Depression is a mental disorder characterized as a mood disorder. Low moods, little to no motivation, teariness, hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal ideations are all characteristics of depression. Treating this disease often means going to therapy and getting clinical treatment. However, some studies have shown that combining modern science with faith can help alleviate the debilitating feeling of being depressed, or even being depressed in the first place. (Azab, 2019) This post will look at ten scriptures you can use to fight depression. Kindly note that this article is not negating the importance of seeking professional help.
Why the Bible?
As Christians, we are instructed to be transformed by renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) to live a life which is pleasing to God. Since depression is a disease which targets the mind, turning to scripture is an excellent way to fight it. Scriptures help combat negative thoughts and suicidal ideations and give us the energy and perspective we need to renew our thinking.
How to apply scripture to fight depression
Before we dive into the Scriptures, we must address how to apply the verses. Reading the Bible is one thing, but applying it is another! How do you apply scripture? First, you must accept the perspective of the Bible. You must choose to believe what God’s Word says is completely true, despite what your reality is, or what you are feeling. Without that decision made, the scriptures will just be literature which are fun to read, but will have no effect on you. From this point, you can apply the following practical methods to make the scripture real in your life:
- Read the scripture more than once. Read it out loud. Read it with your name in the verse. Read it over and over again. Each time you read it, think of what strikes you. The repetition will help you remember it more clearly.
- Highlight it. If you are reading it on your phone or on a hard copy Bible, highlight it so it will stand out. The action of highlighting it will make sure you go over it again. Visually, you will know where to come from if you need to reread it.
- Write it down. We remember what we write more than what we hear or read. Writing the scripture down will cause you to look at it more closely. You could also write down what thoughts this scripture challenges you to think about or what negative thoughts this scripture addresses you to change.
- Memorize it and say it out loud. You have already read it out loud, but it helps to have the scriptures stored in your mind for recall at any point of the day. Break the verses down into small bits and memorize them. The mental energy you will spend to learn, recall, and say them out loud will help you spend time away from negative ideations and cognitions.
- Put it in a place you can quickly see. Get it out of your Bible and put it on your mirror, phone wallpaper, or somewhere around your house. Having the scriptures where you can easily see them will make it easier to access them when you feel too low to open your Bible.
- Pray. Ask God to help you believe in the scriptures and make them come alive. Prayer is vital in making you feel better. Studies have shown a strong connection between people’s recovery from mental illness, praying, religious activity, and spirituality. (Psych Central Guest Author, 2014) (Bonelli et al., 2012, 1-8) (Andrade & Radhakrishnan, n.d., 247-253)
Depression in the Bible
Depression is something Biblical figures have experienced. David, in the Psalms, describes his feelings of hopelessness, turmoil and anguish. The prophet Elijah also suffered from depression. Because we live in a fallen world, we are bound to experience the weight of this brokenness and our fragility. God, in His Word, offers us hope and an eternal perspective. We need that perspective to fight our humanly brokenness. Scripture is a tool we have to fight depression with.
1. Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.”
Depression tricks our minds into dark, overbearing, negative and morbid thoughts. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt are often accompanied by ideas which make these feelings appear authentic. Most times, they are not. This verse reminds us to focus on what is true, honorable, correct, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. There are real, positive things to think about and focus your mind on, even if the mental illness tells you otherwise. As a man thinketh, so is he, so think on these things!
2. Proverbs 4:23
“Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flows springs of life.”
When depressed, you may feel heartsick with a lack of lustre for life. This verse gives us a task to hold onto – guarding your heart. This means we ought to protect our heart, work at clearing it and ridding it of every heaviness. Setting this as a task will help you fight depression. You will not be helpless to its overbearing nature.
3. Isaiah 53:4-5
“Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Since depression is an illness, like any other, this verse applies directly to it. Jesus, on the cross, took on our illnesses and carried our sorrows. They were nailed to the cross with Him. He died so we could live. This verse is a huge encouragement and a reminder we are healed through Jesus’ sacrifice and punishment. You can walk in freedom and healing because Jesus paid for our infirmities.
4. 2 Timothy 1:7
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
This verse is a potent reminder our minds are subject to what we feed them. God has given us power, love, and a sound mind. So, receive that gift from God. Fear has no place in the minds God has given us. By clinging onto this scripture, you are reminding the fear, dread, sadness, and worthlessness they have no place in your mind.
5. Psalm 34:18
“The LORD is near to the broken-hearted; He saves the contrite in spirit.”
This is one of the best verses to turn to when feeling alone, afraid, and overwhelmed. Remember that the Lord is near you when your heart is sad beyond all comfort. You are not alone. He is right here with you. So, put aside your anger, sadness, and frustration. Reach out to a God who is here to save you.
6. Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Being depressed sometimes feels like being in a dark room surrounded by death. However, the psalmist reminds himself and us that God is with us even in this darkness, and He will comfort us during the pain and anguish.
7. Romans 8:18
“I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us.”
When Paul was writing this verse, he was keen to acknowledge the present sufferings we are experiencing. What you are feeling is real, but it is not permanent. Our attention is drawn to the future and the future glory which will be revealed. Our present pain does not compare to the magnificence and great beauty coming to us.
8. Psalm 46:10
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted over the earth.”
Depression often brings anxiety-inducing thoughts, insomnia, and sometimes debilitating restlessness. This verse speaks directly to that. God is God, and He is more significant than any worry, doubt, fear, or discomfort you may feel.
9. Revelation 21:4
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
This verse draws our attention to heaven and the promise of peace we desperately need. Since we are not permanent residents of this broken world, this verse offers us hope to persevere as we await to arrive in our heavenly home.
10. Isaiah 54:17
‘’No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.’’
This powerful verse ends our list. The enemy can use some of our emotions and faulty thinking patterns as weapons to destroy our lives. This verse is a promise none of these weapons shall prosper. To fight depression, you must believe the truth of God’s word over how you’re feeling. This verse tells us everything we need to know to do just that!
The Word of God is alive and active. It is given to us to encourage, train, remind, and empower us to be who God has created us to be, despite how we may be feeling or what we are experiencing. God’s power is more potent than any disease or thought. Through His Word, he is available to us to fight the evil things of this world, like disease and depression. Be encouraged by these scriptures, and all the best in your healing!
References And Links
Andrade, C., & Radhakrishnan, R. (n.d.). Prayer and healing: A medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(4), 247-253. 10.4103/0019-5545.58288
Azab, M. (2019, April 5). Can Religion Help with Depression? Psychology Today. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-everyday-life/201904/can-religion-help-depression
Bonelli, R., Dew, R. E., Koenig, H. G., Rosmarin, D. H., & Vasegh, S. (2012). Religious and Spiritual Factors in Depression: Review and Integration of the Research. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012(962860), 1-8. 10.4103/0019-5545.58288
Psych Central Guest Author. (2014, September 18). Prayer and Mental Health: What Does Research Say? Psych Central. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/new-study-examines-the-effects-of-prayer-on-mental-health#3