Have you ever wondered what the Fear of the Lord is?
If it’s the beginning of wisdom, like Proverbs states, then I should figure out what it means so I can be a wise man.
No better definition and explanation of the fear of the Lord have I found than what I read from Donald Grey Barnhouse’s Roman’s commentary.
Let me quote his lengthy but worthwhile explanation…..
God Himself has revealed to us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If we understand that, we are a long way on the road to truth. We must be careful to understand that when the Bible speaks of “the fear of the Lord,” it is not talking about “the fright of the Lord….” The Devil is always at war with words, and he won a victory when he transferred the meaning of fright over to our word “fear.” There are even some Christians who do not understand the difference between the fear of the Lord and the fright of the Lord.
If you have bowed before God and accepted the gift of His love and mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, you need have no fright. Fear in the Bible sense is a godly thing, a wonderful thing, a lovely thing. The Devil has adulterated the word until it is a terrible mixture.
I can illustrate this by an anecdote from my ministry. Several years ago I married a young couple who were and still are very much in love with each other. They had met when they were thirteen and fourteen and had never looked at anyone else, and wouldn’t today after all these years. They went away on their honeymoon and after a few weeks came home again. I saw them in church the next Sunday and greeted them with a little pleasantry. I asked the bridegroom if she had burned the roast for the first dinner. They laughed, and she said, “Oh, I was afraid that I was going to do it. I had read so much about the bride being unable to cook that I decided that John was going to have the very best meal a bride could prepare for her husband. So I began about three o’clock; I got everything out and started to work. When I finally put things on to cook, I was so afraid they wouldn’t turn out and of course he had to be a little late, and I was so afraid things would be spoiled.” I interrupted her and said, “You have said three times that you were afraid. Did you think that he was going to beat you?” She pouted and said, “Of course not.” Then she looked at him with all the love of her heart in her eyes. “But,” I persisted, “you said that you were afraid.” She broke in, “You know what I mean.” And of course I did. Her fear was not fright. Her fear was a great desire to serve the one to whom she had given herself entirely. In this case, the fear of John was the beginning of good cooking. And perhaps that will enable you to understand how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If you will surrender yourself utterly to Him in an abandon of love, He will so fill your being that your desire will be to serve Him. Then you will bend your every effort to please Him, and He will reveal Himself to you daily. True wisdom will then become your portion and you shall daily grow in His knowledge.
Barnhouse Romans – Expositions of Bible Doctrines Taking the Epistle to the Romans As a Point of Departure – Volume 4: God’s River.