Proverbs 29:25

ESV The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
NIV Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
NASB The fear of man brings a snare, But one who trusts in the Lord will be protected.
CSB The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.
NLT Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
KJV The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

What does Proverbs 29:25 mean?

The Bible tells us often to "fear" God; that means more than simply to reverence Him, but it does not imply terror or panic. The fear of God is a virtue, and it leads to truth (Proverbs 1:7; 8:32–36; 15:33). However, the Hebrew root word used here in relation to fearing man refers specifically to physical "trembling" which comes through fright or despair (Genesis 27:33; Judges 7:3). Being afraid of people, or giving men the respect and obedience we owe God, leads to deceit, entanglements, and ruin (Proverbs 1:32–33; 29:5). Instead, we should remember that man's power is nothing compared to that of the Lord (Psalm 56:11).

Having more terror about other people than trust in God traps us in various ways. Fearing men, Abraham lied—twice—about his relationship with Sarah (Genesis 12:11–13; 20:2, 11). Peter famously lied and denied Jesus out of fear of being captured (Matthew 26:69–75). Countless Israeli soldiers were more afraid of Goliath than they were reliant on God, until a young shepherd stepped forward (1 Samuel 17:10–11, 45–49). Israel resisted God's call to conquer the Promised Land because they were afraid of its inhabitants (Numbers 13:31–33). Jesus' critics feared popular backlash, so they were afraid to give honest answers (Mark 11:32). Many of the Jewish leaders believed Jesus but were afraid of the Pharisees putting them out of the synagogue, meaning they would lose their social standing, so they did not express their beliefs (John 12:42–43).

Jesus instructed His disciples: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Paul writes to Timothy: "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7). Hebrews 13:5 reminds us that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us. Verse 6 concludes, "So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'"
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