10 Key Bible Verses on Fear

This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.

1. Isaiah 41:10

Read the Passage

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Read More

Read the Commentary

God reminds his people of his active commitments to them. In verses 8–9, mention of God’s having chosen Jacob and of Israel’s status as the offspring of Abraham speaks clearly of God’s promises (Gen. 17:7; 22:17) and therefore reminds them that they inhabit a story filled with God’s purposes.

“You” here is the people as a whole (called “Jacob” in Isa. 41:8). Unlike the terrified nations of Isa. 41:5, the people of God have in him reason to be fearless (cf. Isa. 41:13–14). Unlike the gods of the nations, which must be strengthened and secured (Isa. 41:7), the God of Israel secures his people.

2. Deuteronomy 31:6

Read the Passage

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. Read More

Read the Commentary

This command to all Israel is also made directly to Joshua (Deut.31:7, 23; Josh. 1:6, 7, 9). The exhortation “Do not fear” is grounded in past experience of the plagues and the exodus from Egypt (see Exodus 7–14) and the wilderness provision (see also Deut. 1:33). before your eyes … you have seen. Even though this is the next generation, Moses sees the nation as a unity and addresses his audience as though they were there with the previous generation. carried you, as a man carries his son. The image is tender and loving, repudiating the false claim of Deut 1:27. In 1 Chron. 28:20, David applies “He will not leave you or forsake you” to Solomon; cf. Heb. 13:5.

3. Joshua 1:9

Read the Passage

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Read More

Read the Commentary

Three times the Lord charges Joshua to be strong and courageous, words reminiscent of Joshua’s earlier commissioning under Moses (see Deut. 31:6–8, 23). Joshua will need strength and courage to accept his task (you shall cause this people to inherit the land; Josh. 1:6); to obey the Torah (Book of the Law [v. 8]; most likely this would have included at least the book of Deuteronomy or portions thereof [see Deut. 31:26, “this law”]); and to resist being terrified (do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed; Josh. 1:9). Most difficult of all will be the middle responsibility—namely, to make the Lord’s instructions (Hb. Torah) integral to who he is and what he does (Josh. 1:8a), meditating on them constantly so as to do them (Josh 1:8b). Thus the middle exhortation is made emphatic by the addition of two small words: “only be strong and very courageous.” Given Joshua’s leadership responsibilities, this charge to be strong and courageous would be daunting were it not for the framing promises: I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you (Josh1:5); and the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9). Fortified by these assurances of the Lord’s abiding presence, Joshua is empowered to receive his commission with courage. The Hebrew terminology used in these assurances has nothing to do with worldly wealth or worldly success, but has everything to do with accomplishing one’s mission and acting with keen insight in any circumstance that presents itself. Only when one fails to “ask counsel from the LORD” (9:14) is such insight lacking.

4. Isaiah 43:1–2

Read the Passage

But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Read More

Read the Commentary

God reassures his people that, for his own glory, he will ensure their wonderful restoration.

Knowing what they deserve, the people should fear; but hearing of their Redeemer’s choice and promise, they should not fear. What defines them is not their guilty blindness (Isa. 42:18–25) but the grace of the One who says, “You are mine” (cf. Ex. 6:7).

“You” designates the whole people (Isa. 43:1). Even when they are subject to the hardships of captivity and exile, God is still with his people (cf. Isa. 41:10).

5. 1 John 4:18

Read the Passage

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. Read More

Read the Commentary

No fear in love does not rule out the presence and constructive effect of “the fear of the Lord” that is “the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). Here John speaks of fear of final judgment (cf. 1 John 4:17). God’s perfect love for believers casts out the fear of wrath and eternal punishment.

6. Psalm 23:4

Read the Passage

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. Read More

Read the Commentary

The shadow of death may be the shadow that death casts, or it may be, as the ESV footnote has it, “deep darkness.” Perhaps the idea is that in a valley in the desert (or wadi) in Judah one can encounter deep shadows, and cannot know for sure who (bandits) or what (animals, flash floods) lurks in them; even in such periods of suspense and danger, the faithful find assurance that God is with them, and thus they need not fear.

7. 2 Timothy 1:7

Read the Passage

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Read More

Read the Commentary

The Greek (deilia) in extrabiblical literature refers to one who flees from battle, and has a strong pejorative sense referring to cowardice. Boldness, not cowardice, is a mark of the Spirit (see Prov. 28:1; Acts 4:31).

8. Proverbs 29:25

Read the Passage

The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe. Read More

Read the Commentary

One who acts primarily out of a fear of man shows that he does not trust the LORD to preserve and protect him (Prov. 29:25). Similarly, one who seeks only the face of the king for justice (Prov. 29:26) manifests a lack of belief that it is ultimately God who works to bring it about (cf. Prov. 24:21a, where the order reflects the priority).

9. Luke 8:35–37

Read the Passage

Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. Read More

Read the Commentary

While fearful reverence and awe are appropriate in the presence of Jesus, the fear of these townspeople is negative and seems to be a wrongful, superstitious fear of Jesus’ mysterious power, and perhaps a fear of further loss of their property, for their fear does not draw them to Jesus.

10. Mark 4:40–41

Read the Passage

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Read More

Read the Commentary

Jesus chides the disciples for being afraid (cf. Mark 7:18; 8:17–18, 21). The antidote to fear is faith, i.e., trust in Jesus. They are right in turning to Jesus, but they are exhorted regarding their fear and feeling of being forsaken by God. The disciples ask the right question, for the calming of the storm gives evidence that this man is also truly God.

All commentary sections adapted from the ESV Study Bible.


Popular Articles in This Series

View All

10 Key Bible Verses on Sin

Because of Christ, our sin does not have to separate us from God. In fact, when we confess it and believe in him, we are cleansed from our unrighteousness.


Related Resources


Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.org/about.