The fear of God in its true sense.

Essay by patel_rushaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2003

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Some may be of the opinion that the word "fear," as it appears in the Bible, does not really mean what it says. In the Old Testament, several Hebrew words are used which translate into the English equivalent of "fear. The same is the case in the New Testament. Several Greek words are used, which translate much the same. People are often confused by the concept of fearing God. They think that God requires that people actually be afraid of Him, which is far from the truth. Most of this confusion is due to a poor choice of words used by the English translators of the Bible. In nearly every case, it means exactly what it says--fears, be afraid, terror, dreadful fear, and so on. In some cases, it may mean reverence, as to revere or respect someone with great power.

The book of Proverbs makes it clear that the awe of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, an awe equated with the "knowledge of the Holy One" (Prov 9:10; 1:7; Psalm 111:10).

To be in awe of God is to know him and to know him is to be in awe of him. The fear of God comes from the knowledge of God, which is from knowing God. The children of Israel had an encounter with God that made an impression on them at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:17-19. In God's presence the people were terrified, but Moses explained that this was good for them. God had revealed a small portion of His power to them so that the fear of God would be with them to keep them from sinning. The fear of God leads to obedience of God, which gives them confidence in their hearts before God. The greater our knowledge of God the greater our love will...