(Fernando callejas) #1

Proverbs 1:7 .what is the meaning of this verse .it seems to me. Fear and knowledge to be opposite to each other .?

(Helen Tan) #2

Hi @Looking4truth, that’s an interesting question. If we look at the verse in detail to understand the meaning behind the words, we will find that it does make sense. “Fear” is ‘yirah’ in Hebrew and in this context, conveys the meaning of reverence, respect and piety that arise when someone realizes the greatness and awesomeness of God. As such, having this fear places them in a position to listen and obey what God says. It is a holy fear when sinful man comes to realize his position in the presence of God and it is in this position that knowledge is gained. As such, ‘fear’ and ‘knowledge’ in this verse are not in antithesis to each other.

This is also conveyed in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

(SeanO) #3

@Looking4truth @Helen_Tan already explained it very well! She said that fear places them in a position to listen and obey what God says - that is exactly right. It is important to remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge - just like repentance is the beginning of knowing God. Think about it like this:

1 - Fear of the Lord leads us to repent of our sins and to appreciate His love for us in spite of our sin
2 - When we repent God cleanses us and dwells in us
3 - As we walk with / obey God His Spirit teaches us through the Word
4 - As we grow in love and learn to walk in the Spirit, obeying God’s commands, fear gives way to love - love of God drives out fear as we come to know / love Him more

So the fear of the Lord is the beginning of a journey to know and love God more - that is how it must begin. We must acknowledge God for who He is and admit our need of His forgiveness and grace.

Romans 11:22 - Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

James 4:8 - Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I John 4:18 - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

John 14:21 - Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.

Romans 2:4 - Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Also, as pointed out by Helen, the word ‘fear’ means both fear in the literal sense and also awe or wonder. According to the NET Bible, when this Hebrew word is used with God as its referent it conveys both actual fear and awe at the majesty / beauty of God.

tn Heb “fear of the Lord.” In this expression (יִרְאַת יְהוָה, yirʾat yehvah) “the Lord” functions as an objective genitive. He is the object of fear and wonder. The term יִרְאָה(yirʾah) comes from the root יָרֵא (yareʾ), the common root for fear in the OT which has a basic three-fold range of meanings: (1) “be in dread or terror” ([Deut 1:29](javascript:{}); [Jonah 1:10](javascript:{})), (2) “to stand in awe” ([1 Kgs 3:28](javascript:{})), (3) “to revere; to respect” ([Lev 19:3](javascript:{})). With the Lord as the object, it captures the tension of shrinking back in fear and drawing close in awe and adoration. Both categories of meaning appear in [Exod 20:20](javascript:{})(where the Lord descended upon Sinai amidst geophysical convulsions). Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God striking them dead for no reason (“Do not fear!”) but informed the people that the Lord revealed himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning (“God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him in you so that you do not sin”). The fear of the Lord is expressed in reverential submission to his will – the characteristic of true worship. The fear of the Lord is the foundation for wisdom (9:10) and the discipline leading to wisdom (15:33). It is expressed in hatred of evil (8:13) and avoidance of sin (16:6), and so results in prolonged life (10:27; 19:23).