Kingdom Living

Help From You Guys With Accordance or Logos – What is the most common command in the Bible?

June 7th, 2012 · 11 Comments · Acts of the Apostles, Bible, Bible Translations, Biblical Interpretation, Christianity, New Testament

I had an email discussion yesterday with a buddy about what the most frequent command in scripture is. If you google it you will find “do not be afraid” comes out on top. That is at least the theory but I can’t find really any evidence that backs it up. They say it occurs 365 times in the Bible and that there are 365 days in the year, and that God was making a point with that (even though the Jewish calendar didn’t have 365 days). Often the command “Fear not” (like in Acts 27:24) is actually in the passive and is not an imperative. It comes across as an imperative though. Anyone thought about any of this? Help me out. What is the most common imperative in the whole Bible? Is it:

  • Go
  • Say/Tell
  • Listen
  • Do
  • Something else?

Any ideas out there?

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Paul Smith

    I’ve heard the “fear not” statistic as well. Problem is how many ways it can be stated/translated into English – so then you have to get into Hebrew and Greek. When you get into the wisdom literature with all the “listen ups” and “pay attentions” I would think it would get pretty complicated.

  • Luke

    I was actually looking into the 365 Fear Nots the other day, and a quick Google search revealed this was inaccurate. It’s still in Scripture an awful lot though.

  • Jerry Starling

    This has nothing to do with “the most frequent command” but I just came across a new service at that looks to be very useful for planning and organizing support services for specific individuals in a community of caring people – such as a church.

    You can read about it <a href =""here. I suspect that many people will find this very useful.

  • Jerry Starling

    Part of the problem is that the command “Fear not” appears in different formats. Such as “Fear not.” “Be not afraid.”Do not be afraid.” and possibly some others as well. Just doing a search on one of these will not give you the answer. Get a concordance (you know the old fashioned kind) and look at different forms of the command with fear and afraid – then run your computer searches.

    • mattdabbs

      That is true. That is one reason I wanted the guys with the software to do a search because they can search by the verb specifically in the imperative form in Greek and Hebrew. That eliminates the need to get every combination. Still no takers on that. I know a few guys who can do it. I will email them.

  • James Wood

    Unfortunately, simply searching for words in the imperative mood will not answer the question. Not every instance of the imperative (in Biblical Greek) is a command and not every command is in the imperative mood. For an excellent study see this.

    I am far less familiar with Hebrew, but this study makes it clear that the imperative can be (and often is) employed in supplication prayers (think of Aaron’s blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you…”). So you would get muddled up with all the “commands” given to God through prayer. Then you’d have to weed out all the “commands” given to kings or other authority figures when the same supplicatory tone is used to address them.

    It would be almost as easy to just go through the English translation and count.

    • mattdabbs

      There is no wizbang feature in accordance to sort out all that stuff? We actually have to do some work to figure this out. 🙂 I guess my main question was whether or not God’s command to not be afraid is the most common and I am already 90% convinced there is no way that is the case. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • kyron l. riley

    I don’t know about the most common command in Scripture but I know the most important.Jesus said that we should love our God with all of our heart,soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

  • regenegade

    Not sure about the fear not thing. I did an accordance search and it came up 77 times in english in the combination “fear” followed by “not”. Interestingly enough the command to “love” followed by “God” came up 77 times in english as well in a straight english search on the ESV in accordance. This is not an exhaustive search of the many different variants on this topic but I suspect that loving God combined with the out growth command to love your neighbor is probably more prevalent then not fearing God. Although they both deal with moving toward God and not away from Him.

  • Scott Ashman

    How about the command to Praise the Lord? When you combine it with “Sing praises to the Lord” and “Bless the :Lord”, I think this is the most common command in scripture.

  • John Roberts

    I’ve been studying this for a long time off and on, and while specific numbers are hard to come up with due to slight alterations and variation in the command wording and the translation, here’s what I’ve got.

    #1 “Praise the Lord” and variations: 250+ times
    #2 “Rejoice” and variations: 150+ times
    #3 “Fear not” and variations: 110+ times

    I think the fact that these three occur in one form or another that many times is more than a little significant, especially in view of how closely related they are to each other.

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