The Fear of the Lord: Not As Scary As It Sounds
“The fear of the Lord,” says Proverbs 1:7, “is the beginning of wisdom.”
In terms of vaguely threatening Bible verses, this one ranks up there. It has a “Meet me behind the woodshed – I’m gonna grab a switch and teach you a lesson!” kind of vibe to it.
Fearsome though it may seem, to truly understand what the fear of the Lord is all about, we first need to realize that it’s more than the sum of its parts. As Reddit user u/Dimanovic points out:
Like the word “butterfly,” you can’t figure it out just by looking at its composites, “butter” and “fly.” “Fear” can mean “terror/fright” or it can mean “awe.” “Fear of the Lord” encompasses both and more, such that the phrase takes on a life of its own – like “butterfly” – and ends up meaning things we would not typically expect of “fear.”
In other words, the fear of the Lord DOES NOT mean “to be scared or frightened of God.”