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  • Writer's pictureAddison Crissone

Joy Unspeakable

While imprisoned in Rome for the crime of spreading the Good News, Paul was chained to his guard while awaiting a trial that would determine his fate- freedom, or execution.

His cell is dark, damp, and cold, and the faint echoes of the other prisoners who have gone before him are still heard in the halls.

The weight of his impending trial weighs heavily upon Paul’s shoulders as he stands chained to his guard, the glinting sword in the guard's possession warning Paul that if he moves, he will not even reach the trial.

But even still, through the darkness around him, the unknown verdict of his trial, and the depression of imprisonment, Paul has joy.

Yes, joy.


Well, Paul says so himself in his letter written to the small Church at Philippi during this same imprisonment. 

“Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now,” (1: 4-5).

Even though he was facing death himself, he still possessed joy when he prayed for those who were still free and actively spreading the word- and he encouraged them to be full of the Joy of the Lord.

This is proven once again in chapter three of the book of Phillippians when he tells them this:

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters,

 rejoice in the Lord. 


The word joy is defined as ‘happiness’ or ‘a state of felicity’, and even ‘a feeling of pleasure’.

I don’t know about you, but a prison does not exactly paint the picture of pleasure, nor does a death trial bring happiness.

So why is Paul joyful, though a prisoner?

Because he had found the secret to true joy, no matter his life circumstances. 

He knew that no matter what became of him, God was still in control of his life and that God already knew the outcome even though Paul had not the slightest clue what would become of him.

He knew that no matter what the verdict of the trial was, he had already won Salvation and Eternal Life through Jesus.

And that gave him joy unspeakable. 

For many believers, Philippians is seen as the most happiest and joyful book of the Bible, though it was written in the dark and damp confines of a prison cell just moments before going on trial.

Friend, our current circumstances and the darkness that we may be facing does not have to define our joy.

for with Jesus, we too can have Joy Unspeakable.


Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face 

trials of various kinds, for you know 

that the testing of your faith

 produces steadfastness.

James 1:2-3


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