Biblical Jokes

In his discussion of biblical jokes, Cecil omits my favorite, from Acts 9:11: “And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus.” Mark Twain discusses this in The Innocents Abroad:

Are there others? Also, is Twain’s characterization accurate?

What information I can gather from the Wikipedia article seems to indicate that Mr. Twain’s statement is outdated, at least.

Normally I wouldn’t take WP’s word for it, but I seem to remember it being designed to be perfectly straight.

Cecil’s column has Biblical cites for all the jokes but the first one, under “Wordplay.” That passage is from Genesis 17:15-21.

Well, this isn’t a stand-up joke, but the Bible contains one of the best practical jokes ever.

Get this, God tells Adam that he can eat from every tree except one and if he eats from it he’ll die. Then he creates a serpent to tempt Adam and Eve. Boom. God kicks them out of Eden.

Although, if you listen to some scholars (boo–scholars), this originates from the older Sumerian joke where Man makes too much noise so the gods tell him if he eats from a tree that they just created he’ll die. Man takes the bait and eats from the tree. He dies. Laughs abound.

What about Matthew 6:18, where Jesus says to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”? Many scholars have interpreted that as a pun on Peter’s name, which (in some grammatical forms) means “rock”.

Also, an amendment to the business about “hemorrhoids”. The word in the Bible is “emerods”, and while that’s often translated as “hemorrhoids”, it is suggested that it’s more properly translated as “buboes”, the swollen lymph glands that accompany bubonic plague. Since people died in conjunction with emerods (which were specified as being in people’s “private parts” – plague buboes are often found at the groin), while few die from hemorrhoids, many epidemiologists believe that “buboes” is the correct translation.

During his showdown with the prophets of Baal, Elijah taunts them with jokish insults. Yell louder, maybe your God is on vacation or in the Bathroom.
1 Kings 18:27

Whether fraud or practical joke, Jacob’s imitation of Esau by wrapping a goatskin on his forearm in order to receive Isaac’s blessing deserves mention. David Steinberg did very well with his ‘but mine brother is an hairy man’ routine.

Except that “Rock” (Kephas) wasn’t the apostle’s given name. It (or its Aramaic equivalent) is what Jesus (reportedly) called Simon in identifying him as the rock on which the church would be built. There is no double meaning, therefore no pun.

Cecil overlooked my all-time favorite. Job, after listening to Zophar criticize him, responds with:

Job sounds like a New Yorker. :slight_smile: …bruce…

I’ve always like The Reduced Shackspear Company’s observation that God led the Israelites through the desert for forty years and has them stop in the one place in the middle east with no oil.

Just to note that there’s another thread on this, from last month:

When the Romans ask Jesus whether a man should pay his taxes, they are setting a trap for him. If he says no, they arrest him for sedition, or whatever you call the crime of bad-mouthing the government. If he says yes, he legitimizes the authority of the occupying force, thus alienating his followers.

No dummy, JC sidesteps with a little levity, saying “whose face is on the coin?” The inference is that since it’s Caesar’s face, it must be his coin. But Jesus doesn’t really answer the question. His statement “Give Caesar what belongs to him and give God what belongs to Him,” can be interpreted different ways. Since God created all things, everything belongs to Him. I’m sure JC’s followers were laughing on the inside.

In the Gospel of Thomas, a Coptic text (so not really Biblical?) Jesus says:

“Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give God what belongs to God,
and give me what is mine.”

Various sources also point out that JC asked a follower for a coin, perhaps because he did not carry money. None of the Gospels indicate whether he returned the coin, though.

Put it all together and you’ve got a bit that would’ve killed in the Poconos.

Got another one: Lauke 6:42 (International Standard Version)
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you’ll see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In some versions of the play “Godspell,” the players do this bit as vaudeville:

“How do you remove the mote from your brother’s eye when you have a beam in your own eye?”

“I don’t know, how do you remove the mote from your brother’s eye when you have a beam in your own eye?”

“First, you remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the mote from your brother’s eye!” (Rimshot)

“Coptic” just means that it’s written in the Coptic language, which is the later form of ancient Egyptian. I suspect you may be confusing the word “Coptic” with the word “Gnostic”, which is the name for a whole bunch of quasi-Christian religions that mainly grew up in the 2nd century. The Gospel of Thomas is Gnostic, in addition to being in Coptic, and is quite definitely non-Biblical.

One of my favorites! I was gonna’ say.

I’ve used a variation on an acquaintance who is a mommy’s basement-dweller pseudo-intellectual. (And, no, I don’t still associate with him.) When he went downhill and started peppering his already fallacious rants with non-facts, and then chiding me for coming back with pesky little things from reference books, (which confirmed his conviction that I was a “follower” :dubious:) I came back with.

Gee, (name), maybe you should write down all your “independent” factoids for posterity. :stuck_out_tongue:

  • “Jack”

Do funny stories count as jokes?

I mean, read the account of Eutychus’ demise in Acts of the Apostles- the poor guy dozed off during a boring sermon by St. Paul, and fell out a window to his death.

You gotta admit, that’s pretty funny. But of course, that wet blanket Paul had to ruin the joke by bringing Eutychus back to life.


Nah. Not really. You see, the real punch line comes in a few verses later.

Paulie just went back to his big ole’ verbose preaching… until daylight! :dubious:


  • “Jack”


(from, my emphasis added)

Acts 20:7-12, NIV:

7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

I was taught in Catholic School that the inscription of “INRI” (Jesus of Nazereth- King of the Jews) on Jesus’ cross was supposed to be a insult joke by Pontius Pilate. Now that is some dark comedy.

Doing 5 minutes of Googling research, it appears it is not certain why he put that on the cross. It may have been a legitimate attempt to show everyone why he was crucified, it could have shown that Pontius actually thought he was the real deal, or it could have been a slam on the local Jewish leaders who wanted him dealt with (I read somewhere where the Jews wanted him to take the sign down).

“Somewhere else” being John 19:21 etc, in which the chief priests say "That ought to be ‘He called himself the King of the Jews’, and Pilate says ‘[del]Bug out, I’ve got one nerve left and you’re getting on it[/del] What I have written, I have written’ ".