Mental Health in the Bible: Exploring the Scriptures for Guidance

The Bible does not contain a word for mental illness, but it does provide us with guidance on how to view and respond to those who are struggling with their own minds. Mental health and mental illness are not just a mental problem, but they represent the effects of interruption in the relationship designed to operate throughout Shalom. It's important to note that the Bible never explicitly talks about mental illness in terms of how we would define it in modern times. Even so, more and more churches are experiencing the effects of mental illness within their congregations.

Treatment and care have been topics that many have debated, and while these questions are not easy to answer, the Bible gives us an idea of how we should view and respond to those who are struggling with their own minds. Many people use the terms “mental health” and “mental illness” interchangeably, assuming that, while mental illness is the presence of psychopathologies, such as depression and anxiety, mental health then becomes the absence of these disorders or diseases. Although it is not useful to apply modern diagnoses to ancient biblical characters, since their context, experience and perspective are very different and partly unknown, the Scriptures abound with examples of people showing symptoms of the absence of Shalom in their functioning. Focusing on mental health is focusing on following God's redemptive plan for us and the world, seeking to proclaim the kingdom of God and the integrity and healing that are provided through Christ.

Don't be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and stay away from evil. It will heal your flesh and refresh your bones. The conversation about mental illness and its validity has sometimes been controversial, especially among those in the faith. All quotes from the Scriptures, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, the standard version in English. Scott, PhD, NCC, LPC-S is an associate professor of clinical mental health counseling at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina, and provides clinical counseling and community oversight through his counseling office.

Reginald Thomson
Reginald Thomson

Reverend Thomson is a pastor and Bible scholar with over 10 years of experience in ministry and biblical studies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies, a Master of Divinity degree. As a Bible scholar, Rev Thomson has published numerous articles and books on various topics in biblical studies, including hermeneutics, exegesis, and biblical theology. He is widely respected for his expertise in the original languages of the Bible, and he is frequently invited to speak at conferences and seminars on biblical scholarship. He loves working with his church youth group. He is a frequent guest on the Scripture for Todaypodcast.

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