The Most Helpful Bible Verses About Joy And Happiness

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated April 4, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

For Christians, the Bible may be not only a place people turn to when looking for advice, salvation, glory, guidance, grace, and instructions on how to live life but also a source of Christian motivation that can inspire and uplift them. Non-Christians may also find joy in the Bible's texts. In the Bible, joy is called the fruit of the Spirit. In secular terms, joy is a momentary emotion that arises as a positive response to often-positive stimuli. 

The Bible contains many verses that individuals use for wisdom and serenity or to bring comfort and courage in difficult times. Some of these verses discuss happiness and can guide individuals to a positive outlook. Reading and writing about positive and joyful topics is one way to increase moments of joy in your life. There are many verses to look at to get started.  

The difference between joy and happiness

The words joy and happiness are often used interchangeably. However, culturally, they may be used differently. When you ask someone to define happiness, they might give you one of two perspectives: a momentary emotion of joy or a long-term state of contentment, well-being, and satisfaction. Joy refers to a feeling or an emotion, while happiness may be used to define satisfaction. Happiness is often caused by an external stimulus that brings a sense of satisfaction, while joy develops internally due to a prompted external or internal event. 

The Bible often uses the word joy instead of happiness. Finding the term happiness in the Bible is rare. Instead, the Bible focuses on joy, which is an older word to describe the emotion of happiness. In addition, some verses take different stances on what joy means.  

What does the Bible say about happiness? 

According to Christianity and the Bible, Jesus Christ wanted to incite peacemaking and help people find a joyful heart. In the book, he talks about salvation and redemption through joy and peace. He describes to others how you may be able to have inner joy even when difficult or traumatic situations occur. Focusing on God and eternity may make it easier for Christians to experience happiness in challenging times.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

God, Jesus, and rejoicing

The Bible talks about righteousness. In John 10:10, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." Quotes like these show that joy can come from living life to the fullest, allowing happy moments to occur, and looking for joy in the mundane. According to this quote, having a life is not only about living and breathing but about living it in the way that makes you happy, without harming others. 

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Bible verses about joy from God

Below are some of the most popular verses about joy from the Bible. 

Hebrews 12: 2

"Looking to Jesus Christ, the founder, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Psalm 1: 1-3

"Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do."

1 Timothy 6: 6

"But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God]."

Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."

Isaiah 12: 3

"With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation."

Psalm 16: 11

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Ecclesiastes 9:7

"Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do."

Deuteronomy 33:12

"About Benjamin, he said: 'Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.'"

Psalm 37: 4

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 34: 5

"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."

Romans 15: 13

"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."

Psalm 15: 13

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."

Psalm 37: 7

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways when they carry out their wicked schemes."

Isaiah 61: 10

"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."

Bible verses about happiness and everlasting joy through obedience

For some, happiness comes from obedience and having a model to look to. The Bible states the following about joy through obedience. 

Psalm 19:8

"The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight into living."

Romans 5:2

"Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Psalm 119: 1-3

"Joyful are people of integrity who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths."

Luke 15: 7

"In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over 99 others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!"

Philippians 2: 12

"Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your own salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear."

James 1:3

"Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

Proverbs 29: 18

"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint, but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction."

Psalm 119: 91-93

"Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn't sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them, you give me life."

Psalm 19:8

"The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes."

Psalm 16:20

"Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful."

Ecclesiastes 3:13

"Also, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man."

Psalm 16:11

"You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Hebrews 12: 1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Proverbs 8:32-35

"And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instructions and be wise. Don't ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord."

1 Timothy 2

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus."

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Matthew 5:10

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 25:23 

"His Lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.'"

Acts 2

"Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope."

Bible verses about happiness through difficult times

If you are experiencing a difficult moment in life, you may find peace in the following verses about happiness through struggle. 

Psalm 30:11

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy."

Psalm 126:5

"Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy."

Romans 5:3-5

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Proverbs 15:13

"A glad heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."

James 1: 2-4

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

Philippians 4:11-13 

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

2 Corinthians 6:10

"Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything."

Psalm 105:2

"Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!"

2 Corinthians 8:1-3

"Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God, in his kindness, has done through the churches in Macedonia. Many troubles are testing them, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will."

Joel 2:23

"Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before."

Colossians 1:9-12

"So, we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power, so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light."

Proverb 17:22

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Galatians 5:23

"Gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law."

James 1:2

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

Job 5:17

"Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so, do not despise the discipline of the Almighty."

Ways to increase moments of joy in your life

If you struggle to feel happy, you might not know how to start changing your life to better suit your needs. The Bible talks about how being obedient brings joy. However, there are many ways to find joy, and some have been studied and proven to increase positive emotions, including the following. 

Self-care

Self-care can be crucial for your overall happiness. If you are not taking care of yourself, finding happiness may become increasingly difficult. Try to get enough rest every night, eat healthy food, and exercise. Exercising and physical activity increase endorphins, which can boost your mood. 

Forgiveness 

Forgiving yourself and others may also be a form of self-care. Forgiveness can release unnecessary emotional burdens from you, opening the path toward reconciliation, love, and happiness. A Bible verse about forgiveness in Proverbs 17:9 states, "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven." Love yourself and forgive yourself.

Meditation

Meditation can be an effective way to take control of your body and mind. Meditation can also help you release anger. You can practice deep breathing, sensory awareness, and self-control through meditation. Several resources, including apps and guided videos, can help you meditate if you're not comfortable doing it on your own. 

Alternative methods

There are many alternative treatments and activities that individuals may find helpful. For example, horse therapy, art therapy, or acupuncture are ways people can get support in a non-traditional way. Find what works for you and boosts your mood, and include it in your schedule. You can also practice giving to others or volunteering to find joy. 

Kindness and helpful behavior are a measure of altruism, a form of selfless concern for the well-being of others that impacts the emotional state of those who give and receive. Find an organization or cause that you believe will positively impact the world. Giving your time can benefit your community while bringing a sense of fulfillment and joy to you and those you care for.   

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Professional guidance 

Reading the Bible and following the wisdom within may be one step toward discovering true happiness. However, if you struggle to self-soothe or find comfort in these strategies, it may be beneficial to seek professional support. Long-term sadness that impacts daily functioning may indicate an underlying mental health condition, like depression. Speak with your healthcare provider or make an appointment with a licensed psychologist to receive support. 

If you struggle to make an appointment with a therapist in person due to cost, inaccessibility, or time constraints, you may also consider online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp. Through an online platform, you can request a therapist who discusses your spiritual or religious beliefs and works with someone to cultivate happiness and cope with distressing emotions or symptoms. 

Studies also back up the effectiveness of online therapy. One study found that 71% of participants found it more effective than in-person therapy, while 80% felt it was more cost-effective. 

Takeaway

Challenges can arise in life, but they may not necessarily signify the absence of happiness for the rest of time. Many people can find happiness through self-care, self-forgiveness, and reading the Bible. If you're looking for Christian therapy, consider contacting a licensed Christian therapist online or in your area for guidance.
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