Psalm 27:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 27:1, NIV: "Of David. 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?"

Psalm 27:1, ESV: "Of David. 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?"

Psalm 27:1, KJV: "{A Psalm of David.} The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 27:1, NASB: "A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?"

Psalm 27:1, NLT: "A psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?"

Psalm 27:1, CSB: "The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--whom should I dread?"

What does Psalm 27:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Lord is David's light, salvation, and stronghold. Each of these terms has significance in Hebrew thinking.

Light is a common metaphor in the Bible for knowledge, truth, and goodness. This was the ultimate ideal of the people of Israel, much as ancient Greeks valued knowledge, or Romans valued glory, and modern Americans speak of freedom. As his light, the Lord was the source of David's joy, understanding, and life.

As his salvation, the Lord was David's deliverer from his enemies. To be "saved" is to be rescued from something. Though David was a warrior, even in his own successes he never forgot that it was ultimately God who gave him victory.

The word "stronghold" implies a place of security and safety. The Hebrew term is mā'oz, which can also be translated as a "refuge," or even as a "harbor." The Lord was like a fortress that kept David safe.

As David thinks about the Lord filling these roles, he recognizes he has no reason to fear anyone. Like David, we have no reason to fear, because the Lord keeps us safe. The apostle Paul affirmed that "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7). It has been observed that there are enough exhortations in the Bible to "fear not" that we can assign a unique one to every day of the year.

As David shows later in the psalm, "knowing" that one ought not be afraid does not mean one will never actually experience fear. His pleas beginning in verse 7 are those of someone who trusts God to assuage the very human fear he is feeling.