There are plenty of verses that will brighten your day when you are feeling down. But what if you want to focus on a single book of the Bible?
While all books of the Bible are inspiring and nourishing in their own way, there are some that are particularly great to read when you are depressed. Here are my top five picks.
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5 Books Of The Bible To Read When Depressed
When I am depressed or just sad, the first place in the Bible I turn to is the book of Job.
That might not seem like a smart idea considering the many problems Job went through. But it’s precisely those tribulations and Job’s perseverance that makes Job such an encouraging book.
The majority of the book is not about the troubles of Job or even how emerges more blessed in the end; most of the chapters are long speeches and arguments by Job, his friends and God himself.
Reading through most of the book is painful. Job is angry about his losses and angry at God. It doesn’t help that his friends tell him that his sins are to blame for his problems.
But ultimately, Job doesn’t curse God and eventually acknowledges God’s great wisdom and power.
I particularly love Job 42:1-2.
Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
It’s such an uplifting message when, like Job, we start to question God’s purpose in our life and we get angry and despondent.
The book of Job shows us that it is perfectly okay to be angry. But through it all, don’t forsake God. It’s a message to remain hopeful and righteous even at the worst of times.
2. Any of The Gospels
There’s no story more uplifting in the Bible than the sacrifice of Jesus. God sent his son to save us from our sins and rescue us from the bindings of the old law.
Reading through the teachings and parables of Jesus is a great way to get out of a funk. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest and easiest one to read.
But any of the Gospels will help you regain your hope and Joy.
Some of the most strengthening words of Jesus are in Matthew 11:28-30.
“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.”
You know how gospel hymns can give you calm and peace?
Well, the Bible has its own collection of hymns in the book of Psalms. These hymns, which you can also regard as poems, are full of praise and worship to God.
Some of the Psalms are written by people going through troubles such as in Psalm 3, which was authored by David when he was on the run from his son, Absalom.
The authors express their sorrow and lament, but still praise God and remain hopeful in his power.
The beauty about the book of Psalms is that you do not have to start at the beginning. Just open to a random chapter and you’ll find words to inspire you.
I recommend starting with Psalm 23 and Psalm 138, both Psalms of David. Here’s a sample.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.
You can also start at the beginning and commit to reading one chapter a day.
The Epistles in the New Testament are full of writings to the early church on faith and salvation. One of Paul’s epistles stands out in its theme.
Paul likely wrote Philippians when he was in Prison. In it, he writes to the Church of Philippi.
The believers there were some of the biggest supporters of Paul’s missionary work and the apostle clearly loves them.
The letter is filled with encouragement to the believers to remain steadfast in their faith.
Paul is in prison but he does not complain. In fact, he says that his imprisonment has actually advanced the gospel.
He writes with a lot of optimism.
When reading Philippians, the persistent feeling I get is that of joy, hope and encouragement. It’s a great book to read when you are feeling sad, depressed, lonely or hopeless.
I particularly love re-reading Philippians 4:4-6.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
The book of Philippians is short – just 4 chapters long. Start at the beginning and you could complete it in an hour or so.
But I recommend taking it slowly to really absorb the message. Read one chapter a day, then meditate on it. You can even take notes or seek out additional commentary on it.
The book of Ecclesiastes can read the ramblings of a man who has given up on life. If you are feeling the same, you’ll find a kindred author in Ecclesiastes.
The book starts thus:
Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
The book then launches into the vanity of life and the unfairness and injustice in the world. If you feel like you need to rant, Ecclesiastes will help you get it all out.
It talks about how pleasure, riches, wisdom and knowledge are all vanity.
In the end, the teacher says that all that matters is God. Do not be anxious over things that are meaningless. Instead, focus on your relationship with God.
The author ends with the following words:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.