Bible Study on Joy: 7 Things You Need To Know

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

The word ‘joy’ is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires…the expression or exhibition of such emotion…a state of happiness” .  Let us look at the biblical understanding of ‘joy’.

Worldly Joy Is Fickle And Temporary

The joy that the world offers is a pale imitation of the true joy only God can give us.  The joy that unsaved people experience is a temporary joy that comes and goes depending on the situation that person is in at the time.  If things are going well, there is joy.  When things are difficult, there is no joy.  In the book of Job, one of Job’s friends utters some insightful words:  “…the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment?”  (Job 20:5 ESV cf. 20:18).  There can be no true joy apart from God.

Bible study About Joy

Wherever people know, love, and worship God, His love instills a joy, that only He can give, into the hearts of His worshipers

In The Old Testament, Joy Was Associated With The True Worship Of God

Joy is a prominent feature of the true worship of God in the Old Testament.  Wherever people know, love, and worship God, His love instills a joy, that only He can give, into the hearts of His worshipers (I Chronicles 15:16; Ezra 3:12, 6:16; Psalm 16:11, 32:11, 51:12 and many more).

In the times of King Hezekiah, the Israelites rededicated themselves to God and we read, “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem” (II Chronicles 30:26 ESV).  The people’s renewed commitment to God reignited the joy in their hearts that only He can produce.  Believers today can experience this same joy when he or she is dedicated to Jesus.

Joy Is A Gift From God

Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, who resides in the heart of the believer, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”  (Galatians 5:22 ESV).  Since God is the author of all these good things, when one becomes a Christian, and is united to God through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit imparts these qualities to the believer.  Joy is also an integral part of the Kingdom of God and will exist wherever believers are present, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 ESV).

Doing God’s Will Increases Our Joy

As many Christians can attest, being involved in the spread of the Gospel brings joy to the believer’s heart.  Personally, when I see someone become a follower of Jesus or I know that someone has discovered a truth from God’s Word that will encourage him or her in their walk of faith, I cannot help but feel a sense of joy.  The apostle Paul also experienced this often in his ministry (II Corinthians 1:24, 2:3; Philippians 1:4, 2:2; I Thessalonians 2:19, 20, 3:9; II Timothy 1:4; Philemon 1:7; and many other passages).  The writer of Third John experienced the joy of ministry, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4 ESV).

Circumstances Cannot Take Away Our Joy

In Second Corinthians 6:10, Paul says that Christians can even be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (ESV).  This means that even when we are in the midst of a situation that legitimately brings us sorrow, our inner joy is never taken away.  The very core of our being can still rejoice in the fact that we are forgiven children of God who enjoy an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe.  Our joy is strengthened when we remember that, no matter what the circumstances, God is with us and He is above all.

We see this in the writings of several New Testament authors:

James says that we should, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3 ESV).

Again, we read of the inspired determination of the apostle Paul as he faced incredible hardships, “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.  Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:17-18 ESV).

The apostle Peter encourages us with, “…rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:13 ESV).

The Only Thing That Can Steal Our Joy Is Sin

Godly joy is a wonderful thing; it is a supernatural gift from God to every believer.  However, one warning must be issued.  Sin can steal our joy.  It is difficult to experience the joy of our relationship with God when we have done something that damages that relationship.  Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit; when we grieve the Holy Spirit by our sin, we interfere with the flow of joy (among other things) from God.  If we find that we are experiencing joy less and less, we may need to reevaluate our relationship with Jesus Christ to make sure we are living as we should.

Christians Should ‘Rejoice Always’

Merriam-Webster defines ‘rejoice’ in this way, ‘to feel joy or great delight’.  There are several passages in the New Testament where Paul instructs us to ‘rejoice’.  These passages carry a sense of urgency or command, as if Paul were saying that a Christian is to be full of joy and he is urging believers to make sure that their relationships with God and others are relationships that produce joy (Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

Paul writes in First Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).  This joy, prayer, and thanksgiving should characterize the life of the Christian.  It is God’s will for the believer (see v. 18); this is how God wants us to live.  “Rejoicing always” does not mean that we are to paste a fake smile on our faces no matter what is going on in our lives or the lives of those we love.  It means that we are to remain steadfast in our knowledge that God is our strength and comfort, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves.  If our relationship with Jesus is right, and we confess and repent of any sin of which we are aware, we will experience this supernatural joy at all times…whether those times be good or bad.

Interested in reading more related posts? Check out these articles:


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV) “Abba, Father” by Hillsong

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Nella Basco October 23, 2012 at 1:39 am

Dear Robert,

Most of the time, we like to hear what our ears only want to hear. Then we neglect other things that will actually help us to grow with our relationship with God. Thank you for writing this part “The Only Thing That Can Steal Our Joy Is Sin” it’s truly a reminder. I thank God for your life Bro. Robert. Truly that God inspires you always to encourage other people. Be blest.


Robert October 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Thank you for reading and commenting. It is my privilege and honor to serve God in my writing ministry. I am encouraged by your comments very much. God bless you richly.
Yours in Christ,


Jack Wellman October 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

Robert, this is so good (as always). I think you said something very profound to start off the article by writing “The joy that the world offers is a pale imitation of the true joy only God can give us.” This is so true sir. One lasts and the other is fleeting. Thank you again for contributing to us all something that we take for granted but need to understand just how valuable it is. My compliments friend.


Robert October 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Your comments me so much to me, they are always an encouragement. God is so good to us. I am shown this every day. Thank you, sir. You are truly a blessing in my life.
Yours in Christ,


Derek Hill October 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Wonderful article Robert. October has been a rollercoaster of craziness for me and I know that God was walking with me the whole time. I find joy in that too! Just knowing that God is there, always, gives me such peace and joy. Blessings on you and your family!


Robert October 24, 2012 at 6:59 am

Thank you Derek,
You are absolutely right. Many times, after I’ve gone through something difficult or traumatic, I look back and realize the I had felt God’s presence the entire time I was going through the hardship. He said that He would never leave nor forsake us…and we can trust His Word. God bless you and your family also, Derek.
Yours in Christ,


ron October 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Thanks a lot for that wonderful God’s word. It’s true indeed that through times of difficulties our joy with can’t be snatch. We just relay on God’s word and promises through Jesus our Lord and Savior. God bless…


Robert Driskell October 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for reading and commenting. I pray God will continue to bless you in your walk with Him. You can trust Him and His promises. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,


david January 14, 2013 at 3:56 am

“It means that we are to remain steadfast in our knowledge that God is our strength and comfort, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves”

if we are unable to have joy (because of our circumstances) does it mean that we lack maturity?


Robert January 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It may, but it may also mean that we have confused joy with happiness. Having joy and peace in our hearts, that comes from our relationship with Jesus, does not mean that we will always FEEL good or that things will always SEEM positive to us. But it does mean that, by trusting in God’s power and promise, we have a confident hope that He will see us through whatever difficulties we face in life. Many times our lack of joy is simply doubt concerning the promises and provisions of God. However, when we rely on God, the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in our hearts and minds will give us the joy of resting in His hands (Philippians 4:6-7). God bless you.
Yours in Christ,


maria February 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

This is a very good, practical article. I try to steer those I know suffering with a lack of joy to Philippians chapter 4 to help them find the importance of attitude, prayer, and thinking in finding our joy in the Lord. His word has the answers if we will be open to receiving them. Thank you for so clearly and concisely communicating these excellent points on joy. I hope to refer your article to others. God bless, Maria


Hosea Peter March 14, 2013 at 7:06 am

Thank you very Pastor. for your powerful insight about joy it has being so helpful to me.. but i think sometimes i confuses between peace and joy as the spiritual states.


Ryan Visconti August 7, 2013 at 3:11 am

Great article, Robert! I enjoyed your explanation of Biblical joy.


Robert August 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

I am thankful that God can use me to share His Word. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,


Cletus Mathias-Ezeji November 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

A wonderful study for all Christian that desire a victorious lifestyle and desires heaven


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Vanessa July 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Very good article. I’m going to share this with my Sunday School class tomorrow.


ANTHONY November 1, 2019 at 5:27 am

Great thanks and may His mercies and grace strengthen you in Jesus name….Amen


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