What does the Bible say about emotions?

Strong emotions have a way of getting the best of us at times. We’ve all had moments when a reaction demonstrated out of control emotions. A moment in time when we felt like we were reeling or losing our cool. The burning question we are going to answer today is, “What does the Bible say about emotions?” This article will address God‘s purpose for emotions, how to turn our emotions into helpful indicators and how to process emotions biblically.

title: what does the bible say about emotions

Does God have emotions?

The Bible speaks to God having emotions within Scripture (see below). Therefore, the short answer is yes, God has emotions. However, we must remember that God is Holy and Perfect. As a result, His emotions are not influenced by false beliefs or negative thought patterns. God is never moody or emotional in a way that we as humans can be moody or emotional. God is Immutable, a fancy way of saying unchanging. In other words, He does not shift moods, feelings or emotions on a whim.

Bible Verses About God’s Emotions

Joy

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Love

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Anger

In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. Exodus 15:7

Compassion

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8–9

Grief

Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned became their enemy and he himself fought against them. Isaiah 63:10

Why did God give us our emotions?

God has a mind, emotions and a will. And we are made in His image. But you may be wondering why God gave us our emotions. And an especially pressing question when negative emotions arise during a hard time.

Emotions are helpful indicators. Not too long ago I was driving my car when the check engine light came on. I had no idea why the light turned on, but it moved me to action. I stopped, pulled over and lifted the hood. This check engine light was a helpful indicator to take a closer look. Our emotions are helpful indicators as well, moving us to take a closer look at our heart.

Emotions Are Helpful Indicators

When you experience negative or strong emotions it’s a helpful indicator to take a deeper look within your heart.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5

Emotions and Feelings Flow From the Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Our heart drives our thoughts, emotions and actions. Additionally, Our heart is where Scripture- God‘s Word is hidden. This means when we hide God‘s Word in our heart, Truth drives our thoughts, emotions and actions. When my heart is full of Truth (about God or myself according to Scripture), I am more likely to experience the peace of God and positive emotions.

When we experience negative emotions or strong emotions we must reflect on what we’re believing, and thinking – making sure those thoughts and beliefs are aligned with scripture. Lies can make their way into our heart leading us to experience negative emotions and unnecessary pain.

Always be mindful to renew your mind with God‘s Word. Important! You may be completely aligned with truth, believing truth and thinking truth and still experience negative emotions. Being Christian does not make us immune to the fallen world and fallen people around us. But use your emotions as helpful indicators to evaluate your heart!

What is God‘s purpose for emotions?

When we are dealing with uncomfortable or even painful emotions it begs the question, “What is God‘s purpose for emotions?” The best way to answer that question is to look at the character or attributes of God. So let’s do that – let’s take a peek into God‘s own heart. From Scripture, we know God loves His creation and His creation is made for a purpose. Every function of your human body has a purpose, from your beating heart to your blinking eyes. As a result, there is a purpose for emotions as well. This settles any doubt that there is actually purpose in emotion, but what is God‘s purpose for emotions more specifically?

Emotions and Feelings Are Used For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Know this promise- all things are used for your good. All things. This includes your emotions. Sometimes bad things can happen as a result of out of control emotions, emotions of anger, mood swings, emotions from a broken heart or any other negative emotion that may come to mind. But ultimately, we have an opportunity to confess, receive forgiveness and grow spiritually and emotionally from those moments. There are always new opportunities to grow in the righteousness of God and deal with negative emotions in different ways – even healthy ways.

Emotions Turn Us Toward God

We all have seasons in our lives that bring great sorrow of heart and times when we suffer from a broken heart. These seasons, in my own life, led to a greater awareness of God‘s presence and grace. I was reminded of His everlasting love. He was my Comforter and Healer as I journeyed through painful emotions of grief and sadness. Those seasons grew my knowledge of God through renewal of my mind. Praise God for seasons of pain that ultimately lead to more of God‘s peace, presence and power.

Emotions Lead to Reflection

In order for emotions to lead to reflection we must cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit. Do you choose to do the hard work of digging deeper? It’s not easy and must be done in God‘s strength and the power of the Holy Spirit. Get the self awareness worksheet here. While the work is hard, it is worth every bit of the effort it takes to grow spiritually and emotionally. Spiritual and emotional growth will change how we face our relationships and the life that we have been given. How well do you allow your emotions to lead you to reflect on the deeper parts of your heart?

Get the Download!

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    What are biblical emotions?

    Emotions are a blessing from God. Emotions are not intended to rule us or drive our behavior, but rather give us information about God, ourselves, situations and others. My positive emotions might indicate what I like or enjoy. We are emotional beings and how we process or express our emotions is more important than labeling emotions as biblical or unbiblical. I can’t stress enough to use your emotions as a helpful indicator to do a heart check. God is more concerned about your heart.

    But the Lord said to Samuel, “do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

    How does the Bible process emotions?

    Let’s talk about processing emotions biblically. A couple important things to know about God is He is the Mighty Counselor. Additionally, He knows everything, including the condition of your heart, the lies that have possibly made their way into your heart and all the challenges you face. Additionally, God is also our Healer and Comforter and knows & loves you more than you can imagine! Knowing all of this about God means we will benefit beyond measure when we utilize the tools He has given us to process our emotions biblically. Are you underestimating the power of prayer and the transforming power of God‘s Word? Not to mention, if you are in Christ, His powerful Holy Spirit is in you – guiding, helping and sanctifying you! Bottom line, God is good and has given you everything you need to live a godly life. So let’s dive into some actionable steps to processing emotions biblically.

    Processing Emotions Biblically: 4 Steps

    Step 1. Just Notice

    The first step is to simply notice any strong emotions. Prayerfully ask God to help you notice what is going on in your heart. Being able to name the emotions will give you necessary information. If needed pull up a feelings list online to help you put words to what you are feeling. Notice where you feel the emotions in your body. Sometimes I notice tension in my shoulders when big emotions hit me. 

    Pay attention to any thoughts running through your mind. Self talk is so powerful and how we feel. Are you hard on yourself? Do you demean or put yourself down? Are you self compassionate? Are you making assumptions? Writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you gain insight into your heart.

    Take notice of any judgments you are making about the thoughts and feelings. We can have a tendency to jump to conclusions and tell ourselves we shouldn’t feel a certain way rather than ask ourselves why are we feeling or thinking that way. Finally, pay attention to any urges to push those feelings or emotions down.

    Step 2. Be Present

    Experiencing strong emotions can be painful. That’s okay! We are pleasure driven people who have a tendency to run away from uncomfortable emotions. There are so many different human emotions that we would rather not experience, but they will show up! In step one, you noticed and named what is going on in your heart and mind – now it’s time to experience those uncomfortable emotions. You don’t have to do this alone. Remember God is with you always. He loves and cares for you. His Holy Spirit is helping you and His Word will strengthen and encourage you now. Experiencing distressing emotions is hard, but you can do it.

    Step 3. Processing the Emotions

    This is where we ask ourselves hard questions to get to the root cause of the emotions. Knowledge of God‘s Word is so helpful for navigating personal desires, expectations, old wounds and boundaries. Encouragement: Everyone of us didn’t know God’s Word at some point in time. But it is never too late to begin growing in knowledge of God‘s Word. Seeking wise counsel can help you navigate difficult emotions in addition to individual processing.

    Ask yourself if your expectations, desires or boundaries have been unfulfilled or violated. Be aware of any actions or values being compromised. Take responsibility for your own contribution to the distress. Are any thought patterns not lining up with the Truth of Scripture? Identify a lack of self compassion driving the discomfort. Are other stressors contributing to your distress? Is an old wound being triggered right now?

    Step 4. Conclusions and Actions

    Once you have an idea of where these emotions are coming from it’s time to take action or simply let the feeling pass. Consider taking action if a change needs to be made such as adjusting expectations or re-establishing a boundary. Is it possible you need to confess and receive forgiveness on some thing? Do you need to assert yourself with someone? Seek God‘s guidance on the next best step and align yourself with the Truth of God‘s Word.

    Regardless of whether or not you experience positive emotions or negative emotions, always ask yourself and God where are these emotions coming from. Everything flows from the heart. Take time to do a heart check and increase self awareness. Quiet time with God, renewing your mind in the Bible and prayerfully seeking the Holy Spirit‘s guidance will go along way in understanding and managing emotions. This practice will also help you temper emotional responses or out of control emotions. Taking time to do a heart check will lead to spiritual growth and emotional maturity.

    Get the Download!

    Subscribe to get our latest content by email.
      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Wrapping Up: What does the Bible say about emotions?

      The Bible gives guidance on everything we need for a godly life – including the topic of emotions. We are made in the image of God and like God we have intellect, will and emotion. However, there are some differences. God is perfect and unchanging so He is never emotional or moody like mankind experiences emotions or moodiness. God‘s emotions are not influenced by false beliefs or negative thought patterns. Humans on the other hand are easily influenced by false beliefs and negative thought patterns running through our mind.

      While it’s sometimes hard to understand strong or painful emotions, we can be at peace knowing God has a purpose in giving us emotions. Strong emotions can be helpful indicators of what is going on in our heart. We are wise to be still and reflect on those emotions and the deeper meaning. Emotions can also be used to draw us closer to God – closer to His love, His presence and His power. Would you add anything additional to the question, “What does the Bible say about emotions?”…leave your comment below!

      2 Comments

      1. Fran Brown on September 19, 2022 at 5:20 am

        I loved this article, “What Does the Bible Say about Emotions” The 4 steps to processing emotions are especially important to pave the way to emotional maturity. I love what she says here, “Truth drives our thoughts, emotions and actions. When my heart is full of Truth (about God or myself according to Scripture). I am more likely to experience the peace of God and positive emotions.” I took the course “Taking Every Thought Captive” and it was worth every penny! My negative thoughts and what I was saying to myself was out of control and was leading to deep emotional unhealthiness. With Sunshyne Gray’s course I was guided with clear, biblical, practical tools, and resources to stop the negative thought cycle and believe the Truth about myself. It’s a class that’s rich and full of help which I can take over again as needed. Thank you Sunshyne Gray!

        • Sunshyne Gray on September 19, 2022 at 12:52 pm

          Hi Fran, Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and personal experiences. It blesses me immensely to hear how God is using the course to bless others! Your testimony of how God’s Truth has transformed your life highlights and confirms the power of His Word in our lives! Blessings

      Leave a Comment