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Themes in Proverbs: The Fear of the Lord



The book of Proverbs provides the Christian with much-needed wisdom. There are a variety of topics that Proverbs address. Each topic has verses scattered throughout the book. As such, it is helpful to compile these verses to see how Proverbs address these themes. This article is the first of several that will provide a thematic compilation and categorization of Proverb verses.

 

The Fear of the LORD Defined


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Prov. 9:10 ESV)

The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. (Prov. 15:33 ESV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Prov. 1:7 ESV)

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:1-6 ESV)


Working definition: A fear of the Lord includes the right knowledge of God and the right response to this knowledge; it is a personal understanding of the gravity and weight of who God is and what he has done and responding appropriately. It is not a mere respect, but it is weighty reverence, awe, joy, even a trembling before him. This fear is the beginning of true wisdom. The lowliest Christian who knows God is wiser than the most esteemed philosopher who rejects God.

 

The Desirability of the Fear of the LORD


Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. (Prov. 15:16 ESV)

 

Growing in the Fear of the LORD


My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:1-6 ESV)

 

The Fruits of the Fear of the LORD


The fear of the LORD produces life


The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. (Prov. 10:27 ESV)

The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. (Prov. 19:23 ESV)

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. (Prov. 14:27 ESV)

 

The fear of LORD produces honor


The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. (Prov. 22:4 ESV)

 

The fear of the LORD results in a greater hatred of sin


By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil. (Prov. 16:6 ESV)

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (Prov. 8:13 ESV)

 

The fear of the LORD gives one strong confidence and a place of refuge


In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. (Prov. 14:26 ESV)

 

Roadblocks to the Fear of the LORD


A hatred of the knowledge of God


Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. (Prov. 1:29-31 ESV)


An envy of sinners


Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.  (Prov. 23:1 ESV)


The fear of man


The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

 (Prov. 29:25 ESV)

 


 

Stephen Duarte (ME, National University; MTS, Reformed Baptist Seminary) is a pastor at Parkside Bible Fellowship in Fallon, NV. He is husband to Debbie and father of three.

 

 

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of other contributors on this site.

 

 

 

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