Fear Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Fear in Scripture</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">The cold grip of fear shows up in the Bible with the advent of sin. As soon as they eat from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve sense their naked shame. When God comes to the garden for his daily walk, they slink away and hide, saying &quot;I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Genesis%C2%A03%3A10">Genesis&nbsp;3:10</a>).</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Throughout the Bible, people in various circumstances are told &quot;Fear not!&quot; In some cases this happens when they face a truly fearsome situation. When the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt, they turn around to find Pharaoh pursuing them. Their backs are to the sea &mdash; they&#39;re trapped. &quot;Do not be afraid,&quot; says Moses, &quot;Stand firm, and see the deliverance that the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span> will accomplish for you today&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Exodus%C2%A014%3A13">Exodus&nbsp;14:13</a>). In other cases people are told not to be afraid when they are confronted by God or one of the angels, as when the angel tells Mary not to be afraid at the annunciation.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">The Bible&#39;s wisdom literature echoes with the call to fear the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>. &quot;The fear of the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span> is the beginning of wisdom&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Proverbs%C2%A09%3A10">Proverbs&nbsp;9:10</a>). Or, &quot;Fear the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, you his holy ones . . . &quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Psalm%C2%A034%3A9">Psalm&nbsp;34:9</a>). Some newer Bible versions translate this, &quot;Reverence the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>,&quot; seeking to demonstrate the distinctive quality of this fear. Rudolf Otto called this type of fear &quot;an encounter with the numinous.&quot; It is a combination of awe and adoration, wonder and worship, a kind of holy love.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><strong><span class="heading-sm">God is Fearsome</span></strong> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy">Yet there is a sense in which God is truly fearsome. The character of wickedness is that &quot;there is no fear of God before their eyes&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Psalm%C2%A036%3A1">Psalm&nbsp;36:1</a>). In Revelation, the wicked cry out to the mountains, &quot;Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Revelation%C2%A06%3A16">Revelation&nbsp;6:16</a>). As the writer to the Hebrews put it, &quot;It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God&quot; (<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/Hebrews%C2%A010%3A31">Hebrews&nbsp;10:31</a>).</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Perfect love casts out fear,&quot; according to<a href="https://zeteosearch.org/search/%201%20John%204%3A18"> 1 John 4:18</a>. This is perhaps the deepest truth about fear in the Bible. When we encounter the deep love of God in Jesus Christ, we are delivered from fear once and for all, whether that&#39;s fear of God&#39;s judgment or fear of the evil that might overtake us in the world. Like a child in the arms of a parent, we are safe from our fears in the arms of our loving God.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><strong><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Fear</span></strong></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Do one thing every day that scares you.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Eleanor Roosevelt, quoted in Noelle Hancock.&nbsp;<em>My Year with Eleanor</em>.&nbsp;Harper Collins, 2011, p. 8)</span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don&#39;t be afraid.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Frederick Buechner, quoted in Dale Brown.&nbsp;<em>The Book of Buechner</em>.&nbsp;Presbyterian Publishing Corp., 2006, p. 157)&nbsp;</span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">&quot;We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man&#39;s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(G. K. Chesterton, quoted in Martin H. Manser.&nbsp;<em>The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations</em>.&nbsp;Westminster John Knox Press, 2001, p. 109.)</span></span></span></p>