exultant gladness, mirth, rejoicing

As rejoicing with baptism

JOY in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]
REJOICE in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]

select Cross Reference Bible links
Leviticus 9:24 - seeing fire come out from the presence of God to consume the offering, people shouted for joy
Deuteronomy 16:14-15 - celebrating the feast with joy
Deuteronomy 28:47 - results of NOT serving the Lord joyfully during your prosperity
1 Chronicles 16:33 - the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord as he comes to judge the earth
2 Chronicles 30:26 - great joy in Jerusalem
Ezra 03:12-13 - seeing the 2nd temple, some wept, some shouted for joy
Ezra 6:16, 22 - they celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy; they were filled with joy
Nehemiah 8:10,12 - "the joy of the Lord is your strength" - celebrate understanding the words of the Lord
Psalm 5:11 - sing for joy all who take refuge in the Lord

JOY [Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology]

Happiness over an unanticipated or present good. In the Old Testament joy (Heb. sama) covers a wide range of human experiences—from sexual love (So 1:4), to marriage (Pr 5:18), the birth of children (Psalm 113:9), the gathering of the harvest, military victory (Isa 9:3), and drinking wine (Psalm 104:15). On the spiritual level it refers to the extreme happiness with which the believer contemplates salvation and the bliss of the afterlife. Unexpected benefits from God are expressed in terms of common experiences. The psalms express the joyous mood of believers as they encounter God. Believers rejoice because God has surrounded them with his steadfast love (32:11) and brought them to salvation (40:16; 64:10). David rejoices that God has delivered him from the hand of his enemies (63:11). Joy is a response to God's word (Psalm 119:14) and his reward to believers (Isa 65:14) and their strength (Ne 8:10).

Fundamental to the Old Testament understanding of joy are God's Acts in history, the most important of which is Israel's deliverance from Egypt (Exod 18:9-11). Israel's return from the Babylonian exile (Jer 31:1-19) to Jerusalem is above the highest joy (Psalm 137:6). The restoration of Israel will be an occasion for joy (Psalm 14:7) in which nature shares (Psalm 98:4-6). Joy characterizes Israel's corporate worship life (Deut 16:13-15; 2 Chron 30:21-22) in which the individual participates: "I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go the house of the Lord'" (Psalm 122:1). Whereas for the believer the secular joys common to human existence are distinguished from spiritual ones, they are not separated. Spiritual joys are expressed by the metaphors of feasting, marriage, victory in military endeavors, and successful financial undertakings. The joy of the harvest is used to describe the believer's final victory over his adversaries (Psalm 126:5-6). Christ's coming is described by the joy of the harvest and dividing up captured military booty (Isa 9:2-7). In turn, spiritual joys elevate the secular happiness of believers. Secular successes are regarded as unexpected benefits from God.

Old Testament imagery for joy is carried over into the New. Jesus joins the joys of marriage and spiritual ones by describing John the Baptist's reaction to his coming as the joy (chara []) of the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29-30). This is accentuated by this pericope's proximity to the Cana wedding miracle where the water changed to a superior wine relieves an embarrassed host (John 2:1-11). Wine, a source of joy, anticipates eschatological joy of which Christ is an endless source (Psalm 104:15). Joy is associated with the nativity. The birth of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah is an occasion of joy for his father and others (Luke 1:14). The angel's greeting (chaire) to Mary followed by "highly favored, " a word of the same family in Greek, may be taken as a command to rejoice as the Redeemer's mother (Luke 1:28). Shepherds hear that news of the birth of Christ is an occasion for great joy for all people (Luke 2:10). Luke's cycle is completed with the disciples returning with great joy after Jesus' ascension (24:52). The Magi, upon finding the infant Jesus, are "overjoyed" (Matt 2:10).

Joy belongs also to the realm of the supernatural. Angels rejoice at an unbeliever's conversion (Luke 10:20). Luke places three parables together in which God, in two instances with the angels, rejoices at the redemption. Upon finding the lost sheep, the shepherd rejoices (15:3-7). The woman rejoices upon finding the lost coin (15:8-10). The prodigal son's return brings rejoicing (15:11-32). The parable of the man who liquifies his assets to purchase the treasure hidden in the field teaches us that God has joy in bringing about the atonement (Matt 13:44). This parallels Jesus who with joy "endured the cross, scorning its shame" (Heb 12:2). Also for believers, trials and persecution are occasions for joy (James 1:2). Peter and John found their scourging an occasion for "rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name" (Acts 5:41). Suffering brings joy as believers are united with Christ in his suffering (1 Peter 4:13-14). Paul speaks of his joy in the midst of affliction (2 Cor 7:4-16). It is a part of faith (Php 1:25). Joy expresses the relationship between the apostle and his congregations and an opportunity for thanksgiving (Rom 15:32; Php 2:28), with each rejoicing in the other. God's kingdom is described as "righteousness, peace and joy" (Rom 14:17). Certainty of salvation is a cause for joy, as the disciples are commanded to "rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). Fellowship with Jesus brings continuous joy (John 15-17).

David P. Scaer

See also Blessedness; Holy Spirit; Holy Spirit, Gifts of

Bibliography. J. Moltmann, Theology and Joy; W. G. Morrice, Joy in the New Testament.

JOY [Holman Bible Dictionary]

The happy state that results from knowing and serving God. A number of Greek and Hebrew words are used in the Bible to convey the ideas of joy and rejoicing. We have the same situation in English with such nearly synonymous words as joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, gladness, merriment, felicity, and enjoyment. The words joy and rejoice are the words used most often to translate the Hebrew and Greek words into English. Joy is found over 150 times in the Bible. If such words as “joyous” and “joyful” are included, the number comes to over 200. The verb rejoice appears well over 200 times.

Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure. The Greek word for pleasure is the word from which we get our word hedonism, the philosophy of self-centered pleasure-seeking. Paul referred to false teachers as “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4).

The Bible warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking does not lead to happiness and fulfillment. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 records the sad testimony of one who sought to build his life on pleasure-seeking. The search left him empty and disillusioned. Proverbs 14:13 offers insight into this way of life, “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful.” Cares, riches, and pleasures rob people of the possibility of fruitful living (Luke 8:14). Pleasure seeking often enslaves people in a vicious cycle of addiction (Titus 3:3). The self-indulgent person, according to 1 Timothy 5:6, is dead while seeming still to be live.

Many people think that God is the great Kill-Joy. Nothing could be a bigger lie. God Himself knows joy, and He wants His people to know joy. Psalms 104:31 speaks of God Himself rejoicing in His creative works. Isaiah 65:18 speaks of God rejoicing over His redeemed people who will be to Him “a joy.”

Luke 15:1 is the most famous biblical reference to God's joy. The Pharisees and scribes had criticized Jesus for receiving sinners and eating with them. Then Jesus told three parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the loving father. The explicit theme of each parable is joy over one sinner who repents.

The joy of God came to focus in human history in Jesus Christ. The note of joy and exultation runs through the entire biblical account of the coming of Christ (Luke 1:14,Luke 1:44; Matthew 2:10). The most familiar passage is the angel's announcement of “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus spoke of His own joy and of the full joy He had come to bring to others (John 15:11; John 17:13). He illustrated the kingdom of heaven by telling of the joy of a man who found treasure (Matthew 13:44). Zacchaeus was in a tree when Jesus called him, but he quickly climbed down and received Jesus joyfully (Luke 19:6). He had found life's ultimate treasure in Christ.

As Jesus' death approached, He told His followers that soon they would be like a woman in labor, whose sorrow would be turned into joy (John 16:20-22). Later they understood, when the dark sorrow of the cross gave way to the joy of the resurrection (Luke 24:41). Viewed from this perspective, eventually they came to see that the cross itself was necessary for the joy to become real (Hebrews 12:2). Because of His victory and the promise of His abiding presence, the disciples could rejoice even after the Lord's ascension (Luke 24:52).

The Book of Acts tells how joy continued to characterize those who followed Jesus. After Philip preached in Samaria, the people believed and “there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). After the work of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch of Pisidia, “the diciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52). Paul and Barnabas reported such conversions to other believers, “and they caused great joy unto all the brethren” (Acts 15:3). After the conversion of the Philippian jailer, he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:34).

Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord. They can rejoice because they are in the Lord (Philippians 4:4). Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life (Galatians 5:22). Sin in a believer's life robs the person of joy (Psalms 51:8,Psalms 51:12).

When a person walks with the Lord, the person can continue to rejoice even when troubles come. Jesus spoke of those who could rejoice even when persecuted and killed (Matthew 5:12). Paul wrote of rejoicing in suffering because of the final fruit that would result (Romans 5:3-5). Both Peter and James also echoed the Lord's teachings about rejoicing in troubles (1 Peter 1:6-8; James 1:2).

Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given. They rejoice in family (Proverbs 5:18), food (1 Timothy 4:4-5), celebrations (Deuteronomy 16:13-15), fellowship (Philippians 4:1). They share with other believers the joys and sorrows of life: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

Robert J. Dean


joi (simchah; chara):

1. Terms:

The idea of joy is expressed in the Old Testament by a wealth of synonymous terms that cannot easily be differentiated. The commonest is simchah (1 Samuel 18:6, etc.), variously translated in English Versions of the Bible "joy," "gladness," "mirth"; from sameah, properly "to be bright," "to shine" (Proverbs 13:9, "The light of the righteous rejoiceth," literally, "is bright"), but generally used figuratively "to rejoice," "be glad" (Leviticus 23:40 and very frequent).

Other nouns are masos and sason, both from sus, properly "to spring," "leap," hence, "exult," "rejoice"; rinnah, "shouting." "joy"; gil, from verb gil or gul, "to go in a circle," hence, "be excited" (dancing round for joy), "rejoice." In the New Testament, far the commonest are chara, "joy," chairo, "to rejoice" (compare charis, "grace"). But we have also agalliasis, which expresses "exuberant joy," "exultation" (not used in classical Greek, but often in the Septuagint; in the New Testament, Luke 1:14,44; Acts 2:46; Jude 1:24; Hebrews 1:9), and the corresponding verb agalliaoo (-aomai), "to exult," "rejoice exceedingly" (Matthew 5:12, etc.). In English Versions of the Bible we have sometimes "to joy" (now obsolete as a verb), used in an intransitive sense = "to rejoice" (Habakkuk 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13, etc.).

2. In the Old Testament:

Besides joy in a general sense, as the response of the mind to any pleasurable event or state (1 Kings 1:40; Esther 8:17, etc.), joy as a religious emotion is very frequently referred to in the Old Testament. Religion is conceived of as touching the deepest springs of emotion, including the feeling of exultant gladness which often finds outward expression in such actions as leaping, shouting, and singing. Joy is repeatedly shown to be the natural outcome of fellowship with God. "In thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psalms 16:11; compare Psalms 16:8-9). God is at once the source (Psalms 4:7; 51:12) and the object (Psalms 35:9; Isaiah 29:19) of religious joy. The phrase "rejoice (be glad) in Yahweh" and similar. expressions are of frequent occurrence (e.g. Psalms 97:12; 149:2; Isaiah 61:10; Zechariah 10:7). Many aspects of the Divine character call forth this emotion, such as
His lovingkindness (Psalms 21:6-7; 31:7),
His salvation (Psalms 21:1; Isaiah 25:9; Habakkuk 3:18), His laws and statutes (Psalms 12; 119 passim), His judgments (Psalms 48:11),
His words of comfort in dark days (Jeremiah 15:15-16).
The fundamental fact of the sovereignty of God, of the equity of the Divine government of the world, gives to the pious a joyous sense of security in life (Psalms 93:1 f; Psalms 96:10; 97:1) which breaks forth into songs of praises in which even inanimate Nature is poetically called upon to join (Psalms 96:11-13; 98:4-9). In the case of those who held such views of God, it was natural that the service of God should elicit a joyous spirit ("I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy," Psalms 27:6; compare 1 Chronicles 29:9), a spirit which is abundantly manifest in the jubilant shouting with which religious festivities were celebrated, and the trumpet-sound which accompanied certain sacrifices (2 Samuel 6:15; Psalms 33:1-3; Numbers 10:10; 2 Chronicles 29:27), and especially in psalms of praise, thanksgiving and adoration (Psalms 47; 81; 100, etc.). "Rejoice before Yahweh your God" is an oft-repeated phrase in Dt with reference to the sacrificial feast (e.g. Psalms 12:8). But joy is a Divine, as well as a human, emotion; for God Himself is represented in the Old Testament, not as a rigid, impassible Being, but as susceptible to pleasure and pain. God may be conceived of as "rejoicing in his works" (Psalms 104:31; compare Genesis 1:31), and over His people "for good" (Deuteronomy 30:9). "He will rejoice over thee (Zion) with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). Such noble and vivid anthropomorphisms are a nearer approach to the truth than the abstract doctrine of the impassibility of God which, owing to Platonic influences, dominated theology of the early Christian centuries.

3. In the New Testament:

The element of joy in religion is still more prominent in the New Testament. It is the appropriate response of the believer to the "good tidings of great joy" which constitute the gospel (Luke 2:10). In the four Gospels, especially Luke, this element is conspicuous. It is seen in the canticles of Luke 1 and Luke 2. It is both exemplified in the life and character, and set forth in the teaching of Jesus. There are many intimations that, in spite of the profound elements of grief and tragedy in His life, His habitual demeanor was gladsome and joyous, certainly not gloomy or ascetic: such as, His description of Himself as bridegroom, in defense of His disciples for not fasting (Mark 2:18-20); the fact that He came "eating and drinking," giving occasion to the charge that He was "a gluttonous man and a winebibber" (Matthew 11:19); His "rejoicing in the Holy Spirit" (Luke 10:21); the fact that His presence was found to be congenial at social festivities (Mark 14:3; Luke 14:1; John 12:1), and at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1 ff); His mention of "my joy" (John 15:11; 17:13). His teaching with reference to His followers harmonizes with this. The Christian virtues confer on those who attain them not only beatitude, a calm and composed state of felicity (Matthew 5:3-11), but also a more exuberant state of joy, which is in sharp contrast to the "sad countenance" of the hypocrites (Matthew 6:16) ("Rejoice, and be exceeding glad", Matthew 5:12). This spirit is reflected in many of the parables. The discovery of the true treasure of life brings joy (Matthew 13:44). The three parables in Luke 15 reveal the joy of the Divine heart itself at the repentance of sinners (see especially Luke 15:5-7,9-10,22-24,32). The parable of the Talents lays stress on the "joy of the Lord" which is the reward of faithfulness (Matthew 25:21,23). Jesus confers on His followers not only peace (John 14:27; 16:33), but participation in His own fullness of joy (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13), a joy which is permanent, in contrast to the sorrow which is transient (John 16:22). In the dark days of disappointment that succeeded the crucifixion, the joy of the disciples passed under a cloud, but at the resurrection (Luke 24:41) and still more on the day of Pentecost it emerged into light, and afterward remained a marked characteristic of the early church (Acts 2:46 f; Acts 8:39; 13:52; 15:3). Paul speaks of joy as one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and of "joy in the Holy Spirit" as an essential mark of the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17). This joy is associated with faith (Philippians 1:25), hope (Romans 5:2; 12:12), brotherly fellowship and sympathy (Romans 12:15; 2 Corinthians 7:13; Philippians 2:1 f). To rejoice in the Lord is enjoined as a Christian duty (Philippians 3:1; 4:4; compare Philippians 2:17 f; 1 Thessalonians 5:16). In Christ, the Christian "rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8), in spite of his temporary afflictions (1 Peter 1:6). Christian joy is no mere gaiety that knows no gloom, but is the result of the triumph of faith over adverse and trying circumstances, which, instead of hindering, actually enhance it (Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3 f; James 1:2,12; 5:11; 1 Peter 4:13; compare Matthew 5:11-12). Even our Lord Himself "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame" (Hebrews 12:2).

D. Miall Edwards

JOY [Thompson Chain Reference]

    * In the Divine Method of Revelation
          o Luke 10:21
    * In finding the Lost Sheep
          o Luke 15:5
    * Abides in Believers
          o John 15:11
    * Bestowed through his Words
          o John 17:13
    * Sustained him at the Cross
          o Hebrews 12:2

# Israel Lost the Joy of Divine Favour

    * Isaiah 24:11
    * Jeremiah 7:34
    * Jeremiah 16:9
    * Jeremiah 25:10
    * Lamentations 5:15
    * Ezekiel 26:13
    * Hosea 2:11
    * Amos 8:10
    * Revelation 18:23

# Earthly

    * General References to
          o Job 20:5
          o Proverbs 14:13
          o Ecclesiastes 2:10
          o Ecclesiastes 7:6
          o Isaiah 16:10
          o James 4:9
    * Innocent Mirth
          o Nehemiah 8:12
          o Proverbs 17:22
          o Ecclesiastes 9:7
          o Jeremiah 30:19
          o Luke 15:24
          o SEE Jesting
    * Manifested in Laughter
          o Proverbs 14:13
          o Ecclesiastes 2:2
          o Ecclesiastes 7:3
          o Ecclesiastes 7:6
          o Luke 6:25
          o James 4:9
          o SEE Jesting
    * Enjoyment Sought
          o Ecclesiastes 2:10
          o Ecclesiastes 3:13
          o Ecclesiastes 3:22
          o Ecclesiastes 5:18
          o Ecclesiastes 9:9
          o Isaiah 9:3
          o SEE Epicureans

# Great joy, occasions of

    * The laying the Foundation of the Temple
          o Ezra 3:12
    * The Creation
          o Job 38:7
    * The Coming of Christ
          o Matthew 2:10
    * The Resurrection of Christ
          o Matthew 28:8
    * The Ascension of Christ
          o Luke 24:52
    * The Conversion of the Gentiles
          o Acts 15:3
    * SEE Happiness
    * SEE Shouting

# Heavenly

    * (causes of)
    * Psalms 16:11
    * The Incarnation of Christ
          o Luke 2:13
          o Luke 2:14
    * The Return of the Penitent Sinner
          o Luke 15:7
    * The Exaltation of the Lamb
          o Revelation 5:9
          o Revelation 5:10
          o Revelation 12:12
    * The Gathering Home of the Saints
          o Revelation 14:2
          o Revelation 14:3
    * The Triumph of Righteousness
          o Revelation 19:6

# In Service

    * Nehemiah 12:43
    * Psalms 40:8
    * Psalms 100:2
    * Psalms 126:5
    * Psalms 126:6
    * Luke 10:17
    * John 4:36
    * Acts 11:23

# In Sorrow

    * SEE Happiness

# In Tribulation, examples of

    * Famine
          o Habakkuk 3:17
          o Habakkuk 3:18
          o Matthew 5:12
          o Luke 6:23
    * Persecution
          o Acts 5:41
    * Imprisonment
          o Acts 16:23
          o Acts 16:25
    * Poverty
          o 2 Corinthians 6:10
          o Colossians 1:24
    * Loss of Property
          o Hebrews 10:34
    * Fiery Trials
          o 1 Peter 4:12
          o 1 Peter 4:13
    * SEE Afflictions
    * SEE Happiness

# Promised to believers

    * Nehemiah 8:10
    * Psalms 16:11
    * Psalms 30:5
    * Psalms 89:16
    * Psalms 126:5
    * Psalms 132:16
    * Isaiah 12:3
    * Isaiah 35:10
    * Luke 2:10
    * John 15:11
    * John 16:24
    * John 17:13
    * Romans 14:17

# Restored

    * At the Return of Divine Favour
          o Psalms 30:11
    * To those who Mourn
          o Isaiah 61:3
    * At the Deliverance of the Nation
          o Jeremiah 30:19
          o Jeremiah 31:13
    * At the Opening of the door of Hope
          o Hosea 2:15
    * At the Vision of the Risen Saviour
          o John 16:20

# Soul-winners'

    * Essential to Success in Christian Work
          o Psalms 51:12
          o Psalms 51:13
    * Comes from Bringing in the Sheaves
          o Psalms 126:6
    * From Finding the Lost Sheep
          o Luke 15:6
          o Luke 15:7
    * The Sower and the Reaper rejoice together
          o John 4:36
    * Thrills the Church
          o Acts 15:3
          o Philippians 2:16
    * Souls won are a Crown of Rejoicing
          o 1 Thessalonians 2:19
          o 1 Thessalonians 2:20
    * It Sustained Christ in his Suffering upon the Cross
          o Hebrews 12:2
    * SEE Soul-winners
    * SEE Joy 

# Spiritual, special reasons for

    * Dedication of God's House
          o Ezra 6:22
          o Nehemiah 12:43
    * The Return from Captivity
          o Psalms 126:2
    * The Blessings of a Spiritual Life
          o Isaiah 61:10
    * The Delights of God's Word
          o Jeremiah 15:16
    * Times of Spiritual Refreshing
          o Acts 8:5
          o Acts 8:6
          o Acts 8:8
          o Acts 8:39
          o Romans 5:11
          o 2 Corinthians 7:4
    * The Love of Christ
          o 1 Peter 1:8 

Home | Keyword Index