The word translated “fear” in many versions of the Bible comes from the Hebrew word yirah (יִרְאָה), which has a range of meaning in the Scriptures. Sometimes it refers to the fear we feel in anticipation of some danger or pain, but it also can mean “awe” or “reverence. In this latter sense, yirah includes the idea of wonder, amazement, mystery, astonishment, gratitude, admiration, and even worship (like the feeling you get when gazing from the edge of the Grand Canyon). The “fear of the LORD” therefore includes an overwhelming sense of the glory, worth, and beauty of the One True God.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. 15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
7 He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. 8 Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. 9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.
1 “Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the Lord your God. 2 You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
3 “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. 5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.
6 “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. 7 In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.
9 “I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
14 “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!
18 “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. 20 All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.
21 “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. 22 I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted.
23 “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me,24 then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. 25 I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies. 26 I will destroy your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake bread for their families. They will ration your food by weight, and though you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.
27 “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, 28 then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins. 29 Then you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will destroy your pagan shrines and knock down your places of worship. I will leave your lifeless corpses piled on top of your lifeless idols,[a]and I will despise you. 31 I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of pagan worship. I will take no pleasure in your offerings that should be a pleasing aroma to me. 32 Yes, I myself will devastate your land, and your enemies who come to occupy it will be appalled at what they see. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years as it lies desolate while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed. 35 As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.
36 “And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall even when no one pursues you. 37 Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword. You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. 38 You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in your enemies’ lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
40 “But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. 41 When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins.42 Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.
44 “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. 45 For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
46 These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship[a] of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. 22 Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. 23 Fear of the Lord leads to life,
bringing security and protection from harm.
5 The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished. 6 Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. 7 When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.
33 So I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.” 34 Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. 36 This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
18 The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. 20 The Lord protects all those who love him, but he destroys the wicked.
26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. 30 For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
1 Peter 1:16-18
16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! 15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
1 John 4:17-19
17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[a] because he loved us first.
23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of he the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.
8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord.
47 If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, 48 you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.
15 He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. 16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. 17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory— for all its strength, it cannot save you. 18 But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! 2 It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. 3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.
5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
1 Timothy 5:8
8 But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
2 What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? 4 Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?
2 Timothy 4:2
2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there, confused and humiliated. Anyone who opposes you will die and come to nothing.
1 The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
2 O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, 3 do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. 5 For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed. 6 Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress. 7 Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more. 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. 9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. 11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. 14 She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. 18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. 19 Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. 21 She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. 22 She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. 23 Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. 24 She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. 26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. 27 She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. 28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: 29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.