All the "Fear Nots" in the Bible

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Posts 20
Jim Coakley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 7:20 AM

I did some more checking about the origin of this claim for 365 fear nots. I did find references to  Lloyd Ogilvie making the claim back in 1987 in his book "12 steps to Living Without Fear". On page 21 he claims there "are 366 'Fear not!" verses in the Bible - one for every day of the year and an extra one for Leap Year!"

Tournier's reference that Scott found would certainly predate Oglivie's reference by a number of years so it would be interesting to see if that is the original source

Others as well have made the claim in writing John Ortberg in his book "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat" on pages 117-118 quotes Oglivie's claim about 366 "fear nots" verses but also makes this claim:

"The single command in Scripture that occurs more often than any other—God’s most frequently repeated instruction—is formulated in two words: Fear not"

I don't know if he is basing it on the 366 or if he did his own research to back that claim. (it would be interesting what the most frequently used command is in the Bible if it is not this one)

I found that someone else claimed that the 365 claim was made in the movie 'Facing the Giants" but I have not seen the movie so I cannot vouch that source

this blogger:

http://millyjonesblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/365-do-not-be-afraid-verses/comment-page-1/

felt embarrassed that he had continued to perpetuate the myth of the 365 fear not verses and came up with a list of 145 verses (adding to the list verses that encourage peace in God, not to worry and not to be anxious so it is not solely "fear not" references)

Apparently somebody did write a book and has a website with a "Verse of the day" fear nots but one cannot see his entire list of 365 unless you buy the book

http://365fearnots.com/index.php/votd/

I know about Snopes and its mission to investigate urban legends. Does anybody know if there is a Christian equivalent to Snopes that vets claims like this?

Posts 2406
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 8:37 AM

Jim Coakley:

I know about Snopes and its mission to investigate urban legends. Does anybody know if there is a Christian equivalent to Snopes that vets claims like this?

Jim, if such a site existed what would happen to all the "discernment ministries" blogs and the wacked-out eschatology sites?

to all forum users: I am not trying to start a theological discussion and have purposefully not mentioned a specific blog or site that I believe would fit into these categories! Jim is one of my beloved professors and we share many theological convictions.

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Posts 2589
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 9:13 AM

Jim Coakley:

Apparently somebody did write a book and has a website with a "Verse of the day" fear nots but one cannot see his entire list of 365 unless you buy the book

http://365fearnots.com/index.php/votd/

It looks like the classification is not very strict, e.g. Prov 23:17-18 and Ps 91:14-15.

Posts 19273
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 2:58 PM

Jim Coakley:
I know about Snopes and its mission to investigate urban legends. Does anybody know if there is a Christian equivalent to Snopes that vets claims like this?

Snopes also sometimes examines urban legends that are started and passed around by Christians, like the one about the pastor who disguised himself as a homeless man, or the one about the unburned Bible found among the charred wreckage of the Pentagon from the 9/11 attack, or the claim that an archaeologist discovered Pharaoh's chariot and the bones of horses and men in the Red Sea, or the claim that NASA scientists discovered a "missing" day in time that corresponds to Biblical accounts of the sun's standing still in the sky.

Jayson Bradley (former Logos employee and popular blogger, listed as one of "25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading (2014 Readers’ Choice)") wrote this excellent post about Christians' propensity to be gullible and taken in by these sorts of stories and why it behooves us to do our homework and research them before passing them on:

http://jaysondbradley.com/2013/07/29/4-reasons-christians-need-to-quit-sharing-hoaxes/ 

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 4:41 PM

Perhaps we should call them "Dreadnaughts" then we could have a flotilla.  Big Smile

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 19273
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 4:52 PM

Maybe we should call them "Dreadlocks". Poor Christian in Pilgrim's Progress would have good reason to dread locks:

It's my favorite phrase from Pilgrim's Progress. It's often "cleaned up" a bit in modern expurgated versions, but the original was quite spicy.

Lest you think I've gotten too far afield from the original subject of this thread, there are a few "fear nots" in Pilgrim's Progress:

Posts 743
Scott E. Mahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 1 2015 8:13 PM

Justin Gatlin:

Thanks for hunting that down. I happen to have a $25 B&N gift card which I just used to order the print copy (which was 27). I will post here when it comes in.

Didn’t get next day delivery, huh? Wink

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Posts 987
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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 2:32 PM

I don't have anything to say about the  meme of 365 'Fear Not's, but you can work on your own list by starting with a Sense search for "<Sense to worry>", which includes the subordinate verbal senses of "to fear" and "to fret" (also "to fear ⇔ melt", but that sense is not currently annotated in the canonical Bible texts). That provides 160 hits in the ESV. 

"<Sense to fear (dread)>" provides 135 verses, and also includes "to dread" and "to panic". 

"<Sense to frighten>" provides 43 verses, and includes "to alarm", "to intimidate", "to terrify", and others. 

Of course, this isn't the same as the original question:

  1. these aren't all verses that negate the emotion of fear
  2. these are only verbal senses
  3. these aren't just the verses that express commands

So it's just a start. But i wanted to illustrate how the Sense Lexicon supports this kind of search. 

Posts 932
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 2 2015 10:37 PM

Sean Boisen:

So it's just a start. But i wanted to illustrate how the Sense Lexicon supports this kind of search. 

Thanks for that idea. Is there a way to see what all is included in the "umbrella" senses? I did use the interlinear to reverse look up some of the sense designations, and produced this query: "<Sense to fear> OR <Sense fearfulness> OR <Sense to fear (dread)> OR <Sense fearful expectation> OR <Sense to panic> OR <Sense fear> OR <Sense to frighten> OR <Sense to be appalled (fear)>" But I am not sure how to tell what is redundant, except for trial and error, or to identify other candidate words.

Also, I saved this as a passage list. Is there an easy way to combine the passage lists from the different methods mentioned here? <Edit: I see the merge feature now, including how both Union and Intersection are available. That is very useful. I combined a passage list of all of the polarity:negative passages in the NT and OT and then did an intersection with my list of all passages about fear. There are still a few false positives (Genesis 18:15, for example), but the list mostly looks good. 250 passages.>

This little exercise is certainly opening up Logos for me, as I see how to do different kids of searches against the passage list I have already produced. It is really neat. Is there anyone who does demos on questions like this to demonstrate how Logos works? I think I may make one to demo this question, but I would love to watch others. I think labs are a great way to learn.

Posts 2589
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 3 2015 11:10 AM

Yes This exercise is worth highlighting in tutorials or user guides.

Posts 987
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 3 2015 6:15 PM

Justin Gatlin:

Thanks for that idea. Is there a way to see what all is included in the "umbrella" senses? I did use the interlinear to reverse look up some of the sense designations, and produced this query: "<Sense to fear> OR <Sense fearfulness> OR <Sense to fear (dread)> OR <Sense fearful expectation> OR <Sense to panic> OR <Sense fear> OR <Sense to frighten> OR <Sense to be appalled (fear)>" But I am not sure how to tell what is redundant, except for trial and error, or to identify other candidate words.

In the easy cases, different senses are categorized under each other as more or less specific versions of 'the same' type (in technical parlance, they're hyponyms). So the graph for "to worry" (here in the Bible Sense Lexicon) shows three more specific senses: "to fear", "to fear ⇔ melt", and "to fret".

However, there are other sense relationships than hypernym/hyponym, and they're not all labeled in our data. For example "afraid" is the state (linguistically an adjective) resulting from fear, but there's nothing in the BSL currently that links "afraid" to "to fear". The BSL does shows that "terrified" has a 'similar' relationship to "afraid", but doesn't show the more distant relationship to "fearfulness".

So the best way to find those relationships is to just look up different terms that you know are related, and to also look at the explicit relationships that the BSL displays. Just looking at the alternatives in the drop-down menu for the string "fear" is suggestive of the variety that's represented here.

Posts 932
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 16 2015 1:40 PM

Tournier's book was delayed, but finally came in today. Unfortunately, it was a dead end. With no citation, he writes: "The Bible, with its realistic knowledge of the human  heart, repeats 365 times the words 'Fear not.' " The section is very interesting, on good and bad fear, but our quest presses on. It is interesting to see how what appears to be an error works through the literature unchecked.

PS This does get us to 1963. I would be interested if anyone has a book in Logos or otherwise which makes the claim earlier than that.

Posts 4
Michele Kahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 9:13 AM

Hello, 
This claim goes back further than 1987 actually

I may be able to shed at least a little bit of light on the origin of this claim — a source that I would absolutely believe.

n 1948, Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran minister was living in Romania with his wife and 10-year-old son at the time that the Russians invaded. Richard had been an atheist Jew prior to coming to Christ in the 1930’s (a fascinating story of it’s own).

He had already witnessed the Nazi’s and now was facing the Communists. He writes that he “discovered that there are 366 verses in the Bible that instruct us not to fear, one for each day of the year and one for leap year.”

Now, there could be more. Because, in the 30’s and 40’s as we all know, the only search engine was his eyes helped by his fingers to flip the pages of his Bible and probably a Concordance. Also, depending on the language and translations, there could be some variances as to what verses he may have discovered (? just a thought).

He was kidnapped leap year, on February 29, 1948, by the communists. As they put a sack over his head and shoved him in a car and sped away, Richard asked them what the date was. They told him and he, having memorized a “do not fear” verse for each day of the year, was able to call to mind his verse for that day: Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.”

If you have never read it, I encourage reading Tortured for Christ. The movie just came out earlier this year — but as always, the book was much more detailed and still not a very long book at all.

There is a newer book out from around 2010 that I have not read but it is titled Fearful to Fearless and contains 400 passages that direct us not to fear.   

All the best, ~M




Posts 4
Michele Kahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 9:14 AM

Hello, 
This claim goes back further than 1987 actually. 

I may be able to shed at least a little bit of light on the origin of this claim — a source that I would absolutely believe.

In 1948, Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran minister was living in Romania with his wife and 10-year-old son at the time that the Russians invaded. Richard had been an atheist Jew prior to coming to Christ in the 1930’s (a fascinating story of it’s own).

He had already witnessed the Nazi’s and now was facing the Communists. He writes that he “discovered that there are 366 verses in the Bible that instruct us not to fear, one for each day of the year and one for leap year.”

Now, there could be more. Because, in the 30’s and 40’s as we all know, the only search engine was his eyes helped by his fingers to flip the pages of his Bible and probably a Concordance. Also, depending on the language and translations, there could be some variances as to what verses he may have discovered (? just a thought).

He was kidnapped leap year, on February 29, 1948, by the communists. As they put a sack over his head and shoved him in a car and sped away, Richard asked them what the date was. They told him and he, having memorized a “do not fear” verse for each day of the year, was able to call to mind his verse for that day: Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.”

If you have never read it, I encourage reading Tortured for Christ. The movie just came out earlier this year — but as always, the book was much more detailed and still not a very long book at all.

There is a newer book out from around 2010 that I have not read but it is titled Fearful to Fearless and contains 400 Biblical passages that direct us not to fear.   

All the best, ~M




Posts 1
Becky Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 19 2020 8:18 AM

Thanks Jack. I am doing my own study and this will be really useful to cross reference 

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