~Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
~Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.
~Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever.
~Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.
~Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
~Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.
It is quite clear that fearing God is the very foundation of faith. However, this “fear” is not the typical definition of fear. We are not to be “afraid” of God. If you wonder why I use Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for my definitions, it is because meanings of words today are diluted. When words were translated into English at the time of the 1611 King James Bible, they were translated based upon the definition at that time. Today, however, those same words have been “weakened” or no longer pack the punch that was intended. Noah Webster has a wonderful definition for this fear of God that we should have.
In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear.
I will put my fear in their hearts. Jer. 32.
Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment. Rom. 8.
The love of God casteth out fear. 1John 4.
7. The worship of God.
I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Ps. 34.
8. The law and word of God.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever. Ps. 19.
9. Reverence; respect; due regard.
I find that you can gauge a person’s personal relationship with God by his/her attitude toward God. If a person doesn’t really know God, this same person views God as a tyrant. If a person is truly born again, this same person views God as a loving Father worthy of praise, honor, reverence, and worship.
My correct biblical “fear” is dependent on my position with God. If I am His child, I long to please Him and show Him my love – it’s a natural response to what He has done for me. If I am not born again, I am not His child but the devil’s child (John 8:44). Therefore, I really don’t care. It amazes me that people are quick to call God a cruel judge when His judgment stems on their choices and decisions.