Depression in the Bible

Depression in the Bible

You won’t find the word “depression” in the Bible. The Bible uses words such as downcast, sad, discouraged, downhearted, troubled, miserable, despairing and brokenhearted.

All Bible quotes are from the ESV Bible, unless otherwise noted.

The Bible Shows That Depression Can Strike Anyone


Job was depressed. In Job 7:6 the bible shows Job without hope.

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle
    and come to their end without hope.

In verse 8 of chapter 7, Job says that God doesn’t care.

The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
    while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.

In verse 11 of chapter 7, Job is bitter.

“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
    I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.


In Numbers 11:11, Moses was burdened.

Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?

Again in verse 14

I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.

In verse 15, Moses was suicidal.

If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”


David is another example in the Bible of a person with depression. Read Psalm 42 and Psalm 43.

In Psalm 42:6 David’s soul is in despair.

…My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you…

David was in mourning in Psalm 43:2

For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?


Elijah is another example in the Bible of someone who is depressed.  Read 1 Kings 19.

In verse 3 Elijah was fearful.

Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

In verse 4 Elijah was suicidal.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he  asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

In verse 14 he showed self-pity.

He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Depression Brings God Into View

When struggles come we either cry out to God for help, shake our fist at Him, or do both. Depression is the fruit resulting from a defective heart. Proverbs 23:7 says:

…For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… (NKJV)

Depression Says Something About the Heart

Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (NKJV)

Matthew 12:34

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Who do you love? God or the world? 1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Who do you trust? People or God? Read Jeremiah 17:5-8.

Who will you serve? God or money? Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.[a]

Four whose glory do you live? Gods or for your own? Read Romans 1:21-23.

Where is your treasure? In God or the world? Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

To whom do you belong? To God or Satan? John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.


Sinful responses to problems will always produce additional complicating problems and that cycle (unchecked) can lead to depression, as we have defined it.

Is depression an emotional problem?  No!

The emotions are working fine.  The  sinful response can lead to guilt and sadness.  When left unchecked, gets worse, and can be the cause of the depression.

What Causes Depression?


Fundamentally – it is from continually thinking that life is not going as expected, resulting in unbiblical and unproductive actions, which bring greater difficulty. Which is again responded to in an unbiblical and unproductive action – and the cycle continues.


Next Steps

Stay tuned for our next article on depression, Depression – Triggers and Solutions.

Oxford Valley Chapel Counseling Center

Dr. Dan Skogen, and Robin Skogen, are our Biblical Counselors.  You can see all their bios on the Biblical Counselors page.

To schedule an appointment, ask a question, or just find out more information about our counseling program, call our church office at (215) 946-3946 or send us an email.