What Does the Bible Say about Depression?

As Christians, it is important that we go to God and his Word for answers about depression. We may have many questions and struggles, but God's Word is full of powerful truths that can help us battle life's challenges.

God is good, perfect, and holy. He created all things good.

We must start by acknowledging that God is only good, he does not make mistakes. Therefore, he is not the source of the sin in the world. 

Genesis 1:31 - God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Psalm 106:1 - Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 34:8 - Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him

James 1:13-14 - When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

We live in a sin fallen world. 

All creation, including each one of us, is broken and stained with sin and imperfection because of the fall of man.

Romans 3:23-24 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:18-21 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

God has conquered and overcome our deepest problem, our sin, which had separated us from God.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:9-10 - This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

This is the most joy-filled, life-giving news we will ever hear. If it has lost its significance, we must pray the same prayer David did, “Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation!” (Psalm 51:12)

The battle for our souls is a spiritual one.

The Bible tells us that there is a war that is going on that we cannot see. This is the spiritual war for our souls. We must remember to battle depression on all fronts, especially the spiritual one.

Ephesians 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

We must be clothed in God's armor in order to stand in the battle.

God has not left us to stand on our own. He tells us what protection and weapons we have to fight this spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:10-17 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Our only offensive weapon is the sword: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v.17).

Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).

The way to defeat the lies he tells us is to combat them with the truth of God’s Word.

When Satan whispers the lies of defeat, fear, anxiety and despair in our hearts, we must drive it out with our sword, just like Jesus did (Matthew 4:1-11), using the truth of God’s unchanging Word (John 17:17):

So what does God say to combat the lies of despair, depression and defeat? 

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.

Psalm 46:1-2 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 139:7-18 -  Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them,  they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 34:17-18 - The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

2 Timothy 4:18 - The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

James 1:2-4 -  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Further passages to readPsalm 46:1-3Psalm 40:1-3Philippians 4:6-72 Corinthians 4Psalm 71:20, 1 Peter 5:7

God loves all of us, despite our brokenness. 

A person is not more broken or a worse Christian because they may be struggling with depression. We are all human and God loves us and desires to work good in our lives despite our weaknesses.

We see throughout the Bible that the men and women God used to accomplish his will were just broken sinners like us. David, Moses, and Elijah wrestled with feelings of hopelessness and despair at times, but ultimately found strength and hope in God.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We must focus our eyes on the source of life, Jesus, and give our lives for the mission: making disciples.

When Jesus calls Peter out to him on the water (John 14:22-33), he is able to overcome the impossible and walk on the waves, until he takes his eyes off of Jesus and focuses on the fears. When Peter starts seeing the challenges instead of his Savior, he begins to sink into the waves. The same is true for us. When we look to the struggle, the fears, or the seemingly impossible task that lies before us, we too sink in helplessness. But, when our eyes are on Jesus, who he is, and his power to overcome any challenge, we find strength and power to overcome the impossible through his strength.

When our eyes look to the temporary and to the earthly, we can get bogged down and discouraged. When our lives are looking toward eternity we see the joy set before us and the purpose of our lives.

We were never meant to walk the journey of life alone.

God never intended us to walk through life on our own. He has given us friends, family and, most importantly, our brothers and sisters in Christ to share our load and help carry our burdens.

Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Please don't walk through the struggle of depression alone. There is real hope in Christ and support in the body of believers. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, seek out help and support from Christians who can encourage you through God's Word and help you find additional resources.