This post is all about Biblical interpretation of dreams
Hey friends, numerous people have come to me for guidance in regards to Biblical interpretation of dreams over the years. I would consider myself a dreamer, and I have giftings in this area. My giftings manifested at a very young age (around age 7).
However, it was not until 2015 that I began to steward it. So, I come to you from an inquisitive and passionate angle. I love to unearth the meaning of dreams…but from a biblical perspective.
I will start by giving some dream interpretation context before I dive into the 7 steps.
You will also find a free biblical dream checklist at the end of the post!
Ready? Let’s go…
Secular dream interpretation
In a quest to understand biblical dream interpretation, it’s essential to understand what other dream interpretations are there. Why? So that we can clearly differentiate between the significance of biblical dream interpretation and that of the secular world.
What I found interesting is the fact that Buddhism and Hinduism look to dreams as engaging or cultivating one’s self-awareness. I found this information when I was doing some research and found a Clinical Review (I know, LOL) that had an in-depth analysis of dreams and their histories. The review was conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil.
Ok, so what about other dream interpretations that psychologists back? Well, there are some dream guidelines as per Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Their understanding of dreams as messages from one’s unconscious self. Although there are slight differences in their dream interpretation methodology or ideologies, they seem to focus on dreams as messages from your “inner child.”
Here is a quote from psychology today. Don’t worry; I will park my clinical hat in a second…but I think this is important for understanding biblical dream interpretation. Here’s the quote:
Like Freud, Jung understood dreams to be messages from the unconscious, but rather than viewing dream images as manifest symbols of latent pathology, a storehouse of unwanted and dreaded content, Jung, through his self-analysis, concluded that our darkest dreams might contain imagery that illustrates our internal conflicts and point to their cure as well.Psychology Today
Dangers of secular dream interpretation
This is where people miss the point…
Today, people rubbish dreams, say they are “random” and that they have no significance. They are unknowingly applying secular dream interpretations to these preconceived notions. They say that their dreams are from their psyches (applying Freudian and Jung ideologies). So even if God is sending a dream to us, we may reject it with this mindset. We will be unable to perceive it.
Secular dreams also emphasize using your strength or awareness to solve the issue presented in the dream. As stated earlier, it may involve one’s self-analysis and go back to one’s inner child.
Lastly, if you look online, you will see numerous sites that have secular dream interpretations. These will steer you from the possible God-dream message. These sites are so far from biblical truth and often contradict the word of God.
What I know to be true is that Google doesn’t have the spiritual or emotional intelligence to understand your dream. It sometimes doesn’t take into consideration context as well as other vital elements to dream interpretation.
Secular dream interpretation is limited and often can be one-dimensional. You can’t use online secular manuals to unearth a profound revelation from an Omniscient God!
Purpose of biblical interpretation of dreams and visions
Throughout the bible, we see that God communicated to people through dreams. Some dreams were warning dreams like Abimelech’s (Genesis 20). Others can be instruction dreams. So, in short, they can provide the following:
- Strategy or Innovation
- God-encounters or supernatural experiences.
- Assist you in your life purpose
- One of the channels of ministry
However, I would like to stress that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is unchanging. (See Hebrews 13:8). So, if God communicated with people through dreams before, He still does it today.
The key to understanding biblical dreams is to understand that dreams are powerful and relevant today.
Lastly, we need to understand God dreams provide God- solutions, not our solutions (this is a stark difference between secular and biblical dream interpretations which emphasize self)
5 Famous dreams in the bible
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, I give five famous dreams in the bible. Some of them are my utmost favorites.
1. Joseph’s Dream
This is one of my absolute favorite dreams. I have been part of many church musicals that sang about Joseph and his technicolor coat.
I learned two crucial things about Joseph’s dreams:
- Be careful who you disclose your dreams to! Not everyone will understand or receive them well. His sharing of his dream initially lands him in trouble. He lands in a pit and is later sold into slavery by his jealous brothers
- His (Joseph) ability to understand dreams leads him to be elevated because he can interpret the pharaoh’s dream. This stresses the importance of dream interpretation.
2. Midianite Dream regarding Gideon
Biblical Reference: (Judges 7:13–14)
I really love Gideon’s story. He is a bible character that I identify with. Curious as to why? Read this post I wrote titled, “I am a Gideon.”
Gideon overheard the enemy’s dream (a Midianite) speaking of a runaway barley loaf that overturned the tent.
The other Midianite interprets the dream and confirms their defeat:
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”Judges 7:14
If you want to learn more about Gideon, read my post titled, “9 Amazing Gideon Leadership Qualities (Gideon Bible Study)“
3. Solomon’s Wisdom
Biblical Reference: (1 Kings 3:5–15)
So, this one is profound. God comes to Solomon in a dream asking him what he wants.
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”1 Kings 3:5
The following was the response that preceded:
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.1 Kings 3:9-14
The last verse tells us that Solomon gave an offering right after that dream. To me, it shows he believed. He believed that God spoke and answered him. I say this because if we can’t perceive what God is communicating in a dream, can we miss him? Can we?
4. Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Four Kingdoms
Biblical Reference: (Daniel 2)
This is a dream that has been discussed many times over. Scholars still discuss the meanings and successive empires/kingdoms that Daniel was speaking of to date.
Ok..back to the dream…What I find fascinating about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is that NOBODY (i.e., pagan sorcerers/”wise men”) could use secular methods to know the dream details or understand this dream context.
However, through an explanatory vision from God, Daniel revealed the dream’s details and interpreted the dream with profound accuracy.
5. Angel visiting Joseph in a dream
Biblical Reference: Matthew 1:18-25
After Joseph found that Mary was with child, he quietly wanted to put her away. However, we are told that an angel came to him in a dream.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:20-21
Joseph’s next dream was a warning that instructed them to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt (See: Matthew 2:13-23). Joseph went on to have two more dreams, totaling four.
Types of dreams in the bible / Dream Origin
Dreams can originate from 3 sources:
God- as stated earlier, God does communicate through dreams. Dreams can be used to convey different things. i.e., revelation, etc.
Soul- These are dreams evoked from human desire or simply personal desires.
Enemy/Demonic- Dreams from the enemy can be seen in the form of nightmares and can invoke terror, deception, and anxiety. Sleep paralysis is often dismissed and seen as “normal” but considered a disorder when it occurs outside of one’s REM sleep. However, it is, in fact, a demonic dream/attack.
It’s essential to identify the source of these dreams because if you receive a dream from the enemy and instead of rebuking it, you accept and try to execute it, it can lead to destruction.
It takes prayer and a lot of dedication and humility to discern your dreams actively.
Christian dream symbols
I wanted to share some common dream symbols that I have had in the past. It shall give you an idea of the significance of biblical dream interpretation. Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list but just serves as an example❤️:
Car/vehicle – symbolizes personal ministry, job, career etc.
Red – The positive meaning illustrates anointing, wisdom and power.
Horse – This one has many meanings and can symbolize authority, power, strength and spiritual warfare. (please note the color of the horse in the dream!)
Serpent – Satan or demonic spirits.
Elevator – This signifies shift or change in position. An elevator going up shows elevation but can have the opposite meaning if a dream shows one going down.
Pregnancy – This can symbolize the process of preparation, promise or expectancy.
If you are looking for sound biblical dream interpterion, I encourage you to invest in the Late John Paul Jackson books (I have a lot of his books and CDs!) He was gifted in this area, and his ministry: Streams Ministries, is still dedicated to furthering this knowledge in dream interpretation. Here is a link to their free video resource explaining common dream elements. They do have a YouTube channel as well.
You will see that these interpretations can be tied to the bible and have scriptural context.
Here is an additional online free dream dictionary as well.
My dream interpretation journey
As I stated earlier, my giftings of dreams and visions manifested at such a young age. I didn’t receive any mentorship, and for the longest time, I dreaded it. At one point, I also attempted to reject the gift.
However, in 2015, after much research and prayer, I received a divine strategy. I then began to steward the gift deliberately.
I’m happy to report that I have been documenting my dreams for seven years now– without fail!
Some dreams that I documented seven years ago still provide a wealth of information, revelation, and direction.
Here is a video overview of my dream interpretation journey, plus a bonus dream interpretation of one of my dreams.
7 Steps to Biblical Dream Interpretation
The following is the 7-step guide that I follow in my head. Of course, now I don’t use any checklist, but I follow this mental process to get much out of it.
1. Document your dreams
Start with writing your dreams in a dream journal. You must write with intention. Get a Pen and paper, email, voice note, etc.
As stated earlier, I have over 7 years of dreams that I’ve journaled. I like to digitally document my dreams so I can easily search them when reviewing. I ensure that I have date/timestamps. It would not be as easy to access or reference if I had a paper copy.
Note the following about your dreams:
- Time of Day
- Place or setting
- What has been quickened in your Spirit? (in a dream, you can sometimes know details that your Spirit man would only know, i.e., age, location, place, etc. Nobody told you, you know this information)
- Whether it is a dream or vision
- Emotional tone (happy, sad)
- Themes of the dream, focus or focal point
- Note whether this is a recurring dream
- When writing the dream, write as is! Don’t add or subtract!!!!
2. Discern the dream
You cannot trust your human nature. One needs to figure out whether the dream is from the Holy Spirit, Soulish, or Demonic. This requires pairing with discernment and scripture. Don’t write demonic dreams; rebuke them.
3. Pray over the dream/ Rebuke the dream
If you recognize that this is a demonic dream, rebuke it. I don’t document dreams from the enemy because it isn’t from God.
However, it is also good to pray over God- dreams. We have to have the humility and assistance from the Holy Spirit to understand and discern it and for revelation and interpretation.
4. Read scripture and look at relevant biblical symbols
The best illustration I can give is if you have a dream about an ark of a covenant, you can go back to scripture and research and read about the ark of the covenant.
Once, I had a very detailed dream that had a multi-dimensional meaning about this, and it was talking about the presence of God. You can read about the dream here: Urgent Revelation: Remain in His Presence.
5. Use a trusted Dream Bible
Refer to a trusted dream bible or biblical dream teacher! As mentioned earlier, I have studied the Late John Paul’s work and reference his work when I need help unearthing the meaning of complex dreams.
6. Ask for confirmation
It’s always important to ask for confirmation once you have a dream. God can send confirmation through scripture, through a pastor, teaching, etc.
7. Get dream accountability partners
Accountability partners are super important! My sister is my dream accountability partner. We typically bounce difficult dreams between each other.
Often, she can come back to me with revelation when I am somewhat stumped about something. She can also reveal another perspective and layered meaning that I may have overlooked.
The key is that your accountability partner also has to use sound biblical interpretation methods!
Biblical interpretation of dreams pdf
Attached is a Biblical interpretation of dreams pdf or Essential Checklist that I created for your convenience.
Biblical Dream Etiquette
I have learned that dream etiquette is of the utmost importance. The following is what I always keep in mind when it comes to dreams:
1. Be a steward: Review the dream and discern whether you need to share the dream or keep it private. Don’t go to social media and divulge a dream that is meant to be secret or one that’s sensitive. Sometimes God will call you to go private and intercede.
2. Be careful what you watch. Why? Your dreams can be corrupted based on how you engage your 5 senses. Please note that some shows have demonic elements and include a lot of witchcraft. I would question one’s dream origins if one is watching such shows.
3. Do not look to Freudian or other secular dream interpretations. If you use such methodologies, you will likely get worldly interpretations that will not give you true meanings.
And that’s it, folks, my 7 Steps to Biblical interpretation of dreams
I hope that this post has provided insight to assist you in understanding dreams better.
As I end, I want to stress that dreams should never replace the word of God. I believe that they are another form of communication with God, so it is essential, but it should never supersede the word of God.
All the best in your Biblical dream interpretation.