Fear Of Death In The Bible

We all know that the Bible tells us how to love and how to live. But many people don’t realize that it also describes fear. Fear is not something that is exclusive to modern times. It isn’t a by-product of humanity’s advanced knowledge of itself, or our wide access to information. Fear has always affected humans, and the Bible teaches us how we can deal with this emotion.

Fear Of Death In The Bible

The Bible mentions two specific types of fear. The first type is beneficial and is to be encouraged. The second type is a detriment and is to be overcome. The first type of fear is fear of the Lord. This type of fear does not necessarily mean to be afraid of something. Rather, it is a reverential awe of God, a reverence for His power and glory. However, it is also a proper respect for His wrath and anger. In other words, the fear of the Lord is a total acknowledgement of all that God is, which comes through knowing Him and His attributes.

Fear of the Lord brings with it many blessings and benefits. It is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding (Psalm 111:10). Only fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7). Furthermore, fear of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment (Proverbs 19:23). It is the fountain and life (Proverbs 14:27) and provides a security and a place of safety for us (Proverbs 14:26).

Thus, one can see how fearing God should be encouraged. However, the second type of fear mentioned in the Bible is not beneficial at all. This is the “spirit of fear” mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). A spirit of fearfulness and timidity does not come from God.

However, sometimes we are afraid, sometimes this “spirit of fear” overcomes us, and to overcome it we need to trust in and love God completely. “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” (1 John 4:18). No one is perfect, and God knows this. That is why He has liberally sprinkled encouragement against fear throughout the Bible. Beginning in the book of Genesis and continuing throughout the book of Revelation, God reminds us to “Fear not.”

For example, Isaiah 41:10 encourages us, “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 right hand.” Often we fear the future and what will become of us. But Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds of the air, so how much more will He provide for His children? “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). Just these few verses cover many different types of fear. God tells us not to be afraid of being alone, of being too weak, of not being heard, and of lacking physical necessities. These admonishments continue throughout the Bible, covering the many different aspects of the “spirit of fear.”

In Psalm 56:11 the psalmist writes, “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” This is an awesome testimony to the power of trusting in God. Regardless of what happens, the psalmist will trust in God because he knows and understands the power of God. The key to overcoming fear, then, is total and complete trust in God. Trusting God is a refusal to give in to fear. It is a turning to God even in the darkest times and trusting Him to make things right. This trust comes from knowing God and knowing that He is good. As Job said when he was experiencing some of the most difficult trials recorded in the Bible, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15 NKJV).

Once we have learned to put our trust in God, we will no longer be afraid of the things that come against us. We will be like the psalmist who said with confidence “…let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11).

Fear Of Death In The Bible

There are at least two kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible. The first kind of fear is the fear of the Lord, which is healthy and to be encouraged. The second kind of fear the Bible talks about is a “spirit of fear” (see 2 Timothy 1:7), which is a hindrance to our life and walk with God.

What does it mean to fear the Lord? Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” In other words, fearing God does not mean being afraid of something, but being for what God is for and against what He is against. It is having an attitude of respect and awe for all God is, which includes His unfailing love, mercy, power, and glory, and also characteristics like His righteous anger and wrath. Fear of the Lord contains many blessings and benefits. It leads to wisdom and understanding (Psalm 111:10). Also, with the fear of the Lord is life and true rest (Proverbs 14:27; 19:23).

While fear of the Lord is a gift from God that greatly benefits us in life, the other kind of fear mentioned in the Bible is of no benefit at all. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Fear then, is not from God, and also is not something we have to simply “put up with.” In reality, fear is a tool that our enemy the devil uses to hinder us in any way he can from all that God has for us.

Everyone has or will experience fear in their lives. Sometimes it’s subtle and we don’t realize that’s what it is. We make other excuses for why we’re not moving forward in areas of our life when the root is really fear. This is not what God wants for us. Overcoming fear is rooted in trusting God and receiving His love. First John 4:18 tells us, “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.” Satan will do all he can to get us to doubt the love of God, often by using fear. Fear of the future, what people think of us, failure, you name it—when we believe lies of fear, it gets in the way of experiencing and living out of the freedom of God’s perfect love.

The good news is, when we experience fear, we don’t have to stay there. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). We must take our fears to God. This verse reminds us that He hears us and He is the one who delivers us from fear; we can’t do it by ourselves. Confessing our fears to God takes the power out of its control over us and allows God to cleanse us from it (see 1 John 1:9). This is simply an active way we can trust God completely. The more we learn to trust Him and His love for us, the more we experience His peace (Philippians 4:7), and the less fear has any place in our lives.

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