What Does “The Fear Of The LORD” Mean?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 1:7 HCSB

The word “fear” brings to the reader the understanding that when it is used for God, it’s a positive and good thing. For example. You are driving a car with a speed limit of 45. And, while the road starts to curve, you see a cop car stationed at the end of the curve. You notice that you are driving too fast, 55 miles an hour. Your fear for the officer makes you slow down to the speed limit of 45. Now, your fear wasn’t that the officer was going to torture you for going too fast but that he had the authority to punish you with a ticket for breaking the law. 

Not only did it make you slow down, but it also made you safer on the road for you and everyone else. It is the same way when it comes to fear the LORD. The word also means to have reverence, respect, and to be in awe of.

Fear keeps you obeying God’s Word because, without it, you will stray and invite discipline from the Lord. Also, fear enables you to exalt the Lord and worship Him because of who He is and What He has done for you.

Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. -Proverbs 3:7

To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. -Proverbs 8:13