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Fear Not

Christian, tell me why does the Bible say we shouldn't be afraid? The world is full of scary things!

Because…God is bigger than any scary thing. He can shield us from it, or carry us through it.

The world is a dangerous place. It has always been so. It seems, though, that the messaging in our society today is determined to keep us as frightened as possible.

  • There is a new COVID variant!
  • {insert political party of choice} is destroying DEMOCRACY!
  • {Insert politician of choice} is corrupt and MISUSING their power for EVIL!
  • The human race is DOOMED because of the coming {insert disaster of choice}!
  • Crime is RAMPANT!
  • Children are being KILLED!
  • The economy is about to FAIL!
  • The side effects of {insert drug of choice} are WORSE than they admit!
  • They {insert villain of choice} are COMING for your {insert treasure of choice}!
  • Other countries are getting stronger than we are, and they’re AGGRESSIVE!

Have all of the bold UPPERCASE exclamations!!! frightened you enough? (Or have they simply annoyed you?! 🙂 )

All of this is in addition to the normal dangers that humanity has faced ever since the Fall: sickness, accidents, injuries, disability, war, famine, pestilence, pain, death, etc. Then there are the internal fears that can be at least as scary, if not more so: failure, inadequacy, rejection, uncertainty, insecurity, loss of control. I’m scaring myself just typing out this list!

Still, the Bible says “Fear Not”.

So why do nearly a third of the books of the Bible say, at least once, some form of “Don’t be afraid” 1? My search in a modern translation 2 found “Fear not” four times, and “Do not be afraid” more than 43 times. Fourteen of those references are in the Gospels alone. Here are a few of my favorites:

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them [enemy armies], for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2

In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:11

This isn’t counting the many times when the Bible teaches to trust God without using the exact words “Fear not” or “Do not fear”. An example is Psalm 4:8In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.” or all of Psalm 91, beginning with:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

Psalm 91:1-2

Why not be afraid?

Notice the reason for the lack of fear in the verses above.

Is it because the danger isn’t real, or is being exaggerated? Nope.

Sickness, pain, and death do indeed happen…eventually to everyone. Politicians really can be — and often are — corrupt and power-hungry. Natural disasters do cause devastation. Accidents do happen, with no warning and despite all safety precautions. Sinful people do deliberately harm others.

Pretending these things are not true is not a valid way to banish fear.

Is it because of human solutions? Nope!

No medicine can prevent or cure every illness and disability. No economic policy can completely do away with poverty. No social system can keep everyone equally well fed, clothed, and sheltered…especially not while also guaranteeing that they are free to live as they choose. No legal framework can completely stop human predators from devouring their prey. No military might can be guaranteed to win wars. No negotiator can end human conflict.

Human courage, power, or control will never be effective at stopping all scary things.

Is it because…God? ABSOLUTELY!

Every one of the 47+ verses that I found said not to fear because God is caring for me. None of the scary things is a surprise to Him. None is beyond His control. Even if every single one of the dangers listed above is completely true, and all of them actually happen at once, I still don’t have to fear them. God’s got this. Even more, God’s got me.

Have you ever seen a father carrying a sleeping toddler through a store? No matter how hectic the surroundings, the child is completely bone-limp oblivious to the world. I can relax that much, also…when I fully realize that I’m on God’s shoulder and that He is carrying me safely through any situation.

Or have you ever seen a child become frightened, and run crying to their father’s arms? The father scoops up the child, hugs them close, and tells them “Don’t be scared. It’s OK. I’ve got you.” God encourages me to run to Him when I’m frightened, and let Him hug me safe from the monsters.

Finally, have you seen a child sick or hurt — even very sick or badly hurt — and watched their father rock them until they felt better? Even if the father is not able to make the sickness or pain go away, he absorbs some of it simply by holding the child and sharing his strength with them. God doesn’t always make my monsters go away. But He is always there to hold me and give me strength and comfort.

The Worst Danger of All

Of every disaster imaginable, the very worst is the danger of being forever separated from God. I can be sure that any other crisis will end. Once I die (or Jesus returns), all of life’s worries will no longer be an issue. The only one that will remain is: Do I spend eternity with God, or without Him?

“Without” is the only thing that I TRULY need to fear. Rather, it would be…if not for Jesus. But because of Jesus, I can rest on “Fear Not” verses like these:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-32, 38-39

Fear not!

Footnotes and Scripture References

  1. My search found these phrases in 21 out of the 66 books. That was skipping the times when the reference was normal conversation, something other than God speaking to His people.
  2. NASB, or New American Standard Bible

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture reference links go to, which defaults to another good translation, the New International Version (NIV).  The site has 20 or more translations available for reference.