What the Bible Says about Anxiety

It is said that the Bible contains 365 verses addressing fear and anxiety, one for every day of the year. There are many things in life, big and small, that bring us worry—our jobs, money, illness, social situations, family, relationships, fears, and decisions. Anxiety affects all of us, young and old alike. However, God’s word is the ultimate source of comfort for a Christian.

In this post, we bring you hope from scripture and encouragement from some of our authors to help in times when you feel worried and anxious. For more reading on the topic, click any book title to learn more.

verse number 1

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
your consola­tions delight my soul.

Psalm 94:19 NASB

The writer of this psalm is clearly very aware of his own inner experience. He is aware that he can get preoccupied and burdened and his mind can go on the “spin cycle.” The way he says, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,” gives us a sense that his anxiety is like an atomic reaction. The atom splits and splits again, and soon after it seems like the whole world is shattered in little pieces and about to land on his head. But then the psalmist says, “Your consolations delight my soul.” The Bible gives us many reasons, com­forts, and consolations that do battle with our anxiety.

It’s no surprise that some of those consolations can be found in Psalm 94. Many other consolations are in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, especially in chapter four. Paul says in Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything.” He is not telling you to gird your loins, get a grip, be a stoic, or pop a pill. Instead, the passage gives you reasons to not be anxious. God’s consolations for his anxious people are right alongside his admonition to deal rightly with your anxiety.

~ David Powlison in Overcoming Anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety
verse number 2

The Lord is at hand;
do not be anxious about anything.

Philippians 4:5–6 ESV

Whenever God speaks to you about your fears, you can be sure he will say something about being close. He even patiently persuades you that he is close. He piles up the evidence. Still, you can be blind to that evidence when fears are close and anxieties ring loud. The process of letting anxieties go takes practice that engages with God himself—which means you will engage with Jesus.

~ Ed Welch in A Small Book for the Anxious Heart

Small Book for the Anxious Heart A Frontcover
verse number 3 1

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 NIV

You might be thinking, It’s easy to say, “don’t be anxious,” but if I’m not supposed to have anxious, worried, or fearful thoughts, what am I going to think about? Paul gives us a remarkable list of options. I’m sure this list is not exhaustive, but I’m also sure that these particular vistas are given to us by Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for a reason.

~ Timothy Witmer in Mindscape

Mindscape Frontcover
verse number 4

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 12:25 ESV

You can tell that God understands anxiety when you read in the Bible that anxiety weighs down your heart. When you’re experiencing anxiety, you do feel weighed down. Everything feels heavy, oppressive, incomprehensible, and unmanageable. This is an accurate description of how it feels to live without a relationship with God. We are not all-pow­erful. We are not all-knowing. Without God, our lives are scary and out of control because we live in a world where bad things can and do happen.

Thankfully, God has designed the perfect cure for anxiety. In Christ, there is a safe place to bring your worries and fears. Christ has paid for the sins that separate you from God and made it possible for you to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that [you] may receive mercy and find grace to help [you] in [your] time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). When you trust in Christ for forgiveness, you become a dearly loved child of God (Ephesians 5:1). All the promises in the Bible about how God cares for his children are now your prom­ises. The world can still be a scary place, but when you know God as your heavenly Father and Jesus as your Savior, you can be sure that no matter what, you will be able to turn to God for comfort, help, and protec­tion and he will never desert you.

~ Jocelyn Wallace in Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks
verse number 5

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 NIV

For most of us, some degree of anxiety complicates our decision-making and our sense of calling as Christians. We often just don’t know what to do, and we wonder what God wants us to do. What is our calling? We hear this in Micah 6:8.

Everyday decisions are opportunities to apply this broad call personally. In our life decisions, such as whether to remain as a high school teacher or go back to school for nursing, we will be more spiritually grounded when we think about pursuing options that provide a way for us to live out our calling, but often the specific answer will not be clear or obvious on this front. Most professions provide daily opportunities to be just, merciful, and humbly walking with God. Making good decisions is about growing in wisdom and skill to apply the principles of the broad Christian calling to the specifics of our lives, in humble dependence on God and in community with wise helpers.

~ Michael Gembola in Anxious about Decisions

Anxious about Decisions Frontcover
verse number 6

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you
peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV

This peace—shalom—is the polar opposite of fear and anxiety. We know we don’t want fear, worry, and anxiety—at least the unnecessary ones. But that goal is so elusive that we rarely consider what it is we really want. What we want is shalom. We want everything to be right in the world.

Try to be anxious when there is real shalom. You can’t do it. You sleep like a baby. Everything is right. What is there to worry about? Children are safe, loved ones are healthy, racism is a fleeting memory, judges are just, and there are no wars or economic threats. All is well.

Believe it or not, peace is the way God intended it. Danger and reasons for worry are intrusions. Shalom was God’s original intent for all creation. He is, after all, the God of peace (Romans 15:33). Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and he is remaking all things in the direction of shalom. How could it be any other way, given that all creation is designed to reflect him?

~ Ed Welch in Running Scared

Running Scared Frontcover
verse number 7

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Numbers 23:19 ESV

The promises of God will never fail because they are grounded in the unfailing character of God.

Every promise God has made should take a great deal of worry off our minds. Sound theology, including all that God has promised, is intended to make a difference in our lives. So many of the problems we face can be traced back to our failure to live as though the promises of God are true. If we lose sight of God’s promises, we will inevitably lose our sense of courage.

~ Jared Mellinger in A Bright Tomorrow

Bright Tomorrow A Frontcover

Children and teens can also struggle with anxiety. Here are a few verses you can share with your kids to help them deal with any anxious thoughts and worries they may be experiencing.

verse number 8

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.

Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

Whatever comfort I provide my children, I hope to ultimately point them to Christ who can meet them in the midst of their fear. As a parent, my comfort is limited; it cannot guarantee or protect them from every fear. My comfort is flawed and prone to disappoint; I will fail them, be frustrated or forgetful, or be sinful in my responses. And my comfort is not always accessible; I cannot go to school with them, live inside their head, or be available every time they struggle. However, I can point them to the One who is always accessible, always available—whose comfort is perfect and limitless.

The Spirit can go places inside a child’s heart and mind that you and I cannot. I am commissioned to reflect Christ in the comfort I provide my children, always leading them to him as their ultimate comfort. He can meet them in deeper and more meaningful ways that I, as a parent, ever can, and he also desires that they learn to depend on him in all of life’s situations.

~ Julie Lowe in Helping Your Anxious Child

Helping Your Anxious Child
verse number 9

God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.

Psalm 46:1

The best way to help your child is for you to know how God “comforts us in all our troubles so we can comfort others” (2 Corinthians 1:4). As you talk with your child about anxiety, ask the Lord to be teaching you at the same time how to trust him in a world of troubles. Then you can share with your child the comfort you receive.

Remind your child that the Lord is speaking to them about their fears. Think with your child about what God says to us when we are anxious. Remember with them that Jesus is with them and will never leave them (Hebrews 13:5). Perhaps you have some favorite Bible verses you can remind them of when they are anxious.

~ David Powlison in Zoe’s Hiding Place

Zoe Hiding Place cover
verse number 10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Anxiety builds in the heart of your teen when they trust in their own strength or ability. When this happens, they forget that God is for them and he has promised to be an ever-present help in troubled times (Psalm 46:1 NIV). Parents can remind anxious teens that God is with them in everything they face, and because of that, they don’t have to be afraid (Isaiah 41:10).

Addressing your teen’s heart starts by reminding them of the truth that may have become muted when their focus shifted from God to their circumstances. Affirm that you can relate to this struggle and remind them that refocusing their heart on the Lord comes with the promise of peace. Offer them words from God’s heart to remind them of his love and faithfulness when anxiety overwhelms: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

~ Eliza Huie in Teens and Anxiety

Teens and Anxiety

About the author

New Growth Press

New Growth Press (NGP) is a growing Christian publisher, producing a wide variety of gospel-centered resources for individuals, families, and churches.

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