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Sarah Starrenburg

The most common command in the Bible – and it’s probably not what you think

The most common command in the Bible – and it’s probably not what you think

The most common command in the Bible isn’t about money, or heaven and hell, or sex, or hypocrisy, or any of the ‘flashy’ stuff.

The most common command in the Bible, the one God makes a point of including again, and again, and a few more times for good measure, is this –

Don’t be afraid.

It’s not a warning about a sin that really outwardly seems to hurt anyone else but ourselves. Fear isn’t a particularly ‘scandalous’ sin. And yet the thing that God makes a point of telling his people more than anything else in his word, is to warn them to fear not.

So why is fear such a big deal? Why is it so crucial that it be banished from the believer’s life and soul?

Well, 1 John 4:18 tells us that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

There is no fear in love.

So wherever there is fear in our lives, that is a part of us which we have not allowed God’s love to penetrate, and thus a part of us that cannot be used as a conduit of his love to those around us.

And we also know that the two most important commandments, according to Jesus, are to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

So – wherever we allow fear to continue to exist in our heart, that is a part of us that refuses the consuming love of God, and so as far as we are fearing, is the extent to which we are remaining disconnected from the greatest (and most fulfilling) calling and design for our lives.

I guess I can see why ‘do not be afraid’ was worth repeating a few times!


  1. Absolutely marvelous and just what we all need to hear! Thank you.

  2. Thanks – so glad it was helpful! :)

  3. Excellent! Thank you for writing this! I am in the middle of writing a post called “Why Fear Is Considered Rebellious” based on Psalm 106:7 and Exodus 14:1-4, and was Googling to make sure fear really WAS the #1 command in the Bible…and stumbled on your blog!
    The 1 John verse you posted was perfect, because my last post was on that “perfect love.”

    Don’t you love how Scripture all ties together? LOVE it. :D

    Keep writing!

  4. Great thank you! I work in college ministry and fear, especially in the form of anxiety and worrying are the biggest hindrance to the Gospel going forward. We need Christ’s perfect love to cast out all our fear.

  5. Awesome word. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is something that we justify far too often. There is a small voice inside that resonates and testifies of the truths in God’s word. Often times that voice requires us to step out in faith. The appropriate response to that is not to give God a laundry list of reasons why you “can’t” be obedient or how your fears are justified because of past or present circumstances.
    Responding to God in this way is disobedience and will result in judgement. It’s as simple as that.

    Yes, God understands our fear and has compassion on us if we are afraid based on wrongs that have been done to us. But Jesus experienced sin first hand. He understands the pains of ALL sin but that doesn’t mean he condones it or allows it. Just because God is compassionate and “understands” why you might be afraid, He is NOT pleased when you disobey and allow fear to control your decisions. Step out in faith and overcome fear!

  6. I googled “most often repeated command in the Bible” which lead me to this page. Excellent commentary, Sarah. Thanks.

  7. Luckily I already knew this :). I was hoping I was right, since I heard Rich Mullins say “sing” was the most repeated. I am in the process of writing about it. You didn’t seem to meantion the verses about it. But I also find it interesing that if you count the repatitious statements they seem to be about fear as well. “These were the men, 20 years or older, who were able to serve in the ARMY of the LORD.”
    I think it’s interseting to note that fear is the root of all sin. Not Pride! Pride is rooted in fear.
    Cowards are the #1 people on the list to be cast out of God’s presence. (not the sexually immoral). And it’s not simply “Fear Not.” but Be Confident!! and Be Strong and Courageous!!! The call to be strong is often overlooked as a repeated command that is so linked with fearlessness. It’s not simply about muscles but about confident faith, like a sleeping Christ in a boat during a Squall.

  8. I have did a research, and through “fear not” is one of the most repeated commands, it is not the most repeated. To praise God, to be thankful, to sing Him a song (all expressing the same idea – to praise to God) is what is the most repeated command in the Bible.

  9. Oooops… I did not see a typo.. *I have done a research

  10. I needed to hear this!


  1. It All Matters | Ideas Change Everything - [...] a reason, though, that the most common command in the Bible is to not [...]
  2. Why Fear Is Considered Rebellious. | A Warm Cup - [...] As Sarah Starrenburg points out in her excellent post on fear:  [...]

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