7 myths about dream interpretation that Christians believe

In recent years I’ve observed an increase in acceptance of night dreams in church circles, as one way God speaks to His people.

Understanding dreams certainly took my own relationship with God to a deeper level. Consequently, I am committed to encouraging others who are on a similar journey with dreams, or who want to make a start!

There is, however, still a little reticence among Christians about the whole area of dream interpretation; there are a few niggling doubts that can put us off!

If dreams have sparked your interest, but you’re not one hundred percent sure yet, then this article is for you; I’ve unearthed seven myths that can hinder us from entering into all that God has for His church in this area.

Contents

Myth #1: Dreams are just our minds processing life
Myth #2: Dreams are only for prophetic types
Myth #3: You need a special spiritual gift to interpret dreams
Myth #4: Dreams are too hard to understand
Myth #5: We don’t need dreams anymore
Myth #6: Dreams from God are different from normal dreams
Myth #7: Listening to dreams will open me up to deception

Lady praying with text: a Prayer - Lord. I thank you that you arr my loving Heavenly Father, and that you desire to speak to me and reveal your heart to me today. Open my ears that I may hear you clearly and receive everything that you have for me. Amen.

Myth #1: Dreams are just our minds processing life

This thinking is very common in western churches. This is largely because of what we have been taught to believe by our scientific upbringing and culture. It is, in fact, what much of our society believes!

As the church, I think we should know better! We have taken this idea on board from the culture around us, rather than allowing God’s word to define our beliefs.

So what does the bible have to say on the subject?

The bible is full of examples of God speaking to people though dreams. Many of the biblical dreams seem weird; the kind of dreams that we would readily dismiss today. And yet, the bible tells us that they were from God, and those dreams shaped the history of God’s people!

I am persuaded that most of us are more receptive to the Holy Spirit while we are sleeping than when we are awake, and many of our dreams contain messages from heaven.

The bible tells us not to be conformed to the thinking around us, but to let God transform us by renewing our minds.

So I encourage you to lay aside any cultural influence that is hindering you, and ask God to open you eyes to His thinking. Explore, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the rich heritage we have as Christians in the area of dreams – in bible times and throughout church history.

Let Him open your eyes to what has always been true – yet we have forgotten it.

The truth: God has always communicated to His children though dreams, and still does today.

Further reading

Examples of dreams in the bible. Check out this summary of the dreams in the bible – you may be surprised at how many there are!

Dream Stories by Michael B. French. This book contains some great examples of dreams from history, and plenty of modern day ones too. It’s a great place to start if you need some inspiration!

Lady sitting on mench with text from Ronmans 12:2 (The Passion Translation: Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think

Myth #2: Dreams are only for prophetic types

It is true that prophetic ministries have generally been at the forefront of teaching about dreams and visions in modern times. And it is true that Christian prophets frequently share dreams as part of prophetic words these days.

So we might be forgiven for thinking that dreams are just for the prophets. However, I suggest that this is not the case – in fact the opposite is actually true!

It is not surprising that God speaks to prophetic people through dreams, because He has always done so. Read though the prophetic literature in the bible, and you will see that this is so. Prophetic types are usually actively trying to hear from God so they can communicate His word to us – and God gives them dreams for the wider church and the world. That’s what prophets do!

However, I believe that night dreams are most helpful for everyday Christians; for the ones who struggle to hear God in other ways; for the ones who don’t often have words, pictures or heavenly encounters. For us (and I count myself in this category), dreams can be a gateway for us to be part of the action; for us to hear God ourselves and encounter the heavenly realms every day.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we can all hear His voice, not just the prophets.

So maybe dreams could be the way you learn to hear Him! Don’t count yourself out from hearing Him through your dreams. Why not give it a go today?

The truth: Dreams are for everybody, and are especially helpful for those who struggle to hear His voice.

Further reading

Everybody dreams: Could they be messages from heaven? This article explores the idea that dreams are coming from a spiritual source, and that God can use them to speak to everybody.

Picture of sheep with John 10:11,27 - I am the Good Shepherd... My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me

Myth #3: You need a special spiritual gift to interpret dreams

This is similar to the last one, but still needs saying!

We sometimes get the impression that only certain people can interpret dreams. This might be due to people we knew in the past offering themselves as ‘dream interpretation experts’ for Christians. They may have hinted that you needed them, because only they could give you the real God-given interpretation.

That is actually an old-testament perspective. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all people, and Acts 2 tells us that dreams are now for everybody. That kind of exclusive attitude is usually more about them than about you. A truly mature Christian will be more interested in helping you learn to hear God for yourself.

While some people naturally grasp dream interpretation more quickly than others, and some people do have more experience, the truth is that anybody can learn to interpret their own dreams – with some good training, guidance and practice!

I am a living proof of this. I cannot instantly jump to inspirational dream interpretations, but with some prayer and consideration I can usually get a good sense of the meaning of a dream. I have learnt this though years of practice, knowing God personally, and learning the language of dreams.

The truth: Dream interpretation is an art that can be perfected by good training and practice, with the Holy Spirit as our guide.

Further reading:

My story: Are you there God? My testimony of how I struggled to hear God for many years, but how that changed when I discovered He was speaking to me in dreams.

Good dream interpretation resources. A collection of books, links and courses that I have found helpful in the past.

Man sleeping with text - dream interpretation is an art that can be perfected by good trying and practice, with the Holy Spirit as our guide

Myth #4: Dreams are too hard to understand

On the face of it this appears to be true. Our dreams can seem crazy! And some of the dreams in the bible seem very complicated too.

Maybe you started to record your dreams but gave up because you couldn’t make sense of them? I totally understand it if that’s the case;  dreams are confusing to start with. But it’s worth pushing though!

The truth is that you just need to understand the language of dreams. Dreams are like night parables, and the language is symbolic.

In fact, as Christians, I think we are some of the best-situated people for learning to understand dreams – because the bible uses the same language! The bible is full of symbolism, illustrations and parables, and we are very used to applying them to our lives. Dreams are no different!

My best advice is to find a good book or training course about biblical dream interpretation, and join a community that can help you learn. And be prepared to push through the frustrating times. It’s worth it!

The truth: It is possible to learn the language of dreams with some good training and perseverance; and as bible-reading Christians we are in the best position to learn!

Further reading

Climbing the dream mountain: Understanding dreams, and why it’s worth making the effort to persevere.

Understanding dreams as parables. An introduction to the biblical language of dreams.

Understanding symbolic language in dreams. More examples of the language of dreams.

l
Lady reading with text: Galatians 6:9 - let us not become discouraged... for in due time we will reap if we do not become weary

Myth #5 We don’t need dreams anymore

There is a school of thought that says we don’t need dreams anymore, as we now have the bible. This comes from the same thinking that says we don’t need spiritual gifts or prophecy either.

Many good books and articles have been written on this subject. All I will say is this: I am convinced that the bible is not meant to be an end in itself, but rather a foundation and a springboard to encourage us in our own walk with God.

The bible can give us plenty of general wisdom, but we need God’s Spirit to give us specific insight and guidance for our personal situations. This is where dreams are really helpful.

So if you believe that God still speaks today, and you want to know Him better and hear His voice personally, then be reassured that dreams are biblical, and God still speaks through them.

The truth: We need to personally hear the voice of the Holy Spirit today, and dreams are one way He uses to communicate with us.

Further reading

Dreams are personal: Why we need the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit

Dreams make sense of my life: Finding purpose and direction in a crazy world

man with headphones on and eyes closed with text from Psalm 95:8 - Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts

Myth #6:  Dreams from God are different from normal dreams

I have always known that dreams are in the bible, and that God speaks through dreams. Yet before I started to learn about dreams I never thought any of it applied to my dreams! Why do you think that was?

I subconsciously thought that dreams from God would be somehow different: an angel would turn up with a fanfare, or I would wake up on cloud-nine or in some sort of heavenly state!

Of course those things do happen to some people, but if we limit God to those type of encounters then we miss His everyday word in our lives.

Being a follower of Jesus is about having a daily walk and relationship with God – and I think we all know that. The point is that God continually speaks through the mundane routine of life, and He speaks through our normal, everyday dreams too.

I encourage you not to wait for that out-of-this-world experience, but to start listening to your dreams now, day by day. Moreover, it’s much more likely that you will have some of those extraordinary encounters if you are walking with God in the discipline of recording your dreams daily.

The truth: God is speaking daily through our normal, everyday dreams.

Further reading

Put to the test: Are my dreams from God? A personal testimony of the time I decided to find out if everyday dreams can come from God.

Picture of man writing with text - God is speaking dail through our normal, everyday dreams

Myth #7: Listening to dreams will open me up to deception

This is a valid thought and one that’s worth thinking about. None of us wants to be deceived or be led down a dodgy route.

There are several points I want to make, having thought about this myself:

  1. Discernment is always necessary in our relationship with God. We need discernment when we interpret dreams, but also when we pray, listen to God, prophecy, and even when we read the bible. (Yes – it’s even possible for us to twist and misinterpret the bible.)
  1. There are safeguards we can put in place to help us stay on track. For example: 
    • Having mature, Christian friends to discuss dream ideas with
    • Knowing the bible (and the God who inspired it) well
    • Getting some good, bible-based training on dreams
    • Keeping a humble, teachable attitude
    • Always remaining mindful of the need for discernment
  1. Dreams can actually help reveal deceptions. It is my experience that all of us are already deceived in ways that we are unaware of, and are in a constant process of having our minds renewed by the Holy Spirit. I think we are just as likely to be deceived by the enemy if we are not listening to dreams as if we are. If our motivation is to let God transform us into His image, then our dreams are a powerful tool for Him to reveal our blind spots and help that process.

The truth: We need discernment in every area of our Christian life, and dreams can actually help with that!

Further reading

Meeting a Jesus who laughs: The time a false Jesus came in my dream and how I recognised the real Jesus.

Dreams circumnavigate the mind: How our dreams can reflect aspects of our life and help us overcome our blind spots.

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Picture of lady looking good with Bible verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Examine everything: hold firmly to that which is good

Conclusion

We have addressed some common myths surrounding the area of dream interpretation in the church.

If you have connected with any of them, then please do take them back to God and pray about them some more. You can also follow up those ideas with some of the further reading suggestions.

I hope that with some of the obstacles removed, you will feel empowered to continue on this exciting journey with God into understanding your dreams better!

If you would like to know more, please do get in touch. You can also join my Facebook Group and connect with others on a similar journey.

Picture of blocks with word ‘myths’ and text reads: 7 myths about dream interpretation that Christians believe - read more in the blog

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