What is Fear in the Bible?
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What is Fear in the Bible?


The Bible is an essential guide for Christians, offering wisdom, guidance, and direction for living a life that is pleasing to God. Among the many themes woven throughout its pages, fear is a concept that recurs frequently. But what does fear mean in the context of the Bible?

As believers, how should we understand and approach the idea of fear? In this blog post, we will explore the biblical perspective on fear, looking at various passages from the New King James Version (NKJV), and seek to understand the role fear plays in our faith journey.

Fear is often seen as a negative emotion, something that hinders and restrains us from living a full, joyful life. While it’s true that fear can sometimes be harmful, it’s important to distinguish between different types of fear. In the Bible, fear is not always depicted as something to be avoided.

In fact, the fear of the Lord is often described as a positive attribute that leads to wisdom and understanding. To fully grasp the biblical perspective on fear, we must examine the various contexts in which it is mentioned and seek to comprehend its implications for our lives.

In this post, we will delve into the different types of fear mentioned in the Bible, focusing on the fear of the Lord and the fear that arises from circumstances or threats.

We will also explore the relationship between fear and faith, providing practical guidance on how to overcome unhealthy fear and embrace a deeper trust in God.

Finally, we will reflect on the promises of God to those who choose to fear Him and how this fear can lead to a more intimate and transformative relationship with our Creator.

Fear in the bible

The Fear of the Lord

One of the most prominent types of fear mentioned in the Bible is the fear of the Lord. This fear is not rooted in dread or terror, but in reverence, awe, and respect for God’s holiness, power, and authority.

The fear of the Lord is often described as the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10), as it leads to a deeper understanding of God’s character and His ways.

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In the fear of the Lord, there is an acknowledgment of our dependence on Him, as well as a desire to honor and obey His commands. This type of fear is a mark of humility and submission, recognizing God’s sovereignty over our lives.

As the psalmist writes, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9, NKJV).

When we fear the Lord, we are more likely to make choices that align with His will and purposes, seeking to please Him in all aspects of our lives. This fear should not be confused with a fear of punishment, but rather, it should be understood as a deep-rooted desire to honor and glorify our Creator.

Fear Arising from Circumstances or Threats

Another type of fear frequently mentioned in the Bible is fear that arises from circumstances or threats. This fear can be experienced when facing danger, uncertainty, or other challenging situations.

While this type of fear is natural and understandable, it can also be detrimental to our spiritual well-being if it is not properly managed.

Throughout Scripture, we find countless examples of people facing fear-inducing circumstances. For instance, when the Israelites stood at the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army closing in, they were understandably afraid (Exodus 14:10).

Similarly, when the prophet Elijah faced threats from the evil Queen Jezebel, he was gripped by fear and fled for his life (1 Kings 19:3).

In such situations, the Bible consistently reminds us to turn our focus to God and trust in His promises.

Isaiah 41:10 encourages us, saying, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (NKJV).

By shifting our focus from our circumstances to God’s presence and power, we can find peace and strength to overcome our fears.

The Relationship between Fear and Faith

Fear and faith are closely intertwined in the Bible. While fear can sometimes hinder our walk with God, faith is the key to overcoming unhealthy fear and embracing the peace and assurance that come from trusting in God’s promises.

Jesus often encouraged His disciples to have faith and not be afraid, even in the midst of challenging circumstances. When the disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus asked them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26, NKJV).

Similarly, when Peter began to sink while walking on water, Jesus admonished him, saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31, NKJV).

These examples remind us that our faith in God is crucial to overcoming fear. When we trust in God’s goodness, power, and sovereignty, we can find the courage to face our fears and the strength to persevere through trials.

As the Apostle Paul writes, “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, NKJV).

God’s Promises to Those Who Fear Him

The Bible is filled with promises for those who choose to fear the Lord. These promises offer hope, encouragement, and reassurance to believers, reminding us of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love.

One such promise is found in Psalm 34:7, which states, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (NKJV). This verse assures us that God’s protection and provision are available to those who walk in reverential fear of the Lord.

Furthermore, Proverbs 14:26 declares, “In the fear of the Lord, there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge” (NKJV). This promise highlights the security and stability that come from trusting in God and fearing Him above all else.

In addition to these promises, the Bible also emphasizes the blessings that accompany a life lived in the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 22:4 states, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life” (NKJV).

Similarly, Psalm 128:1 proclaims, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (NKJV). These verses reveal the abundant, fulfilling life that awaits those who embrace the fear of the Lord.

In conclusion, fear is a complex and multifaceted concept in the Bible, encompassing both the fear of the Lord and the fear that arises from circumstances or threats.

While the fear of the Lord is a positive attribute that leads to wisdom, understanding, and a deeper relationship with God, fear resulting from our circumstances can hinder our faith and spiritual growth if not properly managed.

As believers, we are called to cultivate a healthy fear of the Lord, characterized by reverence, awe, and a desire to honor and obey His commands. At the same time, we must learn to trust in God’s promises and presence, relying on our faith to overcome fear and anxiety in the face of life’s challenges.

May we grow in our understanding of what it means to fear the Lord and lean on His everlasting arms in every season of life. In doing so, we can experience the peace, courage, and strength to face our fears when we are afraid.

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.