ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


"Fear of God" ... one of the most misunderstood and misused expressions from the Bible. So many use it against the believers saying God demands that you be afraid of Him when it couldn't be further from the Truth. Looking at the definition of "fear", where "fear of God" appears in the KJV there are three translations to "fear."
  • yir'ah {yir-aw'}: respect, reverence, piety, revered
  • pachad {pakh'-ad}: terror, dread, object of dread
  • phobos {fob'-os}: reverence as in for one's husband (or wife)
When pachad is used it speaks to that which His enemies should feel such as in 2 Chronicles 20:29 "And the fear [pachad] of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel." They were afraid of the power of God for those who oppose Him.

But in other cases when yirah and phobos are used, it speaks to reverence, honor and respect such as in 2 Samuel 23:3 "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear [yirah] of God", in 2 Corinthians 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear [phobos] of God" and in Ephesians. 5:21 "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear [phobos] of God."

So, if one opposes and rejects God one should dread (pachad) fear what He will do (and won't do). If one loves Him one should revere, honor and respect (yirah or phobos) fear Him. Yirah or phobos fear Him even in the marriage sense as we, the believers, will be collected as His Bride at the Rapture.

I "fear" God. Deeply. But I am not afraid of Him.

Tom Carder
CAP Ministry

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ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

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Since December 5, 2000

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