Why Should Anyone Fear the God of the Bible?

Should we believe and fear the God of the Bible? Why fear the judgment of God? Is all fear bad? Can fear motivate us to avoid danger? The fear of being hit by a car causes us to look for cars when we are crossing roads. The fear of home intruders motivates residents to be armed. The fear of an early death provokes people to diet and exercise. Fear pushes neglectful employees, who want their jobs, to work hard. Fear prevents conflicts between nations and between spouses. Fear of punishment disciplines children. Fear is powerful and useful. Fear can be very good.

The apostle Peter instructed Christians to, “Fear God” (1 Pet. 2.17). phobiaThis fear is not just respect, reverence, and awe. The Greek word for the fear in the New Testament is phobia, and yet this is not quite the irrational phobia that we may think of today. This is a rational fear. Why should we fear a loving God? A loving God is also a just God. We all pursue justice for those, whom we love. Jesus said in Luke 12.5, “Fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna; yes, I say to you, fear this One” (cf. Matt. 10.26-28, Rev. 19.20, 20.10).

Why do we sin? Because “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3.18). Repentance requires fear (2 Cor. 7.1, 10-11, cf. Heb. 10.26-31). See, believers are commanded, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2.12). Proverb 16.6 states, “In mercy and truth appeasement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil” (cf. Prov. 1.7, 3.7, 8.13, 14.26-27, 19.23, Luke 1.50). Fearing God’s justice is good when it works repentance.

Does not the Bible say that “perfect love casts out fear”? Yes. It is certainly true that, “In this, love has been completed [perfected] among us, in order that we may have boldness in the Day of the Judgment” (1 John 4.17-18). Yet, if we sin, let us fear and so repent. One day, God will judge every work even our secret sins, so we must obey God and keep His commands (Eccl. 12.13-14, cf. Heb. 4.13). Let all believers walk in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9.31), and not in fear of condemnation for our sins (Rom. 8.15, 2 Tim. 1.7).

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
This entry was posted in Agnostic, Christian and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Why Should Anyone Fear the God of the Bible?

  1. Mike says:

    This is one of the worst problems with the Christian myth. There is an infinite being who requires you to devote yourself to him in every way, body heart, and soul. He must be more important to you then your own life and the lives of anyone else, including your children. If he commands you to commit the deepest evils, you must commit them (genocide, murder, etc.). If you fail in this, you will be consigned to permanent misery… you will suffer forever and ever and ever.

    But he loves you and needs 10% of your money

    Pure stupidity.


  2. Phil says:

    Fear become a problem when we use it to avoid going to hell. If my obedience is done from a sense of the fear of what will happen to me I don’t obey the faith gets compromised. Fear can certainly motivate one to obey but is this obedience acceptable to God? I don’t think so.


    • True. It shouldn’t be about fear alone as should also know and appreciate why you are supposed to be avoiding sin. But without fear, there would be no reason for pause and reflection in the first place.


      • Actually, Jesus said fear God and avoid going to Hell. You can read His own words. This is why I thought this was an excellent subject considering that many people reject fear and then try to accept Christ.

        Yes. I agree with SC. Let us pause and reflect about God’s justice and just wrath (Rom. 2.1-11). This is not about fear alone as love casts out fear. Love, faith, and hope of eternal life are all good and essential motivators.

        “Fear God” (1 Pet. 2.17).

        “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’:” (Rom. 2.1-6).


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