Doubt is a normal part of faith. It’s not something we need to hide from, deny, or fight against. Instead, doubt is an invitation for us to discover what we truly believe. Maybe you’re experiencing doubt in God right now, or maybe you’ve been doubting for a while. Know that you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you. For proof, read the stories of these 7 people who experienced doubt in the Bible.
People in the Bible were complex–with doubts, fears, and questions but also moments of strong faith. Here are a few examples of people in the Bible who experienced doubt.
5 People Experienced Doubt in the Bible
1. Moses had moments of doubt
In the Bible, Moses is recorded as doubting God in the book of Exodus, specifically in chapters 3 and 4. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and called on him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses initially expressed doubt and reluctance, questioning his abilities and asking how the Israelites would believe him. He said to God: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) and “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?” (Exodus 4:1)
God reassured Moses and gave him the power to perform miracles as proof of his mission. Moses continued to have moments of doubt and fear, but he eventually led the Israelites out of Egypt with God’s guidance and power.
Moses story of doubt in the Bible reminds us that doubt and fear are natural, and God doesn’t get angry with our doubts.
2. Elijah wonders if God can save him
In the Bible, Elijah, a prophet of God, is recorded as doubting God in 1 Kings chapter 19. After Elijah had performed several miracles, such as calling down fire from heaven, and had defeated the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel, who was a powerful and ruthless ruler, threatened to kill him. Elijah became afraid and ran for his life, telling God that he had been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts, but the Israelites had forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away. (1 Kings 19:10)
In this passage, Elijah expresses doubt in God’s power and protection and questions whether he was the only one who was faithful to God. He felt alone, abandoned, and afraid for his life. God responded to Elijah’s doubt by providing him with reassurance, guidance, and company. God sent an angel to feed him, leading him to a cave where he could hear God’s voice and receive guidance.
This passage shows that even a person as faithful as Elijah can have moments fear. His story of doubt in the Bible can be an encouragement to us today.
3. Job questions God’s goodness
Job was a wealthy and devout man, who suddenly lost all his wealth, children, and health. He is depicted as questioning God’s justice and fairness in the face of his suffering. Job says: “Why did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me.”(Job 3:11) and “Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?”(Job 13:24)
Job’s friends came and tried to explain to him that his suffering must be a result of his own sins. Job refused to accept that he had done something wrong to deserve such a punishment. He continues to question God and express his frustration and anger. God responds to Job by asking him questions to remind him of God’s power and wisdom. Despite his story of doubt in the Bible, Job worked through His doubts and found a healthier faith.
4. Peter experienced doubt in the Bible
One of Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, is portrayed as doubting Jesus.
During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed and crucified. Peter, known for being confident and outspoken, declares that he will never betray Jesus. However, later that night, when Jesus is arrested, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus had predicted.
Another example is after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection when Jesus appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter had gone fishing with some other disciples and caught nothing. But when Jesus appeared and instructed them to cast their nets again, they caught many fish. Peter, recognizing Jesus, jumped into the sea to swim to him. After eating breakfast together, Jesus reaffirms Peter’s calling and purpose.
Despite his devotion, Peter had moments of doubt. But Jesus still showed him grace and compassion, and Peter became one of the most prominent figures in the early Christian church.
5. “Doubting Thomas” asks for a sign
Thomas, also known as “Doubting Thomas,” is known for his skepticism and doubt in the New Testament. In fact, He’s probably the most famous story of doubt in the Bible! In the Gospel of John, Jesus appeared to some of his disciples after His death and resurrection, but Thomas wasn’t there. So when the other disciples told Thomas they’d seen Jesus, he didn’t believe them.
A week later, Jesus appeared to the disciples again, with Thomas present. Jesus offered Thomas the opportunity to touch his wounds, and Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!”
Thomas’ doubt isn’t negative. In fact, it’s a natural response to an extraordinary event. It’s also worth noting that in the Bible, many apostles have their own moments of doubt but also moments of strong faith. This reminds us that even the most faithful people have moments of doubt. Why? Because doubt is a natural part of the human experience.
Bonus: The Psalmists share our doubt in the Bible
Many of the Psalms in the Bible express doubt and questioning of God. The Psalmists, who wrote these Psalms, often went through difficult times, and their emotions and thoughts are reflected in the Psalms they wrote. Some examples include:
- Psalm 22 describes feelings of abandonment and despair. The Psalmist cries out to God: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)
- Psalm 13, the Psalmist expresses feelings of abandonment and frustration, crying out: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”(Psalm 13:1)
- Psalm 88, the Psalmist expresses deep despair and hopelessness, saying, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave” (Psalm 88:3-5)
- Psalm 42, the Psalmist expresses longing and questioning towards God, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”(Psalm 42:5)
These examples show that even the Psalmists had moments of doubt, questioning, and uncertainty. Their struggle gives us permission to wrestle with doubt in the Bible
If you’re experiencing doubt, you’re not alone. Find a friend or other trusted person to share your thoughts and feelings with. Don’t struggle on your own.
For more on giving yourself permission to doubt, check out this post.