Joy: Theology & Practice

Explore How God Shares His Joy with His Creation

In partnership with Bethlehem College & Seminary

Joy in the Old Testament

About Dr. Matthew Westerholm

Matthew Westerholm serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Worship at Bethlehem College & Seminary and as the Pastor for Music and Worship at Bethlehem Baptist Church, downtown campus. Matthew has PhD in Christian Worship from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Reflection Questions
  1. How does Psalm 146:3-4 (and following) echo Adam’s deadly failure in the garden?
  2. How does Jesus’ victory unto Adam’s failure and give us joy? What implications does this have for our life now and eternally?

Resources prepared by Tyler Stitt from Bethlehem College & Seminary.

Joy in the New Testament

About Dr. Brian Tabb

Brian Tabb is Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Bethlehem College & Seminary. Brian is a graduate of Wheaton College (BA, MA), Bethlehem College & Seminary (MA), and Luther Seminary (MTh), and earned a PhD in New Testament from London School of Theology.

Reflection Questions
  1. Why does joy in the Lord pair so naturally with delight in his people? Do you rejoice in God’s people the way Scripture describes (Philippians 4:1; Psalm 16:3)?
  2. What obstacles are currently challenging your delight in the Lord? How might your hope in our coming salvation bring forth present joy despite present circumstances?

The Joy of God

About Dr. John Piper

John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

Reflection Questions
  1. How is God’s delight in his people (and his delight in doing them good) deeply connected to his delight in the sacrifice of his Son?
  2. As God’s people, the Bride of Christ, how does our delight in the Son make us “splendorous” to God (Ephesians 5:27)? What does that look like in day-to-day life?

Philosophical Attempts for Joy

About Dr. James McGlothlin

James McGlothlin serves as Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He received his Ph.D., in 2014, from The Ohio State University. His Dissertation was titled, “The Logiphro Dilemma: An Examination of the Relationship Between God and Logic.”

Reflection Questions
  1. What problems trouble classical hedonism?
  2. What does the classical virtue approach get right? How (on the other hand) does merely virtuous behavior fall short for obtaining true joy?
  3. How does the pursuit of joy in God produce both joy and virtue?

Joy in Suffering

About Dr. Travis Myers

Travis Myers, Ph.D., is the Assistant Professor of Church History and Mission Studies at Bethlehem College & Seminary where he oversees the college’s cross-cultural ministry concentration. He and his wife, Susan, are members of Bethlehem Baptist Church’s Global Outreach Team, mentoring young men and women in the church’s Nurture Program for missionary candidates. He is a member of the American Society of Church History (ASCH), the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), the Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS), and the American Society of Missiology (ASM), and is part of the editorial board of the Journal of Global Christianity published by Training Leaders International.

Reflection Questions
  1. What does it mean that the apostle Paul was strong when he was weak (2 Corinthians 12:10)?
  2. How should weakness be a reminder of our gracious place in God’s redemptive story?
  3. What does care for the weak look like among your church family? What role are you playing in that God-glorifying work?

Joy and Politics

About Dr. John Piper

John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Reading the Bible Supernaturally.

Reflection Questions
  1. In what way does our adoption as sons and daughters of the King free us from the inherent authority of the state (Matthew 17:24-27)?
  2. What, then, is the basis for our submission to human institutions (see 1 Peter 2:13)?
  3. How does our unshakable citizenship in heaven motivate good deeds, done for the sake of the state, with great joy?

Joy in Discipleship

About Ryan Griffith

Ryan Griffith serves as Assistant Professor of Historical Theology & Humanities and Director of Integrated Curriculum at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He joined the Bethlehem staff in the spring of 2006 and has been deeply involved in shaping the discipleship-oriented academic programs and student experience at the College. Transformed in college by a vision of God’s glory in the Word and world, Ryan loves to help college students follow Jesus and in the classroom and in everyday life.

Reflection Questions
  1. Why should friendship among Christians, when compared with meaningful friendship among unbelievers, be meaning-fuller? How does this relate to biblical joy?
  2. “There is something deeply ‘happifying’ in seeing other people, who you love, find their joy in Christ.” What does this truth help us grasp about the place of personal joy in discipleship?
  3. Through which ordinary ways can you incorporate younger believers into your life for the sake of delighting in Jesus with them?

Joy in the Everyday

About Joe Rigney

Joe Rigney serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College & Seminary, where he teaches Bible, theology, history, philosophy, history, and Jonathan Edwards.

Reflection Questions
  1. How do made-things act as metaphors by which we understand invisible and eternal things (like the attributes of God?).
  2. In what ways can created things be a means not only for our enjoyment of God, but of our bringing others into the enjoyment of God?