Proverb to live by #3

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” – Proverbs 1:7

I used to not understand that passage. Why should we “fear” the Lord? Isn’t He supposed to be a loving God? Why would He do anything to hurt us? How can I worship a God that I am supposed to fear?

So, how do we understand what it means? Well, first of all, I have always been an advocate of asking “do we really know what the original text said?” Think about it – our English language is not identical in word for word translation from Hebrew or Greek. A good example you probably know is the Greek word “agape” which we translate as “love.”

How many of us “love” pizza? We “love” our family. We “love” _(fill in the blank)_. Our English language has progessed to use one word “love” in a variety of meanings/applications. However, “agape,” as best as we can translate more accurately means “to love sacrificially” as God did when He sacrificed His Son to die on a cross for us. We don’t “love” pizza – we may enjoy eating it. We may like it, but it’s not self-sacrificing. How many other words have changed over the years? “Surfing” used to be something you could only do on water – now you can do it on the internet from the comfort of your home. A “paddle” used to be a disciplinary tool in every school, now it’s just for use in boats. I digress….

As I return to the Hebrew translation of the Old Testament, I look at “yirah” the word that many translate “fear” in the Bible. Other translations for the word include “respect” or even “reverance.” I believe both of these aditional definitions help to describe what we are to due in order to gain wisdom.

We should respect God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do. We should be reverent to Him, for He is Holy, Almighty, and the Lord of all. We should also have some aspect of fear of God; I don’t mean we should be “scared,” but we should fear His judgement on sin, unbelievers, and disobedience. A healthy fear where we can maintain respect and reverence will help us begin to have knowledge of Him.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” – Proverbs 1:7

One Reply to “Proverb to live by #3”

  1. Thank you for explaining that more clearly, sweetie. I knew that “fear” didn’t mean to be afraid of God, because how can you be afraid of Him and love Him at the same time? I knew it meant more of a reverence, but I still connected the word fear to reverent.

    What you wrote makes much more sense. I love you!

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