“The fear of God is the soul of godliness.” How often do you think about the “fear of God?” Would you say that this fear is a significant part of your Christian life? Do you measure your spiritual growth by your growth in this particular virtue? Do you ask yourself questions like: How much do I fear God? Is my fear of God deepening and growing? Could I be accurately described as one how fears God? As a “god fearing man or woman?” (see Job 1:1)
The Scriptures are filled with references to the fear of God. It is a dominant theme in Scripture. I want to give you a sampling below of a few of the key passages of Scripture that deal with this topic. And as you come face to face with the weight of what God has revealed on this subject, I would like to ask you to consider if you are giving sufficient attention to this foundational aspect of your life as a Christian.
Here are some passages to consider (this list is not an exhaustive list):
- Genesis 31:42 (NASB95) — 42 “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night.”
- Exodus 18:21 (NASB95) — 21 “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.
- Deuteronomy 4:10 (NASB95) — 10 “Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’
- Nehemiah 7:2 (NASB95) — 2 then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.
- Job 1:1 (NASB95) — 1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
- Job 1:8 (NASB95) — 8 The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
- Job 1:9 (NASB95) — 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing?
- Psalm 103:11 (NASB95) — 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
- Psalm 111:10 (NASB95) — 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.
- Proverbs 1:7 (NASB95) — 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NASB95) — 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
- Isaiah 11:2–3 (NASB95) — 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength,The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
- Jeremiah 32:38–40 (NASB95) — 38 “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.
- Luke 1:49–50 (NASB95) — 49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50 “AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
- Matthew 10:28 (NASB95) — 28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Acts 9:31 (NASB95) — 31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB95) — 1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
- Ephesians 5:21 (NASB95) — 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
- Philippians 2:12–13 (NASB95) — 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
- Hebrews 10:31 (NASB95) — 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
- 1 Peter 1:17 (NASB95) — 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
- Revelation 15:3–4 (NASB95) — 3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! 4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”
- Revelation 19:4–5 (NASB95) — 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.”
In his book, The Forgotten Fear, Albert Martin gives these three conclusions based on these Scriptures:
- “… to be devoid of the fear of God is to be devoid of biblical and saving religion.”
- “… one of the accurate measurements of true spiritual growth is the measure to which one increases in walking in the fear of God.”
- “… to be ignorant of the meaning of the fear of God is to be ignorant of a basic and essential doctrine of revealed religion.”
May the Lord help each of us individually to continue to grow in our knowledge of and experience in the fear of Himself. And may BBC be known as a local congregation filled with those who greatly fear the Lord and who are “going on in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31).
In Christ alone,