Bible Question: The
Old Testament speaks quite frequently about the fear of God, that
we should fear him! Preachers regularly preach fiery sermons about
the fear of the Lord and the wrath of GOD AND HIS PUNISHMENT. There
is very little discussed about the love of God and even less that
God likes all of us. Parents quite often use the fear of God to control
their children. My question is, "How many references are there
in the Old Testament about fearing the Lord and where are they?" And
how does this balance out with the good news in the New Testament?
Bible Answer: The
phrase "fear of the Lord" occurs twenty-five times in the
New American Standard Bible (NASB). The phrase occurs twenty-three
times in the Old Testament and two times in the New Testament. The
phrase first appears in 2 Chronicles 19:7 and then again two verses
later. The other references are as follows: Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9;
34:11; 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26-27;
15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17; Isaiah 11:2-3; 33:6; Acts 9:31;
and 2 Corinthians 5:11. The
phrase "fear of the Lord" appears more times in the book
of Proverbs than in any other book in the NASB.
of the Lord. The word "fear" in the phrase "fear of the
Lord" comes from the Hebrew word YIRAH (transliterated), and it means "to
be terrified" (Jonah 1:10), "to be awe" (1 Kings 3:28), and "to
have respect" (Lev. 19:3). The "fear of the Lord" is the reverence
one would pay to a king because he is the majesty. But if one has offended the
king and punishment is coming, that fear in the Hebrew is YARE. YARE is used
in the phrase "fear the Lord" 31 times in the Old Testament. Therefore,
when one sins, that person might fear God's discipline (Deut. 10:20).
Proverbs says that the "fear of the Lord" -
honor and respect for the Lord - is wisdom and it is the beginning of knowledge.
. . Behold,
the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom . . . (NASB) Job 28:28
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (NASB) Prov. 1:7
The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened. (NASB) Prov.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death.(NASB) Prov. 14:27
The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life. (NASB) Prov. 22:4