This is a brief study of the phrase "the fear of the LORD" in Scripture. These notes were compiled in preparation for a church meeting in 2011.

Defining "the fear of the LORD"

Vine: "reverential fear…of God, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral, not a mere 'fear' of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him…"

New Testament Examples

  • Matt. 10:28—don't fear those who can kill just the body, but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
  • Acts 9:31—The Christians walked in the fear of the LORD and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and they grew.
  • 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1—GOD promises us to be our GOD and we His people, therefore we are to be holy. As a result of GOD's promises we must live holy lives, walking in the fear of GOD.
  • Eph. 5:21—we are to submit to one another in the fear of GOD. (Note: this occurs right behind the command to sing.)
  • Phil. 2:12-13—Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling because GOD is at work in us for His pleasure.
  • 1 Pet. 1:17—If you call on the Father…conduct yourselves…in fear.

References in the Wisdom Books

18 times "fear of the LORD" is found in the Wisdom books (NKJV).

  1. Job 28:28
    And to man He said,‘ Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
    Job 28:27-28 (in Context) Job 28 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Psalm 19:9
    The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
    Psalm 19:8-10 (in Context) Psalm 19 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Psalm 34:11
    Come, you children, listen to me;I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
    Psalm 34:10-12 (in Context) Psalm 34 (Whole Chapter)
  4. Psalm 111:10
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.His praise endures forever.
    Psalm 111:9-10 (in Context) Psalm 111 (Whole Chapter)
  5. Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:6-8 (in Context) Proverbs 1 (Whole Chapter)
  6. Proverbs 1:29
    Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
    Proverbs 1:28-30 (in Context) Proverbs 1 (Whole Chapter)
  7. Proverbs 2:5
    Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
    Proverbs 2:4-6 (in Context) Proverbs 2 (Whole Chapter)
  8. Proverbs 8:13
    The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.
    Proverbs 8:12-14 (in Context) Proverbs 8 (Whole Chapter)
  9. Proverbs 9:10
    “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
    Proverbs 9:9-11 (in Context) Proverbs 9 (Whole Chapter)
  10. Proverbs 10:27
    The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
    Proverbs 10:26-28 (in Context) Proverbs 10 (Whole Chapter)
  11. Proverbs 14:26
    In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.
    Proverbs 14:25-27 (in Context) Proverbs 14 (Whole Chapter)
  12. Proverbs 14:27
    The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.
    Proverbs 14:26-28 (in Context) Proverbs 14 (Whole Chapter)
  13. Proverbs 15:16
    Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.
    Proverbs 15:15-17 (in Context) Proverbs 15 (Whole Chapter)
  14. Proverbs 15:33
    The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
    Proverbs 15:32-33 (in Context) Proverbs 15 (Whole Chapter)
  15. Proverbs 16:6
    In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.
    Proverbs 16:5-7 (in Context) Proverbs 16 (Whole Chapter)
  16. Proverbs 19:23
    The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.
    Proverbs 19:22-24 (in Context) Proverbs 19 (Whole Chapter)
  17. Proverbs 22:4
    By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.
    Proverbs 22:3-5 (in Context) Proverbs 22 (Whole Chapter)
  18. Proverbs 23:17
    Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
    Proverbs 23:16-18 (in Context) Proverbs 23 (Whole Chapter)

A Pattern for Fearing GOD (Prov. 2:1-5)

If you will:

  1. Receive GOD's words
  2. Treasure His commands
  3. Incline your ear to wisdom
  4. Apply your heart
  5. Cry out for understanding
  6. Place high value on wisdom (as silver)
  7. Seek and search diligently

Then you will:

  1. Understand the fear of the LORD
  2. Find the knowledge of GOD 

Application

  • Keep your heard with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. (Prov. 4:23)
  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21)
  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words…shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deut. 6:5-7)
  • Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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