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In the Bible, courage is also called “good cheer” as in Mark 6:50 when Jesus gave the command to the disciples who saw Him walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee and coming toward them.

Am I afraid? Yes, many days I am. The good news is that Jesus gives me courage. I have the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

The Greek word translated “courage” and “good cheer” means literally “boldness and confidence.”

θαρρέω or θαρσέω: to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of danger or testing—‘to be courageous, to have courage, to be bold.’ θαρροῦντες οὖν πάντοτε ‘therefore always being full of courage’ 2 Cor 5:6; ὃς κατὰ πρόσωπον μὲν ταπεινὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀπὼν δὲ θαρρῶ εἰς ὑμᾶς ‘I who am meek when face to face with you, but full of courage when away’ 2 Cor 10:1; ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θλῖψιν ἔχετε, ἀλλὰ θαρσεῖτε ‘in the world you will have trouble, but have courage’ Jn 16:33. In a number of languages ‘courage’ is rendered by an idiomatic expression, for example, ‘to not move,’ ‘to be deaf to threats,’ and ‘to have a heart like iron.’[1]

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In the Bible, courage is the opposite of fear. When God commands me to fear not, to be of good cheer, and to have courage, He is always commanding against fear, which is the opposite of courage.

And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart [have courage]; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. [2]

Mark 6:47-52

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Is there good news? Yes! We can be confident, courageous, and of good cheer because of God and His Son Jesus.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for Yahweh will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

(Proverbs 3:25-26)

Here is the promise of God’s superintending care for us, a care that is absent from the lives of those who reject Him. But for those who have placed their faith in the Messiah for life, we are to have no fear because “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

In this great promise lies the basis of our confidence, our courage, and our good cheer.

[1] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 305). New York: United Bible Societies.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 6:47–52). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.