Fear of God

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“Fear of the Lord” entails…an emotional response of fear, love and trust. The unified psychological poles of fear and love come prominently to the fore in the surprisingly uniform way Deuteronomy treats “love of the Lord” and “fear of the Lord” (cf. 5:29 with 6:2, and 6:5 with Josh. 24:14; cf. 10:12, 20; 13:5). In Isaiah 29:13 Israel’s distorted “fear of me” is rejected precisely because it is made up only of rules taught by men. According to Proverbs 2:1-5, “the fear of the Lord” is found through heartfelt prayer and diligent seeking for the sage’s words. In 15:33, “humility” and “fear of the Lord” are parallel terms, and in 22:4 “humility” is defined as “the fear of the Lord sort.”

Bruce K. Waltke from The Book of Proverbs Volume 1, pg. 101

The true fear of God is a child-like fear. Some of the Puritans used to call it a "filial fear." It is a combination of holy respect and glowing love. To fear God is to have a heart that is sensitive to both His Godness and His graciousness. It means to experience great awe and a deep joy simultaneously when one begins to understand who God really is and what He has done for us.


Therefore the true fear of God is not a fear that makes a person run away and flee from God. It is a fear that drives him to God. Love for God and fear of Him are, therefore, not at all incompatible. To think that they are is to fail to see the richness of the character of the God we worship. It is to ignore the way in which knowing Him in all of His attributes, and responding appropriately to Him, stretches our emotional capacities to their limit. Scripture portrays the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord as companion emotions.

P.J. (Flip) Buys from The Fear of God as a Central Part of Reformed Spirituality

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