“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
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A principle in studying the Bible is “the law of first mention.” This reasoning states that the first occurrence of a truth or doctrine in the Bible provides the simplest and foundational understanding of a concept, which is then developed throughout the rest of Scripture.
The first human emotion recorded in the Bible is fear. Upon being confronted by God over committing the first sin, Adam replies, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). This sin resulted in an unhealthy and distorted fear causing Adam to run from God, instead of a healthy awe or reverence of God causing one to bow before God. The command to “fear not” (the unhealthy kind of fear) is found some 70 times in Scripture and is among the top four (if not the top one) commands in all of the Bible. The other three are “praise the Lord,” “rejoice” and “give thanks.”
It is not a coincidence that Luke, a medical doctor, uses the command to “fear not” seven times in his Gospel (Luke 1:13, 1:30, 2:10, 5:10, 8:50, 12:4-7, 12:32). Our spiritual, emotional and physical health are impacted by how we deal with unhealthy and unbiblical fear that God never intended for us.
In 1 John 4:18 we read, “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.” Have you found freedom from unhealthy fear? You can — by receiving Christ as your Savior.
— Jeff Totten, Detroit Tigers chaplain
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