What Does the Bible Say about Fear?
- Blair Parke Editor for Xulon Press
- 2020 23 Jun
What many don’t realize is fear can take on multiple personalities, be in different areas of our livelihood, and cause us to accept certain behaviors or beliefs without realizing we are doing it. Fear is an “unpleasant” emotion or anxious concern formed from our anticipation or awareness of danger. There is also another viewpoint of fear attributed to God that many may not associate as fear, and it is a fear of God that is inspired by reverence or awe of Him, His power, and His love. We will examine both perspectives toward fear through how it is discussed in God’s Word and ways we can have a healthy fear of God without the unnecessary fears from this world.
Fear in Light of the Bible
The term “fear not” is stated in the Bible 365 times, which, ironically, is how many days are in a year. Some recognized Scripture verses that contain ‘fear not’ include Isaiah 41:10 (“Fear not, for I am with you”); Joshua 1:9 (“Do not be afraid…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”); and 2 Timothy 1:7 (“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”). What these verses mention, as well as several others throughout the Bible, is God’s viewpoint of His creation’s fear of the unknown or fears heightened by harmful memories of the past. This would be considered by God as unhealthy or toxic fears because they represent man’s distrust of God to take care of their every need and believing He doesn’t have good plans ahead for them.
The other type of fear, fear of God, is a two-fold understanding of fear: One being fear of God in regards to His love and power—that He can make any dream become a reality and has unlimited peace and security to freely give. The second form of this type of fear is our fear of God’s wrath and disappointment when we turn against Him or refuse to serve Him and others. When one realizes the first type of fear has gripped his/her heart, the hope is that the person will reject the comforts of the fear and run to the Father, seeking His wisdom to combat whatever triggered the fear, as stated in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This will then lead to the other type of fear, fear of God, which centers on the wisdom of God and understanding of His plan for us.
Why Does the Bible Say Not to Fear?
As we all know with living in society today, fear is something that is entangled in every aspect of our lives. According to statistical studies, more than 30% of adults in the United States struggle with anxiety disorders or phobias. Our fears can cause us to trust in things, people, places, idols, etc., instead of trusting in the One who created and breathed them into life. Pastor Rick Warren stresses that people’s fears are rooted in the belief that God is out to condemn them through their trials and hurts instead of remembering that this is not so because of Jesus’ sacrifice. This caters to fear of God in the Old Testament, where people followed the Law set by God in fear that if they didn’t, He would take away His favor from them and unleash hell. However, through Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection, people now have a Savior who took the punishment for those sins and brings us to a place where God only wants to offer love, peace, and the opportunity to serve alongside Him.
Fear can be crippling and push the most composed people into states of utter discomfort and uncertainty, but God reminds people through His Word that because of Jesus, there is nothing to fear. Even with death or failure, which are prevalent fears among born-again Christians (as well as of non-Christians) who believe in heaven and know that God loves them despite mistakes they make, Jesus can still remove those fears. So, why should we not fear? The Bible makes it plainly clear through several verses, include Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 6:34, and John 14:27. Fear causes your mind and judgment to be clouded, leading you to make decisions that you wouldn’t have made if you had a clear head about the situation. When you don’t worry about what’s ahead, but trust God for the outcome, His peace begins to fill your mind instead and that’s when His blessings emerge.
5 Ways the Bible Teaches Us Not to Fear
The Bible instructs us in ways to fight against the strongholds of fear, but none mean doing the fighting on our own. God is in our corner, wanting to fight our battles, so these are five ways the Bible teaches us not to fear by letting God take over.
1. If you take your fears to God, He will destroy them for you.
Isaiah 35:4 says that those with fearful hearts can feel strong in the face of fear, knowing that God is there and will save you from the fears, delivering sweet vengeance as well. What is meant here is that while it may or may not mean that cancer, job loss, death of a child, or depression goes away immediately, God will take away the fear you might have that things won’t change, bringing you love, hope, and strength to keep going.
2. If you take your fears to God, you won’t be left without answers.
Psalm 34:4 says King David sought the Lord and He answered, delivering him of his fears. Some reading this might object and say that they have gone to God several times for answers to why they are afraid and felt they never got answers. I know; I’ve been in those shoes as well. However, in those instances, it was usually because I still had one hand on the fear while handing it over to God; I still wanted to control how I fought (or embraced) the fear instead of trusting God and letting Him have full control. His answer to you might be to wait, to keep fighting, to let go, or even to get counseling, but if you release your hold on the fear, finger by finger, God’s answer will begin to break through in your mind.
3. If you take your fears to God, you will see more of how much He loves and cares for you.
One of the most treasured Scriptures from 1 Peter is the one stating to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). We all know, or at least have heard of, that God loves us immensely. But when reading this Scripture verse, you realize that He wants you to give Him your fears because He loves you. Similar to how some earth-bound dads will ask about your problems and try to solve them for you, because they love you, God is the same that He doesn’t want your fears to overshadow the love He can demonstrate by taking away those fears.
4. If you take your fears to God, you will realize you were never created to fear the unknown or others.
Second Timothy 1:7 is a popular verse people keep in mind when dealing with fears in their lives. This is because it brings the understanding that God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline (or sound mind in some translations). God made us for more than this world can fathom at times, but the fears of this world can bring us down. So, in the face of fear, God reminds us here that we were created to love, to be strong, and to be clear-headed.
5. If you take your fears to God, you are freed from the past; it won’t go with you into the future.
Fear, for many of us, can be placed in some event or situation that caused us to be afraid or doubt our abilities. Isaiah 54:4 tells us that when we aren’t afraid and are trusting God with our fears, we won’t deal with the shame or humiliation from the past. You won’t go back to that fear of the past anymore; you’ll be freed from it because of God.
Fear is something we all have dealt with at some point in our lives, or are still dealing with today, and while we sometimes look to society for answers to fight our fears, we need to look instead into God’s Word and His love. Releasing our fears to God in prayer allows the first step to be taken to embrace God’s wisdom, love, and strength.
The Bible has 365 reasons to “fear not,” so as you release your fear to God, or when you feel it creep back up into your mind, open the Bible and find these verses. These verses were stated by people who dealt with fear like the rest of us; they believed God didn’t create them to fear but to take these fears to Him and witness how it opened them up for God’s plans.
Let’s pray Psalm 23:4 and believe it: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/SamThomas
Blair Parke is a freelance writer for BibleStudyTools.com and editor for Xulon Press. A graduate of Stetson University with a Bachelor's in Communications, Blair previously worked as a writer/editor for several local magazines in the Central Florida area, including Celebration Independent and Lake Magazine in Leesburg, Florida and currently freelances for the Southwest Orlando Bulletin.
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