Is “doubt” the same as “worry”?

Some people confuse “doubt” with “worry.” “Doubt” is the opposite or absence of faith. “Worry” means to be anxious, which is to say being troubled with cares. While the two concepts are unique, worry tends to lead to doubt. We can worry about a lot of things, but aside from reducing our productivity, when we worry we are dwelling on the “what if” scenarios in our minds. Worry then generates fear. It also causes us to start justifying our concerns and taking control away from God. Eve did the same thing. We presume to become like God in our superiority, doubting God’s authority by replacing it with our own.

Mt 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? The KJV substitutes the phrase “taking thought” for anxious whereas the NIV substitutes “worrying.” Each translation conveys the concept of worry differently. After researching the Greek further, I would be satisfied to accept any of the three renderings of the verse, though in this case KJV does a more accurate job of rendering cubits to stature as opposed to the other versions which render hours to life. The word translated “worry” in NIV and “thought” in KJV appears to be most accurately translated as “anxious” as in ESV. The point of this research is only to show the nature of worry and how it differs from doubt. Doubt and worry aren’t the same, though worry will often lead to doubt.

This post is an excerpt (Question 6.16) from my book Ask James one.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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