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This study contains mostly examples, rather than commands and principles. It is best used not by itself, but in connection with the other studies found in this series about "frivolity."

The New Testament Greek words examined in this study can be translated by several English words. After each occurrence, the concept will be expressed using the word "merry," or the equivalent [in brackets]. For those interested, the N.T. Greek words are listed at the end of the study.


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PART 1 - To Be Merry, to Be Filled with Rejoicing and Celebration

(a cheerfulness associated with enjoyable circumstances)

A. It can easily become sinful - especially if it characterizes one's lifestyle, preoccupation, or focus of life. The end result is eternal loss. Some examples:

  1. A self-preoccupation with festivity and happiness is incompatible with love for one's "neighbor"

  2. Such an attitude can be associated with opposition to truth from (or about) God: The truth may be suppressed or ignored, or it may be exchanged for a lie. These things are incompatible with love for God, the source of truth. (2 examples)

  3. The two greatest obligations we have as humans are: Love for God and what he says (= truth), and love for our neighbor (which includes love for our enemies). The above examples show that this lifestyle is easily associated with the violation of BOTH obligations.

B. There are appropriate times for being merry / rejoicing (though NOT as the focus of one's life). Some examples of these times include:

  1. During times of special blessings (examples)

  2. When considering the blessings and future hope that are a part of salvation

  3. When considering the coming day of justice & judgment - the time when injustice will be forever eliminated. (These specific examples will occur in the future.)

  4. When experiencing the temporal blessings of God. (Even people who do not love God can experience some of the blessings and kindness that come from him!)

  5. These examples show that there are proper times for being cheerful/happy. We do not need to be "extreme" and avoid it, just because it can be bad/sinful when taken to excess.

C. Our attitude/conduct can affect the joy/gladness others have (or don't have) - AN ILLUSTRATION:

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PART 2 - To be cheerful, encouraged

(a cheerfulness associated with encouragement)

  1. When the joy of encouragement is present, the appropriate response is to be filled with praise to God, who makes it possible.

  2. The joy of encouragement can exist during times of hardship and difficult circumstances. Two examples:

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PART 3 - The N.T. Greek words used in this study:

From PART 1:



From PART 2



Source: Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament [public domain]

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Dennis Hinks © 1999
Any Scripture quotations are my own paraphrase and do not reflect any specific translation.