Bible verses about mental health
The mental health topic is a challenging topic to discuss because of the millions of lives that are affected by mental illnesses every year. NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reported that in the United States over 46 million people are plagued by mental illnesses each year. This is 1 out of 5 adults.
Additionally, NAMI also reported that 1 out of 25 adults in the U.S. suffer from serious mental illnesses. This costs America over $190 billion in lost earnings per year. These are staggering numbers. However, the statistics are even more distressing than you might think. NAMI reported that mental health disorders are seen in over 90% of all deaths by suicide. In 2015 Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Robin E. McGee, and Benjamin G. Druss conducted a study that was published on JAMA Psychiatry.
This study revealed that roughly 8 million deaths each year are linked to mental health conditions. What does the Bible say about mental health? How should we treat Christians struggling with mental health disorders? My goal is to assist those who are battling these issues by proposing helpful, biblical, and practical solutions.
Christian quotes on mental health
- “When God has already defined you as His and purposed by Him, no mental illness can change that.” – Brittany Moses
- “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis
- “When you cannot see the future and not knowing the outcome gives you anxiety, focus on the One who has gone before you. He knows the plans He has for you.” Brittany Moses
- “Even as a Christian, you’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days but you’ll never have a day without God.”
- “When it feels like you’re empty and hurting alone know God is present in this space with you. And as you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. He sees what no one sees, He hears what isn’t said but is cried out by the heart and He will restore you.”
- “I find myself frequently depressed – perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions.” Charles Spurgeon
What is mental illness?
Mental health disorders refer to health conditions that affect the way a person would respond to the demands of everyday life. Mental illnesses involve changes in a person’s behavior, thinking, or emotions.
Types of mental illnesses:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
- Mood disorders
- Schizophrenia and Psychotic disorders
- Feeding and Eating Disorders
- Personality disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What does the Bible say about mental health?
There is no explicit verse on mental health. However, there are Scriptures on the fallen condition of man, which entails the severity of the depravity of humanity. Scripture is clear in that through the sin of Adam, we have inherited a fallen sin nature. This sin nature affects every part of our being including body and soul. It’s a strenuous task to even slightly comprehend the depravity of the human heart. As believers, we have to be able to deal with mental illnesses as a psychological reality.
It is undoubtedly seen from Scripture how our fallen nature can produce chemical imbalances in the brain. Human beings are psychosomatic unities. This reveals the relation between our mental and our physical. Our biological functioning can be either positively or negatively affected by our mental state. Take a moment to ponder the mind-body connection. A mere thought can create panic attacks and depression. Our thoughts have the ability to not only produce, but also enhance pain.
The brokenness and psychological wars that many are facing, including myself are due to us living in a fallen world and being marred by sin. No one is alone in this because we all struggle in some capacity because of the fall. It can easily be said that we all have a mental illness.
By no means am I trying to equate clinical issues with situational issues. Nevertheless, we all experience the weight of living in a broken world. With this in mind, it’s no longer a “my” problem. Now it’s an “our” problem. However, God does not leave us hopeless without a solution. In His love He came down in the form of man and He took upon our brokenness, shame, sin, hurts, etc. He lived a perfect life that we struggle to live. He intimately understands what we are going through because He’s fought our battles and He has prevailed. Christ has overcome and defeated those things that are so burdensome to us.
He is calling everyone to repentance and faith in Him. He desires us to experience the liberation that He offers. You may feel that you are locked in a prison cell, but what do we know about Jesus? Jesus shatters chains and He removes locks and He says, “I am the door.” He wants you to come inside and be set free. By grace although we are fallen, believers have been redeemed by Christ and although we still struggle, we can take comfort in the fact that we are being renewed in the image of God.
1. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”
2. Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
3. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
4. Romans 8:22 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
5. Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
6. Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
7. Romans 8:19 “The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God.”
8. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
9. Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Dealing with mental illness
How are Christians to respond to such a convoluted issue? If we’re honest, we can struggle to know how to appropriately and compassionately respond to someone dealing with this issue. When we insensitively declare mental illness to be only a spiritual issue, we immediately isolate those who are struggling with this. By doing this we unconsciously direct others to a prosperity gospel type of solution, which says, “just have enough faith.” “Keep praying.” Even worse, we go so far as to accuse someone of living in unrepentant sin.
We often overlook what the Scriptures teach us. We are “body” and “soul.” For someone who is struggling with a mental illness, this means not only are there spiritual solutions to issues, there are also physical solutions. We don’t have to be afraid of taking advantage of what God has given us. As we look to Christ as the Ultimate Healer we can take advantage of Christian mental health professionals and counselors and the help that they provide.
With that said, should we overlook spiritual solutions? Absolutely not. We are not only body, but we are also soul. Someone’s mental health condition could be a result of feeling the effects of living contrary to God’s Word. Not in the slightest am I saying that this is the primary reason that Christians struggle with mental illnesses. We should seek outside help, but we should also be growing in our spiritual devotion, remain connected to the body, etc. In more severe cases, sometimes medication is needed. In this case we should take advantage of it. However, when we do take mental health medication, we should do so while trusting in the Lord as the Great Physician and Healer, in hopes of coming off the medication.
The most loving thing that we can do to a person struggling with a mental illness is to honor them enough to acknowledge their struggles. We should love them enough to listen and fight to connect with them. There is freedom in knowing that we can’t fully understand each other’s stories, but in Gospel community we find a way to connect.
10. Proverbs 13:10 “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.”
11. Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
12. Proverbs 12:18 “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
13. 2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
14. Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
15. Matthew 9:12 “But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
Hope in Christ
If we’re honest, in the midst of our battles, it is tremendously difficult and tiring not to look at what is in front of us. It’s hard not to look at the things that we are currently dealing with. However, this is precisely what Paul is telling us to do in 2 Corinthians 4:18. Paul is someone who experienced various forms of suffering.
He was shipwrecked, beaten, weary, and in danger of being killed. On top of this he had a physical, spiritual, or an emotional thorn that he dealt with throughout his ministry. How could Paul consider the various forms of suffering that he experienced as something that was light? They were light in comparison to his coming weight of glory. Don’t look to what is seen. I am not minimizing anyone’s battle. Let’s continue the practice of focusing on the beauty of Christ as He renews our mind daily.
For Christians struggling with mental illnesses, know that there is a weight of glory that is exceedingly greater than what you can see. Know that Christ deeply loves you. Know that Christ intimately knows and understands you because He experienced your battles. Know that these things are helping you to rely upon Him and experience the sustaining power of His grace. Know that your mental battles are creating a precious unimaginable glory. Continue to press on and fight. Follow the lead of the One who has already won the battle.
16. 2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
17. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
18. Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us.”
19. Romans 8:23-26 “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
20. Philippians 3:21 “Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Encouraging Bible verses for mental illness
God can use a person’s mental illness for His glory. The Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon struggled with depression. However, he was mightily used by God and he is considered one of the greatest preachers of all-time. The wars that we face today should drive us to Christ in reliance upon His grace.
When we allow our battles to drive us to Christ we begin to encounter and experience Him in a way that we’ve never done before. The immeasurable irrevocable love of God becomes an even greater reality. Jesus cares about all aspects of our heath whether physical, spiritual, or mental. Not only did Christ heal broken bodies, but He also healed minds. We tend to forget this. Mental health is important to God and the church should grow in compassion, understanding, education, and support of this issue. Healing comes in various forms, but usually happens over time.
However, for those struggling with this I encourage you to persevere. I encourage you to be vulnerable before the Lord daily because He is near. I encourage you to get plugged into a strong community of believers and get trusted Christian accountability partners. Lastly, continue to look to the splendor of Christ and remember this. In this world we live in imperfect bodies. However, we are reminded in Romans 8:23 to joyfully wait for the day when Christ will return and we will receive our new, redeemed, resurrection bodies.
21. Psalm 18:18-19 “They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the LORD supported me. 19 He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.”
22. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
23. Psalm 118:5 “In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered and set me free.”
24. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
25. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”