Fear of God  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The fear of God is an attitude to religious practice advocated in many religions, most notably the Abrahamic religions. Having the fear of God is most often considered to be a positive sign of spiritual well-being. The first mention of the fear of God in the Hebrew Bible is in Genesis 22:12, where Abraham is commended for putting his trust in God. The New Testament book of Hebrews comments on this event by explaining, "Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.' He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." (Heb 11:17-19). Because of this passage many Christians conclude that Abraham's fear of God was an act of trust in God, that God would give Isaac back to Abraham. Others believe that Abraham's fear of God was his willingness to obey God, even though it would mean losing his Son. Many Jews and Christians believe the fear of God to be devotion itself, rather than a sense of being frightened of God. It can also mean fear of God's judgment. The fear of God is described in Proverbs 8:13 as "the hatred of evil." Throughout the Bible it is said to bring many rewards. Conversely, not fearing God is said to result in Divine retribution.

References in the Hebrew Bible

It is important to note that in translations of the Hebrew Bible, "fear" is a somewhat imprecise translation of the Hebrew word "ירא," which is sometimes close in meaning to "respect" or "be in awe of."

Genesis 22:12 He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."

Exodus 1:21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.

Exodus 14:31 Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Leviticus 25:17 You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 14:23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Joshua 24:14 "Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

1 Samuel 12:14 If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well.

2 Kings 17:25 And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the LORD. Therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

2 Chronicles 26:5 He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.

Nehemiah 5:15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

Psalm 19:9 the fear of the LORD is clean,enduring forever;the rules of the LORD are true,and righteous altogether.

Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

Isaiah 11:3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

References in the New Testament

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke 1:50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

Acts 13:16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:"Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.

Romans 11:20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Revelation 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Revelation 19:5 And from the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him,small and great."

See also





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