What Does the Bible Mean By “Fear of Man”?

When we are more afraid of other people than what God thinks, it puts a barrier between God and us. We start making decisions based on what other people will think or how they will react instead of based on what God wants for us.

Why should we be more afraid of other people than we are of God?

But we often are, and that can lead to some rotten fruit. For example, we may start lying or cheating to please others. We may avoid doing what we know is right because we’re afraid of what other people will say. We may even sacrifice our beliefs and values to fit in with the rest of the world.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Overcoming the fear of man is possible by building a relationship with God and learning his character. When we know that he is always with us and loves us no matter what, other people don’t seem so scary anymore.

What does fear of man mean?

The fear of man is a natural outgrowth of the sinful nature that we all have. We see this in different ways in different people, but it boils down to a lack of trust in God and a reliance on our strength and resources.
Another way to understand the “fear of man” is to consider people pleasing or co-dependency.

Both of these shifts the focus away from God toward people.

There are several reasons why the fear of man is dangerous.

  • It can lead us to make choices that are not in our best interest. For example, we may avoid doing something that would be good for us because we are afraid of what others will think.
  • It can cause us to miss out on opportunities. We may pass up a chance to do something great because we fear failing or being rejected by others.
  • Hinder our relationship with God. When we are more concerned with what others think of us than with pleasing God, our relationship with Him suffers.
  • Lead to unbelief. We may doubt God’s ability to help us or protect us because we are afraid of what others will think if we follow Him.

Related: How Do You Know if Your Decision is God’s Will?

How does the fear of man keep us from having a relationship with God?

The fear of man can take many forms. It can be a fear of rejection or a fear of being mocked or ridiculed. Or a fear of being judged or condemned. Whatever form it takes, the fear of man is a barrier that makes something in our life more important than God.

The fear of man is a web that keeps us from trusting in and following God. It leads us to seek the approval of others instead of God’s approval. We begin to make decisions based on other people’s opinions rather than obeying God.

The fear of man also keeps us from being truthful. We are afraid to speak the truth because we don’t want to upset or offend anyone. But when we are afraid to speak the truth, we are not living by God’s Word. We agree with Satan’s lie that it is better to please people than God (Galatians 1:10).

How can we overcome the fear of man?

We will inevitably be disappointed when we focus on pleasing people instead of God. The book of 1 John 4:18 tells us that “perfect love casts out fear.” This verse reminds us that when we trust in God’s perfect love for us, we will no longer be controlled by the fear of man. We can overcome the fear of man by placing our trust in God and His perfect love for us.

In the book “When People Are Big and God Is Small,” Edward Welch says that the fear of man is overcome by having a rightful fear of God. When we have a proper reverence for who God is, we will no longer be controlled by the fear of man.

One of the ways to build this reverence, according to “When People Are Big and God Is Small,” is to read chapters 38-41 every day for a month. These chapters highlight many ways God is powerful, and we are not.

For example, God describes how he created the universe and set the stars in their place. He also talks about how he controls the weather and can bring forth floods and storms. In addition, God talks about how he protects and provides for animals, both big and small.

How Do We Develop A Proper Reverence for God?

Developing a proper reverence for God starts with understanding God’s character. Begin by reading God’s Word to understand who God is. Not reading to see what the Bible means for you.

As you read about God’s character and His works, you will begin to see how great and powerful He is. Spend time in prayer, getting to know God personally. As you get to know Him better, you will naturally begin to revere Him more.

Related: How to Stay Rooted and Grounded in the Word of God

Furthermore, it is helpful to worship with other believers who can help to encourage and remind you of who God is. Then, when we take the time to seek after God, we are filled with awe and wonder at His greatness. Reverence for Him will become second nature.

What are some benefits to overcoming the fear of man?

When we trust in God and overcome the fear of man, we can experience true freedom. We will no longer be bound by the opinions of others and can live our lives according to God’s plan for us.

Additionally, we can also be a witness to Christ if we are not afraid to speak the truth. As a result, we can become more authentic people. When we’re not afraid of what others think of us, we’re free to be our true selves.

We can also develop deeper relationships with others since we’re not constantly worrying about what they think of us. And finally, we can live more fulfilling lives when the opinions of others do not control us.

When we overcome the fear of man, we open up a world of possibilities.

What are some Bible verses about the fear of man?

The Bible has a lot to say about the dangers of the fear of man. For example, proverbs 29:25 warns us that “the fear of man brings a snare,” while Psalm 118:8 tells us that “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

This is because, as Isaiah 2:22 tell us, “the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us.”

Am I now trying to win the approval of a man or if God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ -Galatians 1:10 

When we put our trust in God, we can be confident that He will take care of us and work everything out for our good. However, when we rely on ourselves, we will ultimately be disappointed.

Related: Clinging to God’s Promises When Life is Hard

In Galatians 2:11-13, Peter stopped eating with the Gentiles when he was near the Jews because he was afraid of what they would think. Paul confronted Peter and said that their hypocrisy forced Barnabas to be led astray.

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.  You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness.  We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. -1 Thessalonians 2:4-6

Paul says that when he was called by God, he did not consult any man, and he went immediately to where God called him. (Galatians 1:16-17)

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. -1 Corinthians 4:3
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” -John 21:21-22

When Jesus and his family did not honor him in his hometown, Jesus did not try to control them and didn’t let their opinions and words change him. He didn’t try to change them and did not let them affect his mood. He found what he was lacking within his spiritual family instead.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” -Matthew 16:23

Jesus said, “Your approval means nothing to me” in John 5:41.

They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. -Matthew 22:16
for they loved human praise more than praise from God. -John 12:43


The fear of man is an authentic feeling. It can cause us to compromise our values, beliefs, and even our relationships with others. But when we put our trust in God, we can overcome the fear of man and experience true freedom. Additionally, we can also be a witness to Christ if we are not afraid of what others think when we speak.

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