Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6—NKJV)

Most Christians would not characterize themselves as bold and courageous. Perhaps it is because a hallmark of Christianity is humility. Considering yourself to be a spiritually bold man of action would appear to be boastful and vain. Yet every believer knows he is to display courage as so many generations of believers have done before our time. Just as our verse enjoins, a believer is to foster courageous boldness in every aspect of his life. Some call it “holy boldness” in order to differentiate the believer’s obeying boldness from other kinds of boldness seen among men.

The definition of boldness illustrates the reasons for reticence among faithful believers. Boldness is “courageous or daring, not hesitating to break rules of propriety, forward, immodest, imaginative, beyond the normal limits of conventional thought or action, conspicuous to the eyes, flashy, showy.” You see the challenge for a godly man.

While setting aside the aspects of the word that do not fit Christian modesty, we need to embrace the overarching virtues of the word. To “make bold” means to “venture and dare”—this is how the Christian needs to strive for the Name of Jesus Christ. Synonyms of the word include fearless, brave, valiant, intrepid, dauntless. Boldness is labeled courage when fear, danger, pain, and difficulty enter the arena. It is that quality which enables a person to face troubles with the firmness of courage of one’s convictions.

There are actually many references to courage in the New Testament. Three Greek words are translated either bold, confidence, or courage. The first is therro. Its root idea is warmth, to be warm in temperament which is associated with a confident demeanor. It denotes “confidence in one’s own powers and has reference to inner character. The second is talmao which denotes boldness in undertaking and is a visible manifestation to others (Thayer).” It implies a refusal to show fear. The final word is parresia which literally means “all speech.” Its main thought is one of freedom and liberty. It is a freedom in speaking, to say freely, openly, and plainly.

It is this latter word that John uses four times in his first epistle. Twice he deals with daily obedience so that a believer may give a confident report when he stands to give account before God (2:28, 4:17–18). Twice he used the word to describe maintaining a clear conscience before God so that the believer has bold confidence that God will answer his prayers (3:21–22, 5:14–15).

It is this freedom of conscience and heart before God and man that molds a naturally retiring and self-effacing man, causing a transformation of his reputation before men (through conspicuously living his faith). They begin thinking of him as a man of boldness. Freedom of conscience, conviction, speech, and heart (parresia) feeds and refreshes the attitude of warmth and confidence (therro) and is seen as “bold and daring” (talmao) in relationship with men.

It was Paul’s lively, warm confidence (2 Corinthians 5:6–9) in God, that enabled him to dare great things for God, as the world sees it (the meaning of this is illustrated in Romans 5:6–8). It was this same heart for daring words and deeds that was the subject of the corporate prayer request of the early church as it came under persecution (Acts 4:29–31). They prayed for boldness to dare, to do and to bear something difficult.

American believers need to ask God to help them recapture the pioneering spirit of both their physical and spiritual forebears. “Endure hardness as a good soldier.” Remember the warmth of your New Birth, remember the boldness of your Savior who laid down His life for you. Dare to be bold. Trust and obey.