Uncover Examples of Cowards in the Bible with Us
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Uncover Examples of Cowards in the Bible with Us

Biblical stories are filled with accounts of individuals who faced monumental challenges with courage, faith, and perseverance. However, among the heroes, there were also those who exhibited cowardice in the face of adversity. In this article, we will explore various examples of cowards in the Bible and the lessons we can learn from their actions.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bible depicts both courageous and cowardly characters.
  • Examining the traits and consequences of cowardice can help us grow in our own courage.
  • Biblical stories offer valuable lessons on how to overcome fear and embrace boldness.
  • Developing courage requires a combination of faith, action, and perseverance.
  • Cultivating courage in our lives can lead to greater fulfillment, purpose, and joy.
examples of cowards in the bible

Cowards in Biblical Stories

When we think of the heroes of the Bible, we often imagine brave, fearless individuals who stand up for what is right and just. However, there are some biblical characters who were cowards and failed to exhibit the courage we typically associate with biblical figures. In this section, we will explore several stories of cowardice in the Bible and what we can learn from them.

Cain’s Fear of Repercussions (Genesis 4:1-16)

In the book of Genesis, we read about Cain’s cowardice in the aftermath of his murder of his brother Abel. When God confronts Cain about the crime, he responds with fear and denial, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Rather than taking responsibility for his actions, Cain tries to avoid the consequences of his sin by lying to God and fleeing his presence. Ultimately, Cain’s fear of punishment leads to a cycle of violence in his family and a permanent mark of shame upon himself.

Abraham’s Deception (Genesis 12:10-20)

Abraham is known as the father of the faithful, but he too exhibited cowardly behavior at times. In Genesis 12, when Abraham and Sarah travel to Egypt, Abraham becomes afraid for his own life because of Sarah’s beauty. Rather than trusting in God’s protection, he devises a plan to deceive Pharaoh by telling him that Sarah is his sister, not his wife. This act of cowardice not only puts Sarah in danger but also brings shame upon Abraham and his household.

Jonah’s Flight from God’s Calling (Jonah 1-4)

Jonah’s story is often remembered for his eventual obedience to God’s call, but his initial response was one of cowardice and disobedience. When God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the people there, Jonah runs away in the opposite direction. He boards a ship bound for Tarshish, hoping to escape God’s presence and avoid the task set before him. However, he soon learns that his disobedience only leads to danger and disaster, and he ultimately turns back to fulfill his mission.

The Disciples’ Denial of Jesus (Matthew 26:31-75)

In the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, his disciples exhibited fear and cowardice in their responses to the events unfolding around them. When Jesus predicts that they will all fall away, Peter boldly declares his loyalty, saying, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” However, when faced with the reality of Jesus’ arrest and trial, Peter denies knowing him three times out of fear for his own safety. The other disciples also flee and abandon Jesus in his time of greatest need. It is only after Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit that they are empowered to boldly proclaim the Gospel message.

These biblical stories remind us that even those we consider to be great men and women of faith were not immune to feelings of fear and cowardice. However, they also demonstrate the negative consequences that cowardice can bring and illustrate the importance of trusting in God’s strength and guidance rather than our own limited abilities.

Biblical Verses about Cowards

The Bible contains numerous verses that address cowardice and the importance of facing our fears. Here are a few examples:

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

This verse reminds us that God is our protector and source of strength, and therefore we need not fear anything.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

God encourages us to be strong and courageous, knowing that he is always with us.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

God promises to be with us through all our trials and difficult circumstances, giving us the strength we need to overcome.

By meditating on these and other verses, we can gain the courage we need to face our fears and live boldly for God.

Lessons on Courage from Biblical Stories

The Bible is rich with stories of individuals who demonstrated remarkable bravery in the face of adversity. Their courage continues to inspire and encourage readers today. Here are a few examples of courageous stories from the Bible.

Moses and the Exodus from Egypt

Moses, the leader of the Israelites, displayed incredible courage in confronting Pharaoh and leading his people towards freedom. Despite facing numerous obstacles such as the ten plagues, Moses maintained his unwavering faith in God and continued to lead his people towards the promised land.

David and Goliath

David, a young shepherd boy, demonstrated incredible bravery when he faced the giant Goliath in battle. Despite being heavily outnumbered and outmatched in strength, David trusted in God and was victorious over his opponent.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

These three men stood firm in their faith and refused to bow down to the King’s idol, despite the threat of being thrown into a fiery furnace. Their steadfastness and trust in God resulted in their miraculous deliverance and inspired the faith of those around them.

These stories serve as powerful reminders of the importance of bravery and the rewards it can bring. Through the examples of these biblical heroes, we can learn to cultivate the courage needed to face any challenge that comes our way.

Overcoming Fear in Biblical Stories

Throughout the Bible, we find numerous examples of characters who faced fear and overcame it. These stories serve as a reminder that with God’s help, we too can overcome our fears.

David and Goliath

In 1 Samuel 17, we read about David, a young shepherd boy who faced and defeated the giant Philistine warrior Goliath. Although the odds were against him, David trusted in God and used the skills he had developed while tending his sheep to take down Goliath.

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

1 Samuel 17:45

David’s story teaches us that we must trust in God’s strength, even when we feel weak and fearful. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Daniel’s story in Daniel 6 is another example of overcoming fear. Daniel continued to pray to God, even though it was against the law. When he was caught, he was thrown into a den of hungry lions. Despite his fear, Daniel trusted in God’s protection.

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

Daniel 6:22

Daniel’s experience teaches us that when we put our trust in God, he will protect us and give us courage to face our fears.

Moses and the Red Sea

Moses faced fear multiple times throughout his life, but one of the most memorable instances is when he led the Israelites out of Egypt and faced the Red Sea. With the Egyptian army closing in, Moses cried out to God for help.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'”

Exodus 14:13-14

Through Moses, God showed us that we can face our fears with faith and that he is always with us, fighting for us.

These biblical stories remind us that fear is a natural human emotion, but we don’t have to let it control us. By trusting in God and relying on his strength and protection, we can overcome our fears and live a life of courage.

The Pitfalls of Cowardice

As we have seen in the previous sections, cowardice is a recurring theme in the Bible. Unfortunately, the consequences of cowardice can be severe and far-reaching. Let’s explore the pitfalls of cowardice and the impact it has on individuals and communities.


Cowardice often leads to isolation. When we are afraid, we tend to withdraw from others and become more self-centered. This can cause us to miss out on important relationships and opportunities. In the Bible, we see many examples of characters who allowed fear to isolate them.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

This verse makes it clear that cowardice is a serious sin that separates us from God and others.

Missed Opportunities

Cowardice also causes us to miss out on important opportunities. When we are too afraid to take risks or seize opportunities, we may never reach our full potential. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the servant who buried his talent out of fear was condemned by his master.

“So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:28-29)

This passage emphasizes the importance of using our gifts and talents to their full potential, rather than allowing fear to hold us back.

Loss of Respect

Cowardice can also result in a loss of respect from others. When we fail to take action in the face of adversity, we may be viewed as weak or unreliable. In the story of Gideon (Judges 6-8), Gideon was initially viewed as a coward by his fellow Israelites. It wasn’t until he demonstrated bravery and faith that he earned their respect.

“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:12-14)

Through these examples, we see that cowardice can have serious consequences. It is important for us to acknowledge our fears and take steps to overcome them.

Biblical Lessons on Courage: Facing Your Fears with Faith

Everyone faces fear at some point in their lives. It’s a natural response to the unknown and can manifest in a variety of ways, from anxiety to paralysis. However, the Bible reminds us that we don’t have to let fear rule our lives. Instead, we can cultivate courage through biblical principles and draw strength from the word of God.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

This is just one of many verses in the Bible that encourages us to be courageous in the face of fear. Here are a few more biblical lessons on courage to guide you in your journey:

  1. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13
  2. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:7
  3. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

These verses remind us that courage and faith go hand in hand. When we trust in God and His plans for our lives, we can face our fears with confidence and strength.

Cultivating Courage in Your Life

If you’re struggling with fear and want to cultivate courage in your daily life, here are a few practical steps you can take:

  • Pray for strength and guidance
  • Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people
  • Read and meditate on Scripture daily
  • Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone

Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but the choice to act despite it. With God’s help, you can face your fears and live a life of boldness and purpose.


In conclusion, exploring examples of cowards in the Bible has provided valuable insights into the dangers of cowardice and the importance of cultivating courage in our daily lives.

Throughout this article, we have analyzed biblical characters who displayed cowardice, and we have learned from their mistakes. We have also discovered inspiring stories of bravery and triumph over fear that provide encouragement and motivation to face our own challenges.


  • Overcoming fear is a common theme in the Bible, and we can draw strength and inspiration from the stories of those who have faced their fears with courage.
  • Cowardice can lead to negative consequences, both for individuals and for society as a whole.
  • Developing courage is a process that requires intentional effort and a willingness to take risks.

We hope that this exploration of cowardice and bravery in the Bible has encouraged you to face your fears, cultivate courage, and pursue a life of boldness.


What are some examples of cowards in the Bible?

Some examples of cowards in the Bible include Adam and Eve hiding from God after eating the forbidden fruit, Jonah attempting to flee from God’s command to preach in Nineveh, and Peter denying Jesus three times out of fear.

How does cowardice impact individuals and communities?

Cowardice can lead to missed opportunities for growth and personal development. It can also hinder relationships and cause division within communities. Additionally, cowardice can prevent individuals from stepping up to face challenges and make positive changes.

What verses in the Bible address cowardice and facing fears?

Some Bible verses that address cowardice and the importance of facing fears include Joshua 1:9, which encourages individuals to be strong and courageous, and 2 Timothy 1:7, which reminds us that God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.

Can you provide examples of courageous stories in the Bible?

Yes, some examples of courageous stories in the Bible include David defeating Goliath, Esther standing up for the Jewish people, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to bow down to the king’s golden statue.

How can we overcome our fears based on biblical stories?

Biblical stories such as Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and Jesus calming the storm show us that we can overcome our fears by trusting in God’s guidance and power. These stories teach us to have faith and rely on God’s strength when faced with fearful situations.

What are the negative consequences of cowardice?

Cowardice can lead to a lack of personal growth, missed opportunities, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction. It can also weaken relationships, erode trust, and hinder progress. Additionally, cowardice can distance us from a deep and meaningful relationship with God.

How can we cultivate courage in our lives?

We can cultivate courage in our lives by seeking inspiration and guidance from the Bible. It is important to regularly study God’s Word, spend time in prayer, and surround ourselves with supportive and encouraging individuals. Additionally, stepping out of our comfort zones and taking small steps towards facing our fears can help us develop courage over time.

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.