Types of Bible Verses About Anxiety
We found five different types of Bible verses about anxiety:
Number of Passages
Disobedience and Anxiety
Do Not Be Anxious
God Gives Peace
Practical Tips to Calm Anxiety
Another Meaning for Anxiety
Bible Verses About Disobedience and Anxiety
Disobedience leading to bad consequences is a common Biblical theme. (We've already seen it several other blog posts.) Here we see examples of disobedience leading to anxiety for King Saul and the entire nation of Israel.
Saul’s Disobedience Leads to Anxiety
Saul was Israel's first king, but he disobeyed God. This led to God giving the kingdom to David. And it also led to Saul being jealous of David and anxious about losing his kingship.
Samuel said, “Though you were little in your own sight, weren’t you made the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel; 18 and the LORD sent you on a journey, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then didn’t you obey the LORD’s voice, but took the plunder, and did that which was evil in the LORD’s sight?” 20 Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the LORD’s voice, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and cattle, the best of the devoted things, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the LORD’s voice? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because you have rejected the LORD’s word, he has also rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:17-23)
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the middle of his brothers. Then the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 14 Now the LORD’s Spirit departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 15 Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are in front of you to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. Then when the evil spirit from God is on you, he will play with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men answered and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him.”
19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a container of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21 David came to Saul and stood before him. He loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 When the spirit from God was on Saul, David took the harp and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (1 Samuel 16:13–23)
David helped soothe Saul's anxiety caused by the evil spirit. But David was extremely successful in everything he did. Saul became jealous, angry, and anxious that David would be made king in place of him.
David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely; and Saul set him over the men of war. It was good in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6 As they came, when David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul with tambourines, with joy, and with instruments of music. 7 The women sang to one another as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have credited David with ten thousands, and they have only credited me with thousands. What can he have more but the kingdom?”
9 Saul watched David from that day and forward. 10 On the next day, an evil spirit from God came mightily on Saul, and he prophesied in the middle of the house. David played with his hand, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11 and Saul threw the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” David escaped from his presence twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and had departed from Saul. (1 Samuel 18:5–12)
An evil spirit from the LORD was on Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing music with his hand. 10 Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence; and he stuck the spear into the wall. David fled and escaped that night. (1 Samuel 19:9–10)
Disobedience and Anxiety in the Prophets
The theme of punishment for disobedience is a frequent theme in the prophets. Here the punishment is anxiety, most often anxiety because they don't have enough to eat.
When they tell you, “Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter,” shouldn’t a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Turn to the law and to the covenant! If they don’t speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 21 They will pass through it, very distressed and hungry. It will happen that when they are hungry, they will worry, and curse their king and their God. They will turn their faces upward, 22 then look to the earth and see distress, darkness, and the gloom of anguish. They will be driven into thick darkness. (Isaiah 8:19–22)
For the inhabitants of Maroth wait anxiously for good, because disaster has come down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem. 13 Harness the steeds to the chariots, inhabitants of Lachish; it was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, for in you were found the transgressions of Israel. (Micah 1:12–13 ESV)
God is telling Ezekiel to act out the punishment that is coming on Israel. They will eat their bread with anxiety because there is not enough.
Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 17 I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment. (Ezekiel 4:16–17 ESV)
And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. 19 And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. 20 And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 12:17–20 ESV)
Do Not Be Anxious
Jesus frequently told his disciples and the crowds not to be anxious.
In this first example, Jesus praises Mary for taking the time to listen to him. He rebukes Martha for being worried and anxious about other, less important, things.
As they went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.” 41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38–42)
Next, Jesus tells his disciples not to be troubled, even though he will soon be leaving them.
“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. 4 You know where I go, and you know the way.” (John 14:1–4)
Jesus' most famous words about anxiety were recorded by both Matthew and Luke. The wording is a little different, so we quote both passages.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon. 25 Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? 27 Which of you by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? 28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, 29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 31 Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, "What will we eat?", "What will we drink?" or, "With what will we be clothed?" 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient. (Matthew 6:24–34)
He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly. 17 He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ 18 He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! 25 Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? 26 If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? 29 “Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. 30 For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. 32 “Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:16–34)
Jesus also said that he would give us a rest. To read more specifically about what Jesus, and other Scripture, said about rest, read this article next.
In the beginning of the Luke passage above, Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool. To learn more about that story, watch this video:
God Gives Peace for Anxiety
God doesn't just tell us not to be anxious. He has committed to give us the peace we need in order to be free from anxiety and worry.
For this cause, I remind you that you should stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, (2 Timothy 1:6–8)
Seek Answers From God
One way God gives us peace is through answers and understanding. Sometimes our minds are troubled for a legitimate reason. In the following examples, three different people had disturbing dreams. While we might be tempted to dismiss our troubled thoughts or dreams, sometimes they have been given to warn us of coming danger.
Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar were both warned of danger to their kingdoms through dreams. They were wise not to dismiss the resulting anxiety. Instead, they looked for answers. God sent Joseph and Daniel to give them the answers they needed to change course and prepare for the future. This brought peace of mind.
The peace was so profound, such a relief, that Joseph and Daniel were given huge promotions as a result of being the conduit through whom God answered the rulers' anxious questions.
At the end of two full years, Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he stood by the river. 2 Behold, seven cattle came up out of the river. They were sleek and fat, and they fed in the marsh grass. 3 Behold, seven other cattle came up after them out of the river, ugly and thin, and stood by the other cattle on the brink of the river. 4 The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 He slept and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, healthy and good. 6 Behold, seven heads of grain, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears. Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 In the morning, his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh...
...The thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has shown you all of this, there is no one so discreet and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house. All my people will be ruled according to your word. Only in the throne I will be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:1-8, 37-40)
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2 Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be called to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.”...
...Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said this to him: “I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah who will make known to the king the interpretation.” 26 The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel answered before the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded can’t be shown to the king by wise men, enchanters, magicians, or soothsayers; 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head on your bed are these...
...Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him. 47 The king answered to Daniel, and said, “Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret.” 48 Then the king made Daniel great and gave him many great gifts, and made him rule over the whole province of Babylon and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2:1-3, 25-28, 46-48)
In this last example of troubled dreams, it is Daniel himself who had the dream.
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’ (Daniel 7:15–18 ESV)
Trust in the Lord
Sometimes receiving peace instead of anxiety is less about answers, and more about just having faith and trust in God.
In this first passage, multitude of thoughts is sometimes translated as anxiety.
Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul would have soon lived in silence. 18 When I said, “My foot is slipping!” Your loving kindness, the LORD, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me, your comforts delight my soul. 20 Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with you, which brings about mischief by statute? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the LORD has been my high tower, my God, the rock of my refuge. 23 He has brought on them their own iniquity, and will cut them off in their own wickedness. the LORD, our God, will cut them off. (Psalm 94:17–23)
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
(Psalm 127:1–2 ESV)
In these parallel passages from Mark and Luke, Jesus is tells us not to be afraid or anxious. We need not worry about what to say when the world persecutes them. The Holy Spirit will give us the words to say.
“But watch yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them. 10 The Good News must first be preached to all the nations. 11 When they lead you away and deliver you up, don’t be anxious beforehand or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:9–13)
“I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all counted. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. 8 “I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, the Son of Man will also confess before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of God’s angels. 10 Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, don’t be anxious how or what you will answer or what you will say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what you must say.” (Luke 12:4–12)
In this last example, Jesus is just stating a fact. He is prophesying a future situation in which the world will be anxious. He reminds us that we don't need to be worried, however, because these world troubles mean our redemption is near.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and on the earth anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves; 26 men fainting for fear and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.” (Luke 21:25–28)
Practical Bible Verses to Calm Anxiety
Not that the previous section, about trusting in God isn't practical. But this section is more about things we can actually do ourselves in order to help calm our anxiety.
Seek Help to Calm Anxiety
The first thing is to seek help. Speaking our anxious thoughts out loud to another person has several benefits. First, the mere act of telling someone else can give us peace. Second, it gives that person an opportunity to encourage us and calm us down.
Sharing anxiety can be helpful, but the person on the receiving end should not literally carry the other person's anxiety home with them. To learn some strategies to avoid being weighed down by others' worries and other emotional problems, click here.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a kind word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25)
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1:12–18 ESV)
Prayer, Gratitude, Humility, and Love Can Calm Anxiety
Rather than being anxious, we can pray about the things that make us anxious. But don't turn this prayer into a meditation on our anxieties. That is not prayer, and it won't bring peace...it might even make things worse!
Note that Paul says our prayers and petitions should include thanksgiving. Gratitude is one of the most potent ways to calm anxiety.
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!” 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report: if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Do the things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4–9)
This short video describes one way to start a practice of gratitude.
When we humble ourselves to seek help from God, he can take all our worries from us. Note that this doesn't mean we stop preparing or being watchful. Immediately after the verse about casting our worries on God, Peter reminds us to sober, self-controlled, and watchful. That is our responsibility, while carrying anxiety and worry is not.
Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility and subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:5–10)
This passage is really more about fear than anxiety. But the two are related. John tells us that love and fear cannot coexist. So to remove fear we can replace it with love.
In this, love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so we are in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother. (1 John 4:17–21)
Anxiety Can Actually Cause What it Fears
Realizing the self-fulfilling nature of our fears can give us motivation to let go of them. Just as in the story of Oedipus, excessive fear can often be the very thing that causes the feared event to happen.
Another example of this: imagine a parent who tries to protect their child from everything in the "big dangerous world out there." This child will then be totally unprepared to face the world without the parent's help. And this means the world actually does become big and dangerous for that child.
Abraham gives us another example. Twice he feared that people would kill him and steal his wife, because she was so beautiful. Both times he tried to pretend they were not married. And guess what? People saw a beautiful, unmarried woman and tried to marry her!! Surprise, surprise.
If Abraham had simply made the truth of their relationship known, this awkward situation would never have happened.
There was a famine in the land. Abram went down into Egypt to live as a foreigner there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he had come near to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman to look at. 12 It will happen that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me, but they will save you alive. 13 Please say that you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that my soul may live because of you.” 14 When Abram had come into Egypt, Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 He dealt well with Abram for her sake. He had sheep, cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17 the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now therefore, see your wife, take her, and go your way.” 20 Pharaoh commanded men concerning him, and they escorted him away with his wife and all that he had. (Genesis 12:10–20)
Abraham traveled from there toward the land of the South, and lived between Kadesh and Shur. He lived as a foreigner in Gerar. 2 Abraham said about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her. He said, “Lord, will you kill even a righteous nation? 5 Didn’t he tell me, ‘She is my sister’? She, even she herself, said, ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this in the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands.” 6 God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against me. Therefore I didn’t allow you to touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. If you don’t restore her, know for sure that you will die, you, and all who are yours.” 8 Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. The men were very scared. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done!” 10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely the fear of God is not in this place. They will kill me for my wife’s sake.’ 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 When God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is your kindness which you shall show to me. Everywhere that we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ’ ” (Genesis 20:1–13)
The fact that Sarah actually was Abraham's half-sister doesn't matter. The intention of his heart was to deceive by concealing important information. A half-truth is still a total lie.
A Different Definition of Anxiety in the Bible
This next sense of anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes anxiety just means care or concern. This can be good or bad, depending on the object of "anxiety."
Paul exhorted young people to have "anxiety," care and concern, for the things of the Lord rather than the things of this world.
Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:25–35 ESV)
Finally, Paul's concern for the church is often translated as this second definition of anxiety.
Five times I received forty stripes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. 26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; 27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. 28 Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily: anxiety for all the assemblies. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:24–30)
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (Philippians 2:25–30 ESV)
If you are specifically anxious about money, watch this video where we read out loud Psalms for Financial Peace.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Bible version: the public domain World English Bible (WEB) has been used in most of this post. The WEB translation of "Yahweh" has been changed to "the LORD" which is more familiar to most readers.