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What Does the Bible Say about Doubt?

What does the Bible say about doubt? The answer is both more honest and more merciful than you'd expect.

Contributing Writer
Updated Jul 21, 2022
What Does the Bible Say about Doubt?

Doubt is defined as “a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines doubt as “to call into question the truth of; to be uncertain or in doubt about.” Doubt will enter the thoughts of every person at some point in life. The Bible shares verses to help when we doubt. What does the Bible say about doubt?

Where Does the Bible Mention Doubt?

The Bible mentions young and old going through times of doubt. The feeling of uncertainty is not new. In Biblical times, people encountered times of hardship and struggle. Humans have feelings and emotions that can cause us to deal with problems in various ways. Anger, sadness, despair, and loneliness can all arise from a lack of control.

Today, the world is filled with situations that may cause us to wonder why and to question the outcome. From medical diagnoses, uncertainty in relationships, parenting struggles, and more, doubt can creep into everyday thoughts.

Scripture shares how Abraham laughed at the thought of Sarah having a child at her old age. “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Genesis 17:16 NIV). God spoke and shared the news with Abraham. Abraham knew God, and yet he still doubted. “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” (Genesis 17:17 NIV)

Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, doubted. When the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he didn’t believe them. He wanted tangible proof. 

“So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’” (John 20:25 NIV).  

How often have you wanted something before you believed? Even though Thomas was part of the inner circle of Jesus, he would not believe until his demand was answered. Did that make Jesus love Thomas any less? No. Jesus knew there would be doubters. Jesus knew worry and concern were shared by many.

Jesus chose to give Thomas the answer he wanted. “A week later, his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:26-27 NIV). Notice how Jesus told Thomas to “stop doubting and believe.” 

Jesus continues speaking as Thomas refers to him as his Lord and God. Jesus himself had answered Thomas’ request.

The next words of Jesus are impactful to us all: “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29 NIV).

Although we have not physically seen Jesus (at least not yet), we can believe and know Him. The Bible is the Word of God. By reading Scripture, we can learn more about the Father.

5 Scriptures That Mention Doubt

1. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6 NIV).

2. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 NIV)

3. “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV).

4. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1 NIV).

5. “He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Luke 24:38 NIV)

Does God Condemn People Who Doubt?

We can go to God in prayer at any time. We do not have to fear going to the Lord when doubts arise. He knows our thoughts. If you are filled with doubt, share that fear with God and rest in His peace. Ask God to help with your doubt and for Him to provide wisdom and discernment.

Pray and ask God for answers. There are no thoughts or actions that can be hidden from the Lord. When we go to God in prayer, He will answer. We are His cherished children. 

Even if the words won’t come, pray and rest in His presence. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV).

Instead of condemnation, God reminds us in Scripture that He will be with us forever. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).

Can Doubt and Faith Go Together?

Have you doubted the outcome of an argument? Have you had faith that God would lead you through a tough experience? Perhaps you’ve doubted your ability to speak in front of a large crowd. Have you prayed about a certain situation and felt His presence? 

Humans have varied ways of handling things. If you are not a swimmer, would you doubt the results of jumping into a river? Or would you know that placing yourself in deep water would not be safe?

Doubt will come. The way we deal with that doubt will either deepen our relationship with the Father or pull us away from Him.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to rest in our faith in God. When we doubt, we can immediately go to God in prayer and ask for guidance. Resting in Him allows our faith to grow stronger.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). As soon as we release our doubt to Him, our faith will strengthen and prevail against uncertainty.

Will there be times when we don’t know how to handle circumstances? Yes. When uncertainty comes, find the answer by relying on God. Have faith. Release all doubt to Him.

What Can Help Christians in Times of Doubt?

Christians have an open door to the Father at all times. Going to Him in prayer is the first action we must take when doubt occurs.

Five Ways to Help Christians in Times of Doubt

  • Go to the Father in Prayer.
  • Acknowledge your doubt and ask God for wisdom, discernment, and revelation.
  • Ask God for forgiveness for any doubt
  • Praise the Father and thank Him for the many blessings He gives.
  • Release the doubt and know that you are not alone. God is with you.

Doubt is not from God. Doubt comes from the evil one who seeks to destroy relationships with God. Place your faith in the Father and know you are protected.

There may be times when doubt becomes anxiety, and professional medical help is needed. Know that God has given special gifts to people in the medical field who can assist.

There is no shame in asking for help.

Prayer for Times of Doubt

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love. Forgive us for any doubt that enters our thoughts. Please give strength and wisdom to Your children so we may make the correct decisions and be filled with hope. Help us to remember to go to You in prayer and seek Your peace. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

In His Name,

Melissa Henderson

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/tommaso79

Melissa HendersonAward-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. 

Melissa is the author of Licky the Lizard and Grumpy the Gator. Her passions are helping in the community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon, and Stephen Minister. 

Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and at http://www.melissaghenderson.com


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