Many people take the book of Philippians to be a book that primarily focuses on joy. This is probably because it begins with Paul talking about his desire for them to be joyful and ends with an expression of thanksgiving for their being joyful. However, this is not the only meaning of the word “joy” in this letter. In fact, there are three different kinds of joy mentioned in Philippians with each having its own nuance and significance for how we live our lives today.
How Many Times Is Joy Mentioned In Philippians
1. In total, joy is mentioned 15 times in 13 verses! Here they are.
Joy is the dominant emotion in Philippians, but what exactly is it? Joy doesn’t mean happiness or cheerfulness. It means more than just a feeling—it’s an attitude that comes from living for Jesus and for others.
Joy is not the same as happiness or cheerfulness. The word “joy” has two main definitions: 1) the feeling of elation, delight, and gladness; 2) high spirits or liveliness (a positive outlook on life).
Unlike happiness, joy isn’t based on circumstances; instead, it’s based on our relationship with God and others. We can have joy when we’re sick or sad because God will help us through these trials (2 Corinthians 6:10).
We can also enjoy our lives even when things aren’t going well because God gives us the strength to face them (Philippians 4:13-14).
2. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,” Philippians 1:3-4.
In Philippians 1:3-4, Paul writes: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,” (NKJV). In this passage, he thanks God for the gift of joy and then tells us that he prays with joy.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and a gift from God (James 1:17). It has been described as “the assurance that everything will turn out right” and “a distillation of all the best moments in life” (1). Joy is also something we can experience by means other than prayer. When we are grateful for what God has given us, including those things which may seem small or insignificant to others but mean the world to us personally—like the ability to walk or talk—we can experience His joy in these circumstances even though they may not be similar situations as those experienced by others who are more fortunate than ourselves.
3. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30.
In Philippians 1:29-30, Paul writes, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” These verses show that joy comes from suffering. Though we might find it hard to believe, there are many benefits of suffering and it’s important to remember that even if we don’t understand why God allows us to go through difficult times, he does so for a reason.
In our culture today we don’t want bad things to happen to us or others because they’re naturally uncomfortable situations and can feel unfair at times. But when we look closer at these passages from Philippians (and several others), we see how much joy can come out of them! And even if we don’t understand why something is happening right now, remember this: God always has your best interests at heart – no matter what!
4. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:8-11.
When Paul says, “being found in human form,” he’s referencing Jesus’ incarnation. The Greek word for “form” is morphe, which means “shape,” “appearance,” or “nature.” This verse lets us know that God came down to earth and took on the shape of a man so that he could die for our sins.
Jesus submitted himself to God’s will during his life on earth; this is what it means by Jesus being obedient to the point of death. He was willing to suffer and die for our sins so that we could be saved from eternal separation from God (Romans 5:10).
After his death on the cross, Jesus was resurrected back into heaven where He now sits at God’s right hand as ruler over all things (Acts 2:30-31). It is because of this exaltation that we now worship him as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). The Greek word Kurios has several meanings including “lord,” “master,” “owner,” or “husband.” In this context, Paul uses it as an honorific title given only to those appointed by God Himself—meaning that there are no other lords in comparison!
5. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Philippians 2:5-6.
This is a great verse to memorize. It’s also a good one to contemplate in your mind and heart. Here, Paul encourages us to have the mind of Christ—that is, to be humble like him. He even says that God did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped. In other words, God didn’t want his own ‘glory’ or greatness either!
Paul is encouraging people who are already Christians (i.e., those who have already been changed by Jesus and received forgiveness of sins) not only to follow after humility but also not try to be equal with God themselves; yet at the same time he wants them to remember what they are: children of God who can do anything through Christ!
6. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
God’s work in you is never finished. This verse is often interpreted to mean that God will continue to work on you until the day he returns. The Greek word translated as “complete” (telos) has both a physical and spiritual meaning, so it can refer either to the completion of the period of time allotted for something or its full manifestation or realization. In this case, it would appear that Paul is referring to the culmination of a process that started when someone accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through faith alone.
The word translated “work” (ergon) also has multiple meanings: deed, action, business/trading/commerce; but here it refers specifically to God’s activity within us—his love at work in us; his grace at work in our lives; his faithfulness at work in our hearts!
When reading through the book of Philippians, you will find that joy is mentioned several times. In total, there are seven references to joy in this book. These passages reveal how the apostle Paul wanted his readers to experience more than just a few moments of happiness when reading about Jesus Christ; instead, he wanted them to be joyful throughout their lives!