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Bible Verses for Anxiety or Depression

The other day I was listening to the excellent podcast from John Piper (Ask Pastor John), which was talking about what bible verses to turn to when in the midst of depression. If that is the struggle you are going through, I encourage you to listen to the original here. John piper outline 5 different types of verse to turn to in such times. As any doctor will tell you, depression is also closely aligned with anxiety, and so I thought I would offer 6 different types of verse to read when going through anxiety. Because it is based on John Piper’s list, it will also be helpful for depression (though the specific verses I have chosen are more aimed at anxiety). I hope it is as helpful for you as it has been for me.

  1. Those that talk about the need for waiting on God.
  • “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock” (Psalm 40:1–2)
  • “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
  • “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?… But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:1-2,5-6)
  • “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.” (Psalm 25:16-17)

 

  1. Those verse that show how to experience gutsy guilt. This isn’t to say that anxiety or depression is a punishment for any specific sin, but just a recognition that we aren’t innocent and deserving any better than the deepest of all pits.
  • “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness [now that’s what I would call depression or anxiety], the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.” I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me [not against me, but for me]. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. (Micah 7:8-9)
  • Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. (Psalm 51:8-9)

 

  1. Fix your attention especially on the passages that describe the stunning work of Christ on the cross
  • “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6–8)
  • “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3)
  • “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13)
  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)
  • Many more such as: 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:12, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 53:4–6

 

  1. The fourth group is to recite Scriptures that explain God’s promise to the anxious or depressed Christian:
  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
  • “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.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” ( John 14:27)
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
  • “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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • See also verses such as Psalm 91:1-16, Zephaniah 3:17,

 

  1. Those verses which command us to forego worry and joylessness (based on God’s promises):
  • “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
  • “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
  • “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
  • “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22)
  • “’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14)

 

  1. Read and pray those verses which describe peace and freedom from anxiety, whether or not you fully feel them yet. This is not hypocrisy, it is a way to call out to God that what is true in these verses may be true for you.
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
  • “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
  • “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)
  • “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” (Psalm 118:6-7)
I hope these verses will help guide your thoughts and minds to the freedom that is yours in Christ, and always remember the numerous benefits of walking alongside your Christian brothers and sisters as you go through these trials.