Definition: The quality that makes something laughable or amusing. The ability to express or enjoy what is amusing or comical.
1. There is a time and place for humor.
* Genesis 21:5-7 [Ninety-year-old Sarah laughed with joy at the miraculous birth of their son, Isaac, in her old age:] And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? For I have born him a son in his old age.
* Job 8:21 [God will] fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
* Psalm 126:2 [A godly sense of humor will glorify the Lord. It can even be part of our testimony:] Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
* Proverbs 25:20 [Here’s a time not to make light:] As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth [light or humorous] songs to an heavy heart.
* Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: … 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
* Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. [See also 33:11.]
* Luke 6:21b [Laughter is considered a blessing which the Lord promises to give to His suffering children.] Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
* Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
* Genesis 18:10-15 [You shouldn’t laugh at the Lord’s Words, even if they seem unbelievable:] And [the Lord] said [to Abraham], I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind Him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
2. We should be able to have a good laugh, especially at ourselves.
* Proverbs 15:13a [A good sense of humor can reflect the joy of the Lord to others.] A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
* Proverbs 15:15b He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
* Proverbs 17:22 [A good sense of humor is an important quality for missionaries.] A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
3. Our joking should never go so far as to become foolish or shallow.
* Proverbs 10:23 It is as sport [fun] to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
* Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
* Ephesians 5:4 [Paul warns about joking around when it’s not the right time:] Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient [fitting]: but rather giving of thanks.
* 2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
[See also Foolishness, page 337.]
4. Our humor should never embarrass or humiliate others, nor should we joke about others behind their backs.
* Proverbs 26:18,19 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport [jest]?
* Psalm 35:19 [David prays that the Lord won’t allow his enemies to make fun of him:] Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
* Psalm 137:3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
* Isaiah 57:4 [The wicked are cruel in their humor and in the way they ridicule others.] Against whom do ye sport yourselves? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood.
* Ephesians 4:32a And be ye kind one to another.
5. Before you joke, ask yourself, “Is this edifying?”
* Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
* Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
* 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
* Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
* 1 Peter 4:7-9,11 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. … 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God … that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.
6. God always gets the last laugh over the wicked.
* Psalm 2:4 [The Lord laughs at His enemies’ threats:] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
* Proverbs 1:22,24-26 The scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.
7. Some humorous exchanges, misunderstandings and events found in the Bible:
* 1 Samuel 5:2-5 [God humorously humbles and hobbles a heathen god:] When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 3 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. 4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
* 2 Kings 2:1-18 [Although Elijah is taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot in full view of 51 witnesses, 50 of them still hunt for 3 days for his body, just in case the Spirit of the Lord dropped him! Of course, no body is found.]
* Jeremiah 13:1-7 [God has Jeremiah bury his dirty underwear on a riverbank, then dig it up many days later.]
* Jeremiah 36:17,18 [Baruch simplistically explains to the kings advisors and chief noblemen how a prophecy is written down:] And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? 18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
* John 4:16-19 Jesus saith unto her [the Samaritan woman at the well], Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto Him, Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet.
* John chapter 9 [A humorous exchange between the blind man whose sight Jesus restored, and the unbelieving and jealous Pharisees.]
* John 11:11-14,16 He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of His death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. … 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
* John 13:6-9 [Peter’s reaction is quite humorous when Jesus attempts to wash his feet:] Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
* Acts 12:13-16 [Peter miraculously escapes from prison, yet has trouble getting through the door of the safe house.]
* Acts 23:6-10 [Paul causes a major riot by doctrinally aligning himself with one of the two parties that are persecuting him:] But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. 9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God. 10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain [of the Romans], fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
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