In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook the extraordinary joy that can be found in the most ordinary moments. In the Christian life, we are called to embrace a life of joy, rooted in our faith and nurtured through our relationships with God and one another. In this blog post, we will explore 40 Bible verses about joy and happiness, uncovering the truth of these twin emotions in God’s Word.
Through these encouraging and challenging Bible verses we’ll discover practical ways to experience joy in our everyday lives. So, whether you’re feeling weighed down by the demands of motherhood, battling loneliness in your career, or simply seeking a renewed sense of purpose, join me as we uncover the abundant joy that awaits us, beckoning us to live fully in the grace and love of our Savior.
Definition of true joy in the Bible
“Biblical joy is more than a happy feeling. It’s a lasting emotion that comes from the choice to trust that God will fulfill His promises.-The Bible Project
Joy is an act of the will to choose to view things from God’s perspective no matter the circumstances. The Greek word is “chara”, meaning cheerful, glad or a calm delight. So the believer in Christ Jesus always has the choice of joy. Joy is what God created me for, but I can choose to embrace self-pit, to go along on the roller coaster ride of my own emotions, to focus on my fears or to only see my lack.
Or I can fix my eyes on Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
No matter how painful, uncertain or unexciting my current circumstances are–I can claim joy because God is both the Author and Finisher of my faith. He’s the one writing my story. Because God is trustworthy joy is always a possibility.
Definition of true happiness in the Bible
The word blessed and happy are used interchangeably in the Bible. Although it is a different emotion that joy, it is very similar and has greater depth than fleeting pleasure it often conveys in English.
The Key Word study Bible describes it this way: “The Greek word translated blessed in these passages is “makarioi” which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances.
Those who follow Jesus are truly blessed, happy, and favored–not necessarily by material possessions, good circumstances or eternal laughter–but by the supreme blessing of knowing the God of the universe and being His beloved children.
40 Encouraging Bible Verses About Joy and Happiness
Here are some of my favorite Bible verses about both joy and happiness and all the principles they convey as well.
Old Testament Bible Verses About Joy
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. -Psalm 5:11
With God as our Protector and Provider we can find joy in all circumstances.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with fullness of joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. -Psalm 16:11
We see it is God’s presence and nearness (at our right hand) that bring a full measure of joy to our lives.
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. -Psalm 31:19
God has an abundance of goodness, joy, and His favor stored up for those who respect and take refuge in His arms.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4
This verse doesn’t mean God will give you whatever you want–but as we delight in the Lord, He becomes the desire of our heart and He will always give us more of Him.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” -Psalm 70:4
Seeking God leads to joy no matter what are circumstances. Notice that we still long for (and need) God’s saving help–but our praise and joy doesn’t stop!
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart can change your physical health which this Bible verse revealed a long time ago, and now modern researchers are confirming. Happier and more optiimistic people live longer an average according to research.
In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” -Isaiah 25:9
Trust in God brings joy and gladness, no matter what situations we are facing. His faithfulness and character are a safe place for our joy and trust to rest.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. -Isaiah 35:10
Life here on earth isn’t all there is–because of that God can promise His children EVERLASTING joy–that won’t fade or tarnish. All sorrow and sadness though painful and difficult, is temporary in light of eternity.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. -Isaiah 51:3
This verse has been so close to me in seasons that felt like wastelands–empty spaces where I couldn’t see God working. But He was doing something. Redeeming circumstances and also growing me into a follower who could see a wilderness wasteland as a place of blessing because God led me there.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” -Isaiah 52:7
Believers can be the people who bring good news and peace to all they encounter because God reigns supreme, no matter what is happening in our world.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. -Isaiah 61:10
The salvation God has freely given us to is our forever reason to rejoice.
Nehemiah 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.” -Nehemiah 8:10
In this passage, the people of Israel had returned to Jerusalem and finally found the book of the law and many heard it for the first time. With the reading and understanding of Scripture came tears of conviction, but the leaders instead told them to plan a party. The restoration of the Word of God was a time for JOY, not sorrow.
Joy is such a well of strength for God’s people.
New Testament Bible Verses About Joy and Happiness
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! -Luke 1:45
The angel gabriel spoke these words over Mary at a scary time in her life. An unplanned pregnancy was not what she expected, but God would use this to bless her and the whole world.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. -Matthew 5:6-8
God’s favor and full satisfaction is upon those who live according to His kingdom principles. This section of Scripture is called the Beatitudes and includes even more examples of God’s blessings for His children, and furthers the point that blessings and happiness aren’t external privileges like prosperity, but spiritual realities that hold steady despite physical circumstances.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. -John 15:11-12
Jesus doesn’t just promise us a little joy, but a life of complete or full or overflowing joy.
Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. -Romans 4:7-8
One of our greatest blessings and happinesses of our lives is that because of Jesus death God doesn’t hold our sin against us any longer. We can live fully forgiven as His beloved children.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. -Romans 14:17
Once again, we see that God’s kingdom riches aren’t about externals or “rewards”, but about a lifestyle of constant integrity, steady trust and abiding joy.
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. -Romans 15:13
Hope flows to us from God bringing joy and peace and greater trust and hope. This isn’t something a Christian must muster in his or her own strength, but the Holy Spirit is the source of all this for the believer.
And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. -Colossians 1:12
The freedom Christ’s rescue provides is the perfect reason to rejoice.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our life. This doesn’t mean Christians are constantly bubbly, but that a calm peacefulness pervades our lives.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! -Philippians 4:4
This call to joy was made by the apostle Paul while in prison for his faith, reminding us again that joy is always a possibility.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God’s will for us is to choose joy, stays close to Him in prayer, and see every situation of our lives as an opportunity for thankfulness.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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. -Hebrews 12:1-2
No matter how painful, uncertain or unexciting my current circumstances are–I can claim joy because God is both the Author and Finisher of my faith.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. -3 John 4
As we learn true spiritual joy, we can also teach others and receive joy from seeming them walking joyfully with Jesus.
Bible Verses about Joy in Hard Times
Rejoicing in the trials and difficult situations of life isn’t easy, but it is possible because the source of joy isn’t on our circumstances, but on our relationship with God. These powerful verses are some the best support for a life of joy no matter what is going on in life.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. -Habakkuk 3:17-18
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Those are powerful and costly words–that despite poverty, loss, and life not looking like we think it should–joy is still a choice.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. -Psalm 126:5-6
Yes, weeping may be happening at the present. Joy doesn’t mean we have to pretend that life isn’t hard, but it trusts that God holds the future in His kind hands.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. -James 1:2-3
God is doing something with the painful parts of our stories, no matter what. I love this song and sermon Shane and Shane and John Piper as an encouragement for trials of all kinds.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12
This verse goes right along with the above one from James. God has a special heavenly crown and favor for those whose faith holds up under pressure.
More Resources to Dive Deeper into Joyful Living
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
In All Things Bible Study by Melissa Kruger
As we conclude this journey of joy, let us remember that true and lasting joy springs from our relationship with Christ. It is not a fleeting emotion dependent on circumstances but a steadfast hope grounded in the promises of our faithful God. So we will continue to seek joy in our everyday moments, finding beauty, laughter, and blessing in the chaos of motherhood.
May our lives be a testament to the transformative power of joy, drawing others to the source of our happiness – the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s cling closely to our Savior knowing that in His presence, there is fullness of joy.
May the joy of the Lord be our strength, now and forevermore. Amen.