A Little More on Humor and Pulpit Dignity

A friend of mine passed these points along from a more-developed version of a lecture I’d heard BJ Seminary’s Dr. Layton Talbert give on humor:

  • The biblical record does not reveal a frivolous or slapstick sense of humor.
  • “The humor of the Bible is not of the rollicking type but the subtle and intellectual type for which the term wit is often an accurate designation” (DBI).
  • The biblical record does not suggest that He employed humor simply for the purpose of making people laugh.
  • Humor at its best is inherently observant, profound, and, consequently, instructive in nature.
  • Christ’s humor was always didactic in its aim.
  • Jesus used humor, wit, and irony for the purpose of pointing out spiritual incongruities and under¬scoring the spiritual truths that he taught.
  • “It is very important to understand that the evident purpose of Christ’s humor is to clarify and increase understanding” (source?). He made humor a conscious and effective part of His instructive ministry.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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