What does the Bible say about joking around?


By BibleAsk Team

Table of Contents


While the Bible supports being happy, joyful, merry, and humor, there is a fine line between joking around and being foolish. About foolish talking and coarse jesting, Paul wrote, “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5: 3-4). The word jesting in this verse is used in the low sense of improper joking, and making indecent remarks (ex. Sexual, raciest…etc.). The apostle is not speaking against making innocent humor, but against joking that is unholy, unkind, and demeaning.

Pure Speech

Christians should not imitate the sinful language of the world but should be thoroughly changed in their inmost nature. For they are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Therefore, their tongues should be “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12–13).

Sanctification consists of both an outward separation from all the worldly words and actions of this age and having an inward change of the believer himself. This change is called the new birth (John 3:3) and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Evidence that a person is a genuine Christian is seen by how he uses his tongue in blessing others and not in foolish talking and coarse joking (Matthew5:44, 45). Using such language springs from unloving heart and exhibits the spirit of Satan (Revelation 12:10).

The Christian needs to be very careful on what he says for Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). The apostle James exhorts his fellow church members to strive for a daily practice of speaking and doing that which is conformable to God’s law. “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:12).

The tongue is a powerful part of the body for “with it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God” (James 3:9). Therefore, the Christian’s tongue should never be submitted to the direction of sinful desires to accomplish any kind of unrighteous purpose. Rather it should be “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12–13). And it should be tamed. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26). The person who is “double-tongued,” is “double minded” (James 1:8).

Glorify God

Hand in hand with the Christian’s way of life go the words he speaks. Especially is this true in his contacts with those who “are without” (Colossians 4:5). Not only the words he speaks, but the way he says them, and even the tone of his voice. His word will leave an effect for good or evil on the listeners. For “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

Therefore, the Christians’ words should be well guarded. Paul says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). The believers’ words should glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). It should be free from cheap humor and unkind joking which reflects bad taste and hurts the feelings of others. Christians need to be kind and polite to each other (Ephesians 4:32).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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