A close-up shot of an open Bible, with the word "anxiety" highlighted multiple times, showcasing the prevalence and significance of this theme.

How Many Times Is Anxiety Mentioned In The Bible?

Feeling anxious? You’re not alone. Anxiety has plagued humans across all times and cultures. Even in biblical days, people grappled with fear, dread, and anxiety. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how prevalent anxiety is in the Bible, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, the quick answer is: the word ‘anxiety’ itself is never used, but there are over 100 verses related to fear, worry, anguish and distress.

Defining Anxiety and Related Terms

Anxiety Definition

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is the body’s response to stress, pressure, and threat. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it is excessive, persists for long periods, and interferes with normal life activities.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults each year and are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. (ADAA).

The Bible has much to say about anxiety, worry, and fear. God tells us over and over not to worry but instead to trust in Him. However, anxiety is a normal emotion and not necessarily sinful in itself. It is excessive anxiety and worry that the Bible warns against.

Biblically-Related Terms

While the Bible does not use the word “anxiety” specifically, it discusses several related terms and concepts:

  • Fear – Apprehension about potential threat or danger. God tells us to “fear not” hundreds of times.
  • Worry – Excessive concern over things that may or may not occur.
  • Dread – Extreme fear or apprehension.
  • Distress – Severe suffering and pain.
  • Anguish – Extreme sadness and suffering.
  • Despair – Complete loss of hope.

The Bible promises that God will deliver us from fear and anxiety if we trust in Him (Psalm 34:4). He is our rock, refuge, and help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Old Testament Mentions

Key Verses About Fear and Dread

Anxiety and fear are frequent themes in the Old Testament. Here are some key verses that discuss feeling afraid or anxious:

  • “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalm 56:3
  • “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
  • “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

These verses encourage us to turn to God and rely on Him when feeling afraid or anxious. God’s peace and power can guard our hearts from being overwhelmed.

Anxiety In Key Figures

Many major figures in the Old Testament struggled with fear and anxiety despite their faith:

  • Abraham: God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, but Abraham doubted and gave in to fear, lacking trust in God’s promise (Genesis 15:1-6).
  • Sarah: She laughed in disbelief when told she would bear a child in old age. Sarah’s anxiety made her distrust God’s word (Genesis 18:10-15).
  • Moses: God called Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, but Moses felt inadequate and afraid, even pleading for God to send someone else (Exodus 3-4).
  • Gideon: The angel of the Lord called Gideon a “mighty warrior” but when called to battle, Gideon was filled with anxiety, doubting his strength (Judges 6-7).

Even great heroes of the faith like Abraham, Sarah, Moses and Gideon were not immune to feelings of fear, doubt and anxiety. Yet God still worked through them in mighty ways.

New Testament Mentions

Jesus’ Teachings on Anxiety

In the New Testament, Jesus directly addresses the issue of anxiety and worry several times. Here are some of his main teachings:

  • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his followers not to worry about food, drink, or clothing, but to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:25-34). He reminds them that God knows their needs and will provide.
  • Jesus instructs his followers not to worry about tomorrow, saying “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). He calls them to live one day at a time, trusting God.
  • When Jesus sends out his twelve disciples, he tells them “do not worry about what to say or how to say it” (Matthew 10:19). He assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them the right words.
  • In John 14:27, Jesus promises his followers “peace of mind and heart.” He tells them not to be worried or afraid.

In essence, Jesus calls his followers to replace anxiety and fear with faith and trust in God’s care and provision. He acknowledges the human tendency to worry but encourages bringing those worries to God in prayer instead of being consumed by them.

Apostolic Advice

The apostles and other New Testament writers frequently addressed anxiety and worry in their letters to the early churches. Here are some examples:

  • Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
  • 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
  • Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

Like Jesus, the apostles encourage their readers to pray instead of worrying. They point to God’s love, power and faithfulness as the cure for anxiety. Contentment in God’s provision is lifted up as the antidote to the fear of lacking basic needs.

While anxiety is a common human experience, the consistent message of the New Testament writers is that followers of Jesus can overcome worry by deepening their trust in God. Through prayer and practicing God’s presence, anxiety can be reduced and replaced with Christ’s promised peace.

The Remedy for Anxiety

Anxiety is a common struggle for many people. In fact, anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the United States alone. However, the Bible provides wisdom and comfort for those battling anxiety. Here are some of the main remedies for anxiety found in Scripture:

Trust in God’s Sovereignty

One of the primary antidotes to anxiety is trusting in God’s sovereignty. Since God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, He is fully in control. Nothing takes Him by surprise and nothing is beyond His control.

As Psalm 115:3 declares, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Resting in God’s sovereignty helps us realize that no matter what trials we face, God is working all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Pray with Thanksgiving and Petition

Prayer is a powerful remedy against anxiety. Philippians 4:6-7 instructs, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Praying with gratitude and bringing our needs to God displaces anxiety with His peace.

Meditate on Scripture

Reading, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture equips us to battle anxiety. God’s Word renews our minds and washes away fearful thoughts. Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Filling our minds with Scripture builds our trust in God.

Release Control to God

A major source of anxiety is trying to control things that are out of our control. However, Proverbs 3:5-6 counsels, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Releasing control to the Lord and submitting to His will brings peace and direction.

Think About What Is Noble, Right, Pure

Anxiety often flows out of negative thinking. Philippians 4:8 provides this antidote: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Filling our minds with positive thoughts crowds out anxiety.


While the specific word ‘anxiety’ doesn’t appear, the Bible clearly recognizes the human struggle with fear and worry. Throughout its pages, we see anxiety plaguing key figures and believers alike. Thankfully, we also see truths that point to hope and freedom from anxiety’s grasp.

May this exploration encourage you and remind you that you don’t battle anxiety alone.

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