corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

FEAR . In the OT ‘the fear of the Lord’ is frequently a definition of piety. The purpose of the giving of the Law is the implanting of this fear in the hearts of men ( Deuteronomy 4:10 ); it is the sum of religious duty ( Deuteronomy 6:13 ) and prompts to obedient and loving service ( Deuteronomy 10:12 ). ‘Fear cannot be appraised without reference to the worth of the objects feared’ (Martinean, Types of Ethical Theory , ii. 184); hence it is on the revelation of the Divine nature as ‘holy and to be feared’ ( Psalms 111:9 ) that this fundamental principle of religion rests: those who know His name have learnt that to fear Him is true wisdom ( Psalms 111:10 ) and true blessedness ( Psalms 112:1 ). In the NT mention is made of a fear which has high moral quality and religious value. ‘The fear of the Lord’ was the rule by which the early Christians walked ( Acts 9:31 ), and when an uncircumcised foreigner became a devout worshipper of the God of Israel he was known as ‘one that feareth God’ ( Acts 10:2 ; cf. 2 Corinthians 7:1 , Philippians 2:12 , 1Pe 1:17 ; 1 Peter 2:17 , Revelation 14:7 ; Revelation 15:4 ; Revelation 19:5 ). Although the usual Gr. word for ‘fear’ is not used in Hebrews 5:7 , the reference to the ‘godly fear’ of the perfect Son emphasizes the contrast between reverent awe and slavish terror.

The fear which ‘hath punishment’ (1 John 4:18 ) is the result of sin ( Genesis 3:10 ). The sinner, under condemnation of the Law, is in ‘bondage unto fear’ ( Romans 8:15 ), and inasmuch as ‘the sting of death is sin’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:56 ), he is also through fear of death … subject to bondage’ ( Hebrews 2:15 ). Transgression may so completely deceive him that he has ‘no terror of God’ ( Psalms 36:1 ); the climax of human wickedness is the loss of any dread of God’s judgments, though the Gr. and Eng. translations of the Heb. word for ‘terror’ ( pachadh , cf. Isaiah 2:10 ; Isaiah 2:19 ; Isaiah 2:21 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) fail to bring out this thought in St. Paul’s quotation of this verse ( Romans 3:18 ). To rouse men from this callous indifference to God’s threatenings is the purpose of the appeal to fear, which is a primary and self-regarding emotion and a powerful spring of human action. This appeal is warranted by our Lord’s words ( Matthew 10:28 ) as well as by Apostolic example ( Hebrews 4:1 ; Heb 10:31 , 1 Timothy 5:20 , Judges 1:23 ). The spirit in which this appeal should be made is that which inspired St. Paul, when he declares that, ‘knowing the fear of the Lord,’ before whose judgment-seat all must be made manifest, he is constrained by the love of Christ to persuade men to be ‘reconciled to God’ ( 2 Corinthians 5:11 ff.).

J. G. Tasker.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Fear'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Next Entry
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology