To Fear or Not to Fear

Would it surprise you to know that the bible speaks of fear 253 times in the Old Testament and the New Testament combined? Of those, 208 are in the Old Testament. Of the 208 times fear is mentioned in the Old Testament, about 139 times refer to fear of God, the rest to other things. The New Testament mentions fear 45 times. About 16 of those are about fear of God.

In the book of Psalms alone, fear of God is mentioned 43 times! In the book of Proverbs fear of God is mentioned 15 times. Do you see a pattern here? Not all fear is bad or unhealthy for us. Fear of the Lord is a good thing. Through fear of the Lord we will live a life He wants us to live, we will walk in the spirit and obey our Father as He commands us.

We are told that fear of the Lord will extend our life. Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongethdays: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Obviously sin is in view here. Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Through fear of God wisdom is learned. Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Again, fear of God gives life. Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

On the other hand, not fearing the Lord has some serious consequences. Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. That sounds like fair warning to me to pay attention to what God has to say to us, or we will pay the cost of ignoring His instruction.

We would do well to have a healthy fear of God. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The enemy or the people of the World can harm or kill us, but only God can destroy, for it was God who created. We are His just as surely as Jesus once walked this earth.

What is fear of God? It may very well start out as fear in the true sense of the word. The more we get to know God, the meaning of “fear of God” changes. As we learn of Him, and grow in our faith we begin to have a deep awe and reverence for God. Is there still real fear mixed in with that? Yes, at least some, but our “fear” is much more about a deep and abiding respect for God, a vast sense of awe that engulfs us and shows us just how small and insignificant we are. We hold a deep and very meaningful reverence for God; He is first in all things, before all things, One to be loved with our all.

Throughout the bible we also see another smaller theme, although close in importance to fear of God, that is do not fear other things. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

If we are to keep our focus on the Father and Christ, we cannot be living in a spirit of fear; fear of the world, fear of Satan, fear of failure, fear of tomorrow. When we are living in fear of other things, our focus is not on God, and our trust in Him is lacking. It is very important to be able to trust in God, no matter what, I am speaking here of faith and trust over-all, not the occasional bad day we all have.

Do you have a handle on your fears?

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5 replies

  1. Too bad, today’s preachers do not preach the fear of the Lord. Instead, they preach fear of sin and the devil. I remember when I was growing up I feared my dad, so I stayed out of trouble, for the most part. If we fear God we will do His will.

    Thanks for sharing. Very enlightening.

  2. Dear brother in Christ, I have already commented on this post at Christian Blessings. I keep hearing over and over in my head my dear mother quoting FDR in World War II on his Saturday envening radio addresses to the nation: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Amen, and Amen. For fear throws up a barrier between us and the power of the Holy Spirit. Fear is very literally the work of the Devil!


  1. Decision-Making | YOU DECIDE

Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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