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The problem of “Fear of the Lord”

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series The problem of ...

Fear the Lord.  
Revere the Lord.  
What’s the difference and which is it?  
Would you believe neither and both?

This came up because of something I’m writing about a verse in Ecclesiastes.  It’s not like this is the only place the question comes up.  Nor is it the first time I’m writing about this confusing / scary statement – “fear” the Lord.  But it seems important enough that it needs its own article – because it’s something that generates intense feelings – and maybe for the wrong reason(s).

The passage from Ecclesiastes is this – from the 1984 version of the NIV –

Ecc 3:9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

That one says “revere”.  That conjures up an image on your mind of what your view of God should be.

But what about this one, from the 2011 (newer) version of the NIV –

Ecc 3:14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.  1)The New International Version. (2011). (Ec 3:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Yes – the newer one says “fear” rather than “revere”.

Why?  I thought we were getting away from the fire & brimstone / Hell & damnation kind of preaching?  And yet this newer version appears to be going back to it with that statement that God puts eternity in our hearts so that people will fear him.


What’s going on?

Let’s look at this some more.  The starting place would be to look into the original Hebrew word that gets translated as either “fear” or “revere”.

First of all – my software that gives the Hebrew with the English uses the 2011 version of the NIV.  That doesn’t matter, because while the 1984 version of the NIV translates the word as “revere” in English – the Hebrew doesn’t change.  This may be obvious to you, but I want to be completely sure everyone understands that.

Second – we see there is no Hebrew word for “people”.  Based on the context of the rest of the sentence, “people” would have been understood by the Hebrew reader – but “people” is required because of English grammar rules, and to make it clear that it’s us.

Third – we see that there are actually four Hebrew words – not just one.

The two Hebrew words in the middle מַ לְ mean this is an exclamation and it’s in the “face of” something.  The translation puts these two concepts into one מִן and comes up with this meaning –

4481 מִן [min /min/] prep. Corresponding to 4480; TWOT 2833; GK 10427; 109 occurrences; AV translates as “of” 31 times, “from” 29 times, “part” six times, “… I” four times, “… me” three times, “before” three times, “after” twice, “because” twice, “Therefore” twice, “out” twice, “for” twice, “than” twice, “partly” twice, and translated miscellaneously 19 times. 1 from, out of, by, by reason of, at, more than. 1A from, out of (of place). 1B from, by, as a result of, by reason of, at, according to, (of source). 1C from (of time). 1D beyond, more than (in comparisons).  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

I have to say, that’s rather meaningless without the words on either side – otherwise we don’t really know what this is supposed to be about, and therefore we don’t really know how to assign meaning to it.

So, the first word – with the 3372 under it –

3372 יָרֵא, יָרֵא [yareʾ /yaw·ray/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 907, 908; GK 3707 and 3708; 314 occurrences; AV translates as “fear” 188 times, “afraid” 78 times, “terrible” 23 times, “terrible thing” six times, “dreadful” five times, “reverence” three times, “fearful” twice, “terrible acts” once, and translated miscellaneously eight times. 1 to fear, revere, be afraid. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to fear, be afraid. 1A2 to stand in awe of, be awed. 1A3 to fear, reverence, honour, respect. 1B (Niphal). 1B1 to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared. 1B2 to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe. 1B3 to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe. 1C (Piel) to make afraid, terrify. 2 (TWOT) to shoot, pour.  3)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Here, we see the dilemma.  Both “fear” and “reverence” are here.  In fact, they are both in the same sub-definitions.  This is getting more confusing – not less.

Let’s take a look at the last word to see if it clears things up.

6440 לִפְנֵי, לִפְנָי, פָּנֶה [paniym, always, sing.), paneh /paw·neem/] n m. From 6437; TWOT 1782a; GK 4367 and 4368 and 7156; 2109 occurrences; AV translates as “before” 1137 times, “face” 390 times, “presence” 76 times, “because” 67 times, “sight” 40 times, “countenance” 30 times, “from” 27 times, “person” 21 times, “upon” 20 times, “of” 20 times, “… me” 18 times, “against” 17 times, “… him” 16 times, “open” 13 times, “for” 13 times, “toward” nine times, and translated miscellaneously 195 times. 1 face. 1A face, faces. 1B presence, person. 1C face (of seraphim or cherubim). 1D face (of animals). 1E face, surface (of ground). 1F as adv of loc/temp. 1F1 before and behind, toward, in front of, forward, formerly, from beforetime, before. 1G with prep. 1G1 in front of, before, to the front of, in the presence of, in the face of, at the face or front of, from the presence of, from before, from before the face of.  4)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

I’d like to say it’s crystal clear now.  Problem is – it’s about as clear as mud.

Getting no help whatsoever from definitions, let’s look at the cultural meaning of the word fear.

Fear. Emotional foreboding or dread of impending distress or misfortune. Often spoken of as the source of religion. Yet fear alone can never account for true religion, since men are impelled to draw near unto God, the object of their worship. One does not desire to come close to the being he fears.   5)Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 781). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

 OK – we’re getting somewhere now.  Fear – and yet not only fear, but something else as well.

If we read and understand the Bible, one message we should get is that God wants us to be close to Him.  Even the passage we looked at earlier says – 

Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.

God wouldn’t do these things unless He cared about us.  Further, going back to the beginning – before the Fall – God used to walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  And with the Resurrection we have the opportunity to be with God forever.  

This certainly falls in line with the feeling that fear – if it’s the word as we know it – certainly cannot be the only thing the original Hebrew word means.

Let’s continue with Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible –

The biblical conception of fear embraces a much wider dimension than our common English word, which simply denotes some sort of dread or terror. While this meaning forms an essential part of the scriptural picture, it is by no means the primary significance, especially when the fear of God—an awe-inspiring reverence—is referred to.  6)Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, pp. 781–782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Grade levels for American English Bibles.

This confirms what I’ve often said here – when we get our English translations of the Bible, the words used just do not get across the intent of the authors – they don’t paint an appropriate picture of what was going on at the time – the emotions and feelings involved – and therefore, we don’t truly understand or appreciate what the Bible tries to tell us.

What follows is not a complete list. but it does have 31 popular Bible translations – showing the reading grade level and the age for that grade.  You can change the number of translations visible on your screen, search for a translation, and sort ascending / descending on any field to help you with comparing them.

AcronymFull NameGrade LevelAge Level
NIrVNew International Reader's Version3.18
NLVNew Life Version3.58
ICBInternational Children's Bible3.58
ERVEasy to Read Version4.09
NCVNew Century Version4.19
GWGod's Word5.110
CEVContemporary English5.510
MSGThe Message (also TM)5.810
NLTNew Living Translation6.311
SEBSimplified English Bible6.711
NABNew American Bible6.811
GNTGood News Translation7.112
TLBThe Living Bible7.312
TNIVToday's NIV7.512
NIVNew International Version7.712
TIBThe Inclusive Bible7.712
NETNew English Translation7.812
HCSBHolman Christian Standard Version8.313
ESVEnglish Standard Version8.415
NKJVNew King James Version8.513
BBEThe Bible in Basic English8.513
NJBNew Jerusalem Bible8.713
NRSVNew Revised Standard9.814
JBJerusalem Bible10.015
REBRevised English Bible10.015
NASBNew American Standard10.715
AMPAmplified Bible11.016
RSVRevised Standard Version11.016
KJVKing James Version11.819
DR-CRDouay-Rheims Challoner Revision12.017
ASVAmerican Standard Version12.017

Notice – 11 of them are at a grade school reading level!  Compare that with either 8 or 9 (depending on whether you count 9th grade) as high school level.  One Bible that I could not find a grade level associated with is Young’s Literal Translation.  If you’re a frequent reader, you’ve probably noticed that I go to this one when things get difficult to interpret.  On another list I found that assigns a target audience to each translation, Young’s Literal Translation was the only one targeted at a college level person.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It does, however, mean that in order to get deeper into the intended meaning of the Bible – we need to take more time to study.  As we’ll see below, this is exactly what the Hebrew people in the Old Testament did.  The same is true for the Christians of the early church in the New Testament.

Why is this important?

To see why these grade levels being so low are a problem for us today, let’s look at something from a time when few people could even read.  One would think that not being able to read is a problem as far as understanding scripture.  However – that’s far from the case.  Here’s a short description of education for God’s people in ancient times –

Education. The original purpose of Jewish education was to teach children to know and understand their special relationship with God, to teach them to serve him, and to educate them in “holiness.” Later Jewish education included character development and the history of God’s people (particularly through rehearsing his acts of deliverance). Because of that education, the Jews knew the Mosaic law and their own history, and during periods of subjection to foreign powers they were able to maintain their national pride. In modern times they have reestablished themselves as a nation (1948).  7)Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 657). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

This is a whole different point of view for education than what we have today.  Yes, a much higher percentage of the population in developed countries can read than the Hebrew people in Old Testament times, or at the time of the early church in the New Testament.  But that didn’t mean they didn’t know their scriptures.  In fact – they knew it better than most of us today.  It was harder to learn, because so few people could read the scrolls (not books) – but it was so important to them that it was the original purpose for education.  Even from just a historical point of view – it’s a sad commentary on modern education in too many places – not to mention the fact that in “progressive” countries, like the U.S., God and religion are pretty much out of the picture.

Today, it’s up to someone to read the Bible to know what it says.   Yes, we get pieces and parts in church, but when one hears a sermon for a half hour or so, once a week – if we even go to church every week – it’s going to take forever to get through the Bible.  Bible study can be a great help – but how many people go?

Just compare our modern-day knowledge of the Bible with the people in ancient days knowledge of Scripture – and guess who really knew their stuff?  Hint – it’s not us.  And having Bibles at such low-grade levels doesn’t help, especially when it’s pretty much us, reading it on our own – if at all.  When people couldn’t read – they had to learn from someone else – like their Rabbi – who knew this stuff backwards and forwards – and it was in their native language – so they knew all the nuances of the words.  They understood it.

But us?  We have things like this verse in Ecclesiastes – that talks about fear the Lord and revere the Lord.  And way too many people think it always means to be like that little yellow thing at the top of the page – worried and scared.

To really show just how big the difference is between then and now, let me include a bit more from a cultural point of view –

Education in the Home. The priority given to education stemmed from the value of children in the Jewish family. Children were a great joy and reward (Ps 127:3–5). Education in the home began soon after a child could talk, and certainly by the age of three. Parents taught prayers and songs which children learned by repetition, just as children today learn nursery rhymes.
At home, children became aware of certain religious items and symbols. They were encouraged to ask about the meaning of the annual Passover ritual (Ex 12:26), which served throughout Hebrew history as a fundamental means of instruction about the nature and significance of God’s power in human life. Children undoubtedly had questions about objects they encountered, whether sacred vessels, ornaments, or clothing used in the tabernacle or temple worship, or more mundane things of everyday life.  8)Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 657). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

How many of us, as Christians, got anything like that?  I know I didn’t.

But, there’s more, keeping in mind that the culture of the time looked at education very differently between girls and boys –

Religious Education. At an early age children accompanied their parents to religious services. At the great festivals they were introduced to important episodes in Jewish history. The Jews, an agricultural people, believed that agricultural knowledge had been revealed by God and that tending the ground was a basic human responsibility. Like some other Near Eastern nations, they believed that the land belonged to God. They were merely tenants. If a crop failed, it was because God withheld rain, but he would do that only if the people were sinful.
The celebrations of the Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of tabernacles were associated with the harvest. Throughout the biblical period those festivals remained closely identified with the growing season. Such occasions became educational opportunities for children. They learned that the Passover commemorated the deliverance of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. At Pentecost the Jewish people remembered God giving the Law to Moses on Mt Sinai. The feast of tabernacles, with its green booths made from tree branches, commemorated God’s faithfulness to the Jews on their seemingly endless journey to the Promised Land.
An example of a ceremony used as a teaching tool is the Passover ritual, which of the three great festivals was the least directly connected in origin with the harvest. That feast, which was immediately followed by a seven-day period known as the feast of unleavened bread (Lv 23:6), was associated with the beginning of the barley harvest in April. (The exodus from Egypt had taken place at that time of year.)  9)Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 658). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

If you’re felling a little bit behind – you’d better sit down.  There’s even more –

Formal Education. Jewish education during the biblical period consisted of acquiring an intimate knowledge of the Law, studying the history of the Jewish people, and becoming proficient in reading, writing, and a certain amount of arithmetic. To that, incidental information such as the medicinal value of certain herbs (see 1 Kgs 4:33) might sometimes be added.  10)Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 658). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Subject Matter. Early education consisted of learning the Law through listening and oral repetition, along with the study of the written text. The content of the Law covered three main areas: ceremonial, civil, and criminal. Students needed to master these, preparing themselves to take responsibility for observing the Law as adults.
The Scriptures contained such a variety of writings that pupils learned about religion, history, law, morals, and manners, plus reading, writing, and arithmetic. They studied from great literature; along with the Law they used the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes extensively as texts.  11)Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 659). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

I’ll stop here – because it just keeps getting more and more embarrassing for us today.

Back to “fear”

OK – now that we pretty much all feel bad about our religious education, let’s get back to the issue of fear – one the Hebrew people would have immediately known without all the work we have to go through.

when fear means fear

Sometimes, the word fear in the Bible really does mean the kind of fear we think of.  However – it’s not without a good reason to feel that kind of fear –

There is, of course, a legitimate place for the fear of God in the lower, anxious sense. We are told, “It is a fearful (terrible) thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Jesus taught that we should fear him (God) who has power to punish sin and consign men to utter destruction (Lk 12:4, 5). Fear has a constructive role to play in enabling men to realize both the degeneracy of their souls and their need of divine forgiveness. The first occurrence of such fear may be found in Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve recoiled from the presence of the Holy God whose commandment they had blatantly spurned. Their fear was entirely reasonable for they had been sternly warned that disobedience would incur a grave judgment. Fear is quite naturally the logical consequence of sin (Gn 3:10; 4:13, 14; Prv 28:1). The Bible presents an array of people who are plagued with deep-reaching anxiety (e.g., Cain, Saul, Ahaz, and Pilate). Anxious fear seizes the wicked (Jb 15:24), surprises the hypocrite (Is 33:14), and consumes evildoers (Ps 73:19), whose faithless lives are characterized by fear (Rv 21:8). Pharaoh’s mighty host was virtually paralyzed by fear as God moved against them (Ex 15:16), and Job’s associate Bildad spoke of men driven to their knees by the judgments of God (Jb 18:11).  12)Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

However – that kind of fear isn’t always appropriate.  How often, even in the Old Testament, do we read the words “do not be afraid” when God, or an Angel of the Lord, first come in contact with someone?  And, as Christians, we should know about this –

Jesus Christ, by his atoning death, resurrection, and heavenly intercession for believers, is the unique liberator from fear. The apostle Paul encouraged the Romans by informing them that in their conversion to Christ, they received the Holy Spirit, not as a spirit of fear and bondage, but as the spirit of adoption, whereby they could address God as “Abba” (Rom 8:15; the Aramaic word commonly used by Jewish children to address their fathers). This is the word by which our Lord Jesus addressed his heavenly Father and which Christians, by virtue of their adoption into the family of God, may also use in speaking to God (Gal 4:6). Recipients of God’s love have received a dynamic force for casting out their anxieties (1 Jn 4:18). A sense of God’s intimate love inspired Paul to say, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).  13)Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Jesus coming to earth was partly about telling us that we didn’t need to be afraid.  That is, unless we choose to reject Jesus – in which case the modern meaning of fear is totally appropriate.

And so we arrive at –

Genuine faith is expressed in, and animated by, a reverential awe, and this is the basic meaning of the biblical idea of the fear of God. Unless there is personal awareness of the awesome and majestic sovereignty of God, it is impossible to have a meaningful faith existing in one’s heart (Pss 5:7; 89:7). When God was called “the fear of Isaac” (Gn 31:42) it showed the patriarch’s understanding of the immutable greatness of Yahweh. Isaac’s father, Abraham, anxiously observed the absence of this holy fear in the people who dwell in Gerar (20:11). Even Jesus carried out his ministry in the fear of God (Is 11:2, 3; Heb 5:7). Though Christians are to be liberated from the fear of men (Heb 13:6), death (2:15), and life in general (2 Tm 1:6, 7), they must never lose their sense of the awesomeness of God. Such awareness not only leads to true wisdom (Ps 111:1) but also provides direction for the child of God throughout life (Phil 2:12; Eph 5:21).  14)Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

In this final paragraph, we see that “fear of the Lord” – in the Biblical sense – is absolutely a part of genuine faith.  This kind of “fear of the Lord” is something Jesus had.  This kind of “fear” – “fear of the Lord” – includes realizing the awesomeness of God.  Even though we can only get a tiny sense of what God might be like – He is so much more than us – and that where words like awe, reverence, respect (to an incredible level) come in.  


Being in fear of God – the modern “afraid of” kind of fear – is a natural response, when we start to get even an idea of just how awesome, powerful, and great God is.  Having said that, when that knowledge is accompanied with reverence, faith, belief – we also see that God’s response to our being afraid is to tell us – “don’t be afraid”.  It’s kind of like fear without fear.  

Not having that reverence, faith, belief, salvation through Jesus – then it’s fear with fear.  Ultimately, it will be nothing but fear.  A fear that we probably can’t even imagine.

The thing is – we get to choose which “fear” of the Lord we will experience.  Faith – belief in Jesus – and it’s the reverence kind of “fear”.  Rejection of Jesus – and it’s Fear with a capital “F” – the scary one.

And that is why it’s so important to figure out what words like these in the Bible actually mean.  Fear of the Lord doesn’t have to be something to be afraid of.  In fact, “fear of the Lord” the way Jesus had it – isn’t fear, but should be the absence of fear.  Too many people read / hear “fear of the Lord” – and automatically think that we’re supposed to be afraid of God all the time – and, they think, for good reason.  It’s like God wants us to be afraid of Him.  But, as we just saw, that’s not the case at all.

Chances are – most non-Christians don’t know this.  They think “fear the Lord” means be afraid of the Lord.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised that a significant number of “Christians” also have the “scared” type of “fear of the Lord“.

In addition – I wonder just how many Christians who know “fear of the Lord” doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him actually know why.  If someone was to ask you, before you read this, would you have been able to explain something like “fear of the Lord” – or why some translations say “fear” and others say “revere”?

The thing is – this is a relatively simple example of confusing words.  That’s why I chose it to write about.  The point was to show what the people knew about the Scriptures in the Old Testament and early New Testament times  – compared to what we know now – and the importance of us learning more.  There’s another articleI’m writing now about Jesus’ death on the cross being a fragrant aroma to God.  Think about that one for a while.  It’s not an analogy.  It’s not a mistake.  There’s a reason why the Bible says that.  And I’ll go into that as well.  My point is – there are plenty of times we need to ask ourselves – do we really know / understand what God’s trying to tell us through the Bible – His Word.  I think that quite often, we feel like the answer is yes – we do know.  

The thing is – when we learn more about the original language / culture / original intent of these incredible words – the deeper our own faith can be.  It takes time.  It takes effort.  But hey – it’s for God, our creator, our hope and our salvation.  If He’s not worth our time and effort – who / what is?

As a reminder, Jesus said –

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Obviously, I’m talking about Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
But just as much – Love your neighbor as yourself.  Implicit in that statement is something it taken a long time for me to realize (and it’s ongoing) is that Jesus loves us – and our neighbors.  Obviously we’re supposed to love our neighbors.  The hidden message (at least hidden from me) is that we are supposed to love ourselves as well.  Not in some kind of narcissistic way – but in the same way that Jesus wants us to love our neighbors.  If we don’t feel that “Jesus kind of love” for ourselves – if we think we have no value – how can we possibly feel the right kind of love for someone else?

And part of all that love for ourselves – for our neighbors – and for God – is taking the time to really learn about the Bible.

I’ll leave you with one closing thought.

There was a time in the Old Testament when The Book of The Law was lost.  Yes – lost.  As in lost but not found.

To give an idea of the importance of The Book of The Law, here’s God telling Joshua about it –

Jos 1:6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

For us today – where all Christians are called to make disciples of all the nations (another interesting Bible term) – even if it’s only by being an example to non-Christians – it’s just as important that all of us know our Book – the Bible.  Otherwise – we end up in a scenario like this one, when The Book of The Law was finally found –

2Ki 22:8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
2Ki 22:11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 12 He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: 13 “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’S anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

Whether we don’t know what’s in our Book because we (a) lost it or (b) have it but don’t read it (c) read it but don’t understand it – it makes no difference.  Bottom line – in all those scenarios – we don’t know it.

To put it bluntly, for a Christian to not even take the effort to understand the Bible – it’s just wrong.  It says something about our commitment to God – and it’s not good.  How can we even be a good light to the world when we don’t know how to do that?

If you’re not already trying to learn what the Bible really tells us – I encourage you – make your light shine brighter – learn more about it!

References   [ + ]

1. The New International Version. (2011). (Ec 3:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
2, 3, 4. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
5. Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 781). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
6. Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, pp. 781–782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
7, 8. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 657). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
9, 10. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 658). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
11. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Education. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 659). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
12, 13, 14. Sacks, S. D. (1988). Fear. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 782). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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The problem of “Fear of the Lord”


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