Meaning of "fear the Lord"


The phrase "fear the Lord" is used a lot in the Bible, as in the book of Sirach, Chap 6: " ... and those who fear the Lord will find him." , speaking of the value of friendship. Is the word "fear" the same in meaning as "love" the Lord?


God is wonderful, loving, in a good mood UNTIL you decide to not reciprocate his awesome love for you, when that happens he is way worse than your worst nightmare times 1000. He's a tender-hearted, loving daddy but no longer so when you don't do things his way, it's literally "his way or the highway". You can't be aware of just who God is and not fear him. Of course I resent the binary system of "love God or suffer endless torments eternally", a simple "go back to sleep if God is not your cup of tea" would have been more reasonable. Which makes every human birth a potential tragedy. A God that could ,to a large extent, truly satisfy the human heart while on this paradise-like planet, heal broken hearts and not play hide and seek, and try to mystify us left and right would have been a better option. I lacked in about every aspect of my life apart from a roof and food, it was only proper that the guy who created me would also fail me. If he was heartless enough to let Natascha Kampusch suffer the hellish ordeal she went through, think of how safe you are with him, why would he protect you and not her? That he didn't bother to let her escape much sooner shows you that the souls in hell crying for mercy will not remove the smile from his happy face. He wants his will done and he wants us unworthy creatures' songs and praises, the rest he disregards. You're lonely, your heart has been repeatedly broken, if you have time to waste, tell him about it and see what it does. It is about him, not us. Honestly, could you truly love and trust someone whom you know could very well bury you alive if he was displeased with you?


[quote="searcher8405, post:1, topic:336132"]
The phrase "fear the Lord" is used a lot in the Bible, as in the book of Sirach, Chap 6: " ... and those who fear the Lord will find him." , speaking of the value of friendship. Is the word "fear" the same in meaning as "love" the Lord?


The term that is translated as "fear" also includes the idea of "Awe"...even "over-awed"...Think about the reaction of people in the OT to visions and voices...they draw back, they fall to the ground etc. These are actions that can be driven both by what we would call "fear" but also by "awe".

But no - fear of the Lord is not the same thing as love of God in Scripture

Probably the most commonly quoted "fear" reference is from proverbs..."Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."

So - fear (and awe) is the beginning of wisdom. RobertAnthony expresses that fear quite well in his post above. It's kind of sad that this fear seems to have led Robert to anger. But that happens sometimes.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom....Love of the Lord is the culmination of that wisdom.

We very often begin with the fears Robert expresses...fear of punishment...but over time and through prayer and growing in holiness, such fears give way to affection and more affection and eventually to a true and intense love.

Remember that Jesus said to the Apostles..."I no longer call you servants but friends".

Should friends fear one another?

Hope this helps a bit...



I had the same question as you when I started reading the Bible. Then I came across this footnote in the NABRE that made sense to me

“Fear of the LORD: primarily a disposition rather than the emotion of fear; reverential awe and respect toward God combined with obedience to God’s will.”

Excerpt From: Contraternity of Christian Doctrine. “NABRE - New American Bible (Revised Edition).” St. Benedict Press, 2010-08-19. iBooks.


St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 7 March 1274) treats the gift of fear in his Summa Theologica, where it is answered that God can and should be feared only in the sense that we sever ourselves from Him by evil deeds. It is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost in Isaiah 11:2-3.

Summa Theologica IIa 1a:19:1

In relation to God the evil of fault can come to us, if we be separated from Him: and in this way God can and ought to be feared.


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