A black and white photo of a weathered Bible lying open on a dimly lit table, highlighting verses on hope and healing amidst depression.

What Does the Bible Say About Depression?

Mental health struggles like depression can make even daily tasks seem impossible. If you’re a Christian wondering what God’s Word says about depression, know that you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible acknowledges that followers of God can struggle with depression and mental health issues. It offers hope through God’s promises, encouragement to persevere, and reminders of God’s constant presence and care.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore key Bible passages about depression and mental health, unpack how Scripture speaks to this struggle, and highlight the hope God offers those dealing with depression.

Depression in the Bible

Old Testament Examples of Depression

There are several examples of individuals in the Old Testament who experienced periods of depression and despair. King David, in many of his Psalms, expressed feelings of melancholy and being emotionally drained (Psalm 42:5-6).

Job also reacted with immense grief after experiencing tragic loss and illness, wishing he had never been born (Job 3:1-3). According to GotQuestions.org, Elijah was also depressed to the point of desperation after the confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19:4).

In addition, Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, lamented his condition (Jeremiah 20:14-18).

These biblical figures reacted to extremely difficult life situations with understandable sadness and grief. However, in each circumstance, whether through the help of friends or their own personal faith, they emerged from these dark periods with renewed spiritual insight and hope.

New Testament Examples of Depression

In the New Testament, there are a few clear examples of depression or mental distress. After being imprisoned by King Herod, John the Baptist reportedly became discouraged and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was truly the Messiah (Matthew 11:2–3).

Jesus recognized John’s wavering emotions and gently reassured him. There are also examples of Jesus showing empathy and healing those struggling with mental health issues, often attributed to demonic possession at the time (Mark 5:1-20).

When Jesus was arrested and crucified, His disciples were said to be distraught, fearful and deeply grieved, indicating acute distress (John 16:6, 20-22). However, after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, they became spiritually revitalized to spread the Gospel throughout the region.

According to the Focus on the Family ministry, while the Bible does not indicate medication or therapy for mental health problems specifically, there are many stories that confirm God’s compassion for those suffering emotionally.

His Word also provides wisdom, comfort and encouragement to uplift low spirits.

What the Bible Says About Causes and Cures for Depression

Internal Causes Like Guilt and Grief

Feelings of guilt and grief over past mistakes or losses can contribute to depression, according to the Bible. King David cried out, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4).

The sorrow of losing a loved one also sunk him into despair: “My soul is downcast within me” (Psalm 42:6). Even Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:33).

However, we are encouraged to release guilt to God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can also find comfort knowing lost loved ones are safe with the Lord.

Though grief is inevitable, we’re promised joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

External Causes Like Trauma and Loss

Situational struggles can also trigger depression. Job suffered traumatic losses, and became so despairing he wanted to die (Job 3:11). The psalmist cried out in anguish when surrounded by enemies (Psalm 31:9-10). Jeremiah wished he’d never been born (Jeremiah 20:14-18).

However, even in hardship we can have hope through God’s presence. David found solace knowing “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Paul and Silas even sang hymns of praise while imprisoned (Acts 16:25)!

Though we will have troubles in this world, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

The Cure of Hope in God’s Promises

Ultimately, depression stems from losing hope. But Biblical truths can revive our spirit. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5). “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

We can have confident hope through God’s promises.

Scripture also gives practical advice for lifting depression. Seeking counsel and pouring out our hearts to God helps (Psalm 62:8). Serving others gets our eyes off ourselves (Mark 10:45). Being part of a church provides support in suffering (Galatians 6:2). Singing praise is uplifting (Psalm 100:1-2).

Most importantly, we have hope in the saving work of Christ and His Spirit living within us. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).

With rebirth in Jesus, we have power to walk in newness of life.

Bible Verses Offering Comfort and Encouragement

God Understands Our Struggles

The Bible tells us that God understands what we are going through when dealing with depression. In Psalm 34:17-18 it says, “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.”

God does not simply observe our pain from afar, but rather draws near to us in our suffering. AsHebrews 4:15-16 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” What an amazing promise that we can come boldly to God in prayer, knowing that He cares.

God Cares Deeply For Us

In the midst of depression, it is easy to feel alone, but the Bible clearly teaches that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Deuteronomy 31:6 declares, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God promises to always be by our side. The Psalms echo this truth over and over, such as in Psalm 145:18-19 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

Take heart that even when depressed, anxious or afraid, God hears your cry. In fact, Psalm 56:8 says that He even keeps track of our wanderings and stores our tears in a bottle! Now that’s deep care and compassion.

Our Hope Is In God

The Bible clearly states that our hope comes from God alone. Psalm 43:5 proclaims “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” We don’t have to figure out life on our own or try to manage our fluctuating emotions.

We can take refuge in God who remains steady and strong. Lamentations 3:21-23 gives us this reminder: “Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God promises endless, steadfast love and mercy that never runs out. His faithfulness renews us so that we can have hope.

The Bible offers much wisdom and encouragement for those struggling with depression and anxiety. In the midst of the darkness, rememberthat you are not alone (Deuteronomy 31:6). God understands your pain more deeply than anyone else ever could (Psalm 34:18).

He invites you to cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares deeply for you (1 Peter 5:7). Put your hope in God (Psalm 42:5), and meditate on His sure promises (Psalm 145:18-19). He will never leave or forsake you.

Applying Biblical Truths to Depression

Know You Are Not Alone

When grappling with depression, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone in your struggles. However, the Bible reminds us that we are never truly alone. Numerous figures in the Bible, such as Job, David, and Elijah, experienced profound sadness and despair.

Their stories serve as a reminder that even the most faithful individuals can face mental health challenges. In fact, according to a study by HealthLine, over 25% of people will experience depression at some point in their lives.

The Scriptures assure us that God is always present, even in our darkest moments. As Psalm 34:18 states, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Pray and Read Scripture

Prayer and Scripture can be powerful tools in coping with depression. When feeling overwhelmed, turn to the Word of God for comfort and guidance. Verses like Philippians 4:6-7 encourage us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Reading and meditating on uplifting passages can provide a sense of hope and peace. Additionally, prayer allows us to pour out our hearts to God and seek His strength to endure difficult times. According to a study by Christianity Today, regular prayer and Scripture reading can significantly improve mental health outcomes for those struggling with depression.

Seek Christian Community and Counseling

While personal faith practices are essential, seeking support from others is also crucial. The Bible emphasizes the importance of community and fellowship. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Surrounding yourself with a supportive Christian community can provide encouragement, accountability, and a listening ear during challenging times. Consider joining a small group or connecting with a trusted mentor or pastor.

Additionally, seeking professional Christian counseling can be incredibly beneficial. A counselor can provide guidance and coping strategies rooted in biblical principles. According to the American Psychological Association, over 60% of individuals who seek counseling report significant improvement in their mental health.

Remember, depression is not a sign of spiritual weakness or a lack of faith. It is a legitimate mental health condition that requires compassion, understanding, and a multifaceted approach to healing. By applying these biblical truths and seeking support, you can find hope and strength to navigate this challenging journey.

You are never alone in your struggles, and with God’s help and the support of others, you can overcome depression and find joy and peace once again. 👏


The Bible clearly acknowledges that mental health struggles like depression happen even among devoted followers of God. Key passages reveal that faith does not make someone immune to depression. However, Scripture also offers real hope and practical ways for moving forward when dealing with depression.

Through exploring accounts of depression, causes, and cures in the Bible, as well as key verses that provide comfort, we see God does not abandon those struggling with mental health. He promises to be near the brokenhearted, uphold the weary, and redeem our pain.

For the Christian, even in the darkest valley of depression, hope is found in clinging to these truths.

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