Proverbs 3:25

ESV Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
NIV Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
NASB Do not be afraid of sudden danger, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
CSB Don't fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes,
NLT You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
KJV Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

What does Proverbs 3:25 mean?

Solomon advises his son not to be afraid of sudden terror or the impending ruin of the wicked. Here, again, context matters. Prior verses explained the benefits of living by godly wisdom and discretion (Proverbs 3:21–24). Among those are natural freedom from the consequences of rebellion and depravity; a person who seeks the will of God has much less to fear and greater chances of success. This is a common interpretation of this verse: those who avoid evil also avoid the consequences of evil.

Scholars note, however, that this phrase might also mean something external. "The ruin of the wicked" mentioned here might be reference to those times when evil people trouble the righteous. Scripture is clear that following the will of God does not magically prevent believers from hardship. Such acknowledgement is typified by verses such as this. This warning would be given because even those who believe will sometimes be faced with "the onslaught of the wicked."

Nothing harmful that takes God's people by surprise should cause them to fear. Realistically, we know fear is a natural response. But it is not our only option. The Lord is with us even when unexpected trouble arrives. Rarely does the person who falls victim to a terrorist's bomb or a mass murderer's bullet expect the sudden attack, but the believer must not fear even terror. Jesus taught His followers not to fear those who kill the body. He said they cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10:28). David writes in Psalm 27:1: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Even more importantly, believers need not be afraid of the dreadful fate of the wicked, according to Proverbs 3:25. We will not be caught in their judgment, because the Lord has saved us from it (Romans 8:1).
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