Living In Joy: Bible Verses About Happiness

Updated July 07, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock

For millennia people have looked to the Bible for support, inspiration, and guidance. Bible verses guided the daily lives of America’s founding fathers, who turned to the book for wisdom. Their political speeches were full of biblical stories and examples that they used to buttress their political beliefs. The beginning of the Declaration of Independence makes a thought-provoking statement: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


The founding fathers believed that the right to find happiness needed no further explanation. But the world of 1776 was a lot different than it is today. Those who penned the Declaration of Independence would not recognize today’s world. People in our country are obsessed with the pursuit of happiness. But the word “happiness” has taken on a vastly different sense. Happiness is equated with a temporary feeling of pleasure or contentment. Today, the word speaks more to a fleeting mood or a state of being that is shallow at best. Consider the following statement:

“Ice cream makes me happy.”

Bible verses about happiness define being happy in a different way than our culture does. Scriptural happiness is self-contained, not circumstantial. Instead, the Bible advocates an undying feeling of serenity and peace. Verses about being happy don’t mean chasing down your own desires at other’s expense or in a way that is displeasing to God. They do not equate to temporary pleasure or materialism. These represent temporal happiness. Bible verses instead exhort people to live a life undergirded with joy. Encouraging Bible verses call us to rejoice at all times in all things. In Philippians 4, the apostle, Paul urges Christians to “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!”  This includes when they experience painful trials. Consider making this your verse of the day today.

The Difference Between Joy And Happiness

Frequently, the Bible uses the word joy rather than happiness. Happiness bible verses are scarce when compared to the words “joy” and “rejoice”. In our culture, joy and happiness are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not the same. The author Todd Phillips puts it this way, “In contrast to the popular conception of happiness, joy is a state of being, a state of peace and content. It’s an internal choice, a characteristic of self that becomes a part of your nature—not some flimsy emotional response to some external stimuli.”

In today’s world, happiness is dependent on our situation or circumstance – a flimsy emotional response. But joy is a deeper and more meaningful experience.  Ice cream or possessions can make us happy – if only temporarily. But if we are joyful internally, the Bible tells us we can remain joyful even in the face of great suffering. If we study bible scripture about joy, we will find out how others can maintain a deep and abiding happiness. The God of the Bible wants us to pursue happiness that is independent of circumstances, our possessions, or the people that we surround ourselves with. Consider these encouraging bible verses, some of which you may already love. Bible verses are taken from the New International Version:

Bible Verses About Happiness

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:12

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

Proverbs 15:13

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Psalm 68:3

Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:19


Bible Verses About Rejoicing

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

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Psalm 118:24

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

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

Psalm 119:14

Bible Verses About Joy, Cheerfulness And Contentment

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:19


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.

Psalm 16:11

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

John 16:24

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 15:23

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.

Galatians 5:22-23

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

Psalm 119:111

The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Proverbs 23:24

What If I’m Still Not Happy?

If you’re still struggling with unhappiness, you are not alone. Many people read through scripture and still don’t experience continual joy. That is normal. Feeling unhappy doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. The book of Proverbs even says, “heartache crushes the spirit.” So, we need to remember that joy and happiness differ, and that events in our lives can keep us from joy.

There are other approaches to increasing life’s happiness levels. Here are some possibilities to consider:

Practicing Self-Care

For your overall happiness, practicing self-care is vital. When don’t care for yourself properly, you will find that happiness and joy can be elusive. Take care to get enough sleep nightly, eat wholesome foods, and exercise. Exercising releases those “feel good” endorphins in the brain that help to give your mood a boost. So, if you want more joy in your life, get those sneakers on, and take a walk in the park.


An anxious mind is quieted by meditation. If your life is full of overwhelm and worry, try a meditation app like Calm or HeadSpace. These can increase your peace and give you hope. Bible verses are still recommended as a meditation tool for those who suffer from anxiety. Find several scriptures that you relate to and meditate on them daily.


Alternative Treatments

From pet therapy to art therapy or even tai chi, alternative treatments encompass a wide range of activities. Try one or more to discover what elevates your mood and then practice it regularly.

How ReGain’s Online Therapy Can Help You Find Joy

Reading the scriptures, praying, and following the guidance that the Bible offers can be one strategy toward obtaining lasting happiness. But if your mind still struggles with anxiety or pain, talking with a licensed therapist can help to bring you relief. You could choose to see a therapist face-to-face or opt for online therapy. ReGain has licensed medical professionals who stand ready to help you right away. Simply log into its online counseling portal. ReGain works with your schedule. You can choose to chat discreetly via text or, if you prefer, on a video chat or over the phone. You should definitely feel comfortable with whichever method you choose. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff of licensed professionals is here to serve you at any time.

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