"Come, I Will Teach You the Fear of the Lord" (Biblical Reasons to Fear God)

by Tim Becker

Scripture Basis:

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”  - Ps. 34:11 

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever...” Ps. 19:9 

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:12-13


What is the fear of God? Is it the same fear that we fear of sicknesses, auto accidents, crime, terrorism and earthquakes? Why would God ask us to fear Him? Are we to be afraid of Him? In 1 John 4:18 it states what this kind of fear brings. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.”

So the fear of God could not possibly mean this. The Psalmist (Ps. 34:11 above) is not asking to come and be afraid of God or be in torment. The fear of God is a healthy thing, a clean thing (Ps. 19:9a) as you will see.


Let’s define the what the fear of God means. It is a respect for God and has its roots in love. It is a positive reverence and an awe of who He is. A wholesome dread of displeasing Him.

Love and Obedience:

There are two factors mixed in with the fear of God and they are love and obedience.

   — We obey Him out of love - “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:5

   — And we show that we love Him by our obedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3. 
Also: — “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21.

   — Can we possibly say that we love God while being disobedient to Him?

   — So obedience to His commands is love perfected and it is the fear of God (that reverence, a not wanting to diplease Him and respect) that motivates us to obey.

How do we obtain the fear of God?


 • God teaches us His fear through His Word:

“And it shall be, when he (a king over Israel) sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.” Deut. 17:18-19.  

Ii is here where Moses prophesies of the future kings of Israel. How that every king was to feed his soul on God’s Word, His law. The goal being to cultivate the fear of the Lord his God.
   — He (the king) would learn to fear God by seeing how the Lord blessed the obedient and cursed the disobedient. We learn of these dealings in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. God blessed those kings “that did that which was right before the Lord, as did his father, and he walked in the fear of the Lord.”

Yet, over and over in the same books you have kings “that did that which was evil in the sight of God and walked according to his own mind.” The Lord departed from those kings and there was war, famine and destruction.

   — Read Deut. 31:9-13.
   — “Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.” Ps. 119:38 (NASB)

   • By seeking hard after God:

“My son, if thou wilt receive My words, and hide My commandments with thee... Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Prov. 2:1-5

The fear of God is commanded:

   — Deut. 10:12
   — Ps. 34:9
   — Prov. 23:17
   — Luke 12:5

Qualifications in Leadership:
   — Ex. 18:19-21
   — 2 Sam. 23:1-3

Example of those who walked:
   — Job 1:1, 8
   — Is. 11:1-3
   — Acts 9:31

Many benefits:

   — Ps. 25:12-14
   — Ps. 111:10
   — Prov. 10:27
   — Prov. 14:26-27
   — Prov. 8:13
   — Prov. 22:4
   — Ps. 128:1
   — Ps. 130:3-4 (God’s offer of forgiveness to those who repent, gives us a reason to fear, a reason to change. (See Also Prov. 16:6)
   — Prov. 23:17-18
   — Prov. 19:23
   — Prov. 9:10 - obtaining wisdom

Conclusion:  Prov. 2:1-5

And the promise is when we cry out, incline our ear, when we search diligently, when we seek, it is then that we will find the understanding of what it means to fear the Lord.
— 2 Cor. 7:1

We must never lose our respect and appreciation for God, but we should grow beyond being motivated soley by fear (a slavish fear) and rather be motivated by God’s love, having a deep love and respect for God and His word.

May 15, 1998, Lisbon, Portugal by Tim Becker


  1. Awesome Theresa - I hope many will read, learn and be blessed - good job!

  2. Thank you, Tim Becker, for letting me publish this powerful study. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." If we, as believers, are to walk with any understanding of our great and mighty God, we need to start with first things. Until we have a grasp of the person of Jesus, the Gospel message about Him and the fear of God, we will be unable to even comprehend things like final punishment and judgment. We keep learning and growing! There is no end to the depth of the riches of our Lord! So glad your family and my family are on this journey of faith together! Keep studying the Word!


I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!