Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fear of the Lord

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many times we read and study God’s Word, there are always more truths to learn and discover? Always more ways to apply His Word to our lives and grow in Him? I find this especially true when studying individual words and phrases as well as how they are used elsewhere in Scripture. God’s Word is a treasure trove of wisdom and teaching from our heavenly Father to us, and it seems I have but barely scratched the surface of its depths! His word truly is “living and active” and “the lamp for [our] feet and the light for [our] path.

It was during one of these recent word studies that I was amazed and excited with what was found. Hence the writing of this post. :) I hope that the discovery will bless and encourage your heart as it did mine!

When recently going through and studying once again the passages of Scripture that are directed to women, one of the first phrases that came to mind to study further was ‘respectful behavior’ (found in 1 Peter 3:2.) This phrase, as well as a similar one in Titus 2:3, has always intrigued me and has been one that I wanted to refresh my mind on as well as to learn more about it . . . what does it look like? How is it expressed?

Before sharing the findings, here is 1 Peter 3:1-2 as it reads in the NASB . . .

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

So often when studying specific verses or phrases, I turn to a Greek interlinear to learn what the text would read in the original language. When looking in the interlinear during this particular study, I found it to be quite different than what was in the NASB. It reads:

“. . . observing the pure conduct of you in fear.” 1 Peter 3:2

It surprised me to find that the literal translation is not “respectful”, but it is instead “fear”! The words had also been rearranged slightly. (The KJV has a more proper rendering as it reads “while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”) This discovery provoked so much thought and further study!

It was found that the Greek word used in this passage is phobos which literally means ‘alarm’ or ‘fright.’ One way it is used in Scripture is to indicate a fear/terror of something, yet through what the Lord teaches in His Word, we know that this isn’t the type of fear that He desires us to have. So what is this fear that is being referred to in 1 Peter? What is found is that this same Greek word, phobos, is also the same word (and its derivatives) that is used in the New Testament for fearing the Lord. Isn’t that fascinating? In essence, as women, our “pure conduct” would be the direct fruit of our fear of the Lord! Our fear and reverence of Him is the foundation and support for how we conduct ourselves . . . and in the context of this passage in Peter, it is what can draw an unsaved husband to the Lord.

Looking in Vine’s Expository Dictionary lent even more insight and conviction to this verse . . .



a)    “fear, dread, terror”

b) “reverential fear” (1) of God as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral . . . a wholesome dread of displeasing Him . . . which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God . . . the reverential ‘fear’ of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His ‘fear’.


How sobering and convicting this is! Our fear of God is what is to be the influence behind our conduct, our words, our thoughts, our actions, and yes, our behavior. In essence, our fear of God is to influence everything in our lives.

Yet even more than ‘influence’, as Vine's Expository Dictionary expresses so well, it is to be the controlling motive behind how we live our lives and is characterized by carefulness so that our conduct will always be pleasing to our Lord.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

-Posted by Sarah


  1. Awesome post, Sarah. I like your last paragraph, "it is to be the controlling motive..." We, I!, need to think more before I speak and act.
    God bless,

  2. Thank you for your comment, Mrs. Anne! I am glad that the post was a blessing to you.

    I need to do that more as well . . . and cultivating my heart so that what proceeds from my mouth is pleasing to Him!

  3. I found this study very interesting and insightful to read through. Thank you for sharing! The more Biblical meaning of fear was hard for me to grasp a few years ago, but it is a good one to study and understand.

  4. I am glad that you found it so, Anna! And you’re welcome. :)

    Yes, the fear of the Lord is indeed a good area to study and understand! I can relate to what you shared about having difficulty grasping it a few years ago . . . it was the same for me back when I first began studying it, and I do not think that I fully understand yet all of what it entails. The more one studies about the fear of the Lord, however, the better understanding we will have and the closer we will be walking with the Lord in regards to it!