Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Fear (Eugene H. Merrill)
While the normal meaning of fear as dread or terror is retained in the theological use of the terms, a special nuance of reverential awe or worshipful respect becomes the dominant notion….. Usually, however, the fear of the Lord is an inducement to obedience and service:to fear God is to do his will…. To fear God is to know Him and to know Him is to fear him. Such healthy fear enables one to praise God; to enjoy benefits and blessings at his hand; to rest in peace and security and to experience length of days But fear of God also produces fear of wrath and judgment in those who do not know him or who refuse to serve him.
So what, you may ask, does the fear of the Lord mean? I like some thoughts JoHanna Reardon says in her blog on Christianity Today: What does it mean to fear God? JoHannah Reardon
She says I often hear people explain the fear of the Lord as a mere respect or reverence. But the Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God, so we make a mistake when we downplay it.
Scripture is full of examples of how fearing God is a positive rather than a negative thing… And lest you think this is only an Old Testament idea, note that Jesus states this stronger than anyone when he says:
"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell".
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Ray Curle, truth bringer and watchman. From pirate radio to campaign manager for the late evangelist Bill Subritzky, Ray is now running Wild Side Ministries (evangelism with a prophetic edge),