Bible Reading: Proverbs 1:1-32

As we begin a new series in Proverbs we will take a key verse from each chapter in Proverbs and we are beginning with what is possibly the key verse of the whole Book of Proverbs:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” [Proverbs 1:7]

The phrase “the fear of the Lord” is found many times in the Bible but is possibly one of the most misunderstood of phrases. Many times I have been asked why God wants us to be afraid of Him. That is not the meaning of the phrase “the fear of the Lord.” This fear is not a bad fear but has the meaning of reverence and respect.

The fear of the Lord is the awesome respect and reverence for the person of the Lord and His authority. This reverence for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The word beginning means “the first principle” but can also mean “the first step towards” – literally the first step to grow in the knowledge of the Lord is to have reverence for Him.

The fear of the Lord is to shun, hate and avoid sin [Proverbs 8:13; 3:7; 16:6]. When we have a right attitude and relationship with God we will hate sin. In this sense the fear of the Lord is protective, because it keeps us from sin.

The fear of the Lord is life-giving [Proverbs 14:27] and adds to the length of life [Proverbs 10:27]. It also leads to peace and contentment – “The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble” [Proverbs 19:23]. This rightful reverence for God together with humility brings both wealth and honour as well as life [Proverbs 22:4].

The fear of the Lord is a choice that we make! In Proverbs 1:29 we read that God will not answer or be found of those who did not choose to fear the Lord.

The writer of Proverbs exhorts us not to be envious of sinners, but to always be zealous for the fear of the Lord [Proverbs 23:17].

Let’s choose to submit to God, obey Him and choose to reverence Him.


What is the evidence that a person fears the Lord?

Why is the fear of the Lord so important to the Christian?

How would you explain to someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of the fear of the Lord is?