A photograph capturing sunlight streaming through a stained glass window, illuminating a Bible verse about positivity, serving as a reminder of the power of positive thinking.

What Does The Bible Say About Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is an incredibly popular concept in modern society. The idea that you can achieve your goals and bring about positive life changes just by adjusting your mindset is appealing. But what does the Bible have to say about positive thinking? Can Christians embrace this principle?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible does not directly address positive thinking, but there are verses about the power of our thoughts and words that relate to this concept.

Scripture encourages optimism, faith, and focus on good things, which aligns with positive thinking. However, the Bible also warns against believing we can control outcomes and accomplish anything solely by our own power or mindset, which contradicts some aspects of positive thinking philosophy.

In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into Bible verses about our thoughts and attitudes, examples of positive thinking, warnings against pride and self-reliance, and analyze how Scripture aligns with and diverges from secular positive thinking advice.

Whether you are interested in motivating yourself with biblical wisdom or concerned about potential conflicts between positive thinking and Christian teachings, continue reading for detailed biblical analysis and guidance.

Bible Verses About Our Thoughts and Attitudes

Verses About the Power of Our Thoughts and Words

The Bible has much to say about the power of our thoughts and words. Proverbs 23:7 declares, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thought life shapes who we are. Philippians 4:8 instructs us, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

By focusing on positive virtues, our outlook and attitudes can change.

The words we speak also carry power, according to Scripture. As Proverbs 18:21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Ephesians 4:29 says to “only let your speech be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Speaking positively brings life, while negative words can be spiritually harmful.

Instructions to Think Positively and Focus on Good Things

In addition to highlighting the influence of thoughts and words, the Bible gives direct instructions about thinking positively and focusing our minds on virtuous things. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. “ Here we have a powerful antidote to anxiety and negative thinking – bringing our cares to God in prayer with thanksgiving.

Furthermore, Paul instructs in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” This exhortation makes clear that Scripture directs us to actively choose to focus our thoughts on positive virtues rather than dwelling on worries, anger, or other negative mental patterns.

Examples of Positive Thinking in the Bible


Abraham is a great example of someone who chose to think positively and trust in God’s promises. When God told Abraham he would have a son and become the father of many nations, Abraham was already very old and had no children (Genesis 12:2-3).

Despite this seemingly impossible situation, Abraham believed and trusted that God would fulfill His promise (Romans 4:18-21). Abraham’s faith and positive attitude allowed him to experience the fulfillment of God’s blessings in his life.


Joseph maintained a positive attitude and outlook, even during very difficult circumstances. When his brothers sold him into slavery, Joseph could have become bitter. However, while imprisoned on false charges, he continued to trust God and looked for opportunities to serve others (Genesis 39:20-40:23).

God rewarded Joseph’s faith by raising him to great power in Egypt. Joseph’s example reminds us that focusing on God’s sovereignty and choosing to serve others can help us maintain a positive perspective during trials.

Joshua and Caleb’s Faith

When the Israelites arrived at the Promised Land, 10 of the 12 spies sent to explore the land came back with a negative report, saying the people there were too strong to defeat (Numbers 13:31-33). However, Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report, saying that because God was with them, they could certainly conquer the land (Numbers 14:6-9).

Joshua and Caleb’s faith and positive thinking allowed them to eventually enter the Promised Land, while the others with a negative perspective perished in the wilderness.

Paul’s Encouragement

The apostle Paul gave many encouragements to think positively and renew our minds in Christ. Despite being imprisoned for sharing the gospel, Paul wrote joyful letters teaching believers to dwell on whatever is noble, right, pure and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8-9).

He reminded the Romans that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even when facing opposition and persecution, Paul chose to think positively and focus on the eternal hope found in Jesus.

Warnings Against Pride and Self-Reliance

Thinking We Can Control Outcomes

The Bible warns against believing we are fully in control of our lives and can determine outcomes through positive thinking alone. Proverbs 16:9 says “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” This reminds us that God is ultimately sovereign over all things.

While positive thinking can be helpful, we should not rely on it as the ultimate source of success.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Here Jesus challenges over-dependence on our work and planning by pointing to God’s care over creation.

Trusting in Our Own Strength

The Bible also warns against pride and self-reliance apart from dependence on God. Jeremiah 9:23-24 says “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me.”

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This reminds us that we access God’s power when we humbly acknowledge our limitations. Self-reliance can lead us to think we don’t need God.

Ultimately, positive thinking has its place but must be balanced with humility and reliance on God, who knows us and cares for us better than we know and care for ourselves.

Alignments and Contradictions With Secular Positive Thinking

Power of Thoughts and Words

Both the Bible and secular positive thinking emphasize the immense power our thoughts and words hold. Proverbs 23:7 states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” This resembles the concept in positive thinking that we become what we constantly envision.

However, the Bible clarifies that while thoughts influence actions, God ultimately holds supreme authority over all things.

Similarly, the Bible and secular positive thinking promote the potency of our spoken words. Mark 11:23 conveys, “Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him.”

Positive thinking proponents utter affirmative statements to manifest desired outcomes. While aligned in underscoring words’ creative capacity, positive thinking rarely distinguishes between godly and egocentric aspirations.

Optimism and Faith

Both positive thinking advocates and the Bible encourage maintaining an upbeat, hopeful perspective, seeing life’s glass as half full. Philippians 4:8 instructs, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…think about such things.”

However, positive thinking’s optimism stems from self-reliance, whereas biblical hope originates from faith in God.

Additionally, secular positive thinking rarely acknowledges suffering as part of life. Contrarily, the Bible clearly states that troubles will arise but we can have joy in spite of hardships. James 1:2 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds.”

Christ-centered optimism helps anchor one’s outlook through all seasons of life – the good along with the bad.

Dangers of Believing We Control Everything

While positive thinking aims to empower people to achieve their dreams, it risks promoting the illusion that we can control every aspect of our lives. Many popular positive thinking guides imply that obtaining health, wealth, and success lies mostly within one’s personal determination and efforts.

As GotQuestions.org points out, the Bible makes no such guarantees of prosperity. Despite his faith, Job suffered greatly, and John the Baptist died at a young age. Positive thinking fails to acknowledge that while God sometimes blesses abundantly, at other times He allows hardship.

The problem comes when we expect God to act as our divine bellhop instead of approaching Him with humility, surrender and trust despite unknown outcomes.

Secular Positive Thinking Biblical Perspective
Thoughts and words hold power to manifest Thoughts and words hold power but God holds supreme authority
Encourages optimistic mindset Encourages faith-based optimism anchored in Christ
Implies self-determination controls outcomes Surrenders outcomes to God’s sovereign will


In summary, the Bible does not directly address today’s positive thinking movement, but provides wisdom around related topics like controlling our thoughts, faith, optimism, and reliance on God rather than self.

There are certainly verses that align with principles of positive thinking, such as focusing our minds on good things and believing God can accomplish great works through us. However, the Bible contradicts positive thinking teachings that encourage trusting solely in the power of our own thoughts and words to control situations.

Christians embracing positive thinking should balance it with humility, faith in God’s control, and acceptance of His greater plan.

The Bible provides useful guidance for navigating the potential benefits and pitfalls of positive thinking. With discernment and grounding in scriptural truths, we can wisely apply useful aspects of positive thinking while avoiding the extremes of believing we can accomplish anything under our own power.

Focusing our outlook on biblical hope and reliance on God over positive emotions or self-will helps ensure our thinking aligns with Christian teachings.

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