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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness

Dictionaries :: Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness

Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
A-1 Noun Strong's Number: g5401 Greek: phobos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

first had the meaning of "flight," that which is caused by being scared; then, "that which may cause flight,"

(a) "fear, dread, terror," always with this significance in the four Gospels; also e.g., in Act 2:43; 19:17; 1Cr 2:3; 1Ti 5:20 (lit., "may have fear"); Hbr 2:15; 1Jo 4:18; Rev 11:11; 18:10, 15; by metonymy, that which causes "fear," Rom 13:3; 1Pe 3:14, RV, "(their) fear," AV "(their) terror," an adaptation of the Sept. of Isa 8:12, "fear not their fear;" hence some take it to mean, as there, "what they fear," but in view of Mat 10:28, e.g., it seems best to understand it as that which is caused by the intimidation of adversaries;

(b) "reverential fear,"

(1) of God, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral, not a mere "fear" of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him, a "fear" which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence, Rom 8:15, and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God, Act 9:31; Rom 3:18; 2Cr 7:1; Eph 5:21 (RV, "the fear of Christ"); Phl 2:12; 1Pe 1:17 (a comprehensive phrase: the reverential "fear" of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His "fear"); 3:2, 15; the association of "fear and trembling," as e.g., in Phl 2:12, has in the Sept. a much sterner import, e.g., Gen 9:2; Exd 15:16; Deu 2:25; 11:25; Psa 55:5; Isa 19:16;

(2) of superiors, e.g., Rom 13:7; 1Pe 2:18.

A-2 Noun Strong's Number: g1167 Greek: deilia

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

"fearfulness" (from deos, "fright"), is rightly rendered "fearfulness" in 2Ti 1:7, RV (for AV, "fear"). That spirit is not given us of God. The word denotes "cowardice and timidity" and is never used in a good sense, as No. 1 is. Cp. deilos, B, No. 2, below, and deiliao, to be fearful (AV, "afraid"), Jhn 14:27.

A-3 Noun Strong's Number: g2124 Greek: eulabeia

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

signifies, firstly, "caution;" then, "reverence, godly fear," Hbr 5:7; 12:28, in best mss., "reverence;" in general, "apprehension, but especially holy fear," "that mingled fear and love which, combined, constitute the piety of man toward God; the OT places its emphasis on the fear, the NT... on the love, though there was love in the fear of God's saints then, as there must be fear in their love now" (Trench, Syn, xlviii). In the Sept., Jos 22:24; Pro 28:14.

Note: In Luk 21:11, phobetron (akin to No. 1) denotes a terror, RV, "terrors," for AV, "fearful sights," i.e., objects or instruments of terror.

B-1 Adjective Strong's Number: g5398 Greek: phoberos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

"fearful" (akin to A, No. 1), is used only in the Active sense in the NT, i.e., causing "fear, terrible," Hbr 10:27, 31; 12:21, RV, "fearful," for AV, "terrible."

B-2 Adjective Strong's Number: g1169 Greek: deilos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

"cowardly" (see A, No. 2), "timid," is used in Mat 8:26; Mar 4:40; Rev 21:8 (here "the fearful" are first in the list of the transgressors).

B-3 Adjective Strong's Number: g1630 Greek: ekphobos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

signifies "frightened outright" (ek, "out," intensive, and A, No. 1), Hbr 12:21 (with eimi, "I am"), "I exceedingly fear" (see No. 4); Mar 9:6, "sore afraid."

B-4 Adjective Strong's Number: g1790 Greek: entromos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

"trembling with fear" (en, "in," intensive, and tremo, "to tremble, quake;" Eng., "tremor," etc.), is used with ginomai, "to become," in Act 7:32, "trembled;" Act 16:29, RV, "trembling for fear;" with eimi, "to be," in Hbr 12:21, "quake" (some mss. have ektromos here).
See QUAKE, TREMBLE. The distinction between No. 3 and No. 4, as in Hbr 12:21, would seem to be that ekphobos stresses the intensity of the "fear," entromos the inward effect, "I inwardly tremble (or quake)."

C-1 Adverb Strong's Number: g870 Greek: aphobos

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

denotes "without fear" (a, negative, and A, No. 1), and is said of serving the Lord, Luk 1:74; of being among the Lord's people as His servant, 1Cr 16:10; of ministering the Word of God, Phl 1:14; of the evil of false spiritual shepherds, Jud 1:12. In the Sept., Pro 1:33.

D-1 Verb Strong's Number: g5399 Greek: phobeo

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

in earlier Greek, "to put to flight" (see A, No. 1), in the NT is always in the Passive Voice, with the meanings either

(a) "to fear, be afraid," its most frequent use, e.g., Act 23:10, according to the best mss. (see No. 2); or

(b) "to show reverential fear" [see A, No. 1, (b)],

(1) of men, Mar 6:20; Eph 5:33, RV, "fear," for AV, "reverence;"

(2) of God, e.g., Act 10:2, 22; 13:16, 26; Col 3:22 (RV, "the Lord"); 1Pe 2:17; Rev 14:7; 15:4; 19:5; (a) and (b) are combined in Luk 12:4, 5, where Christ warns His followers not to be afraid of men, but to "fear" God.
See MARVEL, B, No. 1, Note.

D-2 Verb Strong's Number: g2125 Greek: eulabeomai

Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness:

"to be cautious, to beware" (see A, No. 3), signifies to act with the reverence produced by holy "fear," Hbr 11:7, "moved with godly fear."


(1) In Act 23:10 some mss. have this verb with the meaning (a) under No. 1.

(2) In Luk 3:14, diaseio, "to shake violently, to intimidate, to extort by violence, blackmail," is rendered "put no man in fear" in AV marg.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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