The Bible And Depression

Question: When you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or down what Bible verses do you refer to? Did you know many Bible personalities experienced depression? King David clearly felt overwhelmed and depressed when he wrote Psalm 69: Ps. 69:1-5 Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you.

All the classic signs are there: He feels like he’s drowning in helplessness (v.1-2), “worn out” physically (v. 3), surrounded by people who hate him (v. 4), and that God is punishing him (v. 5). Sound familiar?

Depression that is not caused by a chemical imbalance or some other physical disorder typically has a spiritual cause. Usually there is unresolved anger and/or guilt lurking in the background. The Bible has much to offer that will bring release and relief, so long as we do what the Scripture says. Otherwise… James 1:23-24 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

These are the passages I often turn to when helping someone overcome depression: Ask God to reveal the cause. Ps. 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Be honest and accountable to a mature believer. James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Confess specific sins and accept God’s forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Tell yourself the Truth about who you are in Christ. Rom. 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Apply the last step often. Write down the verse God has given you about who you are in Christ and take it with you throughout the day. Read it, aloud whenever possible, several times throughout the day. This is God’s medicine for your mind and heart, and you cannot overdose!

If you want to be free from the lies swimming inside you that tell you “I’m no good,” “I’ll never be free,” “I can’t overcome…” —replace the lies with God’s Truth. John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

About the Author: Paul Coleman is the senior pastor of Friendship Bible Church of the Christian And Missionary Alliance in KeystoneHeights, Florida. He and his wife, Lynn, have been married 39 years, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Paul is also a life coach and pastoral coach, and the author of the weekly blog Bible Gems For Friendship at www.biblegems-pastorcoleman.blogspot.com