Sunday, August 21, 2016

Biblical Happiness

As I mentioned in my last post, I am continuing my review of the book, "Happiness" by Randy Alcorn, I will be sharing different parts of the book, as well as Scripture, and my own thoughts about true happiness.

Here are a few questions for you to think about...How would you define "Biblical" happiness? How is it different than our cultural understanding of happiness?

In his book, Randy Alcorn gives several definitions that come from the original Greek and Hebrew translations of the Bible, as well as how they compare to other translations. The Hebrew word that most closely describes God-centered happiness is the word Asher. 
"Asher means "happy one". The happiness that comes from knowing and serving God typifies asher."
"Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God".(Psalm 146:5 RSV) 
The Greek word for happiness would be Makarios. which appears 50 times(in the Greek translation) in the New Testament. It is defined as "a state of happiness" and is often used to translate 'asher' from the Old to New Testament texts. In modern translations, the word "blessed" is often exchanged for happy. Christ used this definition in several verses when we go through difficult times to describe our anticipation of never-ending happiness in heaven ...
"Blessed(happy) are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10
"When Makarios is translated "blessed," the astounding paradox that Jesus expresses - that those who know Him can experience happiness, even as they face life's most difficult  moments - is hard to see."
Yes, this description of happiness is truly a mystery. Our human minds cannot fathom rejoicing when going through trials.(And it's one type of joy that I am still learning to have.) But, He makes it available to us and calls us to be rejoice in ALL circumstances.

Alcorn continues to show how God's blessing of happiness overflows throughout the pages of the New Testament.
Some other original Hebrew and Greek words he describes in detail are:

  • Samach - "rejoicing, glad, delight...a feeling or attitude of joy, happiness or contentment...making an outward expression of that joy."
"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst." Zechariah 2:10
  • Chara - "A state of joy and gladness - joy, gladness, great happiness."
"Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart." Exodus 4:14
  • Chairo - "To enjoy a state of inner happiness and well-being... to rejoice, to be glad."
"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth," Luke 1:14
  • Charis - God's unmerited favor demonstrated in Christ(grace).
"Grace is more than happiness. There is no greater reason for happiness than God's grace." Randy Alcorn 

Personally, when I think of the world's happiness, compared to Biblical happiness, there is really no comparison. It is like describing night and day. One is temporary, circumstantial, and elusive. Sometimes, in the church, we as Christians aren't allowed to show "too much" happiness. But true Biblical happiness is eternal, above and beyond our circumstances, and always and immediately available to us through the Holy Spirit!! All we need to do is ask for it and turn to God's Word. And when we find it, we can't hold it in!! We must reveal it to all around us. 

Below is a short movie segment (which I loved) and description by Alcorn of Cultural vs Biblical happiness. 

"To be joyful is to expect that life will reveal itself as God's gift of grace...To be joyful means to look out for opportunities for gratitude." Karl Barth

As I dwell on how life has revealed God's gift of grace to me, I can't help but shout it out, and continue to share His gifts below!! 

#1853 - Having some phone time with my son on his birthday. Encouraging him in his hunt for a new home to rent.

#1854 - Getting some much needed rain after a long dry spell, here where we live.
#1855 - A good report after having my annual mammogram.(Not fun, but so glad to know that all is well.)
#1856 - Lunch with an old friend on Wednesday ...time to catch up on our lives.
#1857 - A nice Friday evening on the lake and catching a record number of fish again!!
#1858 - Knowing I have two little shadows that follow me everywhere and that are always happy to see me!
#1859 - Getting some alone read, pray, rest, and think.
#1860 - A peaceful Sunday afternoon walk with my hubby.

You may find me linking up at any of the blog parties listed on the left sidebar.


  1. What a blessing! Thanks for the insights into this book and happiness as God created it!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post, Bethany. May you have a wonderful week!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful book - thank you for the beautiful review, Ann!

  3. Beautiful review! Such a gift to see the joy in life.

  4. What a beautiful sunset. And an interesting review. I must get a copy.


I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave me a comment.