What does it mean to Fear God?
In Ecclesiastes 12:13 the Bible teaches that the whole duty of man is to (1) Fear God and (2) Keep His Commandments.
The New Testament also teaches us that we should fear God. In Revelation 14:7 the first angel’s message says “Fear God, and give glory to him”. Deuteronomy 5:29 and 1 Peter 2:17 also teaches that we should Fear God.
Fearing God is part of the whole duty of man, and is commanded in both the Old and New Testaments, and therefore must be very important. Now when I ask people what it actually means to “Fear God” then most of them have a hard time to explain from the Bible what it actually means. They usually mention something they heard from a pastor or read on the internet. But what does it mean, according to the Bible, to Fear God?
In Proverbs 9:10 the Bible says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. This does not give us the meaning of the fear of the Lord, but teaches us that if we know what the fear of the Lord is, then we will also know what the beginning of wisdom is.
There are two verses that I am thinking of where the Bible teaches us what the fear of the Lord is, and both of them teach the same truth.
The first one is found in Proverbs 15:33 and it says “the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom”. But what is the instruction of wisdom? Look at my video entitled “What is wisdom?” to see what the Bible teaches about wisdom. Let us leave this verse for the video on wisdom and let us rather look now at another verse that also gives the definition:
In Proverbs 8:13 we learn what it means to fear the Lord, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil”
When you hate evil, it also means that you love what is good and right. How do we know that? Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”
If we hate what is good, then we love what is evil. If we love what is good, then we hate what is evil.
The Bible thus clearly teaches us that to Fear God means to love what is good, and to hate evil. When the Bible commands us to fear God, this is exactly what is meant. God wants you and me to love what is good and hate evil.