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30 Inspiring Bible Verses for Happiness and Joy

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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

What does the Bible say about joy and happiness? 

God wants us to be happy.  If He didn’t, He wouldn’t tell us to be happy and joyful as often as He does in His Word, the Holy Bible.  The problem in the world today is that people are seeking their happiness and joy in ungodly places.  True joy and happiness can only be found in God.

Join me as I share with you a bunch of inspiring Bible verses for happiness and joy.  But first, let’s break it all down.  What is the definition of joy in the Bible?  And what is the spiritual difference between joy and happiness?  How do you gain joy?  And what does God think about joy and happiness?  Keep reading,  let’s find out.

Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

What are the meanings of joy and happiness?

It was challenging to find a definition of happiness in the Bible.  But when looking for the definition of joy in the Bible,  it became pretty evident that God looks at joy and happiness in almost the same way.  Joy is a gift from God that comes through the Holy Spirit upon accepting Jesus as our Savior.  We have joy in our hearts because our eternal destiny is safe and secure.

Definition of joy in the Bible

The Hebrew word for joy is “simchah”, which means joy, gladness, or mirth. 

You can find joy using simchah in the following verses:

Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Deuteronomy 28:47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;

2 Chronicles 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.

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Definition of happiness in the Bible  

On the other hand, let’s look at the definition of happiness in the Bible.  In the beatitudes in Matthew 5 when Jesus is giving His Sermon on the mount, He starts each sentence with the word, “blessed.”  The Greek word for blessed here is “makarios”.  But the definition also covers the words, happy or happier.

In addition to the Bible verses describing the beatitudes, you can find happiness using makarios in the following verses:

John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

Roman’s 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Joy is also the second fruit of the spirit.  This fruit is only preceded by love.  These two qualities are called fruit because it is how we are to live as redeemed children of God.  Others are to know that we are disciples of Jesus through our actions.  So we show our joy, contentment, and hope in the Lord, even when bad things happen or hard times come.

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What is the spiritual difference between joy and happiness? 

Joy is a belief of the heart, but happiness is determined by external things. According to Theopedia, “joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness”.  

Merriam-Webster defines joy as the state of happiness or a source or cause of delight.  Whereas they define happiness as a state of well-being and contentment.  It’s also defined as a pleasurable or satisfying experience.  

I basically believe that happiness is a surface-level emotion based on external circumstances.  I might be happy because the sun is shining.  But if all of a sudden the skies turn gray and a storm comes in, my mood could turn so my happiness isn’t as great as it was earlier.

Joy is deeper, it’s an internal emotion that doesn’t leave you when times get tough.  I have the joy of the Lord and when I am sad because I am in pain, I am comforted by the peace that passes understanding.  We may not be happy, but we should always have joy.  Does that make sense?

How many times is the word joy used in the bible? 

According to Christian Bible Reference,  the word joy is used 165 times.  The word joy is used 102 times in the Old Testament and 63 in the New Testament.  I could not find a concrete answer to my question about happiness and how many times the word happiness appears in the Bible, but one of my sources said 25 times.  But the word blessed is mentioned 302 times and over 200 more with variations like bless, blessing, and blessings. 

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Short Bible verses about happiness

The Lord wants us to be happy.  However, it’s easy to be happy when you have the love of God in your heart.  Simply develop a relationship with Jesus Christ our Savior, starting with salvation and followed by baptism in a local New Testament church.  From there, you can learn and grow.   There are many posts in the Spiritual Growth category, right here on this blog, that will help you.

Psalm 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

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How do you gain joy?

It is quite obvious that finding joy clearly comes from the Lord.  It is something that He wants for His people.  And it is our Heavenly Father’s will that we have true joy.  Through growing our faith, and increased spiritual growth, we can grow closer to the Lord.  You will find, that the closer you get to the Lord the greater your joy.  If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to test me on it.

But… you also know I’m a huge proponent of gratitude if you’ve read anything else on this blog.  As you grow your faith, also work on cultivating more gratitude, and each subset of growing closer to God will bring deeper joy.  

1 Peter 1:8-9 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Roman’s 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Growing your happiness and joy in the Lord?

Many times we look at what we lack and the things we can no longer do, and our happiness starts to wane.  Instead, it’s important to look at everything we have and the things that we can do.  In other words, look for blessings.

This is why you need the tools to help you focus on your faith, gratitude, kindness, and positivity. In my experience, I have learned that by keeping gratitude, kindness, prayer, and the Lord in the forefront of your mind, you can push the negativity away and rest in the happiness and contentment you so desperately seek. 

The Joyful Living Toolbox is for women who are struggling with fulfillment and happiness in their life, who are looking for reminders that through faith, gratitude and kindness, you can overcome anything.

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How will the Toolbox help you?  This isn’t your ordinary gratitude journaling kit.  After years of trying to overcome every challenge all by myself, I have found is that there are 3 key elements to focus on every day that will help you get back to feeling like yourself in no time at all.  This toolkit gives you the tools (70 pages) that will help you to…

Grow your faith

Increase your gratitude (so that the blessings are bigger than the obstacles)

And serve others through kindness

All of this results in a positive mindset that will help you tackle any challenge to create a beautiful life filled with greater contentment and joy. The Joyful Living Toolbox is geared toward making life easier, saving you time by putting all the tools that you need in one handy place, at your fingertips. 

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What does God say about joy?

A beautiful example of joy is found in the book of Habakkuk.  This is part of his prayer of praise for the Lord. Habakkuk knew that it was time for God’s punishment for the people of Israel.   Tribulation was on it’s way and Habakkuk was helpless.  However, he could pray, repent and praise God.   

The Babylonians were headed his way.  Habakkuk knew of God’s mercy and grace.  He also knew God’s character and that God always keeps His promises.  There was a promised land for Israel.   So Habakkuk prayed a beautiful prayer of sorrow, repentance, and praise.  He knew God’s faithfulness was never ending.  Truly, because we also know that, it gives us more reasons to be joyful.  

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

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Bible verses about joy and happiness 

Let’s take a look at some Scriptures on happiness and joy.  We can rejoice in the Lord because of who He is, what He does, the promises He has made, and His overall character. We can seek His Holy favor simply through prayer.  And we can rejoice because He has clothed us in salvation and righteousness.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Scriptures on happiness and joy 

Once we accept that free gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus, we can rejoice in hope, tribulation, and prayer.  We prove our Christian love by walking in the fruit of the Spirit.  And we can rest in the protection of our Lord in times of trouble or fear.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Psalm 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah

Bible verses about happiness and contentment  

Growing in your joy comes from accepting Jesus as your Savior.  That comfort we feel at the point of salvation fills us with peace, happiness, and contentment.  To feel content through times of hardship or tribulation can only come from God.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Bible verses about joy and thankfulness 

We all fall into trials and tribulations.  But if you rest in the comfort you can get through Jesus, you will find a deeper peace than you could ever imagine.  The best suggestion I have during those fearful times is to draw near to God.  As you draw near to Him, He will pull you closer and draw near to you.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Bible verses about being happy and enjoying life 

Whoever said that you can’t be happy and enjoy life if you give your life to Jesus?  There are so many blessings to be had with a relationship with the Savior of the world.  He is your Father, your Brother, your Savior, and your Friend.  Trust Him, talk to Him, rejoice with Him, and love Him.

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

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Bible verses about happiness KJV 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Proverbs 23:24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

I have only given you 30 Bible verses about happiness and joy in this post.  But it’s pretty easy to find dozens as you study your Bible. As you can see, if you’re looking for happiness and joy, all you need to do is open your Bible and look.

We live in a world where everywhere you look there is negativity and hurtfulness.  People don’t seem to care about one another.  They just want to be right, even at the expense of others.  Others think it’s funny to pick on or bully someone who is different from them.  I know that the Lord is disappointed in the world today.  He is not surprised, just disappointed.  

I recommend that you turn off the TV and open your Bible.  Go to the place where you can seek the joy of your salvation.  Go to God and to his Word.

If you are a fan of my blog or any of my social media pages, then you know that I am a proponent of happiness, positivity, motivation, random acts of kindness, and inspiration.  

I believe that all comes from my relationship with the Lord.  How else do you think it’s possible for me to go through quadruple amputations and still have joy in my heart and a smile on my face?  

Now it’s your turn.  Where does your joy come from?  How do you connect with Jesus to deepen your relationship and build a life with greater joy? 

What are your favorite Bible verses about joy and happiness?

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  1. The book of James is one of my favorites and definitely recommend it for anyone looking for encouragement! This is such a great list, Wendy!

  2. So inspiring (as usual) and encouraging!

    I used to sing the Psalm 114 verse in Sunday school when I was a kid… it felt a little forced back then, but the words sunk in and they bless me.

    I also appreciate your differentiating between joy & happiness… I still get these confused so often!

    1. Thanks so much, Christina! I vaguely remember that song but I can come up with music to it now if I think about it. Yes, joy is a deeper version of happiness coming from within. Happiness is a choice.

    1. Thank you, AnnMarie. I’m glad you liked the verses I provided. I solely use the King James, although I have trouble understanding sometimes.

    1. I agree, Stacy! Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. That’s a great verse too. Aren’t they all?

  3. I love your suggestion about turning off the TV and stepping away from the negativity of the world and, instead, “open your Bible. Go to the place where you can seek the joy of your salvation. Go to God and to his Word.” I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for your inspiration, Wendy!

  4. Your story is amazing, and your Joy is inspiring. Thank you for sharing these Bible verses for Joy!

    Janes 1 is so challenging, but there’s philippians 4:7 right with it! And
    The Joy of the Lord is my strength!

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