During the Bible study last week, my group members and I were discussing why the Bible tells us to fear God. Throughout the session, we discovered that many Christians often question whether we should love or fear God and if it is possible to do both simultaneously. As the discussion progressed, one of the members asked, “How many times is fear of God mentioned in the Bible?”
The phrase “fear God” is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible, although this number varies depending on the Bible version, and this fear means having a deep reverence and respect for God, acknowledging His sovereignty and power, and obeying His commands. It’s not a fear of punishment, but a fear of disappointing and dishonoring God. The Bible teaches that all people must fear God and keep His commandments, as stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into this topic and learn what it means to fear God. Additionally, to find out some of the examples of fearing God and know why it’s important to fear God, keep reading.
What does it mean to fear God?
To fear God refers to having a deep reverence and respect for God and recognizing His sovereignty, power, and holiness, as mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:13. This fear of God doesn’t mean being afraid of Him or cowering in terror. The fear of God is a recognition of our smallness and insignificance in comparison to the greatness of God, and this recognition leads to humility, obedience, and submission to God’s will. The fear of God isn’t merely an emotion or feeling, it’s expressed through our actions and obedience to His will, as suggested in Proverbs 1:7. Additionally, fearing God is also related to the concept of awe and wonder as explained in Psalm 33:8. This verse suggests that when we see the majesty and power of God on display in creation, we should respond with awe and wonder, recognizing His greatness and our smallness. Theologians suggest that the fear of God is a healthy and necessary part of the Christian life, helping us to avoid sin and stay on the right path.
What does the Bible say about fearing God?
The Bible emphasizes the importance of fearing God as a fundamental aspect of faith and piety, and as mentioned earlier, this fear involves a deep sense of reverence, respect, and awe towards Him. While the fear of God might sound alarming, it’s not a sense of terror or dread but rather a healthy and positive attitude toward God that leads to wisdom, humility, obedience, and blessings. In the New Testament, the fear of God is closely linked to the concept of judgment and accountability. For instance, in 2 Corinthians 5:10, the scripture emphasizes that believers will be held accountable for their actions, and they should live their lives with a healthy fear of judgment.
The Bible also reminds us that the fear of God isn’t only a personal matter but also a communal one, as seen in Deuteronomy 6:24, where the scripture explains that the fear of God isn’t only for individual benefit but also for the well-being of the community as a whole. The Bible also says that the fear of God has practical implications for how believers live their lives, as seen in Psalm 34:9, where the Bible mentions that those who fear God will be blessed and provided for by Him.
Bible verses about Fearing God
One of the most well-known verses about fearing God is Proverbs 9:10, which suggests that the fear of the Lord is the foundation of all knowledge and understanding, and it’s the starting point for a wise and righteous life.
Psalm 111:10 explains that the fear of the Lord isn’t only the starting point of wisdom but also leads to a deep understanding of God’s ways and precepts. Matthew 10:28 mentions that believers should have a healthy fear of God, who has the power to judge and punish both the body and the soul.
Another verse about fearing God is 1 Peter 2:17, where the Bible says that fearing God is an essential aspect of showing proper respect to all people, including those in positions of authority. Additionally, Psalm 25:14 elaborates that the fear of the Lord leads to a closer relationship with Him, and He reveals His plans and purposes to those who fear Him.
Examples of fear of fearing God in the Bible
One of the examples of fearing God is in Job 2:9-10, where despite his suffering, Job maintains his fear and reverence of God, refusing to curse Him and maintaining his faith in Him.
In Genesis 6-9, Noah obeyed God and built the ark, fearing God’s wrath and judgment, despite being mocked and ridiculed by others.
According to Exodus 3-4, Moses is called by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and although at first Moses is hesitant and afraid to take on this task, he obeys God and leads the Israelites to freedom, implying that He feared God in the form of respecting His commands.
Another example is Psalm 139, where David writes about the fear and awe he has for God, recognizing God’s intimate knowledge of him and His presence in his life.
In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac, and despite the extreme difficulty of this request, Abraham obeys God out of fear and reverence for Him.
Another example is in Genesis 39, where Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison, and despite this, he remains faithful to God and maintains his fear of Him, eventually rising to a position of power and authority in Egypt.
Finally, an example of fearing God in the Bible is in Jonah 3:3, where God sends Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh, who are known for their wickedness and although Jonah initially tries to flee from God’s command but eventually obeys, leading to the repentance and salvation of the Ninevites.
How can I learn to fear God?
One of the ways you can learn to fear God is by spending time in prayer and studying God’s word to deepen your understanding of who God is and what He desires for your life. This can lead to a greater sense of awe and reverence for God. Also, when we obey God’s commands, we demonstrate our love and respect for Him, and this can help us to cultivate a healthy fear of God, knowing that He’s just and righteous and deserving of our obedience.
Additionally, acknowledging God’s power and sovereignty over all things will help you gain a greater sense of His greatness and majesty, leading to a deeper fear and reverence for Him. Finally, when you confess and repent of your sins, you demonstrate your humility before God and acknowledge His holiness and righteousness, helping you develop a healthy fear of God.
Why is it important to fear God?
One of the reasons why it’s important to fear God is that it leads to obedience. When we fear God, we are more likely to obey His commands, as seen in Deuteronomy 6:2, where God tells His people to fear Him so that they may keep His commandments. Another reason why it’s crucial to fear God is because it brings blessings, as suggested in Psalm 128:1-2. Finally, fearing God helps us avoid sin, as implied in Proverbs 16:6, and we’re more likely to resist temptation and avoid sin.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.