Psalms 47:1 - 9
KJV - 1 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
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The Hebrew word in this verse that is translated as "terrible" in the King James Version reflects an English usage or meaning of the word that was more common or understandable in the seventeenth century (when that version was published) than it is today. The type of "terror" (which is the root of the word) associated with the word at that time was a reverent fear of God, which is (even today) an appropriate response to a Being who is immeasurably greater and more powerful than any human. (Even Jesus told his followers to have this kind of fear of God in verses such as Luke 12:4-5.) Other, more modern translations of the same verse (as can be found at the website biblehub.com) express this Hebrew word through terms or expressions such as "awesome", or "to be held in reverence". (The use of "terrible" in the translation of the verse has no association at all with other potential meanings of the word, such as "extremely bad", "appalling", or "atrocious".)
I believe that God is not terrible in terms of love and eternal forgiveness. I believe that many people misinterpret the meaning behind it. God is the Almighty, He is our Heavenly Father. He loves us. He is with us every step of the way. Only the devil causes real fear and doubt. So be aware. 365 times, John and other ancient prophets in the Bible have declared that we have no need to fear the Lord because He is with us not against us. Therefore, if we truly believe, which I know I do, we need not fear Him at all. He is not here to destroy us, He is here to help us on our way.
The verb, נוֹרָא (nora’), when used of God in the psalms, focuses on the effect that His royal splendor and powerful deeds have on those witnessing His acts (Ps. 76:7, Ps. 76:12-7: Thou, even Thou, art to be feared: And who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry? 12 He shall cut off the spirit of princes: He is terrible to the kings of the earth.). Here it refers to His capacity to fill His defeated foes with terror and His people with fearful respect. Bible.org Wiersbe adds, "To know God is to know One who is awesome in all that He is, says, and does."
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