What Does The Bible Say About Fearing God

Often seen as a central theme in the Bible, the idea of ‘fearing God’ permeates throughout many scriptures and books in the Bible. Fearing God, or reverencing Him, can be seen as an acknowledgement of God’s power, greatness, and strength. While the idea of fearing God can seem obscure and antiquated in modern times, in the Bible it stands as an exemplar of faith, humility, and proper respect to God’s laws and authority.

In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 10:12 declares that “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” This scripture speaks to the idea that, beyond ethical behavior and moral choices, God desires his people to revere Him and show proper respect to his greatness.

The book of Proverbs from the Old Testament adds a layer of clarity to the idea of fearing God. Proverbs 1:7 states “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” In this context, the ‘fear of the LORD’ stands as the foundation of intelligence and reason. This further speaks to the reverence of God that many believed should be the starting point of morality and law-abiding behavior.

Fear of God should always be balanced with a reverence and respect that exalts the greatness of God while also recognizing and appreciating his power and sovereignty. Ecclesiastes 12:13 provides a sense of balance when it states “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Fearing God does not necessarily need to imply a sense of terror or fear as if one is in danger that could often be associated with modern-day fears. Instead, it can be interpreted to resemble more closely the idea of reverence and respect. This is best exemplified by Job 28:28 which gives “And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

Christ and the Fear of God

The life of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for the sins of the people is a strong example of the way in which the fear of God can be understood. Jesus’ obedience and reverence for his Father in Heaven was clear in the way he lived his life, endured temptation, and taught his disciples – all of which showed that Jesus respected and obeyed the law of God, despite knowing His own power and divinity. In this way, Jesus upheld the concept of ‘fearing God’ and stands as a model for the way in which respect, reverence, and obedience can be demonstrated towards God.

Living Out Fear of God For Believers

For those who believe in Jesus and the message of God contained in the Bible, living out the fear of God is more than a scriptural practice. It is a commitment to honoring the authority of God and His will, while also recognizing His sovereignty and power. Matthew 10:29 states “for even the hairs of your head are all numbered”, stressing the point that nothing can be hidden from God, and that He is master of all creation. In keeping with this, believers present an understanding of fear of God that involves acknowledging the power of God and a commitment to His will.

Believers show respect and reverence for God by way of prayer, confession of sins, and adhering to a moral standard based on God’s laws. This idea is echoed in Proverbs 3:7 which states “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Fear of the Lord should be applied to the moral choices and actions of each person – to ensure faithfulness to the laws and standards of God.

Spiritual Rewards of Fear of God

Scripture is full of examples that denote the spiritual rewards of one who chooses to fear God. Proverbs 28:14 says “Happy is the man that feareth alway:but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” Meaning, those that choose to live in the reverent fear of God can have the assurance of happiness, whereas those that resist His will, will suffer the consequences of gone awry from the will of God. This concept is also extremely applicable to modern believers as a reminder to stay obedient and humble before God.

In addition, the Bible is clear that those that fear God and abide by His guidance experience spiritual blessings that those who don’t’ cannot experience. Psalm 112:1 states “Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.” Believing in fear of the Lord and living according to His commandments opens the door to spiritual blessings, while also ensuring safety and blessings on a multitude of other areas in life.

God’s Character of Love

Although the concept of ‘fearing God’often has an intimidating connotation, it is important to remember that it is often used in scripture to describe a relationship that involves love, reverence, and obedience. Whenever God interacts with His people in the Bible, it is often out of love and grace, and with the intention to guide His people in the right direction. This is demonstrated in countless passages in the Bible, including but not limited to John 3:16, which states “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In this spirit, fear of God can be seen as an act of love – both for the believer and God himself.

The Fear of God in the New Testament

Although the Old Testament features a large body of scriptures regarding fear of God, the New Testament does not neglect this theme either. In Ephesians 5:21 Paul offers his readers the simple command “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This verse speaks to the idea that believers should demonstrate proper respect to God through obedience and support to each other. This can be seen as a modern context way in which the fear of God can be put into practice.

While fear of God may not be commonplace in modern culture, the scriptures of the Bible provide ample evidence that it is a worthwhile practice and an important factor in the relationship between man and God. In honoring the power, greatness, and omnipotence of God, believers demonstrate a level of respect and reverence that God desires. Obedience to His standards, laws, and way of life can ensure if not a prosperous material life, a spiritual life that is in the presence of God.

The Power of Prayer

The act of prayer is often used in combination with the reverent fear of God – as a way to connect with God and as a demonstration of faithfulness to Him. In times of joy, celebration, sorrow, physical and emotional pain, prayer offers solace and comfort and can help bring a sense of peace in difficult times. In this way, prayer is a powerful symbol of the reverence for God and a way for believers to connect with God, often relying on Him for peace, strength, and guidance.

The Psalms offer a plethora of examples of prayer and faith that demonstrate prayer as an effective tool for communication between God and man. This is probably best depicted in Psalm 46:10 which reads “Be still, and know that I am God” – offering believers a sense of peace, comfort, and knowledge of the true power of God.


The idea of ‘fearing God’ is a central theme of the Bible, and implies more than a sense of terror or danger. It is often used to denote an expression of respect and honor for God – demonstrating humility and obedience to His will and guidance. In these times, it is important to reverence, recognize, and honor the laws and authority of God, while also relying on Him in faith and connecting to Him through prayer.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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