Using Scriptures for emotional healing is an essential topic for Christians.
In the first place, Christians often counsel others.
Secondly, emotional problems can affect Christians, maybe even you. For instance, have you ever or do you suffer with:
- Anger or unforgiveness
- Jealousy or envy
- Habitual sins
- Feeling guilty
If so, you are not alone. Mental health issues affect 20% of Americans.
Mental health problems can vary in intensity. On the one hand, they can range from mildly annoying (which is the focus of this blog). On the other hand, they can be profoundly distressing, affecting every area of life.
I. For Serious Mental Health Problems, Suicidal Thoughts, or Life-threatening Situations: Contact Someone NOW!
It is essential to realize you know what to do if you have a severe mental health problem. You should undoubtedly see a trained and qualified healthcare professional. Further, if the counselors use Christian principles, all the better.
Furthermore, it’s critical to know when to REACH OUT IMMEDIATELY. For instance, if you suffer a severe mental health emergency or are in danger, such as:
- Feeling suicidal, call or text 988
- Being in imminent danger or in a life-threatening situation, call 911
- Experiencing other life or mental health crisis, refer to this article
II. The Bible Deals with Emotional Problems
You may have already reached out to another Christian. If you have, they likely told you (rightly) that you need to “get into the Bible” to find answers.
On the one hand, they are right. When facing psychological problems, Scriptures for emotional healing are unsurpassed.
- Undeniably God’s word provides us with everything we need to live a godly and informed life (2 Pet. 1:3)
- The Bible is a potent source of support and strength.
- To be sure, it can help us toward emotional healing
In addition, the Bible can:
- Provide believers with a sense of safety, comfort, and reassurance. Particularly in times of difficulty and turmoil
- Act as a powerful source of words of encouragement and healing
And if the Bible is God’s inspired word, what better resource can you study if you want to:
- Increase resilience to facing challenging situations (Job 1:21-22; Psa. 31:23-24; Phil. 4:13; Eph. 6:10-14)
- Improve moods (Psa. 42:11; Isa. 26:3; John 14:27)
- Boost confidence in the Lord (2 Cor. 4:7-9)
- Foster a sense of purpose and hope (Jer. 29:11; Rom. 5:2-5; 2 Cor. 4:16-18)
- Promote better sleep quality (Psa. 4:8; Prov. 3:24)
Nonetheless, I hear your pushback. “Many Christians claim believers can use Scriptures for emotional healing. But why do Christians reading the Bible continue to struggle with emotional baggage?”
I spent years wondering the same thing in my own life and those I counseled. Then it hit me!
I think there is a disconnect.
- On the one hand, we must use Scriptures for emotional healing
- On the other hand, something is missing when Bible reading alone fails to help
- And that “missing something” is clear instructions. Specifically, clear instructions on how to practically use Scriptures for emotional healing
III. Seven Ways to Handle Scripture Correctly
“Handling Scripture correctly” is the critical ingredient missing for struggling Christians. That is to say, if you want to heal from your emotional problems and scars, you must apply Scripture in the right way (2 Tim. 2:15).
And to clarify, using Scriptures for emotional healing is more than simply “reading” God’s word.
Above all, Scriptures must become rooted in your soul. In order that they can be practically applied for emotional healing.
To sum up, you need to know how to use Scriptures for emotional healing.
But how do you get the Bible embedded into your heart and mind? There are seven ways to ensure success using Scriptures for emotional healing:
- Firstly, illumination of Scripture through the Holy Spirits
- Secondly, Bible Study(2 Tim. 2:15)
- Thirdly, meditation on God’s word (Josh. 1:8)
- Fourthly, memorizing applicable Scripture (Psa. 119:11, 16)
- Fifthly prayer
- Sixthly, journaling God’s answers to your prayers
- Finally, living a godly lifestyle based on Scripture (1 Tim.4:7-8)
1. Illumination of Scripture through the Holy Spirit
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18).
If you are a Christian, God, through the Holy Spirit, can illuminate Scripture for you (Psa. 119:18; John 16:13-14; 1 Cor. 2:9-16)
Illumination of Scripture is the unique ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture he:
- Enlightens our understanding of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:9-16)
- Imparts spiritual truth and wisdom from God’s Word to us the more we study Scripture (John 16:13-14)
- Infuses our hearts with Biblical truths the moment we need them
What does “illumination of Scripture” look like practically in your life?
- Firstly, a Biblical verse jumps off the page and affects you in a surprising way
- Secondly, gaining new insight from a familiar passage
- Thirdly, in a stressful situation. The Holy Spirit brings the perfect Scripture to mind
Not surprisingly, while reading Scriptures for emotional healing, one “jumps” off the page. At this point, you are ready to begin Bible study.
If this sounds too good to believe, it’s not. Just stay in the Bible daily, expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s word.
2. Bible Study
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Bible study is much more than “reading” Scripture like a novel.
The purpose of Bible study is to correctly:
- Interpret the original meaning of the passage
- Correctly apply it to your life
Bible study demands:
- Daily, focused effort
- A method for interpreting Scripture so it can be applied to your life (2 Tim. 2:15)
The CIA method interprets and applies Scripture (i.e., exegesis). There are three steps:
- Firstly, knowing the literary and historical context
- Secondly, finding the original interpretation
- Lastly, discovering the passage’s universal principle. Then it can be applied to today’s challenges
3. Meditation on God’s Word
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8; cf. Psa. 1:2)
The next step after interpreting Scripture is meditation.
Basically, meditating on Scripture is a form of Biblical thinking. It involves renewing your mind to regain control of your thought life (Rom. 12:1-2).
Renewing your mind involves the “put off and put on” principle (Eph. 4:17-5:21). This principle includes:
- Firstly, putting off your old habits of wrong thinking
- Secondly, putting on new ones that center your thoughts on God
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, ESV)
Scripture memorization is critical to defeating your psychological battles.
You must arm yourself with Bible verses related to your struggles. Otherwise, it’s analogous to taking a weapon without ammunition into battle. When confronted by your enemy, you are defenseless.
Memorization weaponizes God’s word to defend yourself from emotional problems. When you memorize Bible verses, they become part of you (Psa. 119:16).
Most importantly, memorized verses can be called to mind by the Holy Spirit when you need them (John 14:26).
Furthermore, memorized Scripture will:
- Firstly, strengthen your faith. In this case, you repeatedly reinforce the truth when you need to hear it again.
- Secondly, provide Spiritual guidance, keeping your mind from wandering
- Finally, allow you to meditate anytime during the day or night.
Prayer is a spiritual conversation that draws you into greater intimacy with God.
Prayer focuses all your attention on God. However, it takes time, effort, and practice to do well!
One way to pray to defeat an emotional struggle is to choose a verse or passage that addresses the problem. After studying, meditating, and memorizing it, you are ready to pray.
“Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” gives practical advice on praying Scripture. Slowly pray these passages to God, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
For example, as you pray:
- Read the same passages repeatedly
- But each time, emphasize different words or phrases
- As you do this, you will start to see things from God’s perspective instead of your own
It is important to realize Jesus promised to answer our prayers (Matt. 7:8). But a point often overlooked is that God’s answer is:
- In his time
- Not always what we want or expect.
6. Journaling: Recording and Reflecting on God’s Answers
Don’t leave anything to “chance.” If you want to overcome your emotional struggle, chronicle what happens.
Journaling is a helpful way to
- Focus on the positive outcomes provided by God
- Get insight into your progress
- Evaluate your process of using the Bible to overcome emotional problems
Here are some practical suggestions. Daily journaling begins with selecting a Bible passage.
- Firstly, select a passage that involves your struggle.
- Secondly, write down any illumination from the Holy Spirit
- Thirdly, from your Bible study, document the interpretation and application
- Fourthly, record insights from your meditation
- Fifthly, detail particular answers to prayers
- Sixthly, answer, “What did I learn from praying this passage back to God?”
- Seventhly, keep an accountability schedule for scriptural memorization
- Eighthly, truthfully note your emotional reactions and interpretations regarding your struggles
- Finally, monitor progress or setbacks in your emotional struggle
7. Living a Godly Lifestyle Based on Scripture
As shown above, Scripture and the Holy Spirit work in concert. Together they teach what it means to live like a Christian (Phil. 3:17; 4:9).
And despite your challenges, God expects you to represent him well (Matt. 5:13-16). To clarify, you must live out God’s word daily. Do this, regardless of emotional, spiritual, or physical challenges (Luke 9:23). Otherwise, all your efforts are self-focused and useless to building God’s kingdom.
a. An Embarrassing but Instructive Illustration
As an illustration, you may know a Christian who talks a “good game.” When things are going well, they don’t worry. But conversely, during a significant challenge, their confident Christian mask vanishes. In effect, they lapse into an emotional or spiritual mess. And as a result, their behavior is indistinguishable from non-Christians.
I am not trying to embarrass or be harshly critical of anyone. On the contrary, I am ashamed to admit that I can relate. For a time, that is how I lived.
But later on, it dawned on me; what does my behavior say about:
- The value of Scripture to deal with emotional challenges
- My genuine trust in God and his word
- My Christian witness to an unbelieving and watching world (including my young children)
I tell you this embarrassing part of my life for this reason; I don’t want you to flounder as I did.
Learning how to use the Scriptures for emotional healing is critical. Challenges in life are going to come. And indeed, some of them will be significant. How you handle them will directly reflect how well you have internalized God’s word.
And as a result of living a godly lifestyle, you will draw closer to God and be more conformed to Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). And at last, you will experience emotional healing.
b. Practical Ways to Live Out What You are Learning
Your life should reflect your internalizing and applying Scriptures for emotional healing.
But you may want to know, “What does a godly lifestyle look like?”
In this case, here are some practical ways to live a godly lifestyle:
- Firstly, live differently from non-Christians
- Secondly, engage others as Jesus would
- Thirdly, remain prayerful (Luke 11:1), patient (1 Tim. 1:16), and pure (1 John 3:3)
- Fourthly, reflect integrity (Matt. 5:13-16) and love (1 John 4:7–21) that attracts outsiders
- Fifthly, display uncommon gentleness (Matt. 11:29), humility (Phil. 2:4–5), and service towards others
- Sixthly in the face of criticism, persecution, or rejection, honor Christ (Luke 6:35).
- Seventhly, share the gospel with others. Evangelize in a culturally and socially sensitive manner. At the same time, remain faithful and uncompromising (Heb. 3:1-2). But by the same token, avoid being offensive (John 20:21).
IV. What’s Your Next Step
In summary, when used correctly, the Bible is a powerful weapon. God’s word is beneficial in defeating emotional problems.
Further, you know seven ways to use Scriptures for emotional healing.
- Firstly, the illumination of Scripture through the Holy Spirit
- Secondly, Bible study
- Thirdly, meditation on God’s Word
- Fourthly, memorizing applicable verses
- Fifthly, prayer
- Sixthly, journaling God’s answers to your prayers
- Seventhly, living a godly lifestyle based on the Scriptures
Pick one of these ways to try practicing this week.
- To begin with, pick a verse like Psalm 63:8. “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me”
- After that, study it, taking time to meditate on it
- Then practice memorizing it through prayer
Finally, as previously mentioned at the beginning of the blog, if you are:
- Suffering from a severely distressing mental health problem, take action! See a qualified, trained and qualified healthcare professional who uses Christian principles
- Suicidal call or text 988
- In a dangerous situation, call 911
Binmin Podcast Ep. 40: Bible Reading | Spiritual Disciplines 101
Binmin Podcast Ep. 41: Prayer| Spiritual Disciplines 101
Stanley, Charles F. (1997). The Wonderful Spirit-filled Life. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.
Killen, R. A. (1975). “Illumination.” In The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. Edited by Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, & John Rea. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975
Broger, John C. Self-Confrontation: A Manual for In-Depth Biblical Discipleship. Indio CA: Biblical Counseling Foundation, 2015
Whitney, D. S. (1994). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life: A Study Guide Based on the Book. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994