lord with harps. Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. 3 Sing to Him a new song. Play well with loud sounds of joy. 4 For the Word of the Lord is right. He is faithful in all He does.”
73. Psalm 98:4-9 “Sing for joy to the Lord, all the earth; praise him with songs and shouts of joy! 5 Sing praises to the Lord! Play music on the harps! 6 Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the Lord, our king. 7 Roar, sea, and every creature in you; sing, earth, and all who live on you! 8 Clap your hands, you rivers; you hills, sing together with joy before the Lord, 9 because he comes to rule the earth. He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness.”
74. Ezra 3:11 “And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.”
75. Psalm 4:6-7 “There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
76. Psalm 71:23 “My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.”
77. Isaiah 35:10 “and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Examples of joy in the Bible
78. Matthew 2:10 “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”
79. Matthew 13:44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”
80. Matthew 18:12-13 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”
81. Luke 1:13-15 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.”
82. Luke 1:28 “So Gabriel went into the house and said to her, “Joy be to you, favoured one! the Lord is with you.”
83. Luke 1:44 “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
84. Luke 15:24 “For this, my son, who was dead, is living again; he had gone away from me, and has come back. And they were full of joy.”
85. Luke 24:41 “And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
86. 2 Corinthians 7:13 “Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.”
87. Proverbs 23:24 “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”
88. Proverbs 10:1 “The proverbs of Solomon: A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.”
89. Nehemiah 12:43 “And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.”
90. Isaiah 9:3 “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.”
91. 1 Samuel 2:1 “Hannah prayed: My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is lifted up by the LORD. My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.”
92. Philemon 1:7 “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”
Psalm 71:23 “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me.”