The Beginning of Wisdom

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Wisdom can be attained only by cultivating a fear of the Lord. What does it mean to fear the Lord?

The treasure of wisdom rests in the hands of God, but we need to be more specific. What are the conditions for attaining it? Proverbs 9:10 gives us the answer: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” According to the wisdom literature of the Bible, the true skill in the art of living life can only be achieved by cultivating the fear of the Lord.

This leads us to yet another question. What is the fear of the Lord? Now we are on the brink of one of the central, yet often overlooked, concepts of Scripture.

Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:28).

Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name (Psalm 86:11).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do
His commandments;
His praise endures forever (Psalm 111:10).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

The New Testament, like the Old, exhorts us to live in the fear of God (see Matthew 10:28; Acts 10:35; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:22; 1 Peter 1:17). Yet the Apostle John tells us that “God is love,” and that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:8, 18). “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1).

When we placed our trust in Christ, God gave us the right to become members of His family (John 1:12). Now nothing can separate us from our loving Father because we are His children (Romans 8:38-39). As believers in Christ, we need not be afraid of God as a punitive power. Instead, the fear of God refers to a particular attitude that we should develop.

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