Opposites attract! That’s what the world tells us, and yet when it comes to doubt, it cannot co-exist with its opposite–faith. Doubt cannot inhabit where faith exists. According to 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV), “…we walk by faith, not by sight.” God calls us to live a life of faith and trust—never doubt!! Disbelief and doubt come from fear, and fear paralyzes, restricts, and prevents us from doing what we need to do. God does not want us to live with any fear whatsoever. Like even a little bit of dirt makes water undrinkable, so one drop of doubt can also make our faith weak and ineffective. In Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), the author defines it by saying, “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” He goes on from there to list a “hall of fame” of biblical figures who exemplified walking by faith. They were able to overcome doubt, and we should do the same. Here are the top 7 Bible verses about doubt, as God encourages us to “walk by faith” and leave “living by sight” behind.
John 20:27 (NIV) Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
When it comes to famous Scriptures and individuals that struggled with doubt, one of the first people to come to mind will often be Thomas. Some hinted around the fact that they were struggling to believe, but, in spite of being a disciple of Jesus, Thomas had serious doubts about Jesus’ resurrection, and he stated them overtly to the other disciples. He was not present when Jesus first appeared to the other disciples after his resurrection, so he did not believe them when they shared that they had seen Jesus. So when Jesus does finally appear to him, Thomas is reminded of his own words and is told to not only look at Jesus’ wounds but to touch him as well. This is a clear example of Jesus himself telling Thomas, and us, not to doubt but rather to believe. God does not want “disbelief” to be in our vocabulary. He wants us to have faith and believe in Him and in what He tells us, whether we can “see” it or not.
Matthew 14:31 (ESV) Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Another important Biblical character that can teach us a lot about doubt and faith is Peter. Matthew 14:31 is the famous passage where Peter gets out of the boat in faith and obedience to Jesus and actually walks on water. However, after only a few steps, he takes his eyes off of Jesus, and begins looking at the high waves (and his circumstances) around him, and fear and doubt rush in to overwhelm him. He then starts to sink and drown, and he calls out for Jesus to save him. This verse is Jesus’ response to him for doubting and also his response to all of us when we doubt Him as well. Personally, I have seen God help me through some very difficult times, and then some new challenge crops up and I am filled with fear and doubt once again. Why do I do this? Why do I doubt my Lord and Savior when He has always been so faithful? This is the eternal question that God asks all of us. Why do we doubt him, when He is always so faithful?
James 1:6 (ESV) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
The book of James carries a strong message about faith, and it even begins by stating, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). The apostle goes on to say that when we ask for wisdom from the Lord to handle these trials, we should not doubt that we will receive it. Disbelief and doubting are synonymous, and they cause us to be tossed around, aimlessly wandering, struggling, wondering, fearful, uncertain and unsure. Faith in God, however, brings hope, life, purpose and worthy goals into our lives. The enemy wants us to live hopeless, fearful lives, but God came to give us “life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10). A life of faith is a life without doubt. Where God reigns, doubt disappears and faith rules. Like a ship on a steady course towards its home port, so faith leads us straight to our eternal home.
Matthew 28:17 (ESV) And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
This is a powerful commentary of where the people were in Jesus’ time after his resurrection. At that time, many believed in him after they saw that he was raised from the dead, but there were still those that doubted. There was wavering going on…some believed, but some did not. It is very similar to that in our time today. Even when confronted with the truth of God’s word and the “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, some believe and some don’t. It is God’s heart that all would have faith and believe.
Mark 11:23 (ESV) Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
There should not be room in our hearts for doubt, rather we must believe God’s word and what He speaks over us. The truth is that when we have faith, “…all things are possible” (John 10:9). Jesus is calling us to cast out doubt and to embrace faith to such a degree that we can move mountains—this includes mountains of fear, discouragement, rejection, despair, hopelessness, etc.
Matthew 21:21 (ESV) And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
This verse is a sister passage to Mark 11:23, and it re-inforces the concept that the opposite of doubt is faith, and when we don’t doubt great things can happen. Mountains can be moved!! It is such an important concept, that the Lord repeats it multiple times, so that we get the point. We should not have any doubt in our hearts or in our lives—we should have faith and belief, though, because then we will be unstoppable for the Kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 2:8 (KJV) I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
This was the apostle Paul’s prayer and desire for Christians everywhere…that their lives would be full of prayer and worship, so that there is no room for wrath or doubting. Both of those are antithetical to what God wants for our life, and therefore are opposite to God’s will for his children. His heart for us is that we would be faith-filled worshippers that are passionate for our God and King, because He knows that we will then live abundant, joyous, and purposeful lives.
Doubt and faith are opposite concepts, and they cannot co-exist in the Kingdom of God. These opposites repel each other, and they should not be lived in tandem. We have all felt like the father Jesus was talking to in Mark 9:24 who cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” There are points in our life when our faith is strong, and we believe without a doubt. But then we also have times where doubt creeps in, and we cry out to the Lord to “help our unbelief.” The good news is that God answers prayer, and He wants us to have faith. In fact, He commands us to “not doubt, but believe,” because He knows how much more abundant our lives will be when we are full of faith. After reading these 7 top verses on doubt and doubting, it is clear that God wants us to avoid them and instead hold on to the opposite—FAITH!! What will you choose? Will you walk by sight or will you walk faith?
Article by Karla Hawkins
God has been good to me over the years, and I have so much to be grateful for to Him. First of all, I feel blessed to be the pastor’s wife of a thriving church in northern Michigan and the mother of four amazing grown children. It is also very rewarding to be a Christian author, editor and translator for the Kingdom of God. Some of my favorite pastimes include supporting my children’s contemporary Christian band ONLY9AM, singing on the worship team at church, traveling, and connecting with family and friends via social media. My favorite song this summer has been “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook from Bethel Church, as God has been stretching my faith and walk with Him in new ways recently. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and especially with my precious three-year-old grandson.