by Mike Ratliff

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4 ESV)

As we saw in the post Couneterfeit Love, the sixth characteristic of counterfeit love is jesting or “crude joking” as stated in the ESV (above). What is this and is it that big a deal? Here is Ephesians 5:4 from the Greek New Testament, “καὶ αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία ἢ εὐτραπελία, τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία.” A word-for-word translation of this verse is here, “and shamefulness and foolish words or coarse joking, which not is proper, but more good favor.” The word I translated here as “coarse joking” and the ESV as “crude joking” is εὐτραπελία or eutrapelia. Some Bible translations render εὐτραπελία as “jesting.” This is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. Let us dig a bit deeper.

Eutrapelia is a fascinating word. The prefix εὖ or eu means “good” or “well.” It is the prefix to our English words such as eulogy which speaks of “good works” and “eugenics,” which are “good genes,” for example. However, when it is combined with the root τρέπω or trepõ, which mean “to turn,” eutrapelia, then means “that which easily turns.” As I stated in Counterfeit Love, I have always been amazed at the method of attack from the apologists for those apostate ministers and their ministries that I have tried to bring to light here in this ministry to warn the brethren.

Some used blunt force attack to be sure, but then again, some others attempted to appear to come along side and not appear threatening, but then their modus operandi was to take the pointed truths, the Biblical truths, I was making using God’s Word to shine His light into the darkness of apostasy, turn them away or diffuse them by insisting on us “not being so serious” or trying to say that we were taking something that was only a side issue and making it the main issue so they attempted to make a joke of it to draw the issue to something else or they would try to make a joke of it to make it look like no one could possibly know the truth about all of this so lets just have fun, et cetera. You get the idea. It was all an attempt to deflect attention away from what was being exposed using jesting as the method of attack.

I find it tragic that some professing Christians refuse to listen to certain preaching if it isn’t entertaining enough for them. I challenge anyone to read the teachings and sermons from our Lord and the Apostles in the New Testament or the Prophets in the Old Testament and see if they attempted in any way to “break the ice” or warm up their audience with a joke or sprinkle in humor throughout their sermon in order to keep people connected. Why didn’t they do that? They understood that sin, salvation and doctrine are not funny. They are life and death issues that must be presented with reverence, sobriety and gravity. People who need humor do not love truth. People who attempt to use humor to deflect the truth either hate or fear the truth or both.

Soli Deo Gloria!

6 thoughts on “Jesting

  1. Psalm 33:8

    8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

    I don’t mix humor with the truth. Nothing funny about eternal punishment. Thanks Mike for the truth always!


  2. Well said! You’ve described a practice we all have seen repeatedly. There must be a small army of people out
    there who use this approach as we see it so often. Either
    that or there may be some very prolific deceivers working
    diligently to blunt the truth wherever it is presented.


  3. This is weirdly something I have really been thinking about recently. Someone said to me recently that they liked Gods sense of humour. It really made me think, because at the time it just didn’t sit right with me. I don’t think really that God has a sense of humour, why would he need one. He is wonderfully, deadly serious about how much he loves us.Surely humour is a human thing we use to help us cope with our emotions at times, and as you said, to entertain ourselves. It is used to diminish a subject to make it more palatable, so as you say, it has no place in teaching and preaching, as it can only do the same there.It’s just another case of applying our human reasoning to God isn’t it.

    ..’preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; REPROVE,REBUKE and EXHORT, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will NOT ENDURE SOUND TEACHING, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, ALWAYS BE SOBER MINDED, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.’
    (2 Tim: 2-5) ( obviously, emphasis mine)

    Thanks Mike.


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