A photo of a person sitting in a peaceful garden, their head tilted upwards towards the sky, symbolizing the connection between our thoughts and God, as depicted in the Bible.

Where Do Our Thoughts Come From According To The Bible

Thoughts racing through our minds often feel like they appear out of nowhere. But have you ever wondered where exactly our thoughts originate from a biblical perspective? In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the various sources of human thought and reasoning mentioned in the Bible.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible indicates our thoughts arise from our heart, which represents our inner being and true nature. But thoughts are also influenced by external sources like other people, spiritual forces, and our circumstances.

We’ll examine Bible verses about the heart and mind, the contrast between divine and human reasoning, the effects of spiritual forces on thoughts, thought patterns of righteous and wicked people, and steps to take control of thoughts for a renewed mind.

With a thorough understanding of the origins of thought, you’ll gain wisdom for aligning your thought life with God’s truth.

The Heart as the Source of Thoughts and Reasoning

The Heart Represents Our Inner Being

The Bible teaches that the heart is central to our inner being and character. As Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Our thoughts, attitudes, desires, and intentions flow from the heart.

Jesus said that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). So the condition of our heart affects the thoughts that enter our minds.

Out of the Heart Flow Our Thoughts

Solomon wrote, “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19). Our thought lives reveal what is in our hearts. If we want to change our thinking, we need to first deal with our hearts.

In describing the human condition, Genesis 6:5 declares that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Our natural tendency is to think sinful thoughts. As Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”

This is why we need the gospel to transform our hearts and minds.

Guarding Our Hearts to Control Thoughts

The Bible stresses the importance of guarding our hearts because thoughts flow from them. Guarding our hearts involves being careful about what we allow into our minds through our eyes and ears.

Philippians 4:8 gives a filter for our thought lives: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

By pursuing righteousness, our thinking can become aligned with God’s will. As Romans 12:2 explains, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Contrast Between Thoughts from God versus Human Reasoning

Thoughts from the Spirit Versus the Flesh

The Bible teaches that there is an ongoing contrast between thoughts that originate from the Spirit of God versus the sinful nature inherent in human reasoning (Galatians 5:17). Thoughts from the Spirit reflect godly virtues like “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” while the flesh produces vices like “sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord” (Galatians 5:19-23).

The mind set on the Spirit receives continual, divine wisdom for righteous living, whereas the carnal mind lacks discernment about God’s truth (Romans 8:5-8).

Believers must therefore make a conscious choice to align their thought patterns to the Spirit rather than their instinctual fleshly desires. As GotQuestions.org explains, “When we become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we embark on a lifelong process of renewing our minds”.

By saturating our minds with Scripture, communicating with God through prayer and making worship a lifestyle, our thoughts become transformed and aligned with His will (Romans 12:1-2).

Divine Wisdom Versus Worldly Thinking

There is also an antithesis between the wisdom that comes from God versus the temporal wisdom of secular society rooted in humanistic philosophy. Divine wisdom leads to an understanding of absolute, moral truth aligned with God’s righteousness, whereas worldly wisdom relies on human intellect, promotes moral relativism and opposes biblical values (1 Corinthians 3:19, James 3:13-18).

Worldly thinking seems logical according to man’s finite mind, but is ultimately “foolishness” in God’s estimation because it shuns His eternal truths (1 Corinthians 1:20).

For instance, society today promotes a worldview accepting of behaviors clearly defined as sinful in Scripture. But believers must adhere to convictions rooted in biblical revelation rather than conforming opinions based on cultural fads.

As Paul exhorts, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

By continually renewing our minds according to God’s Word, we gain divine perspective versus worldly thinking.

Outside Influences on Our Thought Patterns

The Impact of Other People

Our thoughts are heavily influenced by the people around us, especially those we interact with on a regular basis. As social creatures, humans have an innate need to belong to a group and conform to social norms.

This often means adopting the attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns of those we spend time with. Studies show that the values, opinions, and even moods of close friends and family members rub off on us over time.

So if we surround ourselves with negative people who complain a lot, we may start thinking more negatively without realizing it. On the flip side, positive people can lift up our outlook. The Bible warns about letting worldly thinking seep in from corrupt companions (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Choosing friends wisely is important.

Mass media and social media also impact how we think. When the same ideas and messages are constantly repeated from TV, websites, etc. it can normalize ways of thinking and cause us to internalize them.

For example, materialistic values promoted across media can shape our desires and lead to dissatisfaction. The Bible urges us not to conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2). Monitoring our media intake and consciously rejecting ungodly messages is crucial.

Effects of Spiritual Forces

The Bible indicates that spiritual forces of wickedness can transmit corrupting thoughts and attitudes into our minds. Satan the devil is described as “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” and works in those “who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2).

His influence is often experienced as wrong thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere and tempt us to sin. Selfish pride, jealousy, lust, bitterness, and other harmful leanings can potentially be “flaming arrows” shot into our minds by Satan and his demons (Ephesians 6:16).

That is why we must be vigilant and protect our minds with spiritual armor.

On the other hand, God’s holy spirit can impart righteous thoughts and motives into those who are obedient to Him. As we study the Bible and pray, godly understanding and inclinations are “written on our hearts” (Hebrews 8:10).

The Bible encourages us to dwell on “whatever things are true” and “lovely” – this shapes our thinking in a positive direction (Philippians 4:8). By drawing close to God, we tune our thoughts to His wavelength.

Circumstances and Environment

Our thought patterns are also molded by our circumstances and surroundings. When life is going smoothly, we tend to think more positively. But trials, hardships and adverse conditions can drag down our mood and outlook.

For example, financial stress or relationship problems might preoccupy our thoughts. The Bible says the anxious person has a “divided mind” pulled in different directions (James 1:8). Prolonged exposure to harsh environments like war, abuse or poverty can also engrain pessimism and dysfunctional mental habits.

The good news is that no matter what situations we face, God promises to keep “in perfect peace” those whose minds are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). By strengthening our trust in God’s sovereignty, we can escape negative thought cycles.

The Bible encourages us to bring our cares to God, think on uplifting things, and renew our minds according to His will (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:2). This protects us from being conforming to external pressure and circumstances.

Thought Lives of the Righteous and Wicked

Thought Patterns of the Righteous

The Bible teaches that the thoughts and attitudes of righteous people are very different from those of the wicked. Here are some key differences in the thought lives of the godly versus the ungodly:

  • The righteous think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Their minds dwell on positive and edifying subjects.
  • The wicked are filled with lust, impurity, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lies (Colossians 3:5-9; Galatians 5:19-21). Their thoughts lead to sinful actions.
  • Righteous people aim to have the mind of Christ, modeling their thinking after His (1 Corinthians 2:16). This means thinking with humility, wisdom, and love.
  • The foolish do not acknowledge God in their thinking (Psalm 14:1). They live for themselves and their own pleasure, not to glorify God.
  • Believers meditate on God’s word and His truth (Psalm 1:2; 119:15). Their thinking is guided by Scripture.
  • The wicked despise instruction and correction (Proverbs 5:12-14). They refuse to allow God’s word to shape their minds.

Thought Patterns of the Wicked

In contrast to the righteous, the Bible paints a dreary picture of the thought lives of the wicked. Here are some truths about the thinking of ungodly people:

  • The thoughts of the wicked are sinful and opposed to God from birth (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Their natural minds are darkened and futile (Ephesians 4:17-18; Romans 1:21).
  • They devise evil plans and spread strife through slander (Proverbs 6:14, 18-19). Their thoughts lead to harmful actions.
  • The wicked despise correction and wisdom, loving their simple ways (Proverbs 1:22, 32). They cling to foolishness.
  • Their thoughts often lead to anxiety, fear, pride, greed, and anger. They do not know God’s peace (Isaiah 57:20-21; Psalm 73:7-9).
  • They try futilely to hide their sinful thoughts from God (Ezekiel 11:5). But He knows them completely (Psalm 94:11).
  • The wicked fail to acknowledge God in their thinking (Psalm 10:4). They see no need for Him.

In contrast to the renewing of the mind that believers experience through Christ, the wicked suffer from depraved, foolish, sin-filled thinking that leads only to death. This is why we must continually pray for the lost to come to repentance and life in Jesus.

He alone can transform even the most debased mind into something beautiful and righteous!

Renewing Our Minds Through Scripture

Capturing Thoughts

The Bible teaches us that we need to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means carefully examining our thoughts and assessing if they align with God’s truth found in Scripture.

For example, if we have negative thoughts about ourselves or others, we should compare them against what the Bible says about human value and dignity. Do our thoughts match up with reality?

Filtering Thoughts

After capturing our thoughts, the next step is to filter them through the truth of God’s Word (Psalm 119:105). Do they stand up to the light of Scripture? For instance, when experiencing fear or anxiety, we can look at Bible verses about God’s peace and sovereignty.

This filtering process requires knowing the Bible and allowing it to shape our perspective, not the other way around.

Replacing Thoughts

The final step is actively replacing false or harmful thoughts with biblical truth (Romans 12:2). Instead of dwelling on past failures, we can focus on God’s mercy and grace. When we start negatively judging others, we can choose to see them as God sees them – as valuable and redeemable people.

Replacing thoughts requires effort, but it renews our minds to align better with God’s will.

The process of renewing our minds allows the Spirit to transform us increasingly into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we capture, filter, and replace thoughts through engaging with Scripture, our minds become aligned with eternal truth rather than fleeting emotions or limited perspectives.

This is the path to freedom and wholeness.


In conclusion, the Bible provides invaluable insight into the origins of human thoughts and reasoning. While our thoughts flow from our inner being, they can be tainted by outside influences like other people and spiritual forces.

As people made in God’s image, we have the ability to control our thought lives, which are characterized by either righteousness or wickedness. According to Scripture, the key to thought renewal is filling our hearts and minds with God’s living Word to filter out destructive ways of thinking.

This biblical understanding of the source of thoughts equips us to align every thought with the truth of Christ.

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