The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,Proverbs 1:7
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Someone asked me a question the other day about the fear of the Lord. It got me thinking about Proverbs 1:7, which famously says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (or wisdom). But the word which really struck me this time is the beginning. What does it mean for the fear of the Lord to be the beginning of wisdom? And what’s the end?
Let’s start by thinking about what the fear of the Lord actually is.
What is the fear of the Lord?
The Hebrew word translated ‘fear’ (yirah) can mean fear or terror, but when it is used in relation to God it means something like respect or reverence. It’s the same kind of idea we might say about treating those in authority – maybe parents, or teachers, or police. (We don’t tend to think in those terms these days – it does sound very old-fashioned!)
I think it’s important to say that doesn’t mean we have to be scared of God. A lot of people have had abusive fathers or authority figures and have been terrified of them. God is absolutely not like that! We’ll come onto this more in a moment.
So that’s what the fear of the Lord is not. Let’s look at what the fear of the Lord actually is.Continue reading “Why is the fear of the Lord the BEGINNING of wisdom?”