Joy: New Testament List

Let’s consider two versions of a story. When our son Isaac and now daughter-in-law Maggie were married we participated in a variety of activities beginning Wednesday evening through the wedding and reception on Saturday. Many people attended, plenty of food was available, the weather cooperated, the wedding occurred without incident, and we were satisfied.

While everything I just said is true, the description is cold and pitifully inadequate. Here’s a more accurate description. The days surrounding our son Isaac’s wedding to his true love Maggie are among the greatest of our lives. The days leading up to the wedding were filled with parties, laughter, time with dear family and friends and our new family and friends. Every time something needed to be accomplished, many people gladly helped; even the work became part of the celebration. The day after the wedding I woke with tears of joy thinking through all the events of the previous days. Beautiful, fun and passionate are insufficient words to describe the wedding itself. As we shared in the wedding and all its events, I knew we were all experiencing true joy.

Too many Christians live as described in my first paragraph, rather than the second.

The words in the list range in meaning from describing simple joy to exuberant joy. Most all of the translations do a reasonable job distinguishing which word is used in each passage.

Joy (chara): This is the noun “joy” that Paul uses in his fruit of the Spirit list. It is also translated as delight, or gladness.

Matthew 2:10

Matthew 13:20

Matthew 13:44

Matthew 25:21

Matthew 25:23

Matthew 28:8

Mark 4:16

Rejoice (chairo): This is the verb form of the noun Paul uses for joy in the fruit of the Spirit passage. It is also translated as be glad, take pleasure in, or delight in.

Matthew 2:10

Matthew 5:12

Matthew 18:13

Matthew 26:49

Matthew 27:29

Matthew 28:9

Mark 14:11

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