While I was a seminary student, I was surprised to see how many spiritually oriented jokes were being passed among my classmates, as well as ordained clergy. Perhaps I shouldn’t have surprised, since we know that laughter works as a healing tool while we deal with the anxieties of daily life or the difficult challenges of living with illness.
Laughter can be looked at as “spiritual” since often we have to hold on our sense of humor while maintaining our faith. There is evidence of this throughout the Bible, if you read it for the subtext. For instance, Abraham laughs when God tells him Sarah will have a baby (Genesis 17: 15-17). Sarah laughs too when God tells her the same news (Genesis 18: 10-15.) (Abe and Sarah are both senior citizens). God asks why Sarah is laughing, and when Sarah denies it, God says, "Yes you did laugh!" God doesn't punish her for laughing. God blesses her. And no doubt there was a twinkle in the divine eye when it happened! God knew how funny it was, that these two older folks would soon be dealing with midnight feedings and changings.
As I began to collect the spiritual jokes, I noticed that no faith or tradition was without them. There were jokes about atheists, catholics, jews, presbyterians, even wiccans. These were not jokes that hid spiritual lessons, but laugh-out-loud (or groan) laffers.
Here are a few of the Bible jokes I collected:
Lying is a Sin
A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17."
The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17.
Every hand went up.
The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”
Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.
Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, there was probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.
Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought down the house.
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we'll talk about it."
After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair...."
To which his father replied, "Yes, and they walked everywhere they went!”
Rev. Rona Cherry has written about health and wellness for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Vegetarian Times, and many other publications.