7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
ESV - 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
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The fear spoken of by Solomon in the verse cited in the question is a sense of extreme reverence, which should be the proper, rational, and "wise" response by humans to an eternal, infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient Being who is in every respect greater than they are. It is only "terror" in the same sense that every human should (and customarily does) fear the consequences of violating rules of behavior that God or humans (acting as his agents on earth) have established. However, as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5, humans have at most only the power to take an individual's temporal, earthly life as a consequence of such violations, whereas God has the power to condemn that same individual to eternal separation from Him. And such fear should then be the motivating factor that causes individuals to avail themselves of the means by which that same Being -- in pure, undeserved love, grace, and mercy -- has made available to them the means to escape such eternal condemnation through faith in Christ's atoning death and resurrection.
FILIAL FEAR: Fear of some impending evil based on love and reverence for the one who is feared. Actually filial fear is close to love that dreads offending the one loved. Thus the filial fear of God is compatible with the highest love of God. A person, knowing his or her moral weakness, fears that he or she might displease or betray the one who is loved. It is selfless fear.
The Old Testament phrase, "the fear of the Lord," means piety/reverential trust. A hatred of all evil. We are expected to accept that the Lord's judgements are always true and righteous altogether. We are to know, to trust Him, even if we do not understand! This fear, is not terror, like a movie experience. This fear is awe! We have a truly Awesome Heavenly Father who loves us!
If you want to identify the blessings believers miss when they fail to fear the Lord, read and ponder these verses: Deuteronomy 6:24; Psalms 25:12; 31:19; 34:9; Ps 112; 145:19; Proverbs 1:7 -- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7 esv; Isaiah 33:6; Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 12:28-29. Warren Wiersbe’s Be Equipped (Deuteronomy): Acquiring the Tools for Spiritual Success A holy fear is commanded in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion and as an incentive to penitence (Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:11; 7:1; Phil. 2:12; Eph. 5:21 -- NKJV "submitting to one another in the fear of God"; Heb. 12:28, 29). [EBD] EBD is short for Easton's Bible Dictionary, which you can find online at classic.net.bible.org.
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