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Biblical Emotion

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on

One category where we in Kamloops need to return to the Word of God is in the area of emotions. Too many think that God's Word doesn't adress emotions. Where the Bible does talk about emotion, the concept in question is too frequently discarded or redefined in terms of the larger theological topic at hand. Too often we read "happy," and we think, "happiness in the Lord." Or we read about "joy," and we think, "Well, it doesn't mean that I should actually be happy or actually be joyful. It simply means that I will one day be happy and joyful when God returns to take me home to Heaven," or, "It just means that I can have peace in the midst of crises."

No. It doesn't mean that.

Well... what does it mean then?

It means... be happy! As in laughter, joy, feeling good inside, a pleasant emotion that we all crave when we don't have it!

Now, obviously the Lord promises peace in the midst of the storm, and He promises us that we can have hope in the knowledge that He will return for us one day to take us home with Him. But happy, in certian passages, means simply that: be happy. I'm not the only one thinking this way or saying these things. Check out the following quote:


"As mentioned there has been a tendency to define words in terms of theology instead of lexicography. Attributing theological meaning to individual words that is not present in the vocabulary itself is a pitfall that has been especially prevalent in interpreting emotion words... The specific meaning of the vocabulary of emotion is not equivalent to analysing emotion in a particular passage. It is my contention that because of the anti-emotion bias in modern scholarship and the misunderstanding of the nature of emotions, this mistake is magnified in the interpretation of emotional vocabulary." [1]

Don't rush your Bible reading in the morning, dear friend. God is speaking to your heart, your emotional heart. We can have joy if we know where to look for it.


Matthew Elliott, Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament, Grand Rapids: MI, Kregel, 2006. Pg. 129.

Tags: happiness, kamloops, joy, bible, word of god