7 Bible Characters Who Were Afraid
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7 Bible Characters Who Were Afraid


You probably know a lot of Bible characters who were brave. But what about the ones who were afraid?

There are plenty of them, too. In fact, some of the most famous Bible stories are about people who were afraid. For example, there is the story of David and Goliath. David was scared when he faced Goliath, but he still managed to win the battle.

These Bible stories remind us that fear is normal. Even the bravest people feel afraid sometimes. So don’t be ashamed if you’re afraid – just be brave and keep going anyway.


Jacob’s Fear of Esau

Jacob was afraid of his brother Esau.

You were probably taught that Jacob was a trickster, someone who used deception to get what he wanted. But the truth is, Jacob was a scared and vulnerable man. He was afraid of his brother Esau, who was known for being fierce and violent.

Jacob ran away from home to escape Esau’s wrath. He lied to his father, saying that Esau was dead, and he changed his name to Israel so that Esau would not be able to find him.

Jacob’s fear controlled his life and led him to make some very bad decisions.

Moses’ Fear of Speaking Before Pharaoh

Moses is a renowned prophet in the Bible known for leading the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Even with the power of God on his side, Moses was initially very apprehensive about taking on Pharaoh.

In Exodus chapter 4, Moses encountered the Lord God, who gave him the power to perform impressive signs and miracles.

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The Lord God told Moses to speak to Pharaoh, but Moses refused because he was scared. He argued to the Lord God that he had a speech impediment and was not fit to be Pharaoh’s spokesman. This is a common fear many of us have- being too scared to take on daunting tasks because of our own limitations.

However, the Lord God reassured Moses that He would give him the strength he needed to carry out the mission. The Lord God also provided him with Aaron, his brother, to help with the speaking duties.

With the encouragement and help of God, Moses confidently faced Pharaoh, and the Israelites were able to escape the tyranny of slavery in Egypt.

This story from the Bible shows us that we can combat our fears with the help and guidance of the Lord. Through his special grace, the Lord will give us the opportunity and the strength to overcome our fears and accomplish our missions.

Through faith and trust, we can put away our fear and tap into the spiritual gifts of the Lord to help us overcome any difficulties that stand in our way. With faith in the Lord and the strength of God, we can do all things.

David: Fear in the Shadow of Goliath

David was a young shepherd, brave enough to face a giant with only a slingshot, but many passages in Scripture show that he also had to fight his own terrorism. One of the most famous episodes that shows David’s fear was in the face of Goliath.

In the scene, we first see Goliath standing tall with a menacing presence, taunting the Israelites and challenging them to send forward a champion for battle. The Israelites are too terrified to confront him, until David steps forward and says, “I will go and fight this Philistine.”

The courage of David is remarkable, but his fear is still evident. He says to King Saul, “Your servant has killed both lions and bears. This uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them.”

Despite this expression of fear, David still puts his faith in God and decides to fight Goliath. He tells the giant, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”

David’s victory over Goliath was a miracle, courage and faith. His actions show us that even when we are afraid, we can still have hope in God. When David faces Goliath, he is afraid, and he admits his fear, yet he still believes that God will help him overcome his enemy.

After he kills Goliath, David says, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” He gives glory to the Lord, knowing that it was God who gave him the victory.

Elijah’s Fear of Jezebel

When the prophet Elijah confronted King Ahab, his wife Jezebel was so furious that she threatened to have him killed. Elijah became afraid of her and ran away into the desert.

The Bible tells us that he even prayed to God that he would die – out of fear of Jezebel’s wrath. Fortunately, God granted Elijah strength and comfort in order to continue doing His work, even in the face of danger.

When we find ourselves afflicted with fear, we can remember the example of Elijah; although he did feel fear, he still trusted in God and continued doing what He was called to do.

Daniel’s Fear of the Lions’ Den

The story of Daniel’s fear of the Lions’ Den is a perfect example of why we should never give up in the face of adversity. After Daniel refused to stop praying to God, he was thrown into a den filled with hungry lions. However, instead of succumbing to his fear and giving up, he held steadfast and trusted in God’s protection.

In the end, Daniel emerged unscathed, proving that even in the darkest moments, when we feel most afraid, it’s important to remember that nothing is impossible with God.

The Disciples at Jesus’ Arrest

When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Disciples were absolutely terrified. You could feel the weight of their fear to the point where they were all scattered and hiding in fear.

They knew what was coming next, and they all ran away in terror to save their own lives. Even Peter, despite all his earlier promises and vows, denied knowing Jesus three times when asked by a servant girl.

The Disciples had seen Jesus perform so many miracles and wonderful works before this, yet when it came down to it, even with their faith in him, they still panicked and abandoned him in his time of need. Fearful of what would happen if they followed through and stood with Jesus, they failed him when it mattered most.

Paul’s Fear on the Ship to Rome

Paul is one of the Bible’s most well-known characters, and his fear on the ship to Rome is a powerful reminder of how even the strongest believer can become overwhelmed in times of extreme peril.

As Paul made his way to Rome, he encountered a violent storm on the sea that terrified him, causing him to call out to Jesus for help.

Although Jesus answered his prayer and the ship was spared, Paul was still fearful until the very end. He wasn’t just scared for himself—he was scared for everyone on board and believed their lives were at risk from a storm he felt powerless to control.

Despite that, Paul found strength by anchoring himself in his faith and persevered through his fear to arrive safely in Rome.


So, if fear is a normal response, why did God tell us not to be afraid? The answer is that God doesn’t want us to live in fear. In fact, he has given us specific promises to encourage us and help us overcome our fears.

In order to overcome our fears, we need to know who we are in Christ. When we know our identity in him, we can walk in the power and authority that he has given us. And we can face our fears knowing that God is with us.

So, if you’re facing fear, remember that you’re not alone. God is with you, and he wants to help you overcome your fear.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.