Truth be said, there is a lot of pleasure and relief in smiling and laughing. A hearty laugh will always ease an aching heart. Most of the time, a hearty laugh is always a result of jokes. Though laughter is good, what does the Bible say about joking? Is joking a sin?
The Bible does not regard joking as a sin. However, some guiding principles in the scripture about our speech can rule out certain jokes or kinds of joking as a sin. Joking becomes a sin when it is full of filthiness and foolishness. Ephesians 5:4 says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead be thanksgiving.”
So, what does the Bible say about joking? What does the Catholic Church teach about joking? What kind of joke is not allowed in the Church? When does joking become a sin? How much should you joke as a Christian? Continue reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
So, what does the Bible say about joking?
Though the Bible does not regard joking as a sin, several verses hint that some jokes are a sin. Ephesians 5:4 reads, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
Jesus also warns us in the gospel of Mathew 12:36 that everyone will account for every word they spoke carelessly during Judgement day.
The book of Proverbs 26:18-19 also notes that “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, I am joking!” Therefore, though joking is not necessarily a sin according to the Bible, Christians should be mindful of the kind of Jokes they tell as they will account for each of them.
What does the Catholic Church teach about joking?
The Catholic Church teaches that it is not wrong to tell jokes so long as it is not blasphemy and the sacred is maintained. The basis of their teaching can be found in Exodus 20:10, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
Deuteronomy 5:11 emphasizes that no one shall use the name of God in vain. Therefore, as much as the Catholic Church permits Christians to joke, it is clear that the jokes should not be made in God’s name and should not entertain any kind of blasphemy.
What kind of joke is not allowed in the Church?
The kind of jokes that are not allowed in Church are jokes that do not honor God. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As Christians, we need to speak in Christ in the sight of God (1st Corinthians 2:17). Any kind of joke we tell in the Church should bring glory to God and not undermine our neighbors.
If whatever jokes we are making in Church does not honor and bring praise to God, they should not be made in Church. Ephesians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Let our jokes as Christians be commendable, honorable, and pure before the Lord.
When does joking become a sin?
Though the Bible does not rule off joking as a sin, it can sometimes be. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” On the other hand, the book of James compares a tongue to a fire; it can either bring great life or destroy it. Jokes are bad when they are crushing others and not building them. The Bible says let whatever comes out of our tongues build one another.
The Bible tells us in James 3:3-12 that though our tongues are small, they can set ablaze in the forest. This means though the tongue is a small feature, it can destroy and even lead us to sin just by the words that come out of it. Therefore, James warns us that let whatever comes out of our mouths be pure, for we cannot curse people and praise God with the same mouth. That should apply to anything else that comes out of our mouths, including jokes.
Additionally, Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what helps build others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Joking is a sin when our jokes do not honor God and lift those who listen but instead crush spirits. To know whether your jokes are a sin, you must seek the Holy Spirit for conviction.
How much should you joke as a Christian?
Occasional jokes that are mostly innocent are appropriate. However, the bible hints that it is inappropriate for Christians to sound like they are not sober. Therefore, it is safe to restrain from putting jokes in every sentence, as it does not portray what the scripture wants from us. Titus 2:12 reads, “Live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.”
It is essential for Christians to seek God for wisdom regarding whatever comes out of our mouths, as it is a somehow ‘gray’ area when it comes to joking. James 1:5 tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom, let them turn to God and ask for it, for he gives generously to all.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.