What Does the Bible Say About Humor or Laughter?

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

Do you imagine that God has a sense of humor? Since we are made in the image of God and we are creatures of laughter—He must laugh out loud! Heaven will definitely be a place with pearly gates, streets of gold, and foundations made of the finest jewels. It must also be marked with joy and laughter around every corner.

Since we aren’t in heaven yet and live in a fallen world of pain, it’s sometimes hard to laugh. It’s difficult to read the news on a daily basis and not feel the inward groaning of the Spirit at the hardship of this world. Yet through the Holy Spirit we can experience a taste of heaven with sincere and pure joy.

Laughter can be good or bad. There’s the laughter shared between close family members and friends. Unfortunately there’s the mocking laughter of enemies or foes. What does the Bible reveal about laughter?

Laughter as a coping mechanism

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief” (Proverbs 14:13).

Healthy laughter is a wonderful gift from God.

Healthy laughter is a wonderful gift from God.

Life is hard and many times we’re compounded by the sadness within us and all around us. While we can’t deny our pain and frustration, we have access to the Holy Spirit who assures us of God’s presence in our lives. Our humor isn’t forced as much as a spiritual response to the pain around us. We resist the temptation to let trials and troubles consume our hearts because of the hope we have in Christ Jesus.

Laughter as a response to a miracle

“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me’” (Genesis 21:6).

Who couldn’t look at elderly Sarah holding her infant son and not giggle? If Abraham and Sarah had Isaac at the normal age of childbearing, many people would’ve been happy for them. But in their case, it could’ve only happened through the miraculous power of God demonstrated in their lives. God is still in the miracle business and many believers experience the amazing intervention of the Holy Spirit. We laugh out loud because of His tremendous love and grace that is showered on us.

Laughter as medicine for a broken heart

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

Many doctors will attest to the incredible discrepancy between patients with a sense of humor versus those weighed down by fear. Both patients may experience the same pain, the same inconveniences, and the same diagnosis—yet the one whose heart is filled with joy can experience a greater degree of healing. God heals ailments in many different ways including the medicine of joy, cheerfulness, and laughter.

Laughter as foolishness

“Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 7:6).

Comedy clubs are full on the weekends with people seeking laughter as an escape from pain, guilt, shame, and regret. Their temporary laughter is never enough to assuage the emptiness of their souls. When the laughter has died down, the realization of their spiritual, mental, and emotional state without God compels them to keep finding something else to fill the void. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we carry the balm of hope to a dying world when we share the gospel with the lost.

Laughter as the fruit of joy

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (Job 8:21).

To every believer there is given the fruit of the Spirit including an inexplicable joy from God. This joy isn’t only expressed in times of happiness and accomplishments, but also in deep disappointments and hurt from others. Even in the midst of persecution there can be joy expressed in the form of laughter. Not because of the pain, but because of the visions, expressions, and encouragement fed to the spirit of man through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Laughter as a cutting offense

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).

Gentle chiding between friends is normal and acceptable among believers. However crude jokes, offensive remarks, or a sarcastic jab doesn’t represent the gentleness, kindness, and goodness from the Holy Spirit. We must examine our hearts before we communicate words that could bring immediate laughter, but follow later with hurt feelings.

LOL (Laugh out Loud!)…

Healthy laughter is a wonderful gift from God. He grants us the ability to laugh out loud at ourselves in the safety of family and friends. His graciousness is demonstrated through us by the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit. Next time you laugh out loud, send up a silent “thank you” to our Father in heaven for this blessing.

Looking for more about joy? Take a look at this article:

Bible Study on Joy

Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. YouTube video “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy” by Wee Worship

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian July 15, 2013 at 11:30 pm

If you look at Jesus teaching about the plank in the eye, that’s actually 1st century humor. It was a ridiculous comparison Jesus made. The people in that day could tell it was real humor.


Crystal McDowell July 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thanks for sharing Brian. Jesus knew what people needed to hear in a way that they could receive and apply it to their lives. Nice insight!


Rob July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I actually believe He was very serious indeed. Such is the comparrison, we comment on others whilst our own issues are so big we don’t notice them. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Light. Since He is the truth, this funny remark still stands as truth. Our situation is so perilous, the descriptive words seem funny to us, yet are true.


Crystal McDowell July 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Yes you are correct…Jesus stayed true to the Word even in correction, rebuke, or encouragement. Thanks for your insights.



Judy July 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

I believe you are right on with this article Crystal. Amazing how God works in us and through us to get us to the place that we can laugh at our self and our circumstances. He knew laughter was good for our mind, body and heart. Thanks for sharing.


Crystal McDowell July 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thanks Judy! You and I know the joy of laughter…keeps us sane and strong for the journey. Love you lots!



David March 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

Couldnt agree more. It is sad for people who cannot laugh at themselves.
This past weekend was really tough, but now it is Monday, and am laughing like a loon.
I am sure God sometimes laughs at our feeble attempts to do things without His leading and guidance, He has a great sense of humour.
Blessings, I really needed this encouragement.
David Central Europe


Chris September 5, 2019 at 4:36 am

Excellent article. The realities of the comedy club situations was great. I notice elsewhere a tendency to ignore or to try and explain-away the fact one might only judge his brothers. And; whom is one to judge the servant of another? Those type of things; I find there might be a “movement” (nothing is new); and as-from, and within, many of places, as to claims of finding it necessary to do the opposite of the former; and that is, that we should be judging eachother. I don’t find that true. I believe it is also Ephesians that says as much. God Bless. :).


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