NOTE: I’ve written about fear a number of times. Some of the most pertinent are listed and linked down at the end of this article.
We don’t want to ignore the fear signals that tell us to get out of an unsafe situation, and I’ve addressed those in other articles. But the encouraging “fear not” verses in the Bible will help us to shed inappropriate fear.
Have you heard, as I have, that there are 365 “fear not” verses in the Bible, one for every day of the year? (And that this is supposed to help you remember to not be afraid.)
Well, that sounded a little suspect to me, so I decided to check it out. Turns out even websites like this one that claimed they were giving you all “365” fear not verses actually listed fewer than 150.
Maybe they thought no one would ever count?
So, my friends, there isn’t a “fear not” verse for every day of the year. Sorry to burst your bubble.
However, even as it is, the list includes some inconvenient ones.
The inconvenient “fear not” verses
How about Judges 4:18? That one was in the list.
That’s the verse in which the Israelite woman Jael went out to meet King Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent and she covered him with a blanket.
And we all know what happened next, right? (If you don’t, you can read it in Judges 4. I won’t ruin the punchline for you.)
That’s not exactly a “fear not” verse I’d want to hang on my wall.
Or I Samuel 28:13 – The king said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. What do you see?’
Do you want to guess (from the reference) who was talking there, and to whom? I’ll give you a minute.
That was King Saul telling the witch of Endor not to be afraid when the ghost of Samuel arose at her conjuring.
Nope, that one isn’t too encouraging either.
There are a few more like that, but you can have the fun of finding them yourself, if you feel so inclined.
Besides those kind of creepy fear not verses, what I found when I studied all the “fear not” verses in the Bible was encouraging . . . in a couple of ways.
For one thing, I’ve thought a lot about the people who feel guilty for their fear, and how the weight of “fear not” hangs over them when they continue having panic attacks or nameless anxieties. I think looking closely at the fear not Scriptures really can help relieve that guilt instead of simply increasing it.
Also, when you look closely at the “fear not” Scriptures, you’ll see that when our Lord speaks to people who are afraid, He doesn’t treat their fear like a sin. He treats it more like an injury. “Here, let me make this better.”
For another thing, many of the “fear not” Scriptures, viewed in context can give us insight into the heart of God for His people.
And that’s encouraging.
So, when I do a word or subject study, I organize all the verses into categories that makes sense to me. When I studied all the “fear not” (or “do not be afraid”) verses in the Bible, I organized them according to who the speaker was and who he or she was speaking to.
A few of my other blog posts that ponder fear.