“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” – Proverbs 9:10
What does it mean to fear the Lord?
Usually, fear is something to be avoided. We associate fear with negativity because it makes us feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Whenever the Scriptures speak about the fear of the Lord, they are not referencing the kind of fear that we so often experience in life. The fear that we should have toward God is much different.
In contrast, the fear of the Lord is something to be sought after by those who love Jesus. The Scriptures encourage and celebrate this kind of fear! You might be asking, “how is the fear of God good?” Without context, someone may perceive this as a way for Christianity to control Bible-believing Christians. After all, many evil people throughout history have used fear to control and hurt others. Let us look at the Psalms and Proverbs to find the answer.
“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” – Psalm 112:1
“He will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.” – Psalm 115:13
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” – Proverbs 19:23
“He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:19
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;” – Psalm 103:11
“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” – Proverbs 14:26-27
There are many more verses to be found that speak about the fear of the Lord. Even so, look at all the things the Bible reveals to us in just these six! The fear of the Lord leads us to wisdom, blessings, life, confidence, comfort, fulfillment, satisfaction, rest, safety, and salvation for our souls. To fear and have a deep reverence toward the Living God is to experience His grace.
“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.” – Amazing Grace
What does it mean to fear the Lord? Godly fear is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the recognition of God’s supreme magnificence as our Creator. His majesty, greatness, and holiness lead us to fear Him because we are none of these things. Without the fear of the Lord, we wouldn’t recognize our need for a Savior. The fear of the Lord brings us to the foot of the cross. It is at the foot of the cross where all other fear is conquered.