Happiness, by Randy Alcorn

untitledHappiness is the latest of Alcorn’s meticulously researched books on a subject often overlooked in modern Biblical studies. My eyes were opened to a fresh understanding of a universal God-given desire to be happy, which turns out to be quite compatible with an accurate view of God himself as a happy God. The author leaves no stone unturned in articulating the Hebrew and Greek meanings of the many words translated as synonyms of happy in the English language. He refutes the relatively recent but artificial distinction between happiness (arising from the flesh) and joy (arising from the spirit). He painstakingly shows how the word translated as blessed is more accurately rendered as happy . . . and perhaps most surprisingly, God wants us to be holy AND happy! Holiness without happiness is miserable religion, but both will surely follow from accepting the Good News of Jesus Christ. The book focuses on finding true happiness in God, meaning all that He is and does and will do, as well in His salvation, gifts, service, and rewards. The author never implies that we should always expect to feel happy, especially in the reality of difficult circumstances, but suggests that the meaning of rejoicing in the Lord is a command inextricably linked to a foundational happiness in Him. At 450 pages, the sheer volume of material in this book may be overwhelming to some readers, so I would suggest reading it slowly over several weeks or months. Alcorn has a unique ability to write about a single topic from every conceivable angle, quoting a myriad of classical and contemporary sources, dissecting hundreds of verses to expose the intended meaning (while holding my attention and interest) and presenting a solid conclusion that deepens my understanding of God as revealed in his Word. I highly recommend his latest work to anyone interested in a comprehensive view of happiness as designed by God.

Required Federal Trade Commission disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.