Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Joy

By Elizabeth Prata

On Sundays I usually post a theological word with its definition, then an explanation, and use it in a verse. I also use a picture to represent the concept. This is my effort to maintain a theological literacy among the brethren and between generations, something I believe is critical. We have to know what we believe, why, and know the words to express it. Words like Justification, Immanence, and Perspicuity have all been a Sunday Word of the Week.

Similarly, when we discuss other words such as love, peace, and joy, we think we know what they mean, but often times these culturally embedded words have a totally different flavor when used from a biblical context. It is true of the words pertaining to the Fruit of the Spirit. Even these 'simpler' biblical words are misunderstood.

Therefore, over the next weeks the Word of the Week will be one of the Fruit of the Spirit.


The following is from the systematic theology book Biblical Doctrine, by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, eds.

"Joy is a happiness based on unchanging divine promises and eternal spiritual realities. It is a sense of well-being expressed by one who knows that all is well between oneself and the Lord. (1 Peter 1:8). Joy is not the result of favorable circumstances but occurs even when those circumstances are the most painful and severe. (John 16:20-22; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manufacture it but to delight in the blessings they already possess. (Philippians 4:4)."

"Produced by the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17), joy is appropriate both in the good times (3 John 4) and in the times of testing (James 1:2-4). Joy is a deep, abiding inner thankfulness to God for His goodness that is not diminished or interrupted when less-than-desirable circumstances intrude on one's life."