What is the shortest verse in the Bible? Hint: it has just 2 words.
“Jesus wept” – John 11:35
No – actually in the Greek text that verse has three words. The shortest verse is just two words in both English and Greek
“Rejoice always” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
The Greek text here is pantote chairete. It is a command. A verb (what to do) and an adverb (how to do it).
That means we have a choice about this. We must choose to rejoice at all times. We are not simply to rejoice when our circumstances make us happy. Clearly if we are to obey this command we will have to learn to rejoice even when our circumstances make it difficult to do so.
In Vines Expository Dictionary of the New Testament he lists all the reasons and occasions for rejoicing where the Greek word chairo is used. This list will give you great reasons to rejoice.
As to this verb, the following are grounds and occasions for “rejoicing,” on the part of believers:
- in the Lord, Phi 3:1; Phi 4:4;
- His incarnation, Luk 1:14;
- His power, Luk 13:17;
- His presence with the Father, Joh 14:28;
- His presence with them, Joh 16:22; Joh 20:20;
- His ultimate triumph, Joh 8:56;
- hearing the gospel, Act 13:48;
- their salvation, Act 8:39;
- receiving the Lord, Luk 19:6;
- their enrollment in Heaven, Luk 10:20;
- their liberty in Christ, Act 15:31;
- their hope, Rom 12:12 (cf. Rom 5:2; Rev 19:7);
- their prospect of reward, Mat 5:12;
- the obedience and godly conduct of fellow believers, Rom 16:19, RV, “I rejoice” (KJV, “I am glad”); 2Co 7:7, 2Co 7:9; 2Co 13:9; Col 2:5; 1Th 3:9; 2Jo 1:4; 3Jo 1:3;
- the proclamation of Christ, Phi 1:18;
- the gospel harvest, Joh 4:36;
- suffering with Christ, Act 5:41; 1Pe 4:13;
- suffering in the cause of the gospel, 2Co 13:9 (1st part); Phi 2:17 (1st part); Col 1:24;
- in persecutions, trials and afflictions, Mat 5:12; Luk 6:23; 2Co 6:10;
- the manifestation of grace, Act 11:23;
- meeting with fellow believers, 1Co 16:17, RV, “I rejoice”; Phi 2:28;
- receiving tokens of love and fellowship, Phi 4:10;
- the “rejoicing” of others, Rom 12:15; 2Co 7:13;
- learning of the well-being of others, 2Co 7:16.
All I can say is Wow! What a list. If you don’t think you have something to rejoice in today just start reviewing that list.
Act, Then Feel
In our day we are often taught to think of ourselves as victims of our emotions or our brain chemistry. I want to be careful here and sensitive to those who have battled with out of control emotions. I’m not saying that there isn’t such a thing as depression.
However, please hear me. The Bible teaches that we can choose actions (Rejoice, Be Thankful) that influence our emotions. If we choose to rejoice, even when we do not feel like it, our outlook will change and our feelings will eventually follow. This is one of the marks of a mature Christian.
Today – I choose to rejoice.
In spite of my disability…
In spite of my pain…
I have much to rejoice in.