Depression: Symptoms & Biblical Hope

If you’ve ever wondered what the Bible says about depression, you’re in luck. In this article, Aliuwa Abali (MSW, LCSW) provides clarity and encouragement from Scripture about depression.

In this Article:

  1. The Bible and Depression
  2. What Depression Robs Us Of
  3. Frozenness of the Soul

About the Author

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Aliuwa Abali is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in depression and anxiety. You can schedule an appointment with Aliuwa for online counseling.

What the Bible Says About Depression

The Bible has a lot to say about Depression and I look forward to sharing with you in this article. My hope is it gives you an even greater clarity on this issue and the strength to seek help.   In Matthew 26:37-38: He (Jesus) took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Jesus is familiar with what it feels like to be downcast.

He also identifies that depression is a matter of the soul. Why would He specifically mention the soul in this verse? 1 Thessalonians 5:23 states “….And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are spirit beings, living in body and having a soul. Our soul is where our thoughts, feelings and will exist.  In this scripture depression takes on the persona of fear, lack of courage, being distressed and troubled.

How many of us can relate to such descriptors, perhaps, currently or at one time in our lives. Life can be cruel, baffling and confusing with its twists and turns, ups and downs leaving us in distress.

2 Corinthians 7:6 states “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” Depression is viewed as being in a lowly position or spirit. As in “are you in high spirits or not.” Depression is unkind and unmerciful with its victims. It desires to be in a position of power and control exerting influence.

What Depression Robs Us Of

Another verse, 2 Samuel 13:4 “He (Jonadab) said to him (Amnon), ‘O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? …..'” In this verse Depression means poor, weak and thin. It also shows that depression does not discriminate and doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white. It robs you of physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and social strength. Let’s dig a little deeper into these different aspects.

  • Physically: We know symptoms can include tiredness, weakness, insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) and hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness). Significant weight loss or weight gain can also occur.
  • Emotionally: Symptoms are a lack of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Psychologically: Depression can lead to decreased ability in thinking or concentration and even suicidal thoughts.
  • Spiritually: It isn’t easy to pray, worship or even read the Bible when depression hits you. God may even seem far away and you feel disconnected from Him.
  • Socially: External and/or Internal Isolation can occur, leaving a person feeling alone or lonely even when around others.

Psalm 38:6 states “I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.” Depression is defined as a bending, twisting, distortion and perversion. When you think of something that is bent, it is stuck in that one state or direction. A distorted perspective is like wearing rose colored glasses that taint everything you see, feel and hear.

Depression: Frozenness of the Soul

Do you see yourself or a loved one in the above descriptions? Depression is not meant to be dealt with alone but within a community. At its core depression is about some type of loss resulting in the  “frozenness of the soul,”  according to Townsend, J. The Spiritual Nature of Psychological Problems. We face losses in relationships, health, job, death or better yet not being allowed to express who we really are in our lives. When there are minimal to no internal or external resources available to handle depression in proportion to these losses, depression deepens and becomes more severe.

There are a multitude of ways to treat depression and one treatment method does not fit all. This article is by no means all inclusive, especially when you get into the biochemistry of the body and medications related to depression, but it is providing streamlined biblical and clinical perspectives. Do not ever feel ashamed about needing help. Shame is meant to isolate as depression continues to rob you of the joys of life and hope. MyCounselor Online is here to help and support you in your journey of wholeness.

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