Does God ever contradict His Word in the Bible?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: I’m a Christian and do my best to study the Bible but I always get stuck on things that seem to contradict. On the one hand, Scripture says, “Fear not,” and then it says to fear. By faith, I know that God does not contradict His Word, but from my perspective, it appears so. Is this because of bad translations? – F.N.

A: The Bible says, “Do not fear, for I am with you” (Genesis 26:24). But the Bible also says, “Fear God and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). If God’s Word says, “Fear not,” and yet it also says, “Fear,” which does it mean? The answer is both.

Fear is a twofold word. It refers to an emotion marked by dread and anxious concern. But it also means awe and wonder and profound reverence. This latter is the fear that inspires trust and confidence. The Bible calls us to have the latter kind of fear. When we fear God, we don’t cringe before Him like a prisoner robbed of freedom by a ruthless dictator. Our fear causes us to treat God with respect and trust. It is a reverence that comes from seeing His majesty, holiness, and power.

There’s no shame in being afraid. We’re all afraid from time to time. But there’s an interesting paradox here; if we truly fear God with all our heart, then we have nothing to fear. You see, God can use the fear that grips the hearts of men to point them to eternal truths — the truth of God’s eternal judgment, and the truth of His eternal love.


The greatest hindrance to Satan’s destructive efforts is our standing strong in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Those who live in reverence of the Lord have no reason for earthly dread. We need not fear the enemy or his schemes, evil people, or uncertain days, because we trust that God is in control.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

©2023 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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