The Fear of the LORD

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The phrase is scattered throughout the whole Bible, but what does it mean? I’ve been wondering this for a while, but lately it’s been popping up in my conversations with others so it’s been on my mind.

So I thought I’d phrase the question to you.

What do you think fearing the Lord means? Does it mean we have to be afraid of God all the time that he might be angry with us and punish us for what we are doing? Does it mean that we should be afraid of how God might think about what we’re doing? Or does it mean that we should be afraid of what our life would be like if it wasn’t for God’s protection? Is it simply an issue of reverence, or is there more to the meaning of fearing the Lord? Can there be a different meaning for a believer and a nonbeliever?

Here are a few passages that stand out to me.

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10

“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Psalm 130:3-4

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5

So what so you think? How does one fear the LORD?

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2 Responses to The Fear of the LORD

  1. How very like God that you are posting this when I have also been thinking about the “fear of the Lord.” for several days now. Fear of the Lord for a christian definitely includes reverence, but I believe it includes more than that. When we start to think and act cavalier about our relationship with God, fear is what is absent…reverence and fear and trembling. The unsaved, David says, in Psalm, does not fear God at all, “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes.” Psalm 36:1 Paul also repeats this verse referring to ungodly men in general in Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” I am also reminded what Jesus said in the gospels, “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:5 We are to fear God more than man. Fixing our eyes on Jesus and His provision of our eternal home rather than the hypocrisy of fearing man more.

  2. “It is dangerous to live without your heart being captured by the awe of God, because awe of God is quickly replaced by awe of you.” – Paul Tripp. Just saw this post on Facebook by Mark Driscoll…so true!

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