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scripture for depression
Scripture for Depression
July 20, 2021
krokodil skin
Krokodil Skin
August 16, 2021
scripture for depression
Scripture for Depression
July 20, 2021
krokodil skin
Krokodil Skin
August 16, 2021

Deeper Look at Depression in The Bible

While depression may seem like a modern illness that has recently become more of a public topic of discussion, it’s existed since the beginning of time.

For as long as people have been able to feel hurt or sorrow, depression has existed. This complex disease has affected many people, both in the past and in the present. As a Christian rehab in Florida, we’re familiar with the presence of addiction and mental illnesses like depression in the Bible. We’re sharing what we found when taking a deeper look at depression in the Bible and some examples of people in Scripture who experienced this mental disorder.

People in the Bible With Depression

From Kings to the average Joe, below is a handful of people in the Bible who experienced depression.

King David was a Man of Immense Sorrow

David was anointed King of Israel in his teens but didn’t officially take up his throne until he was 30. Whether you’ve read the Bible or haven’t, you may have heard of David’s battle against Goliath, a Philistinian man known for his size and strength. One of David’s most well-known battles was against Goliath, who he defeated by flinging a stone at his head with a slingshot. The young man’s courage against the Philistines distinguished him as a warrior in King Saul’s court and eventually roused the king’s jealousy. Soon after, a plot to kill David was formed.

David ran from King Saul as an outlaw with a price on his head for nearly 15 years. He eventually became the leader and organizer of groups of outlaws and refugees who eagerly awaited the day he’d take the throne. While on the run, David won the hearts of the Judean people by protecting them from bandits and other dangers. After Saul’s death, David officially became king.

Gaining a new title, however, didn’t mean his problems were solved. The book of Psalms is one of the most popular books of the Bible and is attributed to David and his life. Below are some verses in Psalms that describe the fear, anguish, and depression David experienced during his hiding and reign.

  • Psalm 1:3 –“My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?”
  • Psalm 6:6-10– “All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”
  • Psalm 13:1-2 – “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”
  • Psalm 42:3 – “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
  • Psalm 42:5 – “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
  • Psalm 42:9-10 – “I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
  • Psalm 44: 15 – “I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.”

These are only some of the many verses David wrote about the depression he experienced while on the run and during his time as king. However, as heartbroken as he was, David knew that he could always count on God. The hope in, faith in, and love for God that David and other Bible characters who experienced depression shared is why we utilized Bible studies in our faith-based drug rehabilitation programs.

Elijah the Prophet also had battles with Sadness

The prophet Elijah is known for his role in protecting Israel from the corruption of the worship of Baal. The King of Israel at the time, Omri, had allied himself with the Phoenician cities of the North, and his son Ahab married a woman named Jezebel. Infamous for her wickedness towards Israel, Jezebel’s known as the archetype of the wicked woman due to her disregard of the rights of the common Israeli people and her defiance of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.

Jezebel replaced God with her worship of Baal by building a sanctuary or temple in Samaria. This meant that the Israelites had to accept both Baal and God, which goes against the latter’s commandments. Elijah proclaimed Israel’s punishment due to their worship of Baal and proved his authority in God by winning a test against 450 prophets of Baal, which ended the drought that had begun in the region as punishment.

However, despite God’s work through Elijah and the many miracles the prophet personally witnessed and played a role in, he fled in fear of Jezebel. When he made it to Judah, the prophet sat under a broom bush and prayed that he might die: “He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.” As you can see here, Elijah hit a point of emotional and physical exhaustion, both of which are common symptoms of depression. But as with David, God heard Elijah and answered him. Elijah was directed to eat and drink so he could travel to complete God’s plan for him. Because of his obedience and faith, God took Elijah in a windstorm, making him one of the two people (the other was Moses) who ascended into heaven instead of dying a normal death.

Job also suffered anguish over his circumstances

Many people think of Job when they talk about depression and the Bible. Job (pronounced “Jobe”) is the oldest book in the Bible. The story of Job starts with a faithful man of God who lost everything. He lost his home, kids, job, and health, and he was eventually left with three misleading friends. So great was Job’s suffering that, “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”(Job 2:9). Although Job maintained his faith in God, he went through a period of great depression and confusion. Some verses that display Job’s pain include:

  • Job 3:11 – “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?”
  • Job 3:24 – “For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water.”
  • Job 3: 26 – “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
  • Job 6: 2-3 - “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas…”
  • Job 7:21 – “For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.”
  • Job 10:1 – “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.”
  • Job 10: 18-19 - “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!”
  • Job 30: 16-20 – “And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest. In his great power God becomes like clothing to me; he binds me like the neck of my garment. He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.”

You related to Job and his feelings of constant sadness and hopelessness. You may wonder whether things will ever get better, but they will. Through all of his self-loathing and depression, God eventually speaks directly to Job. Throughout his previous trials, Job remained faithful and refused to place the blame on God for all of his hardships. But eventually, it became too much for him, and he did point the finger at God. When the Lord saw the turmoil Job was in, He answered Job’s questions and admonished his behavior. Job repented, and because of his great faith, God blessed the latter half of Job’s life with plenty of cattle, family, and a new home.

Jeremiah dealt with sadness his whole life

Jeremiah was another major prophet who experienced a lifelong battle with sadness and even wrote an entire book about his sorrows called Lamentations. In chapter 2, verse 11, he wrote, “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground…” As many people with depression have felt, Jeremiah felt rejected and ignored by God, writing, “He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead” (Lamentations 3:4-6).

You may relate to Jeremiah if you’ve ever thought, “God doesn’t hear me” or “I have no tears left to cry.” The people we read about in the Bible weren’t immune to the hardships many of us face, but with God’s guidance and care, they recovered.

What Does the Bible Say About Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a mental illness that negatively affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Common symptoms of depression include severe sadness, feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Although depression is a mental disorder, it can also impact a person’s physical health. People with depression who do not receive mental health treatment often experience physical changes like extreme weight loss or weight gain and unexplainable pains. It’s also common for people with mental illnesses like depression to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Our Christian inpatient drug treatment program has helped many patients who engaged in substance abuse to self-medicate and deal with other problems.

Though the word “depression” is only mentioned a few times in the Bible, it’s often referenced by other common words in Scripture, like “downcast,” “brokenhearted,” “troubled,” “miserable,” “despairing,” “mourning,” and more. The Bible talks about depression often, and there are numerous stories about faithful and influential people who suffered dark times and afflictions like depression. Below are some examples of what the Bible says about depression and verses for depression that can help you or a loved one stay strong amid hardship.

  • Psalm 9:9 – “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
  • Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
  • Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
  • Matthew 11:28-30 – "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
  • 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
  • Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

What assurance is given in Romans 8:28 about God working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose?

In Romans 8:28, believers are given the assurance that God orchestrates all things in their lives to ultimately bring about good. This promise is specifically extended to those who love God and are aligned with His divine purpose. It reinforces the idea that God's providence and care are actively at work in the lives of His faithful followers, ensuring that even in the face of challenges and hardships, ultimately all things will be directed towards their benefit.

How can trusting in God lead to joy, peace, and hope, as mentioned in Romans 15:13?

Trusting in God can lead to joy, peace, and hope as mentioned in Romans 15:13 by allowing one to find fulfillment through faith in Him. When individuals trust in God as the ultimate source of hope, they can experience a sense of contentment and inner peace that transcends external circumstances. This trust in God can bring about a deep, abiding joy that stems from the belief that God's plans are good and His promises are true. Additionally, by placing trust in God, individuals can cultivate a hopeful outlook on life, confident in the knowledge that His power and presence will guide them through any challenges they may face. Ultimately, trusting in God can lead to a transformation of the heart and mind, resulting in a life characterized by joy, peace, and hopeful anticipation of what is to come.

What comforting promise is shared in Revelation 21:4 regarding pain and sorrow?

The comforting promise shared in Revelation 21:4 regarding pain and sorrow is that God will wipe away every tear from people's eyes, and there will no longer be death, sorrow, crying, or pain. These troubles will be nonexistent, having been eradicated forever.

How does waiting patiently for the Lord bring help and relief?

Waiting patiently for the Lord brings help and relief by demonstrating trust and faith in His timing and plan. When one patiently waits for the Lord, it signifies a willingness to surrender control and put their faith in His guidance and provision. In the waiting process, one can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone and that God is actively working behind the scenes to bring about a positive outcome. By entrusting their concerns to the Lord and patiently waiting for His intervention, individuals can experience a sense of peace and hope that He will lift them out of their struggles and provide support when needed. This act of patience allows for a deeper connection with God and a realization that His timing is perfect and that He is faithful to His promises.

How can the Bible verses encourage individuals to trust in God's plan and find peace in times of distress?

The Bible verses can serve as a source of strength and comfort for individuals during trying times. By turning to the verses that speak of God's protection, guidance, and strength, individuals can find reassurance in the belief that they are not alone in their struggles. Passages like Psalm 9:9 and Psalm 23:4 offer a sense of God's presence as a refuge and a protector, even in the darkest moments of life. Additionally, verses such as Philippians 4:13 and John 16:33 remind believers of the power and peace that comes from their faith in God.

These verses help individuals to shift their focus from their own limitations to the infinite strength that comes from trusting in God's plan. By internalizing these teachings and reflecting on the promises made in the Bible, individuals can find solace in the knowledge that God is in control, even when circumstances seem overwhelming. This shift in perspective encourages individuals to lean on their faith and find peace in the midst of distress, knowing that they are supported and guided by a higher power.

How can staying connected with God's word renew our thoughts and feelings? 

Staying connected with God's word can positively renew our thoughts and feelings. By immersing ourselves in God's teachings daily, we allow His wisdom and guidance to shape our innermost thoughts and emotions. This practice is essential as our thoughts play a crucial role in defining the quality of our days and the overall outlook we have on life. The more we center our thoughts on God’s word, the more we invite His peace and clarity into our hearts and minds, as stated in Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you."

What are some key themes in the Bible verses provided for those struggling with depression?

Some key themes highlighted in the Bible verses for individuals grappling with depression include seeking comfort and refuge in God during challenging times, trusting in God's guidance and protection, finding renewed strength and hope through faith, experiencing enduring love and persevering through difficulties, seeking peace and rest in God, and drawing strength and hope from God's promises for the future. These verses emphasize the importance of relying on God's support, love, and assurances to overcome obstacles and find solace during times of struggle.

While many people have varying opinions on mental health in the Bible, you don’t have to go through mental illness alone. Not getting the help you need can lead to more serious and self-destructive attempts to cope, like substance abuse. Many people with mental disorders become reliant on drugs or alcohol to feel better. Many don’t realize these are major contributing factors, but with the help of our Christian drug therapy programs and God’s love, you can find lasting sobriety.

What are some tips for managing depression through healthy habits?

Here are some practical tips for managing depression through healthy habits:

1. Staying connected with God's word daily can help in renewing thoughts and feelings, allowing for a positive outlook and peace of mind.

2. A healthy lifestyle, including nutritious meals, enough sleep, and regular exercise, has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

3. Planning and maintaining healthy meals, keeping a food journal, and focusing on proper nutrition can play a significant role in managing depression.

4. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and establishing a regular sleep schedule can help regulate mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

5. Engaging in physical activity at least four times a week for 60 minutes, such as walking, can be an effective way to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Implementing these daily disciplines can serve as powerful tools in combating depression and anxiety, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.

God’s word on depression talks of hope and grace. If you or someone you know is overcome with a drug or alcohol problem due to their depression or other factors, we can help. Call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763 to find lasting sobriety for yourself or a loved one.