Is the Bible Sufficient for Those Who Are Depressed?

What do you read when you want to help someone who is depressed? What do you suggest they read to help themselves out of their melancholy?

John Piper has thought as carefully about these things as anyone in our day, and he gives us his conclusions in When the Darkness Will Not Life: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God-and Joy.

You can read the whole thing for free online here.

This is a short book–less than 70 pages of large, wide spaced text–that can be read quickly. It is as potent as it is brief, and I pray it will receive wide circulation. This is not pop-psychology, it is pastoral soul care.

Piper has the audacity to think that the great truths of the Christian faith apply to all of life–even when people are down. If you want to live like a worldling, don’t try to live on the faith when you’re depressed, and don’t bother with this book. Conclude with many that the Bible has nothing to say to you in such times (and don’t bother with books of the Bible like Lamentations or Job).

But if you want to live like a Christian and aren’t sure how Christians should respond to emotional darkness, read When the Darkness Will Not Lift. Then give it away to someone else, and keep another few copies on hand for your next encounters with depressed Christians.

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  1. Thanks Jim for pointing me to this work by Piper, just the thing to help me as I’m working with a man who has little hope at the moment… Piper’s meditation works have been a real help for me in the past, like “Life as a Vapor”, as we share others burdens, and seek the best means to bring them to our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ordered 5 right away, since I’m sure they’ll go quickly… seems you’ve done this before too :), it’s become a second ministry to me, this giving of good books to help in life’s situations when we encounter people that are hurting.


  2. I’ll need to purchase and read the book, are you saying that what Piper has to say in this book will be a help and answer for those who literally suffer from clinical depression?

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