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The Definition of the Fear of God August 10, 2005

Posted by mjtilley in Uncategorized.

The words “fear” or “afraid” are mentioned 4 times in the book of Jonah and all come from the same basic Hebrew word, which includes several aspects of meaning:

  • Fear; that is, actually being scared
  • Awe; that is, having a measure of respect
  • Terror; that is, being shaken to the core

While this word isn’t always referencing the fear of God explicitly, it does have at least most of the meaning intended by the phrase: The Fear of God.

Does that then mean we ought to be scared of God? In a way, yes. The most fearful thing in a Christian’s life should be the displeasure of God. Of course, true fear of God also involves true love. Therefore, the most desired thing in a Christian’s life should be the smile of God.

Another way of thinking of the fear of God is to think about the emotions in a strong marriage relationship. While each spouse certainly loves and cares for the other, they’re also watchful of anything that could damage the relationship. That is, they “fear” the spouse; concerned about doing anything that would break the marriage trust or separate each from the other’s love.

A good shorthand way to think about living or walking in the fear of God is to live our lives in such a way as to make it evident that we care what God thinks of us.



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