Scripture for Depression

This article was written and published by Faith in Recovery


We know that no one is immune from mental illness.

While the struggles of this world are minor compared to the love God has for us, He’s also left us His word for guidance, hope, and healing. A common mental illness that plagues millions of Americans of all backgrounds is depression. Depression (major depressive disorder) is a mental illness that negatively impacts a person’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. Depression causes extreme feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness, often which manifest themselves into physical ailments. As a center that provides faith-based mental health care, we wanted to share some scripture for depression that can help you or a loved one enjoy a happy life.

Bible Verses to Help With Depression

In the Bible, God is constantly encouraging us to trust Him. He also repeatedly reminds us that He’s always with us and will never forsake us. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38 to 39, “- I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” However, it’s often difficult to remember this in times of hardship. People with depression may especially struggle with the idea that God has plans of happiness and hope in store for them. Below are some of the best Bible verses for depression that can remind you or a loved one of God’s love and comfort.

Psalm 23:1-6

Some of the most common Bible scriptures for depression are from the book of Psalms, and for good reason. Most of the book of Psalms was written by King David, who at the time was running away from King Saul to stay alive. Before being anointed king, David suffered the loss of his best friend and was on the run for his life. Many of his psalms are considered diary entries that portrayed his hopelessness, fear, and loss, but also his faith in God.

Psalm 23: 1-6 reads, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” These verses express God’s steadfast love and protection even in times of internal and external hardships, like mental illness.

Psalm 30:11

“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” Worship in the Bible was often done through dancing. Many people celebrated God by dancing together, expressing a joy so intense that they had to move. Nowadays, the feeling of happiness is still expressed in this way, making the joy described in this verse easier to imagine for everyone, including people with depression. The sackcloth in this verse also represents an enveloping feeling of discomfort and worthlessness that’s removed by God and replaced with the comforting clothing of delight.

Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 is a straightforward verse that reminds us of God’s closeness. We often feel so small compared to the grand scheme of things, but Psalm 34:18 reminds us that even when we go through things like depression, He cares for us and remains close to us. No detail is too small in God’s eyes.

Isaiah 40:31

“-but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Despite being a mental illness, depression can also cause physical symptoms, such as heavy exhaustion, difficulties concentrating, decreased energy, and trouble sleeping. While it’s doubtful that any humans will be flying like eagles, this verse represents the relief from physical and emotional trials that God provides.

Matthew 11:28-30

Matthew 11:28-30 is one of the most popular Bible passages for depression and any other affliction. It reads, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If you aren’t familiar with scripture, then you may be wondering, “Did he mean an egg yolk?” Unlike a yolk, a yoke, as mentioned here in this verse and much of the Bible, refers to a wooden crosspiece that’s fastened over the necks of two animals that are attached to a plow or cart. In order to pull the plow or cart quickly and efficiently, the two animals have to work equally and together. So, in this verse, Jesus represents His attachment to us and His willingness to help us. In Him, people with or without ailments like depression can learn from and find rest in Him.

Jeremiah 29:11

Another one of the most popular Bible verses to overcome depression is Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Another common symptom of depression is feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. The future can seem bleak when you have this condition, but this verse is a lovely reminder that God is always working in the background, even if we don’t see it or realize it.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God always hears our prayers and encourages us to talk with Him through verses like these. Whether it’s immediate or slow going, the Lord will always grant us the peace and protection we seek when we pray to Him earnestly.

Deuteronomy 31:8

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” During this point in time, the Israelites were made aware that their beloved leader Moses was going to pass away, and naturally, they were scared. However, God reassures them of His love and protection in Deuteronomy 31:8. If you’re dealing with depression, apply this verse to your life so you may always remember God’s presence and never-ending support.

John 16:33

In the previous chapter, Jesus told his disciples that He was going to leave them soon and suffer and that they would also suffer and even leave Him in His hour of need. However, He didn’t tell them this to scare them or make them feel hopeless, but to remind them to seek Him in times of hopelessness and trouble. John 16:33 reads, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The verse ends with Jesus’ reminder to us to be courageous because He has already overcome the bad things of this world, making it one of the most popular scriptures to overcome depression.

As a center that offers both faith-based addiction treatment and resources for co-occurring disorders, we understand how difficult these afflictions can be to overcome. Our treatment professionals have often seen a link between addiction and mental illness, mainly because people with mental disorders turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. While you think this could never happen to you or your loved one, substance use disorders are progressive diseases that gradually worsen. Even so, we also know that God can not only overcome anything but that He already has.

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