The Bible as God’s word is profitable in every season and situation of life according to 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” There is nothing in the Bible that is not valuable and helpful to us even in the darkest nights of our lives, but there are some depression Bible verses that have proved to be especially helpful. These depression Bible verses minister the truth of grace to a downcast, speak of encouragement and hope, and remind us that God has seen His saints through this valley before. These Bible verses for depression can also be helpful for overcoming and treating the condition as well. If you’ve ever wondered what the Bible says about depression, read on to get started. Our aim in this article is to provide a comprehensive list with some annotation to guide the reader to those parts of Scripture that will serve them best amidst their affliction. We pray God will bless the effort and will bless the reader through this humble offering. All glory to Him alone. Editor’s note: Please grab your Bible and scroll along!
The Bible as God’s word is profitable in every season and situation of life according to 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” There is nothing in the Bible that is not valuable and helpful to us even in the darkest nights of our lives, but there are some depression Bible verses that have proved to be especially helpful.
These depression Bible verses minister the truth of grace to a downcast, speak of encouragement and hope, and remind us that God has seen His saints through this valley before. These Bible verses for depression can also be helpful for overcoming and treating the condition as well. If you’ve ever wondered what the Bible says about depression, read on to get started.
Our aim in this article is to provide a comprehensive list with some annotation to guide the reader to those parts of Scripture that will serve them best amidst their affliction. We pray God will bless the effort and will bless the reader through this humble offering. All glory to Him alone.
Editor’s note: Please grab your Bible and scroll along!
The Essential Depression Bible Verses
Matthew 11:28-30 is an invitation for the depressed to come to Christ for relief: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Similarly, Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 12:20, and Hebrews 5:2 bid the afflicted to come without fear:
- Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
- Matthew 12:20: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”
- Hebrews 5:2: “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.”
Hebrews 4:15-18 assures us we will find an empathic Savior and Hebrews 7:25 the same that Christ is well able to save us entirely:
- Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
- Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Therefore, we have every reason to draw near to God, and this we are able to do through His self-revelation in the Bible.
Throughout the ages, believers have found the Psalms to be excellent medicine for the downcast soul. The poetry of the Psalms allows for truth to be applied directly to a fully expressed heart. We can resonate with the description of inner turmoil, desperation, and pain which are so earnestly expressed. We can also identify with the true hope of God’s steadfast presence.
We can sing them to ourselves, and with others knowing many more voices echo through history to join our own. Some Psalms which are particularly helpful are Psalm 1,2, 18, 22, 23, 25, 30, 32, 34, 42-43, 46, 55, 68, 69, 73, 88, 103, 116, 119, 130, and 143.
Believers have also found consolation, help, and hope in the stories of our forefather’s struggles. We have already heard much of David’s experience with depression. We can also find Abraham despairing of his future, and even of God’s ability to help him in Genesis 15:2-3: “And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.”
The example of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 has an excellent depiction of God’s treatment of His depressed servant. Jonah is seen wishing for death in Jonah 4:3: “Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Jeremiah wrestles with despair and deep sorrow all through the book that bears his name, and also the book of Lamentations. And we cannot overlook the example of Job. The book of Job can be a difficult read at the best of times, but chapters 38-42 are a very good reminder of who God is and who we are. John the Baptist knew discouragement in Matthew 11:2-3 as well: “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
Our Lord was called “a Man of all sorrows” according to Isaiah 53:3: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” The most affecting portrait of our Lord’s experience of distress is seen at Gethsemane in Mark 14:32-52, Matthew 26:36-56, Luke 22:39-53, and John 18:1-12:
- Mark 14:32-52: “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. betrayeth me is at hand. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”
- Matthew 26:36-56: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”
- Luke 22:39-53: “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
- John 18:1-12: “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,”
John chapters 14, 15, and 16 offer many consolations to the depressed, but most recommended those passages for their robust teaching on the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 is the classic passage of encouragement and direction for any affliction: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Philippians 4:11-13 offers similar help: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4:6-7, and 1 Peter 5:7 encourage our prayers which are vital to overcoming depression:
- Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
The psalm listed above can help us form those prayers when our hearts seem unable to find words. At such times Romans 8:15-16 is very comforting as it tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with a perfect understanding of our needs: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
Matthew 6:19-24 offers help against anxieties that often accompany depression. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
The passage also directs our focus to that place that will most alleviate our depression.
Philippians 2:5-15 is a good admonishment for us in times of despair: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputing: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
We also recommend Philippians 3 for this same purpose.
Romans and Galatians offer great help against guilt and shame while wonderfully affirming the good news of salvation by grace alone. Romans chapter 8 is especially noteworthy for its assurance of God’s will towards believers. We also recommend Matthew 7:9-11, and James 1:17:
- Matthew 7:9-11: “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
- James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Ephesians 1, 2, and 3 contain a most excellent exposition of our many benefits in Christ which is sure to lift our spirit if we meditate on them. There are many passages that be listed here for the same reason.
Revelation 21 and 22, along with Matthew 24 offer eternal perspective which grants ultimate hope in the certain victory of our Lord. We might also find such help in both of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians.
As we have said in our introduction there is nothing in Scripture that is not helpful to us in every season. Therefore, I suppose we go on listing verses and suggesting their particular usefulness till we had covered the whole of Scripture. What we have directed our readers to is quite extensive already. Now, it may be that some of the passages listed fall flat for you; take heart and do not be discouraged.
The power of Scripture is in knowing and understanding its truth by faith. Let the Scriptures answer the dark and doubtful thoughts of depression and you’ll find them losing their grip over your soul more and more. Remember the command of Romans 12:2, and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 as well:
- Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
May the grace of God be with you all. Amen.
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