Dream interpretation and the bible: Knowing God’s heart and ways

How knowing the big picture of God’s heart and ways – as revealed through the bible – can help with interpreting dreams.

There is so much varying information available on dream interpretation that it can be hard to know what is helpful and what isn’t.

How do we know we are understanding our dreams correctly?

This article examines how knowing God’s heart is vital for finding the true interpretation – and how the bible can help with that, plus real dream examples.

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.

If you have just come across this post and are new to dream interpretation, it is worth mentioning that dreams are symbolic in nature. You might find it helpful to read Understand your dreams: A bible-based introduction to dream language to give you a foundation, plus my Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation .

Dream interpretation and the bible

I have been reading the bible for over 40 years and interpreting my dreams for more than 15 years. Also, in 2013 I took a full-time year out to study the whole bible – and I found that the study principles I learnt during that time can also help with dream interpretation.

I have previously written posts about some of those principles, such as understanding symbolic language, which can help us understand the symbolism in our dreams.

But even if we understand the symbolism and can see what area of our life a dream is about, how do we know that we have understood the true heart of the dream? What is the real point behind it?

That’s where the bible narrative can help.

Knowing God’s heart and ways

I believe, from experience, that the God of the bible is the same God who speaks to us in dreams.

So, if our dreams are coming from God, then he surely has the last word on why he gave us a particular dream – and what his main message was. As Joseph, of biblical fame, said:

Therefore, we need to know God’s heart in order to correctly understand them. For example, if we believe that God is a harsh taskmaster, we will always interpret corrective dreams as rebukes or criticism, rather than the loving guidance and help that they really are.

The bible narrative recounts God’s interactions with mankind over thousands of years – and this, I believe, is its greatest value to us as dream interpreters.

If, through the big picture of the bible, we can get to know God, His character, and His ways a little better, then we are more likely to correctly discern what He is saying through our dreams today.

Picture of flower on bible, with text: If we know God's heart and ways then we are more likely to correctly discern what he is saying through our dreams

God’s character revealed in the bible

One thing I have learnt is that the bible itself, like a dream, needs to be correctly interpreted within the context of the big picture.

For example, it is so easy to misunderstand God’s heart when we read certain bible passages out of context.

Here is an example of how that can happen, from the book of Amos:

A biblical example from Amos

Amos was a humble farmer from a rural area. He wasn’t a prophet by trade, but God called him to go up to the big city to give the leaders an urgent warning!

His speech is rather like that of a roaring lion – warning of an impending army that will come and bring devastation to the kingdom of Israel. At first glance, his message sounds very much like the ranting of an angry God.

The book of Amos can seem like the rant of an angry God.

But we must remember to consider this passage in context.

When we look at the bigger picture, we realise that this is a actually the final warning of many – like a parent saying ‘this is your last warning’, hoping their child will finally listen. God’s love and patience has delayed this eventuality for a very long time.

And through the pictures that God gives to Amos, we realise that this is actually the kindest option for Israel. For an army will overthrow the corrupt leaders (both religious and political) who have oppressed and exploited the people.

In reality, God has heard the cries of the poor people being oppressed and is answering out of love and compassion.

We can read in Amos 7:1-9 to see how God explains this to Amos:

  • Amos 7:1-3 A locust swarm would devastate the poor of the land. That will not happen.
  • Amos 7:4-6 A fire would also devastate the poor farmers and the land. That will not happen.
  • Amos 7:7-9 Rather God is going to send an army (the sword). The corrupt rulers (religious and political) would be removed, rather than the poor people.

Seeing the book of Amos this way is consistent with the loving character of God revealed through the whole bible narrative.

Therefore, it is important, whether we are reading the bible or interpreting dreams, to understand the big picture of God’s heart – which is revealed through the whole story of God’s interactions with mankind and documented throughout the bible.

Picture of yellow flower, with text: These three remain, faith hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Examples of God’s character in the bible

Here are some foundational aspects of God’s heart and ways that are revealed throughout the bible. These are characteristics we can rely on when interpreting individual bible passages – and also when it comes to interpreting dreams:

  • God is loving – Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7, NASB
  • God is kind and compassionate – Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, NASB
  • God has good plans for us – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11, NASB
  • God does not condemn but brings hope for change – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17, ESV
  • God is able and faithful to do what he says –Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful… Hebrews 10:23, NASB
  • God lovingly disciplines us – The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:12, NIV

The characteristics above are just a few attributes of God: There is so much more!

Here are a couple of other articles I’ve found that expand different attributes of God’s character – for further reading:

God’s character and the meaning of dreams

In the same way, we need to be confident of God’s character and ways to truly appreciate the messages in our dreams.

Sometimes when I have a dream that seems corrective, I start to think that God is criticising me, or that my situation is hopeless.  In reality, that’s not the case – I have just forgotten what is true. 

If I then re-evaluate those dreams according to the big picture of God’s heart and what I already know to be true, I can find the real meaning – and understand why God allowed me to see those things.

I sometimes think that love and hope are like two bookends of dream interpretation. God’s love is the starting point, and hope is the result.

Picture of bookends with text: Love and hope are the two bookends of interpreting dreams; love is the starting point and hope is the result

Examples of God’s character in dreams

In the following table I have revisited some of the character traits mentioned previously, with ideas of how they can help us interpret dreams:

Character of GodImplication for dream interpretation
God is lovingThe correct interpretation of a dream should make us feel loved by Godeven if it contains correction – because God is taking the time to help us live our best lives.
God is kind and compassionateIn addition to God’s kindness – which is revealed in the way he guides us through dreams – many dreams are simply to let us know God understands our situation and knows how we are feeling.
God has good plans for usThis is foundational to biblical dream interpretation! We must be convinced that the advice and direction he gives us in dreams is for our own best interest.
God does not condemn but provides hope for changeThis is a big one! How often do we feel condemned or hopeless because of things that happen in a dream? If a dream makes us feel like that, we must reconsider our interpretation!
God is able and faithful to do what he saysWe can trace God’s faithfulness through the bible. In the same way, we can be confident that when God speaks to us in a dream, he will be faithful to do what he says.

Real dream examples

I had these two dreams a couple of years ago. Try to picture the scenes in your imagination and walk through the explanation with me:

Dream 1: Falling off the rollercoaster

I saw a girl on a rollercoaster. She was strapped to something like a little yellow sledge going along. There was a loop-the-loop very near the start. She set off and did well at first. I saw her reach the top of the loop-the-loop, but then she lost momentum and fell off, all the way down. It was a long drop. She bounced a few times. The sledge protected her head, but I saw her just lying there in shock.

I was observing this dream, and the girl seemed to be the focus. However I understood her to be reflecting myself, and the dream was about me.

Picturing the girl going along and then falling off the loop, my initial interpretation was that there was something that I wasn’t going to manage to do. I would be doing well and then fail dramatically. This was quite demoralising, as you can imagine.

I initially thought the dream meant I was going to fail something dramatically!

I felt worried. I had recently started writing this blog, and I was starting to think that maybe the whole thing would lose momentum and I’d fail or have to stop.

Picture of yellow loop-the-loop rollercoaster

Dream 2: Snakes in my dream journal

I dreamed that my dreams teacher from Streams UK gave me a message: He had seen snakes coming out of my dream journal.

In real life, this man was the person who originally taught me about dream interpretation, so his appearance was a voice of authority from God, speaking the truth. Snakes usually represent lies in my dreams.

This second dream could also seem negative – but it was there to help me! It wasn’t a condemnation, saying I’d got things wrong (making me feel like giving up). No! The opposite was true!

It was giving me inside information, so I was empowered to do something about the situation. It was there to alert me that I had believed a wrong idea about what some of my dreams were saying.

This dream was alerting me that I’d misunderstood some dreams.

Seeing the rollercoaster dream differently

In the light of this I revisited my recent dreams, including the rollercoaster dream. Suddenly I saw it differently.

God usually uses yellow to represent my understanding. I saw that the main point wasn’t that I would fail something. Rather, the point was that I was completely upside down in my understanding! My thinking was ‘loopy’, which is an expression to mean mad or silly. It was a wordplay.

Moreover, the dream was letting me know that despite the inital shock of discovering my thinking was wrong in an area, I would be OK.

Here is a summary of the two dream meanings:

  • Dream 1: I had got something ‘upside down’ in my understanding. It would be a bit of a shock when I first realised, but I would be okay.
  • Dream 2: This wrong idea was coming from my interpretation of recent dreams. It was time to revisit my dream journal to find the real message.

I should have realised from my initial feelings of anxiety, failure, and hopelessness that my initial interpretation wasn’t coming from God. The true meaning of the rollercoaster dream gave me hope that I would realise what God was really saying – and I would be okay.

picture of lady in pink top with thumbs up and text: this I know, that God is for me, Psalm 56:9


We have seen how it is easy to misinterpret a bible passage if we forget the big picture. And in the same way, we can easily misinterpret our dreams if we forget God’s heart for us.

A good dream interpretation is more than just an explanation of the symbolism; it should come from a foundation of God’s love, and carry a practical message of hope that helps us in our life journey.

The bible is a wonderful testimony of God’s love for mankind over thousands of years – and provides us with a wealth of examples of his character worked out in relationship with people.

So, if, through the big picture of the bible narrative, we can get to know God, His character, and His ways a little better, then we are more likely to correctly discern what He is saying today through our dream messages.

If you already know the God of the bible personally, then you already have a big head start when it comes to dream interpretation.

And it’s never too late to start! Spending time getting to know God is an investment that you will never regret. Only then will you be able to hear and receive the true messages in your dreams.

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Dream interpretations

The purpose of this blog is to provide biblical foundations for interpreting dreams and encourage others to make their own dream journey. 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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If you have benefited from my articles and/or my help with dream interpretation and would like to show your appreciation, please consider paying it forward to help me continue the work and bless others.

Thank you very much for your support!

Picture of jenny Needham, Heaven's Dream Messages, with text : Thank you

Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Jennifer Needham disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.

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4 thoughts on “Dream interpretation and the bible: Knowing God’s heart and ways

  1. This came at an opportune time for sure. Found myself doubting what He was telling me cause I’m not used to being given good. This confirmed I am getting things correct and when I’m unsure, it was for a reason as well. And you are so very right about first Knowing God’s character, it is Key to getting them right!!! Discipline should hurt, but His way is also lovingly. Thank you and I would pray you Know that your Blog Is a Success, in more than one way, that’s how He rolls! Blessings!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Jenny for another great post. I look forward to your articles. I used to think God was being mean and harsh when he corrected me … it took a long while for me to get what his heart really was and that he corrected me out of love.

    Liked by 1 person

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