Since I am a born-again Christian and pastor, many church members come to me for advice and
confide in me. One of the things that I noticed many people face is fear. This emotion combines
feelings of helplessness and anxiety. It makes one afraid to trust or believe in something.
People have different fears, some of which might result from past trauma. Some people fear
heights, and others fear being heartbroken; others fear experiencing the loss of a loved one. To
help them out, I seek guidance from the Bible and want to know what it says about fear. I often
wonder, is fear a sin?
I will help you understand what the Bible says about fear in this article. Join me as we discuss
when fear is a sin and when it is not, according to the Bible. You will also learn how Christians
can get over unholy fear as a sin and discover Bible verses that talk about fear as a sin. Read on
to also find Bible verses that talk about holy fear.
What does the Bible say about fear?
According to the scripture, there are two types of fear; the holy one, which is encouraged, and the unholy fear that Christians must overcome. The holy fear does not necessarily translate to being afraid, but it is having respect and reverential awe of God. The holy fear expects Christians to have a reverence for the glory and power of God, to respect his presence, and have total trust and faith in God. The holy fear, which is simply fearing the Lord, can be termed as acknowledging who God is in all his forms.
There are several verses in the scripture that talk about the fear of the Lord. Psalms 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praises endure forever!”
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction.” In other words, those who do not fear the Lord can be grouped as fools. Proverbs 14:26-27 goes on and says, “In fear of the Lord, one has strong confidence, and his children will have refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life that one may turn away from the snares of death.”
The second type of fear mentioned in the scripture is unholy and should be condemned. 2nd Timothy 1:7 talks about this fear by saying, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.” This second type of fear involves being afraid. We Christians should not be afraid of anything because God is on our side. The book of 1st John 4:8 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
The Bible encourages Christians to overcome this unholy fear. The book of Isiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”
The book of Psalms 56:11 says, “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” additionally, Mathew 10:31 also says, “Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”
When is fear a sin, according to the Bible?
According to the Bible, fear becomes a sin when it separates us from God: it makes us not embrace our faith in God. The book of 2nd Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” Therefore, fear is sinful when it cripples us and makes us not lead with the power and strength that God gave us.
The book of Psalms 112:6-8 says, “Surely, the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will not fear 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.”
When is fear not a sin, according to the Bible?
According to the Bible, fear is not a sin when you fear the Lord. 2nd Chronicles 19:7 says, “Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.” The fear that the Bible describes as not being is the one that does not involve distrusting God but one that acknowledges the power of God. Deuteronomy 6:13 reads, “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.”
How do Christians get over unholy fear?
To overcome unholy fear, Christians should have total trust and faith in God. The book of Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made to known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Christians must let God know what kind of fear they are struggling with and believe Christ can deliver them from whatever it is.
The book of Deuteronomy 3:16 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Believing that no matter what happens, God is on our side helps us let go of so many things we are afraid of.
Additionally, to overcome unholy fear, you must seek the Lord and ask him to deliver you. The psalmist says in the book of Psalms 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” The book of 1st Peter 5:6-7 also says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the might hand of God so that the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
What Bible verses talk about fear as a sin?
Mathew 8:26 says, “You of little faith, Jesus replied, ‘why are you so afraid? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was perfectly calm.”
The book of Mathew 28:4 goes on and says, “And for fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men.”
Judges 7:3 says, “Now, therefore, proclaim in the ears of the people saying, whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from the Mount Gilead. Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.”
Romans 14:2 reads, “But whoever doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is a sin.”
Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars, they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
What Bible verses talk about holy fear?
Several bible verses talk about holy sin. The following are just but a few;
Genesis 22:12 says, “He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now, I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only some, from me.”
Nehemiah 5:15 reads, “The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so because I fear the Lord.”
Genesis 28:17, “And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Job 1:8, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turn away from evil?”
Exodus 1:17 reads, “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the King of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.”
Jeremiah 29:16, “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and did not the Lord relent of the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves.”
Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes with faith.”
Acts 10:2, “a devout man who feared God with all his household and gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.”
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.