Scripture is full of God’s love and salvation, which we know is the running theme, but we must understand that there is a darker side. Come along with me and study these scary Bible verses. You may be surprised at the dark curses, unusual stories, and amazing power of God.
Scripture is full of stories that might cause us to raise our eyebrows and swallow hard. The poor decisions made by the ungodly result in miserable situations leading to suffering or death.
The concept of hell alone with its weeping and outer darkness is enough to terrify me. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to be on the wrong side of a holy, all-powerful God.
All of these Bible verses are a result of a fallen world. Let’s clarify this right from the beginning. God is not wicked or evil or scary. He is good (all the time!) and his mercy and love are unbounding.
Any scary Bible verses are a direct result of sin, pride, satan, wickedness etc. Those things are the opposite of who God is.
To put this in perspective, let’s talk about Genesis. When God created the world, He said that it was good. Nothing was amiss, everything lived in harmony.
God created a beautiful garden and made His most important creatures of all Adam and Eve. They lived in a perfect state with all of God’s creation. A place mankind has tried unsuccessfully to return to throughout all of history.
And then sin entered the world and suffering began. Enter our scary Bible verses.
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The Scariest Bible Verses
The first of our scary Bible verses come right from the story of man’s fall and are curses from God. These aren’t the only curses in scripture, I’ve got a list here.
- Genesis 3:14 NIV – So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”
- Genesis 3:16 – To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
- Genesis 3:16-17– To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
- Deuteronomy 28:15-19 – However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
- Deuteronomy 28:20-22 – The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.
- Proverbs 3:33 – The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
- Malachi 2:1-3 – “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.
Scary Bible Verses in Revelation
Revelation is one of those books that everyone talks about and no one perfectly understands. The unknown, the figurative language, and the overall scary predictions can leave one feeling a bit nervous (or stressed!).
Before I list the scariest verses in Revelation (I don’t know how I chose these particular ones, because there are many more than I list here), I want to remind you that you do not want to live for God out of fear. Serving God simply because you do not want a terrible end is not enough to bring you into a healthy relationship with your Heavenly Father.
While the idea of hell and the end of the world are very real and necessary to learn about and might even make you think about the direction your life is going, God doesn’t want to scare you into serving Him. That is not His method. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness (some translations say “goodness”) brings us to salvation.
While you study these verses remember that God is good, He is love and peace and a God of order. All of the scary is a result of a sinful world.
- Revelation 3:14-17 – “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
- Revelation 6:12-14 – I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
- Revelation 8:7 – The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
- Revelation 8:8-9 – The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
- Revelation 8:10-11 – The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
- Revelation 14:9-11 – A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
- Revelation 16:2 – The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
- Revelation 16:3 – The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.
- Revelation 16:8-9 – The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
- Revelation 20:12-15 – And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Scary Bible Verses about Death
The last of our scary Bible verses talk about death. We are going to begin with a few less than pleasant ways to die that are mentioned in scripture and then we are going to talk about hell because few ideas are scarier than spending eternity burning.
King Herod– Acts 12:21-23 tells us that King Herod put on his kingly robes and delivered an address to the people. The people hailed him as a god and in his arrogance, he did not correct them. Because of this pride, God struck him dead and the worms ate him.
Absalom– 2 Samuel 16-18 tells us the story of how David’s son, Absalom, tries to steal the throne away from him. Absalom was known for his beautiful hair and attractive looks. I’m guessing he was also arrogant and prideful. As we saw with King Herod above, God does not look kindly on such an attitude. During a battle, Absalom’s hair becomes entangled in a tree branch and he’s left hanging there. Of course, David’s men take the opportunity to remove the threat to their king’s throne and Absalom meets an early end.
Lot’s wife– Genesis 19 tells us about the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In his mercy and for His love for His servant Abraham, God sends two angels to go into the city and warn Abraham’s nephew and his family. The angels urge Lot and his wife and their daughters to quickly leave the city and do not look back. Lot’s wife, not willing to let go of the life she had there, looks back just as God sends fire. In a split second, she is turned into a pillar of salt.
Jehoram– 2 Chronicles 21 contains the story of Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, who did evil in the sight of the Lord. God sent Elijah to warn him of his sin and proclaim a punishment upon him. The punishment was that God would send a disease of the bowels in which they would end up coming out and Jehoram would die a painful death. I’m not exactly sure what it means that his bowels came out, but that could not have been a good way to go.
Ok, now on to scary Bible verses about death and hell.
- Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Matthew 13:49-50 – This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 – He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
- 2 Peter 2:4 – For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
- Jude 1:7 – In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
- Mark 9:43 – If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.
So, how are you feeling about this round-up of scary Bible verses? I feel like I’ve introduced you to a darker side of scripture that many of us don’t talk about. Gone are the days of fire and brimstone being preached from the pulpit. Love and grace go down a whole lot easier.
Related: 5 Powerful Reminders of God's Unconditional Love
That being said, these truths remain truths. There is a hell and those who do not love and obey God will go there. It is also true that the end of the world does not hold a lot of good things for those who miss the rapture.
God is love and mercy, but He is also holy and cannot abide wickedness. This should motivate us to not only get our own hearts right before God but encourage those around us to do the same. You could use these scary Bible verses to give a few friends a little nudge 😉