Throughout the Gospels and Acts, we watch the disciples transformed from fear-filled followers of Jesus to intrepid proclaimers of the good news. Most of these frightened men who abandoned Jesus during His arrest went on to preach the gospel-even though it would eventually cost them their lives.
Fear is an entirely natural response to dangerous and confusing situations. But if we’re not careful, it can become a default lens that colors how we see the world. The Lord wants us to trust in Him, and as we do so, fear has less influence over our lives.
Let’s examine 20 Bible verses about fear.
Video: Overcoming fear
1. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua is preparing to lead God’s people into the promised land. There is a lot for him to be concerned about. Not only are there dangers in the land, but it hasn’t always been easy to keep Israel aligned and on task. The Lord promises Joshua that if He gives a command, He will also provide the means to achieve it. On top of that, He promises His presence-the most meaningful provision possible.
We, too, can take confidence in the fact that God has equipped us for the tasks He has set out, and His presence will go before us.
2. I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4)
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more well-known passage in the Bible than the 23rd Psalm. It’s just so applicable to every situation in our lives, including when we’re frightened. The whole Psalm is less a theological treaty and more of an expression of David’s close relationship with God. When David was at his highest points, God was there. When King Saul was hunting him, God was there, too.
When we become aware of God’s presence, we don’t have to be afraid-even in the darkest valleys.
3. Of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1)
The Lord is my light and my salvation-
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life-
of whom shall I be afraid?
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we carry an adequate amount of awe for the power and majesty of God, it crowds out many of the other fears that so easily beset us.
When the Lord is our shelter, we don’t have to be overcome by and fearful of all the other little details of life.
4. He delivered me from my fears (Psalm 34:4-8)
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
When it comes to tackling the topic of fear and anxiety, the Psalms are rich. It’s interesting to note that this book was basically the Jewish hymnal. These were poems and songs of praise, worship, and comfort. And throughout the Psalms are beautiful reminders that God will deliver us from our fears.
5. God is our refuge and our strength (Psalm 46:1-3)
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Israel was always beleaguered by turmoil. The surrounding nations were often unfriendly, if not entirely hostile. The region could be unforgiving and demanding. This Psalm uses physical landmarks as a metaphor for these struggles.
But amid roaring waters and quaking mountains, they found refuge in Yahweh. He was their ever-present help in troubled times. By leaning into God, they were relieved of their anxieties and fears.
6. When I’m afraid, I trust in You (Psalm 56:3-4)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise-
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
We all go through moments when we’re apprehensive or fearful. The question is, what do we do when we feel afraid? The psalmist tells us that in these moments, he puts his trust in God. This is a decision that he makes. He doesn’t wait until he feels better about it; he just responds to his fear by deciding to trust in the Lord. Once he does that, everything falls into place.
7. Under his wings, you will find refuge (Psalm 91:4-5)
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.
The metaphor for God as a protective bird caring for her young is seen throughout Scripture. Even Jesus appeals to this word picture when He tells Jerusalem, “… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
It’s a beautiful image of God as a shelter. When chicks are afraid or in danger, the nurturing mother draws them in and hides them from the peering eyes of predators. God isn’t an emotionally distant sanctuary, He’s more like a caring mother protecting her young.
8. They cried out to the Lord in their trouble (Psalm 107:28-30)
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Psalm 107 speaks about four different groups of people from the tribe of Judah dealing with their exile. This passage speaks of those who went out to sea, and when the sea acted up and threatened to consume them, God quieted the storms and stilled the sea, guiding them home.
9. The righteous will never be shaken (Psalm 112:6-8)
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
Like the Israelites, when we put our trust in God, we experience what it means to be steadfast. We don’t tremble in fear. We don’t worry about being forgotten because we’re part of God’s great story. We’re not afraid of receiving bad news because nothing can separate us from the love of God.
As we learn to trust in God, our hearts become more secure. We’re not as easily overwhelmed by life and all of its potential problems.
10. Do not fear; I am with you (Isaiah 41:8-10)
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The prophet Isaiah spends the first 39 chapters of his book describing God’s judgment on those who have turned their back on Him. This judgment is going to come through historical turmoil and hardship. Then Isaiah turns his attention to God’s coming salvation and offering solace to those who have stayed faithful to Him. In the midst of historical turbulence, they need not be afraid. God holds them in the palm of His hand.
11. Worrying won’t add a moment to your life (Matthew 6:26-27)
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Jesus’s teachings are often intensely practical. His question here is basically, how is worrying changing your situation? Is it adding or subtracting from your life? Is it giving you more time, or is it actually stealing from your life?
Take heart, God intimately cares for the birds of the air, and they’re not nearly as valuable as you.
12. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33-34)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The advice Jesus offers isn’t unrealistic. He doesn’t simply tell people, “Just stop worrying.” Instead, He suggests a shift in one’s perspective. Take that energy you’re spending on fretting, and put it towards seeking the kingdom of God.
13. You of little faith, why are you afraid? (Matthew 8:23-27)
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
As we’ve seen in the Psalms, when our faith is in God, it transforms our fears in other areas. Here we see the disciples in a situation that would trouble us all. They’re trapped in a storm and they’re worried about capsizing.
They wake up the sleeping Jesus, and He asks, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” For those paying attention, He answers His own question in the question. They’re afraid because their faith hasn’t reached maturity yet. Over the rest of the disciples’ lives, they will continue to grow in faith and diminish in fear-to the point that most of them will give their lives for the gospel.
14. Do not be afraid, Zechariah (Luke 1:12-14)
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.”
Zechariah was chosen to minister before the Lord in the temple when he’s visited by Gabriel, an angel of the Lord. Like any of us would react, Zechariah’s first response is fear. The angel tells him not to be afraid; he’s here because of Zechariah’s prayers. He’s here to inform the priest that his wife, Elizabeth, is pregnant with John the Baptist. Gabriel will then be dispatched to share some critical information with a young woman.
15. Do not be afraid, Mary (Luke 1:29-31)
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
Twice in the same chapter, Gabriel visits two different Israelites to inform them what God is doing. In both instances, they respond with fear and have to be comforted by the angel. Scripturally speaking, fear is often the first response to a divine experience, which would explain why “fear not” is such a frequently spoken admonition.
When God calls you, it’s often outside of your comfort zone. But you don’t have to be afraid, He is with you.
16. Do not let your hearts be troubled (John 14:25-27)
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus promises that in His absence, we will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit will guide us and instruct us. It’s a promise more surprising and more wonderful than we can possibly imagine. With God’s Spirit comes peace which should soothe our troubled hearts.
17. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul’s words here don’t directly mention fear, but they might as well. This beautiful passage lays out the reason we don’t need to be afraid. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. This security should make us more courageous.
18. Do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6-7)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Most of us can’t simply stop being anxious. But what we can do is to focus the energy we spend on being apprehensive somewhere else. Paul suggests taking our concerns to God in the form of prayer and practicing being thankful. By regularly practicing these two behaviors, we can experience Christ’s peace, which will guard our emotions and our minds.
19. The Spirit of God does not make us timid (2 Timothy 1:7)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Jesus promised that He would leave us His peace in the form of the Spirit. This Spirit was to guide and empower us to do the work Jesus left for us, namely, to fulfill the Great Commission. Through God’s Spirit, we are transformed from nervous, shrinking violets to purpose-filled and disciplined messengers of God’s goodness and love.
We don’t have to worry about whether we’re enough. We don’t have to fret over whether we’re good enough or intelligent enough to share what Jesus has done for the world. He has equipped us with His Spirit-the same Spirit that’s pursuing the people around us.
20. There is no fear in love (1 John 4:16-18)
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
John wants us to understand that as love is perfected, fear is driven out. As we learn to love God with all our hearts, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves, we start letting go of so many of the self-protective concerns that motivate and drive us. Love drowns out our doubts, dread, and despair.
That’s why as we seek the kingdom of God first, everything else falls into place. Many of the negative traits and behaviors we try to pull out one by one would fall away if we put that energy into loving God and seeking His kingdom.
Video: Do not fear
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