What is the Scariest Verse in the Bible?

The Bible contains many verses that can elicit fear, dread, and distress in readers. As Christians, we must approach these difficult passages with wisdom, discernment, and an openness to God’s truth. In this post, we will explore some of the most unsettling verses in Scripture and reflect on how they challenge and shape our faith.


The Bible is filled with promises of God’s love, grace, and salvation. Yet nestled among these passages of comfort are verses that make even the most steadfast believer shudder. From graphic violence to visions of eternal torment, disturbing imagery permeates both the Old and New Testaments.

While we may be tempted to avoid or ignore these troubling texts, they beg our wrestling. God does not shy away from revealing the messy, painful sides of human experience. By leaning into the darkness, we can come to better understand ourselves, God’s nature, and the magnificence of Christ’s redemptive work.

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In examining Scripture’s most frightening verses, we must hold tightly to these truths:

  • God is both just and merciful. His punishments always fit the crime. His anger is directed at sin, not sinners.
  • All have fallen short. On our own, we are helpless and lost in darkness. We deserve condemnation.
  • Salvation is found in Christ alone. He bore God’s wrath on our behalf, rescuing us from judgment. Our only hope is in His finished work.
  • God desires that none perish. Hell is real, but God takes no pleasure in punishment. He wishes all would repent and receive new life.
  • Evil will not have the last word. Christ has conquered the powers of darkness. Eternal joy awaits all who trust in Him.

Let us proceed on our exploration with studied humility, trusting God to illuminate His Word and fortify our faith. The verses we find most frightening shine a spotlight on humanity’s dire need for a Savior.

What is the Scariest Verse in the Bible?

Old Testament Verses

The Old Testament, though penned centuries before Christ’s advent, contains many references to eternal judgment that remain unsettling today.

Isaiah 66:24

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)

This graphic depiction of God’s enemies eternally consumed by worms and fire is deeply disturbing. It calls to mind the suffering of hell in stark terms. However, we must remember that this passage refers specifically to the rebels who attacked Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day. Their fate serves as a warning to all who oppose God and reject His truth. It points ahead to the final judgment when Christ returns, but does not describe the eternal state of all unbelievers.

Ezekiel 9:5-7

“And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7)

God commanding the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children is profoundly disturbing. However, we must understand this extreme command in its proper context. God had patiently endured the unrelenting idolatry of Jerusalem. This shocking judgment underscores the gravity of their offenses and the inescapable consequences of unrepentant sin. It foreshadows the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

Exodus 32:27-28

Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. (Exodus 32:27-28)

Again, graphic violence makes us recoil – especially since it is portrayed as God’s will. This occurred after Israel’s rebellion with the golden calf. Their sin required blood atonement. God did not relish the death, but He could not overlook their lawlessness. The Levites’ obedience reflects the purity God requires of His people.

2 Chronicles 21:14-15

“Behold, the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day.'” (2 Chronicles 21:14-15)

The gruesome judgment pronounced on wicked King Jehoram makes us cringe. Graphic illness and suffering are difficult topics, but Scripture does not shy away from portraying these harsh realities. God takes sin seriously, and His warnings convey its rightful consequences. Yet even in judgment, we see God’s mercy toward those who humble themselves, as King Jehoram failed to do.

Psalm 137:7-9

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (Psalm 137:7-9)

The appalling notion of infanticide, especially as an occasion for rejoicing, rattles even mature believers. While this psalm expresses Israel’s anguish in exile, we must be careful not to isolate passages like this from the larger message of Scripture. Nowhere does God condone the killing of children. The darkness of humanity’s heart is on full display. We must cling to the light of Christ.

New Testament Verses

While containing beautiful promises of salvation, the New Testament also includes some challenging words regarding judgment and hell.

Matthew 8:12

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:12 KJV)

Being cast into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth is a fearful prospect. Jesus frequently used this vivid imagery to describe the eternal state of those who reject Him (Matthew 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). It points to the utter darkness and despair of separation from God’s presence.

Mark 9:48

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:48 KJV)

Here Jesus quotes Isaiah 66:24 (mentioned above) to warn of God’s judgment. The undying worm and unquenchable fire grate against modern sensibilities. However, they graphically communicate the finality and severity of eternal punishment. We dare not explain away the anguish that awaits unbelievers.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

The vivid imagery of Christ’s return in blazing fire to punish unbelievers is terrifying. It reveals the cosmic gravity of rejecting God and the reality of eternal separation from His presence. Again, this should propel us to share the gospel with urgency and compassion.

Jude 7

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Everlasting fire as exemplified by Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction is a stark reminder that God will ultimately vanquish unrepentant sin. His holiness demands justice. Jude also reminds us that God rescues the faithful, motivating us to cling tightly to Him.

Revelation 14:9-11

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11)

The distressing image of eternal torment, with no rest day or night, provokes deep unease. God’s wrath against unrepentant evil will one day be satisfied. The damned persist in rebellion, spurning the Lamb’s mercy to the bitter end. May this warning drive us toward Christ.


Upon reflection, what are we to make of the disturbing depictions and warnings of judgment in Scripture? I would offer several suggestions.

Firstly, we must accept that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). God cannot overlook wrongdoing. His justice is not capricious but fits the crime. Sin’s consequences are inherent, not arbitrarily imposed. God wishes all to repent, but does not force the unwilling.

Secondly, God is sovereign over evil and suffering. He uses judgment to humble the proud and call the wayward to repentance. Without glimpsing sin’s severity, we fail to grasp our need for salvation. God’s acts of discipline flow from His love.

Thirdly, Christ bore the full fury of God’s wrath on our behalf at Calvary. For those who trust in Jesus, there is “now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). God’s justice was satisfied on the cross. Our responsibility is to cling to Christ, taking refuge in His atoning work.

Lastly, God will finally eradicate evil completely. Those who persist in rebellion—even under judgment—will experience sorrow and pain. But Christ’s kingdom shall reign eternally. Sin and darkness will be no more. God’s purposes will be vindicated. Every knee will bow.

May God grant us wisdom, grace and discernment as we strive to comprehend the hard sayings of Scripture. May we honor Christ by proclaiming the saving truth with boldness and compassion. Let the alarms of judgment wake us from slumber that we may live for eternity. The day draws near. Maranatha—come Lord Jesus!

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