All the "Fear Nots" in the Bible

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Dec 28 2014 3:55 PM

I have read that there are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible, but never seen a list. Obviously a Bible search shows that this is not literally true, but I was wondering if it is possible to use some more advanced tools in Logos to search, say, for all of the uses of the lemma "to fear" with a negative sense. It is combining conditions that I am really unfamiliar with, but I would love a walk through on how to do this, please.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 28 2014 4:12 PM

 There are many ways to search for this. Here are a couple -

I have also done a study of this if you are interested. Here are my rough notes - 7271.Fear Not Study.docx

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doc | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 28 2014 4:48 PM

Thanks for sharing your notes Bruce.  I've had a quick run over them and found them useful and will dig further into them.  I hope Justin finds them helpful too.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 29 2014 3:38 AM

Bruce Dunning:
I have also done a study of this if you are interested. Here are my rough notes - 7271.Fear Not Study.docx

Thank you for that link.

Posts 19
Jim Coakley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 29 2014 5:29 AM

the notion that there are 365 "fear nots" is a concept that is often referenced but as you noticed there are no such lists that exist of the 365 references so that right away should give you a clue that the claim is spurious. I am sure that someone would have made a calendar with each day quoting all 365 if such a list actually existed. 

Here is someone who tried to research it:

http://musingsofaministerswife.com/2012/08/so-how-many-times-is-fear-not-actually-in-the-bible/

Here is the gist:

  • The phrase in the intended context is only used 80+ times
  • The phrase “fear not” in used in other contexts, but you wouldn’t want them to apply to you
  • Other word pairings that would be equal to “fear not” (“do not be afraid”, “do not fear”, “be not afraid”) is used 30+ times

I once tried to find the source of where this claim was originally made so maybe someone could track this down so we could put this claim to rest once and for all.

The blogger in the article concludes with this:

"While it’s a great idea to think that God comforted us with “Fear not” 365 times, it’s simply just not true. However, hopefully we are at that point in our Christian walk that we don’t need to hear God say something 365 times. Once should be enough."

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 29 2014 7:33 AM

Thanks for the link.

Maybe there are not 365 "fear not" quotes, but the quotes we do have are good for 365 days a year.  

Posts 111
Tim Finlay | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 29 2014 8:26 PM

Justin, if you are asking for a way to use the more advanced tools, the answer to your problem lies in using the syntax search on Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. The search involves a clause divided into a CIC (clause intermediate constituent) and a segment. The CIC needs to have the "negative" box checked (under operators). The segment needs to have the Hebrew lemma yara' "to fear." and the morphology of Verb that is either Imperfect or Jussive. This search leads to 110 results, which are known in OT studies as the 'al-tira' oracles.

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Tim Finlay | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 29 2014 8:39 PM

Bruce, because you are interested in this topic you might want to perform a syntax search on Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. The search involves a clause divided into a CIC (clause intermediate constituent) and a segment. The CIC needs to have the "negative" box checked (under operators). The segment needs to have the Hebrew lemma yara' "to fear." and the morphology of Verb that is either Imperfect or Jussive. This search leads to 110 results, which are known in OT studies as the 'al-tira' oracles.

A few articles on the subject, mainly concentrating on their use in Isaiah 40-55, include: J. Begrich, “Das priesterliche Heilsorakel,” ZAW 52 (1934): 81–92; E. Conrad, “Second Isaiah and the Priestly Oracle of Salvation,” ZAW 93 (1981):234–246; idem, “The ‘Fear Not’ Oracles in Second Isaiah,” VT 34 (1984):129–152; M. Nissinen, “Fear Not: A Study on an Ancient Near Eastern Phrase,” in The Changing Face of Form Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (ed. M. Sweeney & E. Ben Zvi; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 122–161; M. Weippert, “Assyrische Prophetien der Zeit Asarhaddons und Assurbanipals,” in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: New Horizons in Literary, Ideological, and Historical Analysis (ed. F. Fales; Orientis Antiqui Collectio 17; Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1981), 71–115.

I have learned much from your numerous posts on the forum.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 5:00 AM

Tim Finlay:

Justin, if you are asking for a way to use the more advanced tools, the answer to your problem lies in using the syntax search on Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. The search involves a clause divided into a CIC (clause intermediate constituent) and a segment. The CIC needs to have the "negative" box checked (under operators). The segment needs to have the Hebrew lemma yara' "to fear." and the morphology of Verb that is either Imperfect or Jussive. This search leads to 110 results, which are known in OT studies as the 'al-tira' oracles.

Syntax Search illustration showing an example clause to be found with corresponding search:

Morph Search found 108 Imperfect (in Lexham Hebrew Bible), which includes 73 Jussive in the Qal stem:

Proximity Search can look for word lists.  Personally unable to replicate 365 "Fear Not" results; found 216 verses in 1873 Authorized Version.

Keep Smiling Smile

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 6:12 AM

It all depends on how precisely the query is defined. Taking the English "fear not" as example, we would look for imperatives, subjunctives and jussives for any verb that has the sense "to fear". But "fear not" is also a 2nd person (singular or plural). So, if you want to narrow your search accordingly, you would need to specify these search criteria. Otherwise, if you are looking for a broader fishing net, you can also use something like the picture below, where any verb with the sense "to fear" negated is searched. This would also include statements such as "they feared not". But remember that some forms of the imperative present are the same as the indicative, so there could be spots in which there are debates as to whether something is an affirmation or an exhortation. But the image below is provided as illustration of one way to do such research. Note that I used the "Added version" feature to provide English translation (since the clause search is otherwise based on the Hebrew and Greek).

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 6:49 AM

What about adding other verbs like to worry, to be anxious, to be alarmed, to be terrified, and anything else in that semantic domain? I'm thinking of verses like Phil 4:6. That would pick up a few more. (I haven't looked into the Greek words behind these English ones in detail, but in LN there do appear to be multiple Greek words for ranges of things like fear.)

Also other word parings should be included such as "have no fear"; "no fear of me should alarm you"; "you will have nothing to fear"; "banish anxiety from your heart"; "cast all your anxiety on him" (these are all NIV word order).

Still probably not up to 365 times, but getting closer.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 2:41 PM

Tim Finlay:

Bruce, because you are interested in this topic you might want to perform a syntax search on Anderson-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis. The search involves a clause divided into a CIC (clause intermediate constituent) and a segment. The CIC needs to have the "negative" box checked (under operators). The segment needs to have the Hebrew lemma yara' "to fear." and the morphology of Verb that is either Imperfect or Jussive. This search leads to 110 results, which are known in OT studies as the 'al-tira' oracles.

A few articles on the subject, mainly concentrating on their use in Isaiah 40-55, include: J. Begrich, “Das priesterliche Heilsorakel,” ZAW 52 (1934): 81–92; E. Conrad, “Second Isaiah and the Priestly Oracle of Salvation,” ZAW 93 (1981):234–246; idem, “The ‘Fear Not’ Oracles in Second Isaiah,” VT 34 (1984):129–152; M. Nissinen, “Fear Not: A Study on an Ancient Near Eastern Phrase,” in The Changing Face of Form Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (ed. M. Sweeney & E. Ben Zvi; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 122–161; M. Weippert, “Assyrische Prophetien der Zeit Asarhaddons und Assurbanipals,” in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: New Horizons in Literary, Ideological, and Historical Analysis (ed. F. Fales; Orientis Antiqui Collectio 17; Rome: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1981), 71–115.

I have learned much from your numerous posts on the forum.

Thanks Tim. I really appreciate the insight.

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Syntax Search illustration showing an example clause to be found with corresponding search:

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):
Morph Search found 108 Imperfect (in Lexham Hebrew Bible), which includes 73 Jussive in the Qal stem:

Thanks for the illustrations.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 2:45 PM

Rosie Perera:
What about adding other verbs like to worry, to be anxious, to be alarmed, to be terrified, and anything else in that semantic domain?

Yes there are many other similar words and concepts that relate to this topic. As you say, still probably not 365. Perhaps the original quote of 365 was just an expression to say "lots". Smile

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 7:16 PM

Rosie Perera:
What about adding other verbs like to worry, to be anxious, to be alarmed, to be terrified, and anything else in that semantic domain?

With enough words, found 380 verses in 1873 AV:

(afraid,anxious,careful,fear,worry,take,schism,spare) WITHIN 4 WORDS (not, don't,nothing,anything,no)

Keep Smiling Smile

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 30 2014 7:36 PM

Wondering whether addition of take, schism, and spare is really helpful in finding verses having to do with not fearing? Certainly the ones shown in the grid to the left that use those words don't really relate to the subject of interest in this thread. Not sure what you had in mind.

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 31 2014 2:03 PM

Thnk you all so much for the help. It was the ability to search for jussives that I was really looking for, but all of the different perspectives are really interesting. I find the count of 365 in the NAC on 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, which cites WBC on Chronicles (pg 306), which I do not have to investigate. Tom Constable cites the same source, so I wonder if Word is the head of it.

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Scott E. Mahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 31 2014 2:31 PM

The link leads to the Preachers Commentary and to the wrong page. But, here’s where the original info came from:

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 31 2014 3:45 PM

Scott E. Mahle:

The link leads to the Preachers Commentary and to the wrong page. But, here’s where the original info came from:

Bummer. I cannot find a digital copy of that anywhere online to dig into this further. Faithlife needs to get this in Logos format.

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 31 2014 4:11 PM

Rosie Perera:

Scott E. Mahle:

The link leads to the Preachers Commentary and to the wrong page. But, here’s where the original info came from:

Bummer. I cannot find a digital copy of that anywhere online to dig into this further. Faithlife needs to get this in Logos format.

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.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 31 2014 8:48 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.

Thanks. You and Scott got me curious, and ended up getting me to suggest this and other Paul Tournier books for Logos/Vyrso:

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/98583.aspx 

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