My pastor has recently given two very interesting sermons on fear. In both of them he made the statement that God's most frequent command is "don't be afraid". This got me wondering if it was true and if not, what was.

To set some limitations I'll make the following definitions:

  1. "From God" will include any statement attributed to God, Jesus, an angel, or a prophet relaying a message from God.
  2. A command is any instruction or anything that could reasonably be perceived as an instruction, not just statements in the imperative form or specific Mosaic laws.
  3. Paraphrasing is allowed. "Fear not" is the same as "Don't be afraid", etc.

Just to be clear I'm looking for an analysis of statistical frequency not an evaluation of what's most strongly emphasized or what's most important. I prefer the Protestant (Westminster confession) canon but I'll accept answers from any of the common Jewish or Christian canons. Just specify which books you used.

Edit: I'll also accept any analysis of how often God tells people to not be afraid in comparison to other well known commands.

  • 3
    I would not think "be not afraid" is a commandment. It certainly isn't counted among the 613 commandments Jews find in the Five Books of Moses (i.e. the Torah). – Bruce James Dec 16 '13 at 17:02
  • @BruceJames That's why I specifically said command instead of commandment. God tells people to do lots of things that he didn't explicitly include in the Law. For example, one of the first was "don't eat from that tree". – crownjewel82 Dec 17 '13 at 1:51
  • This is interesting to consider, and is a matter of homework that can be done with user friendly tools available free on line (BerBible, for example enables one to search for a word or phrase in the Bible). – user2027 Dec 17 '13 at 18:20
  • 5
    There are 438 commands to not fear/be afraid in the Protestant canon, 445 if you include the Apocrypha. This is based solely on the NET, NKJV, KJV/1900, ESV, and LES, however. A better answer should use the original languages and disambiguate between fear and awe since they are the same word in the Hebrew in many cases. – Dan Jan 1 '14 at 1:29
  • 1
    Not allowed to make comments so I guess this will have to be an answer... firstly, Does it count when an angel says not to fear, or when a person says that Yahweh says to not be afraid? That would change the count drastically, I should think.. – Ron Kyle Jun 17 '14 at 21:25

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