What does the Bible say about the fear of God? Plenty.
Before we get to a sampling of the top Bible verses on the topic, here’s a definition of the fear of God by John Murray, as quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Joy of Fearing God:
“The fear of God in which godliness consists is the fear which constrains [compels or powerfully produces] adoration and love. It is the fear which consists in awe, reverence, honor, and worship, and all of these on the highest level of exercise. It is the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God.”
My prayer for this simple post is that you would grow in your holy awe of God and your hatred of sin. I also hope the added resources (sermons, songs, book recommendations) help you go deeper on this vital topic.
Proverbs on the Fear of God (related link: How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.
The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Verses and Prayers from the Psalms
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Other Key Verses on the Fear of God from the Old Testament
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (see Why Our Secular Age Needs Ecclesiastes)
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
Verses about the Fear of God from the New Testament
Matthew 10:28; cf. Luke 12:4-5
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
2 Corinthians 5:11
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
…Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
1 Peter 1:17
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
1 Peter 2:17
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Quotes on the Fear of God
“It is not our knowledge of the will of God but our sincere complying therewith that proves we fear the Lord.” John Bunyan
“He who fears God has nothing else to fear.” Charles Spurgeon
“The person who fears God seeks to live all of life to the glory of God… All the activities of life should be pursued with the aim of glorifying God.” Jerry Bridges
“We fear circumstances so much because we fear God so little.” LeCrae
“Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for pulse if someone denies it.” Ed Welch
“There is no sin so prevalent, so insidious, and so deep as the sin of fearing people more than we fear God.” Kevin DeYoung
“Men who fear God face life fearlessly. Men who do not fear God end up fearing everything.” Richard Halverson
“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Recommended Books on the Fear of God and the Fear of Man
- The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges
- A Treatise on the Fear of God by John Bunyan
- The Forgotten Fear: Where Have All the God-Fearers Gone? by Albert Martin
- When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Ed Welch
Songs on the Fear of the Lord
We Choose to Fear the Lord
Psalm 112 – 4Him
Eshon Burgundy – The Fear of the Lord
Sermon Clips and Bible Teaching on the Fear of the Lord
What does it mean to fear God? – John Piper on the Podcast Ask Pastor John
Sermon: The Beginning of Wisdom – Alistair Begg
Fear God – Francis Chan
A Wrong View of the Fear of God – Paul Washer
Sermon: The Fear of God Is the Very Soul of Godliness – Albert Martin