Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fear of the Lord

In an idle moment, I have often wondered about the "fear of the Lord", as in Prov 1: 7 and 9:10.. If "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of wisdom, then it sounds desirable. OTOH, "if perfect love casts out all fear"as in I jon 4:18, what's going on? I have long suspected that it is the English is at fault and not the Hebrew or the Greek.

So I took advantage of my discovery of to do a bit of quick word study.

The Hebrew word for "fear" as used in Pro 1: 7 and 9:10 is yir'ah. A feminine noun.

Strong's Outline of Biblical Usage says:

1) fear, terror, fearing

a) fear, terror

b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)

c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety

d) revered

The website will not allow me to copy the entry but if you go to:

you can see all the other places in the Hebrew Scriptures where "fear of the Lord" is used in sense c above and not as sense a.

When you click on this link, please be sure to add the "#" which in my screen did not highlight as part of the ink.

I already knew from what Greek I've retained from seminary and college, that in 1 John 4:18, where perfect love casts out all fear, that the word used is phobos, from which we get phobia. It's a masculine noun of the 1st declension, btw.

The Blue Letter Bible link is:

which shows all the ways in which phobos has been used in Greek. Many of the references cited are pre-Christian.

Which says phobos can be translated as:

1) fear, dread, terror

a) that which strikes terror

2) reverence for one's husband

There must be something strange in the mind of such early Greeks that 1and 1 a are equated with 2. However, I trust that since perfect love casts out all fear that meaning 2 no longer has any influence for us Christians.

The thing is, I have established for myself via Dr Strong's extraordinary scholarship, that our English "fear" fails to do justice and may even mislead modern readers of Scripture. I have certainly read a lot of nonsense that says that the phobos of God is the beginning of wisdom and it just ain't true.


Post a Comment

<< Home