Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation

How to get started interpreting your own dreams – in the context of a personal relationship with God.

Do you suspect that God is speaking through your dreams – and want to understand what He’s saying?

Are you a Christian, looking for some biblical foundations for dream work?

This post serves as a summary of various stages in the process of learning to interpret dreams. There are links to relevant articles for further reading at each point.

I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.

Introduction to biblical dream interpretation

As a follower of Jesus Christ for over 40 years, I have devoted myself to learning to hear His voice. I have read and studied the bible most days – and for the past 15 years have learned to interpret my own dreams under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I have written numerous articles about dream interpretation in this blog, based on my own journey and experience. I made many mistakes along the way, which I have learned from – but it has taken many years.

I don’t have any advantage over the average Christian in terms of my ability to hear God’s voice and interpret dreams, but I have discovered a way to work around that! They are things that any follower of Jesus can do, not just the prophetic ones!

I believe any follower of Jesus can learn to interpret dreams.

PIcture of lady asleep on decking, with text: Anyone can learn to interpret their dreams

I learned to interpret dreams by doing these things:

  • I took some training to give me a good biblical foundation for dream interpretation.
  • I kept a journal by my bed so I could record my dreams when I woke up.
  • I worked out how to organise my routine to make time for praying through and interpreting my dreams during the day.
  • I reviewed my dreams regularly to learn from any misunderstandings.

In this article I have summarised each of these things by linking to previous blog posts that are relevant to each stage. I have arranged them in a sensible order that can be worked through – for beginners.

If you are still reading, I assume you are interested in learning about dreams! I hope that by sharing my experiences you can be spared some of the mistakes I made – and be better equipped for the journey than I was.

4-stage process for learning to interpret dreams

I have organized the process into four stages:

  1. STUDY the basics to give you solid biblical foundations.
  2. PLAN to record and work on your dreams.
  3. INTERPRET your dreams and understand the symbolism
  4. REVIEW your dreams to learn and adjust your understanding

Many information sources focus on stage 3 (which is interpreting a dream) and on the meaning of dream symbols. Those aspects are very important, but there is much more to the process than that! Each stage is necessary.

The fourth section on reviewing dreams is vital if you want to grow as a dream interpreter, so if you really want to hear God through your dreams, don’t miss out that final stage!

I recommend starting at the beginning and working through each of the stages. Use the links provided to learn more at each stage.

Stage 1: STUDY the basics

Every change of habit or lifestyle starts with a choice; a shift in mindset to decide to do something differently. So, before you even start to interpret dreams, it is important to settle the question about whether it is worth making that journey. Interpreting dreams will inevitably involve lifestyle changes, and some time investment.

Therefore, it is worth taking time at the start to settle any questions or doubts that you have and putting some proper biblical and spiritual foundations in place. This will also help keep you on the right path as you continue with the process.

At this stage it is important to:

  • Reassure yourself that dream interpretation is biblical.
  • Make sure your spiritual foundations are solid.
  • Take some good bible-based training.
  • Decide that dreams are worth your time and effort.

Biblical foundations for dreams

Firstly, it is important to know that dream interpretation is in the bible – and that there are good biblical examples to follow. In fact, there are many references to dreams – probably far more than you realise! Here are some articles that can help with that:

Bible verses about dreams

Are dreams in the bible? What does the bible say about dreams? Includes over 70 bible references on the subject.

Spiritual foundations for dreaming

The following article deals with spiritual foundations that are essential to have in place. this is true for the Christian walk in general, but I have explained how they specifically relate to listening to dreams.

Take some good dream training

I have compiled a summary of my favourite bible-based resources from other ministries. Many of these offer excellent books, courses and other training resources. Some offer free dream interpretation, and others offer a subscription to a community where you can practice interpreting dreams together.

It is important to take some good training at the outset, and some of these might suit your needs.

Be inspired to make the journey

Now is the time to make a decision about dreams: Are you going to commit to the journey, and invest time and effort into it?

If you need some encouragement, the following articles might help. The first two are from my personal story:


General reasons to take dreams seriously

The following are general articles that give some good reasons to listen to your dreams.

Stage 2: PLAN to record your dreams

Once you have decided that you want to listen to your dreams, the next stage is to make a practical plan.

A few years ago, I agreed to run a half marathon with a group of friends. I had never run seriously before, so I had to make changes to my already busy life to fit in the time for training. I had to start training months before the actual event.

It is the same with dreams. Not only do you have to plan to remember your dreams and record them in some way, but you also have to make time for praying about them, researching and storing them.

At this stage it is important to:

  • Prepare yourself at bedtime for dreaming
  • Make plans to remember and record your dreams
  • Plan time for working on your dreams

Bedtime preparation for dreaming

It is important to be expectant at bedtime and go to sleep with a healthy attitude and spirit. This section includes articles on bedtime affirmations and preparation for dreaming.

Plus, there are ideas to consider if you find you are suddenly not remembering your dreams anymore.

Writing down your dreams

It is also vital to have a plan for recording your dreams – and to put practical provisions in place for doing it. If you don’t make a plan before you go to sleep, it won’t happen! Here are some practical tips to help.

Don’t miss the essential information to include when writing down dreams. There is a downloadable template that you can use when you first start out. You need to plan to record the right information, otherwise it can be frustrating when you come to interpret the dream.

Printable dream jounral page - A4 size

Plan time for working on your dreams

Finally in this section, make a plan for when you are going to interpret your dreams – which includes thinking and praying about them. It may take a little creativity and life adjustment to make time for this! The first article below is where I share exactly how I managed to do it.

Also check out the post on including dreams as part of your daily time with God. Treating dreams as an important spiritual discipline can make a big difference to your success.

Stage 3: INTERPRET your dreams

Once you have some dreams recorded – and have assigned time for thinking and praying about them, it is time to start the dream interpretation process – and have a go at interpreting some of them!

Learning to interpret dreams is like learning a whole new language. Dreams are like parables; they are metaphorical illustrations that speak messages about situations in your life. It takes time and practice to become familiar with the language and the ways God speaks to you personally.

At this stage it is important to:

  • Learn about symbolic language
  • Develop a dream interpretation method
  • Learn how to understand dream symbols
  • Know how to approach your own dreams

Learning symbolic language

Understanding dreams means understanding God’s pictorial language. The following articles provide an introduction to symbolic language and explore why God speaks in this way.

An unexpected spin-off of learning this language is that we start to hear God’s voice all around us, not just in dreams – as the final article below explains.

Dream interpretation method

Now, finally, it is time to have a go at interpreting those dreams! I have developed an easy-to-remember 3-step method (which can also be downloaded as a pdf) in the article below.

***THIS IS MY MAIN DREAM INTERPRETATION GUIDE***

Some of aspects of it (particularly dream symbols) are expanded in the next section, so you may need to read those too – before you attempt to interpret a drram.

Picture of the 3-step dream interpretation method

Understanding dream symbols

A key element of the dream interpretation method is understanding what the individual symbols mean. Much has been written about this subject! The following articles provide an overview of how to approach them:

white background

Some dream symbols

I have written in more detail about some dream symbols. You might find the following articles useful:

General interpretation advice

The following contain some general advice about interpreting your own dreams (rather than other peoples’ dreams):

Stage 4: REVIEW and learn

This final stage is often missed, but is the main reason I have grown as a dream interpreter over the years. Don’t miss this out!!

Dream interpretation is a marathon not a sprint, and it is vital to develop a process that enables you to learn from your old dreams.

It is vital to learn from your old dreams.

This means taking time to record what the symbols in your dreams have meant for you personally. It also means reviewing the messages in your dreams with hindsight to see whether you understood them correctly.

In this stage you need to:

  • Develop your personal dream dictionary
  • Store your dreams in an organised way
  • Review your dreams and learn from them
  • Understand patterns and timing issues

Learning from your dreams

The following articles contain practical steps for managing your dreams as a long-term process, plus some things I have learnt from my journey to inspire you:

Patterns, cycles, and timing of dreams

These articles deal with the ways God speaks over time, and how to respond when you don’t understand your dreams:

Picture of lady with hands raised and text: Wonderful things happen when we set aside time with God for reviewing our dreams

Conclusion

This article contains a systematic approach to dream interpretation – from preparing to dream right through to reviewing your old dreams.

The four stages we have identified are:

  1. STUDY the basics to give you solid biblical foundations.
  2. PLAN to record and pray through your dreams.
  3. INTERPRET your dreams and understand the symbolism
  4. REVIEW your dreams to learn and adjust your understanding

I encourage you to work through the articles in order – and make use of the resources and links available.

If this blog has helped you learn to interpret dreams, please leave a comment below!

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you want to know more, do subscribe to my emails below to receive regular dream interpretation tips.

The purpose of this blog is to provide solid biblical foundations for interpreting dreams, change mindsets in the church, and encourage others to make their own dream journey with God. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.

It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here:
Requests for dream interpretations.

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2 thoughts on “Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation

  1. I dreamt of wear a grey gown to my formal place of work(school) where I did my Teaching practice (TP) standing in the midst of the students ,I wanted seeing one if the top officials who is closed to me and another teacher stopped me and I entered into a staff-room while I was trying to show the teachers something on my phone I saw a dog very close to me .
    While I was trying to unlock my phone it was not unlocking .
    What does that mean ?

    Like

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